Joker listens to Gate's explanation, faintly reminded of the way that Mr. King and Mrs. Heartless could speak whenever they were discussing code and schematics for something new to create. He knew enough of his own design to make sense of Gate's words, listening intently, but did not respond until Gate was finished.
He reached out and first shook Gate's hand, his own dwarfing the smaller navi's, and then lowered the core into Gate's hand. With that, he took a step back, giving himself some room.
Upturning that same hand, Joker unveiled a stream of data into the air in front of him, crimson energy forming together to show the schematics of the nuclear generator within his core, as well as a powerful suppressant engine that functions alongside it. The schematics of two gears working around a powerful generator shows energy siphons that take in data from their environment and flood the data with irradiated energy, exponentially increasing energy output in comparison to energy input. The basis of the destructive engine that Joker is, Gate is getting first-hand experience at something truly incredible and unique - the two gears are independent generators that feed into one another, generating intensive energy that irradiates any form of data plugged into them, allowing Joker to function as a near inexhaustible engine of high-energy output from virtually any form of input. The way that they generate energy, self-sustainably, has enabled Joker to use only the smallest strands of both the Crimson Dragon's and Aeon's energy, still possessing a massive quantity of it to be used when his current stores run out.
Alongside that, however, is a suppressive agent naturally installed that seems to function as a means to mitigate the harmful effects of the data that Joker's systems irradiate. An already in place failsafe of sorts, that doesn't restrict the output, just places additional support on the systems it is installed within to prevent the output from overwhelming its user.
To his skilled eye, Gate may notice that Joker's systems especially respond well to a form of data quite different from anything he has seen in a Navi before; it seems similar enough to the idea of bugged data, but the energy that Joker so ceamlessly resonates with is far more volatile than bugged data at its very core, and yet potentially infinitely versatile. This crimson substance not only fuels his generators, but is the basis of his irradiation process, and the very backbone of his own structure . . . what Gate would notice and find most intriguing, however, was that Joker wasn't a Navi at all.
The schematics that Joker displayed didn't convey information in terms of ones and zeroes. Rather than code that could be easily analyzed by basic terms, Joker was made up of something entirely different. Parts of his code, especially the pieces that have resonated with Aeon's data, have adapted to take on bits of data here and there, meaning that whatever Joker was made of was at least backwards compatible, but Joker was equally more advanced than the idea of a Navi and yet somewhat at a disadvantage due to how new and potentially in danger his own foundation was.
Gate was looking at the schematics and could see the design of the gears, the generator, and even the control gear, but the accompanying data to the schematics was displayed in wavelengths, frequency, amplitude, period, and velocity . . . not in code, but in waves.
"The core will be stored within the generator, shown by the two gears and the core in between them. The generator will storehouse small quantities of the energy it augments and allow for it to further be amplified by my own systems, allowing me to create high efficiency ratings of output for the input provided.
"The fortification systems and any other failsafes included will be most easily imported into the control gear you see beneath the core, as it already works to ensure the very same goal of the energy I already produce.
"Does that make this simpler, or would you suggest somewhere else for me to store this?"
Gate nods at the handshake and agreement given, then takes the core into his own hand. He closes his eyes for a moment and releases a long breath, finally having one of the final two pieces that he'd needed for so long.
In accordance with the agreement, Gate looks up to... nothing, apparently... and gives a nod. An orange orb of data forms around the core, with a ring of data orbiting around it a few moments later. In front of Gate, a window opens and bit by bit the full scan of the data is run. The code compiles, and in a few moments a hologram appears with a duplicate of the core in schematic-form. The data-points of this schematic slowly begin to fill out, and after several minutes at last it completes. Before Gate is the fully broken down code that makes up the core. With a flick of his wrist, Gate pulls up the schematics for the mind, and then the program, and merges them within his holographic matrix. The image of Eon, a rather imposing Navi with onyx and platinum armor, stands before Joker and Gate.
Gate: Thank you, Joker. Now I can fully explore Eon's data and work out a proper counter should he ever rear his head again. One of the last data signatures that I've lacked compatibility checks for.
The orb that surrounds the core quietly dissipates, and before long releases it back to Gate's hand. It's at this point that Gate waves his hand and brings the hologram of Eon near Joker and begins to examine the next problem.
Gate: And now that your end of the bargain is complete, it's time that I hold up mine.
Gate swipes away the layers on his hologram that show the mind and the program, leaving only a few key bits behind while he simplifies down to the core alone. The hologram then super-imposes itself into Joker's systems and starts randomly configuring itself multiple times per second. This is when Gate would truly notice what he was working with. Joker's systems were... familiar. Far too familiar to be a coincidence. At last the smile leaves Gate's face, and in its place a thoughtful scowl takes over. What this expression could mean would be easily left up to interpretation; perhaps something about Joker's systems upset him, perhaps he's lost in thought as he tackles the problem, or perhaps something else bothers him. It would be hard to tell, as Gate breaks the silence while still looking through the data and its possible solutions.
Gate: It is definitely a good thing that you didn't attempt to absorb the core without any safeguards; your system has a few anomalies that would have been entirely incompatible. At that point, the only use that you would have had would have been as a suicide bomber.
It's at this point that the hologram collapses and a string of data types itself out between Joker and Gate. At this point the WWW leader smiles and looks up again with a nod. The same orb takes form, and within moments it begins to code wildly, bending the yellow field to its whims as it does so.
Gate: On the bright side, it's not difficult to work out a medium here, as you are already tremendously shielded, and seem to have an outstanding capacity for working in different data-mediums. My compliments to whoever designed these systems.
Before long, what appears to be a small pyramid-like structure takes form within the orb. Its walls are translucent, and the corners are solid structures comprised of yellow data. The entire thing is just slightly larger than the core itself, and very obviously designed to work in tandem with it.
Gate: Thank you.
Gate nods to the sky again as the orb fades away. He then turns back to Joker, holding the core in one hand and this new device in the other.
Gate: And now for my end of the bargain.
Gate reaches out and hands both objects to Joker without hesitation, obviously proud of his own work.
Gate: This will do all that we've discussed. I'm handing them back separately so that you can easily scan it yourself and see that I've not betrayed you; the buffer holds no way of accessing your other systems, and offers no harm.
It wasn't until Gate looks up at the field and nods, again, that Joker realized that he was in some sort of constant communication with an unknown figure that was assisting him in some way. Potentially not so much that Gate wasn't the one doing the work, but he was being assisted by some figure that Joker could not see, perhaps connected to the yellow field that he was constantly working with?
Joker found himself analyzing the process, unable to stop himself from doing so in fact, as the sphere analyzes the core and recreates it holographically. Those systems are quite advanced, watching how it works, but he could see similarities. He was truly a little too much like his own creator, then . . .
. . . Joker didn't think too much on this, however, knowing that his prying eyes could be viewed as rude. He let Gate finish the process, and watched as he created the hologram of Eon before them, then stripped it back down to the core in order to see how to impose it into Joker's systems.
It was impossible to not notice the scowl that suddenly graced Gate's face, a near-perfect mirror of the one he seemed to wear naturally. Whatever this means seems to be up for anyone's guess, however, as Gate continues to follow through with his end of the bargain. The incompatibilities didn't seem to be an issue, then, as Gate finished his work and presented Joker with the finished products.
Taking the pyramid in one hand and the sphere in the other, Joker analyzed the two finished products one more time, running over them with his analytics. While unable to peer into their code intimately, he could run certain tests on them within his hands to see how they responded to certain operands.
As for Gate's notes on his own systems, Joker nodded at the first few notes, but found himself pausing as the compliments were offered. He smirks, here, scoffing himself at the notion. "One of my creators hardly needs the ego boost that comment would provide, and the other wouldn't accept it out of her own lack of the same. I will keep it in mind, however, should I meet them again."
Assuming Gate's word was kept, and the promise was true, Joker wraps his hand around the pyramid, coats it in crimson, and integrates it into his systems, first, absorbing it directly into the control gear positioned under his generator. With that installed, he would take in the sphere, next, absorbing Eon's core into his generator directly.
Gate's word seemed to have held true; scans show no potential to interfere with Joker's ability to operate on any level, but he would find one oddity in the buffer made by Gate: a lone data connection, just strong enough for basic communication. This is when Gate speaks up.
Gate: Oh, I did add a way for you to contact me or vice-versa as part of the buffer. You can turn it fully on and off at will and it won't offer anything beyond basic contact, but it felt wise given just how potentially volatile this entire setup is. It's in both of our best interest if you continue working at peak efficiency, so this is a life-line should anything go wrong.
And that was it, the scans show nothing beyond this lone optional connection. It's then that Joker installs the program, which causes Gate to interject
Gate: Oh, you MIGHT want to sit-
....too late. When the core enters Joker's systems, it instantly shuts down his own internal nuclear generator for a moment, floods his entire body with a tremendous surge of raw power, and then re-ignites his internal systems in an instant. The entire experience is as if Joker's heart stopped for a few moments and a wild horse kicked him in the chest, but in the end it's over as quickly as it started, and Joker returns to... normal?
Gate: ...down. Apologies, I expected you to take a little longer scanning the new software.
Well, that was it. Joker felt no difference in the end; he was literally the same Navi. However, he'd also have innate knowledge of something new; it's as if two switches are available to him mentally, each with something to offer...
Core of Reality The power core of the Eternal Endgame; Eon. Its power can bend the very fabric of reality
Equipment Type: Core Effects of this item come in two stages:
Stage 1: Guardian of Reality NPC Level: Boss
Base Damage +20%
Base HP +20%
+2 Attack Slots/turn
Once every 2 turns, the user is allowed to force an "evasion end point" during their offense phase, which renders all currently active evasions measures that can be used to evade multiple attacks in that turn ended at that point.
After taking damage on any turn, optionally add 20% of that damage to all attacks used on the same turn. Damage amassed this way only counts based on HP lost, not total damage potential.
Stage 2: Time-Space Nightmare NPC Level: Titan
Activated at any point in a given battle, lasts for 2 turns. Once activated, this form cannot be deactivated by any means.
Base Damage +100%
Base HP +100%
+5 Attack Slots/turn
Once every turn, the user is allowed to force an "evasion end point" during their offense phase, which renders all currently active evasions measures that can be used to evade multiple attacks in that turn ended at that point.
After taking damage on any turn, optionally add 100% of that damage to all attacks used on the same turn. Damage added via this effect has no upper limits.
The effects of "Stage 2" stack with the effects of "Stage 1"
The user is unavoidably deleted once this form ends.
Absorbing that power into him, Joker had only one moment to heed Gate's words before his warning was accomplished for him. His entire body shutting down, Joker almost fell over, but was instantly righted as his systems restarted. It was like he did a full system wipe and restart without going through the whole process entirely.
Once he restarted, however, he felt that power flow . . . those two switches, the innate powers of each, and the dangers that each entailed. That power . . . it wasn't limitless like he had been promised, but it granted him power nonetheless. It felt as if it had the potential for growth; until he was fully accustomed to using it, he wouldn't be able to access its full might.
The core made him feel stronger, sturdier, even, and faster, all traits he had grown to realize were natural of the eternal endgame, but he also felt the ability to utilize the power of his enemies against them, much as Aeon had done to him. Quite intriguing, in full.
Joker flexed his hands, feeling that power flow over him, as his body naturally grew into his new strength, the black and platinum mist flowing over him as he accessed it. He felt the edge of those limits, and felt even the path beyond it - going beyond the limiter provided was quite the leap, he could feel, as if the limiter was placed very close to his normal parameters, and all that was behind it was a massive flux of power. To have such a wild gap in output all at once would surely be devastating to his systems . . . if he couldn't use it all efficiently, it would overwhelm him, surely.
That made his use of that limiter removal switch easy enough to regulate, at least: Only in the most dire of emergencies, it seemed. The black and platinum mist died down, and Joker turned his attention back to Gate, accommodating to his newfound strength. ". . . Very well, then. If complications arise, I will inform you of them as necessary. As for what comes next, I will warn you in interest of honesty that I plan on coming to reacquire Polaris when I can find the time. Aeon stole it from me when he manifested as Parralax some time ago, along with Turbine's sword, and I'd quite appreciate getting both of them back. I had plans for them, as well.
"As for what now . . . how long have I been away? Time is difficult to tell when you've been traveling within it. Do you know how much time has passed since I first travelled here? I was on a bit of a timer, and if I have time left, I'll want to visit what remains of the OEL next."
Now that Joker is fully stabilized, Gate takes a step back and folds his hands behind his back again, satisfied that this had all worked properly. His immediate reaction was to look at Joker's systems to ensure that nothing was going awry just out of sight, but the nature of this meeting would make that less than agreeable.
Gate: Your period here hasn't been very different from normal. Time in this network normally flows at a rate that matches the net as a whole, and from my perspective you were in the anomaly for... perhaps 5 minutes? Somewhere in that neighborhood. As for your plans...
Gate looks up again, causing the orb to re-form and hover down. Gate reaches out a hand, and from the orb he pulls the sheathed blade Polaris, still exactly as Joker remembered it.
Gate: Rather a curious relic. If you seek to bring back its wielder, I will warn you; while powerful, he's not very inclined to fight, and has a few easily exploited weaknesses.
Gate takes the scabbard of Polaris in hand, turns the hilt towards Joker, and offers the parasitic weapon on a whim.
Gate: It's a strong weapon, and an outstanding power-converter, but ultimately of no use to me. You're free to take it, but I'd put one stipulation on this; leave the program where it is, and do not attempt to free it. Attempting to do so will provide no advantage to you, and will only entail substantial risk.
Less than half of the time he had been given to run his errand was expired, then? That was more than Joker had hoped to bargain for, which was helpful in many ways.
The helpfulness of this endeavor continued, however, as Gate simply presented him with Polaris. He couldn't have hoped for this to be that simple, but it seemed Gate was genuine enough to recognize when he had no need for something. Joker reached out his hand, grabbing at the sheathed weapon, making his answer to the agreement plain as he accepted the parasitic tool as his own, once again.
"You continue to assure me that the program is nothing but a nuisance to me and the Net as a whole, and, in truth, he was a bothersome companion. I can agree to leaving him where he is in return for this favor.
"As for the weapon's previous wielder, I am in no need of his strength, but rather his knowledge. If my sources of information are correct, he also holds Epoch's weapon, and will know where I can acquire Negative's. I had great plans regarding Eon's scion's, since I first learned of the reality monger . . . " Joker trails off, here, taking the weapon and drawing it again, looking over it in curiosity.
"When Paralax manifested Polaris earlier, he noted something to do with Gospel's assault on a being named Chord, and Polaris being used properly. Do you have any insight into this possibility, or is this secret of its use lost with the program?"
Gate nods in response to Joker's question. None of their plans clashed at this point, so the scientist saw no harm in aiding the Crimson Titan with his personal quest. Perhaps it would be enough to help turn the tide of this war before it becomes too grim to stomach.
Gate: Project Chord was a failed fail-safe; a "guardian" similar to Triad and Eclipse. He eventually became heavily corrupted by dark chips, and later reformed himself to join the defense force for Gigamerica. Assuming he survived the recent chaos, he'd probably still be there. I don't see how he'd be very useful, though. He never had any connection with the "scions", as they were called, and I'm not familiar with any encounter between he and Gospel. Turbine was ravaged by the beast, which was ultimately what led to his demise, so perhaps that's what the program was referring to?
Joker listened to the explanation of Chord provided by Gate, realizing he may not have made his point clear. Taking the sword from its sheathe, he held it out, carefully maneuvering it around as if testing its weight again. It helpfully resized itself to his larger proportions, more befitting a dagger before, but was still not even close to his usual preferences. His brother, Ace, would be much more at home with this tool, but he would make it his to master.
"Rather than pull from him, Parallax seemed able to awaken some other latent function of the sword, and caused it to pull power into itself from the air around it rather than its wielder. I was wondering if you had any inkling of how the program accomplished that, from now having him under lock and key." Joker paused, sighed, and sheathed the blade anew, transforming it back into the style of a playing card that stored itself on his sleeve, as he had, before.
He turned about one more time, then looked back at Gate. "Regardless, you have been most helpful. I do remember your agreement to help me travel from this place without being traced. I will not forget the aid you have provided me, here. While I know the core of Eon was important to catalog information on, if you ever find yourself in need of the services of my abilities, simply inform me and I will determine if I am willing to help. I will not bend my knee to any request, mind, but I will at the very least consider what service I can be in return for your amicability throughout this endeavor.
"My next steps take me to the OEL. I desire to get their files on the Eon project, to better learn the power that I have absorbed. Aeon was convinced that information would better cement his power in the event he was contested by Forte again, and if he is correct, I would much prefer to explore such opportunities.
In a manner appropriate to Joker himself, the blade of Polaris lights up with a crimson cyclone of flames, quickly absorbing the Crimson Titan's energy until it's re-sheathed.
Gate, meanwhile, turns his eyes skywards in thought. Eon and the other projects related to him had long taken center-stage in regards to that period of the OEL's history, but they were far from the only projects at the Gigamerican facility.
Gate: Well, I do know, actually. Despite the fact that it's become rather synonymous with him among those who follow the OEL's works, Polaris wasn't actually a weapon wielded by Turbine initially. But it certainly wasn't Chord that used it; it was another project that went by the name of Project Cadence, who was its initial wielder. Her design was basically the exact reverse of Turbine; she was nearly devoid of power unto herself. Rather than generating her own power, her internal void forced Polaris to begin drawing energy from outside sources, which she would then wield through the sword. In fact; Polaris didn't even have a name back then, it was simply a part of her program. She was deleted during the Nightmare incident, and her backup data was lost in the process. It's never been clear how Turbine ended up with Polaris after that. While an interesting Navi, I'm fairly sure that attempting to hunt down anything in relation to her would be a dead end at this point. As for the OEL....
Gate looks a bit more troubled at this point, thinking out his words before he continues.
Gate: The current OEL likely has nothing to offer you. They view Eon as a blot on their history, and actively fight to expunge as much of that history as possible. On top of that; the Eon project's original files were deleted during the Nightmare incident, so they don't have much to offer. At this point I'm the lone holder of the re-created schematics, thanks to your aid today.
Another pause, and then Gate continues:
Gate: And I do appreciate your offer, and extend the same in return. You have a way to contact me, and I assure you that the WWW is... quite a bit stronger than you may realize. My one recommendation as of right now is that you keep your meeting with me under wraps for the moment; some Navis may see it as a potential stigma, and we're best off not letting our new friends know that we're slowly becoming more organized against them until that knowledge becomes an advantage.
He listened to Gate's explanation, and saw the reasoning immediately. Aeon was also a siphon for power, not a wielder of one. His own nature as a power generator would prevent him from using Polaris in the way that he saw Parallax use it, as Parallax was devoid of the strength necessary to fuel Polaris to begin with. He would not be able to use it in the same way because he surely had the strength necessary to fuel it.
"Unfortunate. The very nature of my being would prevent me from using it in such a way."
Still, there was much to learn from the information. The opportunity existed to wield this power more efficiently if used by someone of her stature, but he would prefer to fuse it alongside the weapons of the other scions and see what he could get out of the three together, rather than the individual pieces. Listening to Gate's explanation of the OEL's current stance, that left him with another conundrum, another closed door.
"So, the only individual with enough knowledge on Eon to tell me how to more efficiently use the power I have acquired would be you, and even then only after you more thoroughly analyze the pieces that you now possess." Joker frowned and turned away for a moment, looking about the network around him one more time before he made his next decision.
"I would advise that you take our enemies' knowledge with great consideration. I would not presume that they do not know of this meeting, nor even that they do not know that I have already acquired this power. They are well informed and quite involved.
"As for my next steps, I suppose all I need now is the knowledge on how to access the sword's ability to call back Turbine. I was told that it was possible, but not the method of doing it. I won't do it right away - something far more pressing must be dealt with, first.
"I need you to send me back to the Undernet, after you've answered my question. A task force is gathering there to deal with this new threat to our world," Joker explains, casting his vision outward, looking to the black hole that floats dangerously close to Earth within the Galaxy Network.
And here's where Gate's smile widens. His hand rises, and he motions to the open space above them. With a single gesture he calls back the orb, this time just to demonstrate the yellow field around them with a bit more detail.
Gate: Ah, I'm sorry; I didn't explain this to you, did I? This isn't just some strange energy field that we're standing in. Right now, we're actually divorced from the net as a whole and running on the WWW's private server. This server has proven to be impossible for them to interface with directly as of now, meaning this is one of the few areas that we can speak freely and without worry of our friends crashing the party.
Gate releases the orb, allowing it to be retaken by the field itself before turning his eyes back to Joker.
Gate: The Undernet is actually perfect. They definitely lost your signal at the Energy Stream, haven't had a way to track it here, and soon you'll end up in the Undernet; a network notoriously hard to fully scan. So long as you keep Polaris and the true nature of the core hidden, they should have no reasonable way of knowing about you.
On the matter of Polaris and Turbine; I don't have a direct answer. I could probably revive him given time, but I don't truly see the advantage of such a move. The fact that three weapons exist doesn't mean that they can be combined. And even if they can, this won't necessarily generate a weapon with the power that you desire. Still, if you want to try, your best bet is to pay a visit to Dr.Psyche in Kotobuki. He stays in his own pocket-network, where he believes that he's safe from me, but you should be able to draw him out if you begin amassing enough bugs in one spot; a task that you are uniquely capable of. Just note that you cannot mention speaking with me to him. The old man is paranoid, and if he even suspects that you've had non-violent contact, then he will definitely not help.
Gate looks up and nods to the sky, and then a portal to the Undernet opens up to Joker's right; one that leads to the depths of the Undernet.
Gate: I'll be along, eventually. I'm poising myself to deal a grievous blow to their plans, but I can't move until everything is perfect, as even the slightest opportunity given could render my forces vulnerable. In the meantime; best of luck in your endeavors, no matter where they may take you.
He listened to Gate's expression, and suddenly realized he understood Aeon's and Eclipse's disdain for him. He was too smart for his own good; too sure of his own answers, and Gate was, too. It was a trait he was slowly growing out of, necessitated by the new forces they fought against.
Still, he put together his way back to the Undernet, and bid him farewell. While his advice for reviving Turbine wasn't entirely helpful, he at least knew that it was possible; even better, he would require a conversation with Psyche, one way or another.
Joker steps towards the Undernet, but takes a moment to glance back at Gate. "I'll leave you with two warnings, one about our enemies, and one personally from me.
"I would be very careful assuming what the enemies can and cannot do. They have proven capable in withholding their full might in the interest of maintaining a certain image, or of instilling a false sense of hope. It would be quite the pity if you were relying on this energy field's secrecy, only to learn last moment that it was all a ploy to lead you into their trap. I speak from unfortunate experience.
". . . as for my warning," Joker pauses, looking down at himself, and into the Undernet beyond, before he turns his gaze back towards the scientist. "I understand certain . . . mistakes were made, regarding Eon's creation. I also understand, however, that you were part of his creation process. Another instance of speaking from experience . . . if it is your task to create something, do not make it their fault when they work a little too well. My brother and I were almost destroyed by our creators when they learned that they had succeeded, and gone even above and beyond their own hopes.
"I will forgive you for Eon's situation. If I learn of another, I will not forgive you for that one."
Joker pauses, staring at Gate for a long while. Forlorn, at first, but then his stern, omnipresent scowl returns. The power behind his gaze, that network-destroying might . . . no . . . that fury to erase the very Earth if he tried . . . stared down at Gate for a moment.
It faded just as soon as it came, and Joker nodded to Gate.
". . . Best of hopes in all of your endeavors as well."
Without much more to say, he stepped into the portal, back to the Undernet.
Gate smiles and offers a nod to Joker's concerns, giving a wave as he leaves and closing the portal behind. It's then that his smile darkens. A knowing laugh escapes Gate as his shoulders relax and his arms fall at his sides. The scientist closes his eyes and shakes his head, giving a retort to no one in particular.
Gate: Ah, my dear Joker.... if only you knew. The problem with Eon wasn't that he was too strong, it's that he wasn't strong enough.
Gate shakes his head, but then regains his composure. He looks up to the sky again and addresses the unknown entity with a wave of his hand.
Gate: I believe that we've had someone trying to call us for some time now. If you'd be so kind, allow him to patch through.
Gate then turns his gaze skyward, awaiting what is sure to come next.
No sooner was the order given and followed than did the Network groan and whine, bend and twist, a fissure opening up like a small void in the sky as the four satellite wings came flying through.
An incredible weight, an immense pressure, similar to the might wielded by Forte and yet entirely different fell upon the Galaxy Network. At an instant, the Net seemed to bend towards it, the cosmos on display careening towards these four wings. A moment later, mastery was claimed, and the four wings maneuvered about the space with such speed and chaotic maneuvers that it was difficult to track them. No longer did the Net seem simply too heavy to exist within, but for a moment, Gate would have felt the true depth of the power he had welcomed into his demesne.
Small scan lines emitted from the tips of the golden wings, scanning over the roads, the towers, the silver plates of armor, even the yellow field that pervaded the entire space. These lines scanned over Gate, too, and even scanned over the space where Joker had been a moment before, the lines creating a perfect replica of Joker's silhouette and even the outline of the portal that he had passed through. Whatever these were, they were highly advanced, capable not only of scanning the environment but what had been in the environment before.
Gate had welcomed something into his demesne that was not immediately dangerous, but certainly curious. It did not take long for the four wings, moving around in erratic patterns and casting their scanners over every surface, seemed to have taken into account as much of the Galaxy Network as they deigned to view, and finally turned their attention towards Gate.
They whirled around him, scanning him from all sides. One of the scan lines turned from white to black, and suddenly scanned a silhouette over Gate - a form of his combat state, not completely accurate, but close. It took in this scan as it dissipated from him. In front of Gate, a perfect replica of his form was made from the scanlines, in much the same way he had just recreated the core of Eon as a hologram. The four satellite wings retreated from their work, and hovered behind this image used as a means to communicate.
". . . Intriguing. Not outside of my sight, but preventing my entry for so long. This world is full of surprises . . . and, yet, you permitted my wings access.
"Gate. I am Sirius. Will you . . . entertain me?"
Seeing his own mouth move but a jovial, high-pitched, detached, and almost childish voice emit from it would have unnerved anyone, but how Gate would respond to it would remain to be seen. Using his body like a marionette, Sirius stood just a little ways away from him, his smile plain and utterly unfriendly.