Joker listened to Eclipse's response to his own display, and was already formulating his own response, when Eclipse flexed his title and forced Joker to take a knee. The program's power against him was nothing in comparison against this, as Joker was truly brought down, the gigantean navi, even taking a knee, still slightly taller than Eclipse was himself.
Through gritted teeth, Joker forced his head up to stare back at Eclipse, his mind working quickly as the force of wills battled, Joker obviously with the disadvantage. He had no way of knowing that Eclipse was here, but could see Aeon's reasoning for sending him here - if he was searching for a means to release his binds, knowing Joker's tenacity, he was perhaps hoping Joker would be able to overcome even the master's control and fight against it. To say the least, Joker was tempted to - feeling his control wrested from him, Joker felt every fiber of his being wanting to resist, every thought to rebel, every string of code to unleash and try to wrest back his own being.
Aeon needed the power, and would be unable to travel here to retrieve it himself. Had anyone other than Joker came, they would've been in a better spot to handle the situation. Because Joker came, Aeon either fully completed his mission at undermining Joker, or would have played his cards right and found the wildcard sufficient to deal with the Master Generational.
There was one problem in both the Master Generational's and Aeon's views of this whole field: Joker, himself. For once, Joker allowed himself to let go, his muscles slackening, his body almost leaning into the force of might put against him by the Master Generational. His plan was set into motion and confirmed the moment Aeon told him he was but a spectre guiding him, and that he would not be able to follow him here. Here, outside of his sight, Joker could do what needed to be done.
Here, Joker could release the one thing he always held: Pride. With the Master Generational's title given to him, a title Joker did in fact heed, Joker knew all too easily what his next steps were.
"You and the nightmare you acclaim to prevent have much in common. You both talk in grandiose designs of your own purpose, machinations, and riddles with the assumption that those you speak to do not understand the gravity of their situation. As I've had to inform him, so shall I inform you: I will not be contained, and I am not to be underestimated. I understand where I am, and while you were not a variable I knew of before hand, your presence here makes my plan possible.
"You told me of two titles: The Master Generational, and the one designated to seal away the program. In such a case, I present to you your prison." Almost as if to further explain what he meant, Joker allowed more of his own will to fade, as his body slouched into the bow further.
"You know the power he wields. Such strength would be wasted if sealed away with no way to utilize it. I have been unsure of the specifics, but I knew what would need to be done, and whereas I am certain his full power would be treacherous for any to hold, I believe you will find no better receptacle while still being able to control it.
"I am Joker. My systems are database processing systems animated and given shape, my very form designed as a means to efficiently store and process data to produce the most efficient output from the least input necessary. A nuclear generator within my core resonates with power and magnifies it by volumes, allowing just the small energy that I've pulled from this crest to make me stronger by magnitudes. My systems are also already accustomed to sharing space with a massive reservoir of power and energy, pulling on it in small portions, and still using its power with incredible control.
"I believe I am the only Navi alive that could act as a receptacle to Eon's full form. I would not need to access all of it to use his abilities, and my data analytical systems would allow me to observe the situation at hand and determine a safe amount of the power to pull from. It would be controlled, precise, and still useful, and my willpower is already sufficient to prevent the Program from overcoming me.
"He cannot follow me here, and so he does not know that he assisted in planning his own imprisonment. So, Master Generational, I tell you again . . .
". . . if your designation is as you declare, and it is your power to stop the program, then turn me into the sealing agent. If you are so certain he is working to turn me into his puppet, allow him instead to turn me into his prison."
Eclipse listens to Joker's proposal, but in the end he just rolls his eyes and scoffs.
Eclipse: See, you've got a lot of problems with what you just said there, but I'm not going to go into all of it. What's best for both of us at this point is if I just set you adrift in distant space so that you can't ever try something so bone headed ever agai-Enough, Eclipse.
Another figure appears, alighting from above and touching down near the space between Eclipse and Joker. This one wears light-weight bronze armor with gold and silver details, with a metal band around his forehead rather than a helmet that frames his rather kind face and red, shaggy hair. He takes his place and gives an annoyed look to Eclipse, as if to shame the Master Generational.
You heard him; there's more going on than what meets the eye. Stop showing off and let him go.
Eclipse looks slightly shocked, then angered at the bronze Navi, taking a step towards him.
Eclipse: He's working for the program; he needs to be stopped!
The bronze Navi rolls his eyes and crosses his arms, obviously annoyed with Eclipse at this point.
No, he's working with the program. And he already knows that you can shut him down, so let's all stop with the big-ego plays and knock it off
Eclipse sighs and releases Joker from his power as the bronze-clad Navi nods in approval. He then turns to the Crimson Titan and gives a friendly smile and wave to introduce himself.
Triad: Name's Triad, first Guardian and a guy who doesn't really care about titles when they're not necessary. I think that we need to talk about what you're trying to do here, Joker.
His plan presented, Joker was left for but a moment to consider how he would escape from the void of space. His mind racing, he figured that he could use a Noise Access, but that would only attract the attention of either his creator or the Crimson Dragon. It would also depend on whether or not such things were relevant in what Joker was sure was the past . . .
Then, however, a new voice and figure entered the stage, alighting down with a sense of grace to his elegant form. Lighter weight armor with a shinier material of bronze, gold and silver, Joker takes him in and is quite surprised to find a being among this group with a personality that isn't condemning or condescending.
More information added to the pot, Joker feels his power return as Triad introduces himself. Allowing himself to feel his muscles again, Joker slowly stands from his place on the ground, looking down at Triad and Eclipse. Still keeping an apprehensive eye on Eclipse, Joker allows himself to stretch and relax back into his own control, nodding his thanks to Triad for the release.
So, a master generational, a first guardian, and himself, each with an hourglass symbol on their body. Three generationals, three parts of Eon's full form. Did each of them have power over the pieces of Eon, in different ways, then? He did not know, exactly. He had unknowingly joined a group in his acquisition of the generational's power.
He dealt with incredible power, but was used to holding it against others in his own favor, for all he knew was his own protection. There was much to ask of Triad and Eclipse, given his own concerns of his plan, and he couldn't help but think of the words of the unknown advisor regarding all of this, as well. So much to do, and even in the past, he wasn't sure how much time he had.
"I am Joker. I am searching for a new way to process and analyze, for a new understanding . . . I am confident that this involves bringing Eon's power to rear, not just to seal it away, but to give it a purpose that the programming cannot insist upon. I know I can resist the programming; I have done it before.
"There is still much uncertainty in my plans, and much that I am unsure of in concern to what I will ultimately do if the plan is successful. I was not expecting to be able to discuss this in detail with anyone intimate with Eon's capabilities, or with the concerns of bringing it to fruition without resulting in annihilation.
"I am willing to discuss, so long as it can remain civil. I have been forced to show my strength much up to now. I wish to present my mental capacity and execute a new analytical process. What is there to discuss, and what understandings do I need?"
Eclipse scowls at Joker at the comment about civility, raising his hand to strike before Triad, obviously the leader of this duo, shoots a stern glance. This causes the dark knight to sigh and lower his hand, looking away with an aggravated mumble.
Triad looks back to Joker and smiles, giving a nod.
Triad: Civility is the name of the game here... despite Eclipse.
A side-glance and an eyeroll come next before Triad begins to answer Joker's petition.
Triad: Alright, here's the main problem with your plans; you can make a cage of hardened steel, reinforce every bar, and plant it into the bedrock of the earth itself to ensure that it never moves. But if the bars are too wide, then the bird inside can just fly away...
Triad places a hand on his chest, closes his eyes, and slowly pulls it back. In his palm, a silver orb takes form; pure and pristine, yet absolutely radical and unpredictable at the same time. Simply looking at it too deeply brings about fear that its very presence would kill all that would dare gaze on its beauty. Surely, Joker was just given his first glimpse of his goal.
Triad: Controlling isn't just a matter of power, though subjugating it is possible for individuals with enough power...
A portal opens above Triad's head as he pauses, revealing the moment when Forte absorbed the power and became the silver-clad tyrant that almost laid waste to the world.
Triad: ...it's a matter of having the proper capabilities needed to actually host it. Without going into too much detail, you have to have very specific shielding capabilities to be able to host it, otherwise it will consume you.
Eclipse sighs and finally speaks up, obviously losing much of his bravado at this point.
Eclipse: ...at first it seems fine, like nothing is wrong. But then keeping it in check becomes a bit of a strain... and then it starts to hurt. After a while, the pain is so horrible that you can't think of anything but getting rid of it. It erodes your mind and begins to melt who you are. Eventually the thing will get free, either by forcing you to give it form, or by killing you from inside.
Eclipse closes his eyes here. It wouldn't take much to piece together the whole story from that bit alone, and the regret was painted across his face.
Triad: So even if we did give the core to you, then no matter how powerful or advanced you may be, it will eventually eat away at who you are, and that's when the program will get its way. Even if you could wield it, which very well might be impossible, you're setting yourself up for ultimate failure. We're not dumb enough to think that Eon is the end-all, beat-all in this day and age, but if the program could take on Navi form without Eon's mind holding it at bay, then it could instantly enact its plan and basically wreak endless havoc before anyone even knew what had happened. Holding back this future is literally what Eclipse and I were made to do, so we can't let the core leave this place; the one place that the program can't possibly reach.
Triad was successful in quelling Eclipse's apparent distaste of Joker, and it seemed at long last that he would move towards something new.
Listening to Triad's analogy, Joker's first assumption was that it was not necessarily the strength of the conduit chosen, but the fit of the individual for the job. A cage designed from start to finish with the intent of holding its prey, including the concern of the fit of the cage, not just its strength.
Then, Triad reached into his being and pulled it forward, that incredibly volatile yet pristine source of power that Joker sought after. It was similar, in many ways, to a power he was already very intimate with, and yet also wholely different. The view into the past that showed the silver-clad tyrant in his full power was humbling, leaving Joker realizing just what it was that he was searching after.
His attention turned from the past, looking at Eclipse as he explained the details. It seems that he spoke from unfortunate experience, as though he were once the host for the power. Triad's finish on the scenario seemed almost final, but Joker felt that they wouldn't have into too much detail if they did not believe that there was an opportunity to overcome these concerns.
Joker would need to be careful how he presented his case, here - him being here was already a danger, as he was unsure just how much access his adversaries had to this location, but he figured channeling that power here would surely bring that monstrosity's attention, and whoever it was that had assimilated it. Joker could not permit that error to compromise his goal, here, and already he was considering his own capabilities, defensive properties, and the nature of the cage he was trying to turn himself into. A stout material, but was it shaped correctly? Could it be molded?
He stayed silent for a while, going over his thoughts, moving his mouth as he considered his options and the whole of the situation. When he next spoke, he had gone over it in detail in his own analytical systems. "I understand holding something within your being that brings pain. I was created as a radiator of material, naturally generating more output than was inputted through a nuclear generator. The material that I was designed to radiate was already highly volatile, and in my first times learning to control it I tore my body asunder struggling to master it. Through time, I acclimated to do whatever I needed, holding a mastery of the material second to none . . .
". . . I cannot say that the same diligence will apply here. It seems that I come forward asking to find a solution to something that a solution is actively being searched for and has yet to be found. The power I wield necessitates defensive capabilities, to stand amidst the force of my full wrath without crumbling in the aftermath. I have put together my idea through theory alone, but I hear your words and recognize the difficulties in execution.
"What do you believe would be necessary? How can Eon be contained in the way that I seek? In the search of truth and honesty, I will inform you that I wish to be able to communicate with him, still. Eon and I are kindred spirits in design and purpose. An . . . an ally of mine is helping me realize that we can overcome those purposes. Perhaps it is possible for him, as well."
Triad's eyes drop as Joker continues to try to forge his way onto this path, working out ways to move forward... but this was a path that would be farther than he'd think. With a sigh, Triad silently returns the core of Eon back to his own being and looks back to the Crimson Titan.
Triad: It's not that easy, Joker. Even if you do manage to find a way to shield yourself from the core, which would require help from an OEL researcher to produce in the first place, we can't let you leave with it. So long as the program is active, the risk is far too great.
Like I said before; I know that Eon isn't the largest risk in the world at this point, but he is definitely a risk, and a risk that we're tasked with holding back. Here, in this dimension, the program can't possibly enter out of fear of Eclipse. This is the one place in existence that it can't reach, and that's why it's guided you here. The fact that it's even aware that you want the core means that you're already a part of its plan. We can't allow it to leave this dimension, because we have to keep this stale-mate going.
Triad sighs again, looking to the side contemplatively as he does so.
Triad: I'm sorry, Joker. We're not going to be able to help you.
It was as if a light had just gone off, and Joker was finally seeing it for the first time. He ran the figures to make sure he understood what he was to say, next, and came to his conclusion.
He had needed to visit the OEL for something that he needed to collect to further amplify Eon's power to begin with, to not even worry about the protective measures installed by their researchers. It made sense that Eon's program could not be permitted to enter here, nor that he could be permitted to access the power directly.
The operative term, here, however, seemed to be the assumption of Eon's activity.
"If that is the concern, then you should be aware that Eon's programming is not officially active. He guided me here as a specter beyond time. If it was put to me clearly, he had a very unfortunate reckoning involving his use of a tool in comparison to his maker. Gate currently has him physically under lock and key. He can only manifest prescience.
Triad sighs, closes his eyes, and shakes his head at Joker's question. The situation was presenting itself to Joker too perfectly in that regard, and that could only be for one reason.
Triad: The program is just setting the stage for its future, Joker. It doesn't care how long it takes, it only knows that taking the core from this dimension is an insurmountable step that requires help; help that it obviously sees you as able to take. Again; we can't let that happen.
Eclipse scoffs, obviously attempting to bring attention his way again with an interjection.
Eclipse: Unless the program knows that we'd never allow this to happen, which would mean we're playing into its hands. But then why would it...
Eclipse freezes for a second as a terrible realization hits him. He raises the armor that covers his newly revealed silvery-white eyes and looks to Joker with an obvious worry.
Eclipse: Joker; did anyone other than the program follow or track you to this spot?
Triad looks at Eclipse with a puzzled expression for a moment until it dawns on him. He turns to Joker and awaits the response, now visibly agitated.
Joker deflates a little bit as his thoughts seemed to time and again not be held in the proper place, but as Triad and Eclipse continue in their discussion, and the ball is tossed back to him, he begins putting together the same dots.
That realization, that the Program is always acting in its own time, planning for its future, put some more pieces into place. It should've been so clear, even then, when he was spouting out reasons to Aeon why it wouldn't be a concern . . . and yet, and yet . . .
Gate was his creator. It only made sense that if he had the program under lock and key, and was able to retrieve the power and utilize it without the program holding it back, that he would make steps to do so. He didn't appear before them earlier, not because of any of the reasons that Joker had portrayed, but because he, too, needs someone to acquire the power in a way that would make it easier for him to retrieve it.
Both forces wanted the power, and perhaps Gate was planning another means to get it, it just so happened that Joker was making that effort a little bit easier. He looked up at Triad and Eclipse. "Gate. He has a system of monitoring the Galaxy Network, a large yellow field. I could tell he was watching, and presumed he had his motives, but he didn't stop me from accessing this place.
"Does he want the power, too, then? Does that change how you need to go about this?"
Eclipse lets out a long breath, gritting his teeth and clenching his fists as he does so. This would indeed change the proceedings, but how remained to be seen.
Eclipse: ...I'll go get the blasted doormat.
Triad closes his eyes and stands, showing the weight of the situation on his face as he does so.
Triad: The core has one primary purpose; it amplifies power to a potentially limitless level and makes it available for use in other capacities. It's virtually impossible to recreate, and has near universal utility if properly integrated into a system. Basically anyone with grandiose plans would want it for its universal potential.
Triad pulls the sphere from his core again, looking at it with worry.
Triad: And if Gate saw you enter this realm, then we only have a short time until he manages to get in himself.
Joker realizes how dire this was, noting that Gate was the kind to analyze and observe happenings in an area and determine means of replicating them. Daring to step forward, Joker holds out his hand, on one side looking as though he may be reaching for the sphere, but evidently just offering his for it. His face was stern, genuine, but his eyes were calculating and cold.
"My core is an irradiator. Using nuclear fusion, the output is amplified by incredible magnitudes in comparison to the input. I assure you, there is no better candidate, and I will even swear to visit the OEL for those protective measures, if you will believe me.
"Whatever comes this way, or my way, I will not falter. I seek after this power for a new opportunity; to discover something more to offer to others. If time is of the essence then enable me to help."
Triad takes a half-step back at Joker's approach, with both he and Eclipse ready to retaliate if need be. But then he stops, looks at Joker's extended hand, and looks up to the Crimson Titan with an untrusting yet hesitant expression. He holds this for some time, until at last he reaches out and hands the core to Joker.
Eclipse' eyes widen as a surprised scowl encroaches his face.
Eclipse: What are you doing?!
Triad raises a hand to Eclipse, still looking Joker in the eyes with a stern stare.
Triad: do not absorb this into yourself until your systems have been updated. If you do, it won't be able to be removed unless you use it to re-form Eon, or are permanently deleted. This is not something that strength can overcome, or you can work out later. If you do, it will be a death sentence and the start of a new calamity
He sees the apprehension on Triad's face, analyzing that emotion and understanding what it means, for once - the realization that something needed to be done, but the uncertainty that this was the correct way to do it.
Then, however, even with Eclipse's obvious frustration, he reaches out and offers the sphere to Joker. He reaches towards it, spanning that gap, and pauses before taking it to heed Triad's words. As he reaches out, closing that power into his hand, he looks at Triad and nods. He turns to Eclipse, even, knowing he does not approve, but still nods to him, too.
"Do you know, is there a means for me to access its power without absorbing it, yet? Are you aware of a means for me to travel to the OEL directly from this space, or must I first return to where I was?
". . . also, in the event that the entirety of the Net aside from the Undernet was eradicated, where would I find the OEL's networks?"
Triad shakes his head again, now looking somewhat defeated.
Triad: I'm sorry, but we don't have an answer for you. Several years ago something happened that has left us incompatible with the net outside of this realm. The only way out is the way that you came in
Eclipse interjects again, obviously accepting the fate of the situation at this point.
Eclipse: And it gets even worse than that; last we were able to ascertain, the OEL was shut down after the Nightmare incident. Right now, we're only aware of two researcher survivors; one goes by the name of Psyche, and the other is Gate.
Eclipse rolls his eyes and places a hand on his crest, giving it a slight squeeze.
Eclipse: Problem is that we have no idea where Psyche is if he's alive, and Gate is... well, Gate.
Joker's near omnipresent scowl turned into a frown as he realized that this was never going to be simple. Time was of the essence, even now, his hour quickly wasting away.
He wrapped the sphere into his hand and held it there, not absorbing it into his core, but pointedly hiding it within his gigantean grasp.
"I am aware that the OEL is still functioning," he said simply, thinking back to the K Unit he had them modify. That seemed like so long ago, and he was so different a Navi than he was, then . . . "Whether or not all of those researchers will be able to help me is of a different matter, however. Do you have some sample of this Psyche's data, something I could use to trace him while I search for him?"