The wings and their scans were.... slightly annoying and invasive. But still, the amount of data that Sirius would actually obtain would be strangely lacking. In fact, from his perspective most of the data would turn up entirely blank, despite the fact that something was clearly there to scan. Still, Gate let it pass without letting it bother him. Just as he does with the final avatar that this tyrant chooses. The fact that he was able to deduce the scientist's battle form in such a short time was more than a bit impressive, and it let Gate know not to underestimate this one. For now, Gate dons a jovial smile and holds his hands out to the side in a welcoming manner, speaking with surprisingly friendly and warm tones despite the distant and controlling visage before him.
Gate: Our world is known for its surprises, as I'm sure you've started to learn. Please forgive my personal lack of hospitality up to this point; I've not been ready to welcome a guest of your obvious affluence before now. I can definitely appreciate that you've heard of me, and I will say that it's a pleasure to meet you, Sirius. Allow me to welcome you to Earth; the home of our race of digital lifeforms.
And now, if I may; in what way might I be capable of entertaining you?
It didn't seem as though Sirius was paying Gate much attention at all. He was moving around, looking up at the Galaxy Network all around him, perplexed by the startling lack of information he was able to glean from it all. Perhaps . . . yes, that would make sense.
Still, he heard the buzzing of Gate go on, and when he was done, Sirius answered. "Before it was shut down, I simply took the time to download a copy of this planet's file into my archive. Your name is present in much of the history logs of your little Network you call the 'Net.'" His answer was matter-of-fact, and kind of telling of his own scope - to believe the history of the Net amounted to the size of a single file? That all of the Net was just one Network?
"Annoyingly enough, my archive is woefully incomplete. The assault launched by whatever powers those were successfully shut off the majority of the Net, but much of the information stored within is actually well maintained, just inaccessible. You see, for me to be able to make use of that data, it must first be destroyed." Sirius holds out his hand, turned, and faced away from Gate.
The wings moved, suddenly, as a powerful moniker appeared on the visage of Gate that Sirius had taken up; a series of silver and red lines arced over his body and black spikes protruded from his joints. A new power suddenly stood before Gate, and as that power worked, he watched something truly amazing happen.
Almost as if simply willed into existence, rows upon rows of what appeared to be Navis lined up. They were far stronger than some of the Navis that Earth was most well known for being able to mass produce, and yet those were the ones represented - Norm Navis, Heel Navis, just basic construction workers and civilians of the Net.
Sirius watched them all line up, willed into existence seemingly by his hand. He sighed, shook his head, and swept that hand out in front of him again.
Space wrinkled and crumbled. The rows of Navi each seemed to become crushed by their own weight, reduced to dust before his might. "All those were actually destroyed by the catastrophe, but none of them are any fun . . .
". . . You, however," Sirius says, turning his gaze back to Gate, that blind smile still painted over his face despite the lives he just reinstated and then ended just as quickly. Just what was Gate conversing with? "You can provide entertainment in many ways, if I could collect you. Or . . . you could give me what I really wanted, and I'll leave the rest of Earth alone.
"Earth's mightiest hero. 'RockMan.' I want him . . . for my shelf."
As Sirius finishes his monologue, Gate's face remains just as unchanging as the Black Hole tyrant. He shows no hints as to what he's thinking, and his jovial and welcoming response continues.
Gate: Ah, to a lesser lifeform such as myself, your powers and capabilities are quite astonishing. Your presence confirms many theories about the nature of your refuge. It would indeed be a terrible shame to have to stop our learning now. After all; even a primitive civilization holds the potential to become something to stand out from the banal standard if given time, knowledge, and resources. Something capable of sparking the interest of the most refined of... shall we say..... "collectors".
It was obvious that Gate was pandering to Sirius to a certain degree at this point, but his genuine tone and jovial attitude makes it exceedingly hard to tell where genuine admiration ends and the flattery begins.
Gate: As for your prize: the one known as RockMan, or MegaMan, depending on the region in which he is admired, is a tricky matter at this time. He's exceptionally skilled at hiding from those who seek him. Since you're not able to simply expedite the process via your own means, perhaps I can aid you in this search. But, sadly, my own knowledge of the Navi in question is somewhat lacking. In order to discover his location, I'd like to request a copy of the data that you've managed to amass. My server should be substantial enough to handle it, and the ability to comb through it in order to discover clues as to MegaMan.EXE's whereabouts would allow me to find him for you all the faster.
Gate folds his hands behind his back, still smiling and speaking with the tone of one genuinely enjoying his conversation.
Gate: Would that be something that you'd be willing to do in order to add MegaMan to your collection?
Sirius turns to give Gate new attention, hearing his flattery and seemingly responding well to it. His smile broadens across the replica of Gate's face, but whether or not this was a good thing for Gate's display of flattery was difficult to tell.
He stayed silent and allowed Gate to speak his piece, and only spoke once the scientist was done. What he was thinking was just as difficult to tell as Gate's own thoughts were, his face unchanging.
"My 'refuge' . . . indeed." He paused here, Gate's eyes fading away from the replica as a new detail of his excellence was revealed to him; half-lidded slits from which a fountain of blue just barely peaked out from underneath now decorated the mirror Gate gazed into, as more of Sirius' form took place.
"This is not the first time your 'primitive' civilization and I have crossed paths. What feels like so long ago . . . yet, in truth, because of light, was likely not that long ago at all from my perspective in comparison to yours . . . I came into contact with another civilization. In many ways, you are both more advanced and less advanced than they . . . their technological advances exceed your current ones by centuries, and yet your focus on connection has allowed your society to advance farther than theirs did." Another long, awkward silence, almost as if Sirius was baiting Gate into a response, before he continued speaking.
"But, alas . . . if the information I seek is within the data I downloaded, then I do not need your help in finding it. I was simply wondering if you would prefer to expedite the process.
"I have no need to share my data . . . not now, at least. When that time comes . . . " Sirius pauses, looking about, and smiles to himself, like a child that had just realized he almost said more than he should have.
"So, no, I will not give you what I have acquired. I will ask, however - would you submit to me?" It was this first sign of aggression, as almost immediately the wings that floated behind him moved forward, realigning and pushing that white tip to the front, energy beginning to amass there.
"Your strength and knowledge would be of great help in assimilating and then organizing the Earth once I collect it. If you were to be willing to give yourself to me, it would make my task ultimately easier." He was somehow able to talk about something that was so dangerous to Gate without even sounding upset or enraged, and Gate got the feeling that Sirius would not attack unless Gate gave him permission - he was looking for fealty in this moment, but didn't seem to want to deign to force it.
In this game of masks, Gate finds himself able to keep up with Sirius flawlessly, even if he personally would come up short should they come to blows directly. The information on a pre-net civilization of sorts piqued his interest, as he'd long known about such a concept, though he betrays no surprise.
Gate: My apologies, but I did not mean to infer that you were incapable of finding the data yourself. I was simply offering my knowledge of our culture to give you a new lens through which to view this data. In truth, I'd simply need the data on MegaMan himself, but if my global data analysis network is not something that you feel would be a benefit to your search, then as you wish.
And this is when the inevitable offer comes; join Sirius in his cause. Not as a partner, but as a servant in wording, and even deeper than that; as a play-thing, as Gate would surmise based on all that Sirius had said. This posed a problem; Sirius was obviously a being of immense power, perhaps on a par with or even exceeding Forte, and... it's at this moment that a yellow orb hovers down from the sky and alights near Gate for a moment, offering a very strangely encoded message. The scientist gives it a nod, never taking his eyes off of Sirius, and sends it away.
Now then; where was the situation again? Ah yes. Sirius wants a new limited edition Gate action figure.
The situation would have to be handled with care. Angering Sirius at this juncture would tip Gate's hand far, far too much. In fact, it had the potential to outright decapitate a part of his plans. No; Sirius needed to be placated at this point.
Gate: My kind think ourselves immortal, yet we fail to remember that we are only as durable as the media on which we are programmed. But you? You stand at the center of the most undeniably indestructible thing to exist. Your offer is one of true immortality.... at your whim of course. It is definitely an end-game and a step that I'd be all too willing to take, but I'm afraid that for the time being it would be rather counter-productive. You see; while I have every reason to believe that MegaMan is indeed still on earth, this is a Navi that has followed the Electromagnetic trails of space in the past. He could potentially escape before you are able to complete your goal, which could lead to a drawn-out and unfulfilling chase across the cosmos.
And besides; doesn't your previous offer also stand? I'm rather fond of earth and would like to see it continue on, even in my absence. When I discover the location of MegaMan, it seems advantageous to not bother with this corrupted planet and move on to your next great goal, correct?
Sirius sighs, obviously disappointed at Gate's response. At once, the energy filling within the wings dissipates, and Sirius collects them behind him again. The energy doesn't so much stop building up as it does just stop collecting at the tips; Gate would get a feeling of the power that Sirius commanded, here, as he would realize that those wings held energy within them constantly. It wasn't that they were collecting energy, it was that they were just using what they already had to potentially unleash.
He took little to no interest in the little yellow sphere coming to give Gate information, but otherwise listened to Gate's rationale for his refusal until the very end, if only to be polite.
Once it was finished, Sirius' mouth opens and an unearthly sound is unleashed - his chest rises and falls and he throws his head back, the high-pitched sound suddenly registering for Gate - Sirius was laughing. It was unnatural, almost, a mirthless laugh without any emotion behind it, but having all the characteristics of a child's glee in sound.
When he had finally collected himself, Sirius looked back to Gate, and as he blinked, his face reset itself. His face wasn't even rosy after the laugh. "Indestructible? Indeed, it is, Gate, indeed it is." A curious statement, sounding almost like a musing over something trivially simple yet elusive in its answer. The statement is more telling than it may seem.
"A far-flung, drawn-out, and unfulfilling chase through the cosmos, you say? Why, I haven't heard a concept more entertaining since I spoke with your world's most recent visitors. Truly, however, as Earth's mightiest hero, he will not leave so long as I threaten his world. If push comes to shove, he will come to me. He must.
"As for your concerns of a corrupted world . . . you are a single entity standing before me, he who rules supreme in the cosmos. To want to collect you, or MegaMan, and only you or him . . . you presume too much of your worth, and even of his, Gate. Simply having this conversation is equivalent to you sitting down at the table to converse with a singular byte of data; the equivalent to a human conversing with a bacterium.
"You are one insignificant spec uploaded into something that could barely be considered a file on a rock hurtling through space around a sun that barely shines in comparison to its neighbors, orbiting within a galaxy barely out of its infancy. I am very old, Gate, and very powerful and patient. I invite you to contemplate how insignificant I find you, and everyone else on your little planet.
"If I really wanted to, I would just release control of my Server and consume your pitiful planet, and be done with all of you. Within my Server, I could separate the Net from the world and run it separately within its own portion of the Black Hole, and put the Earth on its own shelf, right next to the rest of the planets that hold life. I could recreate your world free of sickness, hunger, and need, and raise coliseums that would entertain me for eons in both the Net and your planet . . .
"I do enjoy my play time, however, and it is all too infrequent that I get visitors as entertaining as the ones gathered within the Undernet to oppose me."
His voice pattern changed slightly when he went on his little monologue of his own grandiose perspective, ominously dark in nature without changing its tone. By the end of his final statement, Sirius' voice returned to its usual chipperness, his smile stretching across his face again as if he had just said something utterly delightful.
And there were a few of the answers that Gate was probing for. His overt self-centeredness combined with what the scientist Navi knew of the invading forces made it clear that Sirius was not a direct help to them. This tyrant has no need for others to do his bidding, and is far too powerful to not be a leading force. No; Sirius is either a side-effect of the invasion, or a force of nature that they're hoping to harness. Regardless of which one it is, this conversation would have no farther use for the WWW, or for Gate himself.
Gate: And, with that, I think that we're done here, Sirius. While I would love to continue to hear your banal monologue prattle on about how you're going to get your way because of all that you have at your disposal, the truth is that, as strong as you are unto yourself, the overwhelmingly vast portion of your capabilities come from your home.
Gate rolls his eyes and gives a cocky grin, taking a step towards the false visage and satellite wings that hover behind it.
Gate: Sirius, I have to be honest with you at this point: you are by far the smallest threat to me of anything that's happened as of late. Despite your bravado and the undeniably amazing resources at your disposal, you are literally incapable of doing anything against me, no matter how hard you may try.
Gate takes a step back, turning his back on Sirius in a very obvious disrespect as he does so.
Gate: Now; give your last menace or make an impotent parting attack before I demonstrate a portion of what I've been speaking of by locking you out of my network forever.
How little this little creature thought of him. Sirius laughed, again, chuckling, and suddenly a transformation happened before Gate's eyes as the visage was consumed by light.
As the light faded, Sirius was left in his full glory before Gate, although it was interesting to note that only his silhouette formed. Outlined in the prominence of the light captured by his gravitational pull, Gate had an otherwise completely black image of Sirius to gaze into.
Sirius was not used to disrespect, nor was he used to such interesting interlopers assuming so much of him. He wasn't sure if he could bypass these defenses, to be truthful, but he also wasn't in any mood to try. Each attempt they made that blocked him out only proved something new to him.
He still had room for growth, to overcome even these things so beneath him that he was incompatible with them. Whatever Gate was expecting, it was not a furious temper tantrum. No, Sirius seemed collected, if nothing else, perhaps even amused by the thought.
"I do not need such a rude creature for my collection. I detect that you are looking for something from me, but a black hole has no need for things as trivial as emotions.
"You . . . you should be happy, I think. While you refuse to meet me within my home, one day, you and it shall become one and the same. You will live forever within the darkness. You and all that you love will be mine. We'll get to play . . . together . . . forever.
It was at this point that the silhouette turned away from Gate, looking behind. As the wings pulled away from him, the silhouette dissolved. All Gate was left with was a voice as the wings flew away, finding their own exit. "The fact that you have complete control over a network that you created is something that makes sense to me . . . it does remind me that I have complete control of my own. Perhaps . . . I should make that more clear?"
With that, the wings leave, and Gate is left alone.
Gate's eyes narrow and his smile grows at Sirius before he leaves; showing his own steely resolve in the face of the tyrant. Sirius would have more than he bargained for if he made the choice to fight, and that much was clear.
With the Black Hole Administrator now gone, Gate once again looks upwards and gives a nod. The yellow field darkens to orange, and soon it becomes impossible for Sirius to garner any data from the outside. This is when Gate laughs.
With his hand on his face, he lowers his head and laughs from the core of his being. Softly at first, and then louder, and finally he laughs with such abandon that he finds himself close to outright passing out. Gate then takes a few deep breaths and stands again, taking on his normal ramrod-straight posture with hands folded behind his back.
Gate: ...yes, I'm aware of what I just did. Now follow that data signature; I need to know where the black hole is now.
The orb drops from the sky again, and in a few moments a screen opens up pointing to an area in space that seems entirely empty... an area not far from Earth. Gate sighs, closes his eyes, and calms himself at this sight.
Gate: That should be impossible. At that distance, the event horizon of the black hole should have long since engulfed the earth. Not to mention the apparent size; this is comparable to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy; it should literally have our entire galaxy orbiting it by this point.
...another, deeper, and even longer breath enters and escapes Gate. He rubs his temples and closes his eyes in thought before looking up again, this time as if someone was speaking to him.
Gate: Yes, I'm entirely aware of that too, but what he's doing with this black hole should be physically impossible ...unless we've already been absorbed by the singularity and this is just a simulation that he's started running.
....that would be a thought that Gate couldn't entertain at this point.
Gate: ...well, my statements stand true... hypothetically. At the very least we should be safe...for a time... though the earth is well within striking distance. And that is a problem....
Gate considers the situation for a moment, occasionally looking up to the sky as if trying to put together a plan.
Gate: Okay, so Sirius is more of a threat than I expected, but still manageable... although we do have a problem; at this distance, that black hole would be the end-game for the earth if left unchecked. Sirius can't be simply removed without being replaced.
Gate pulls up a window, revealing a schematic of the wings that Sirius sent. While the data was extremely limited, it did have a few key bits of information.
Gate: ...another EM being, of course. Replacing his function should not be hard, but we have another problem growing.
Another window opens, this one showing a group of Navis amassing at the edge of the Undernet.
Gate: This is apparently the group getting ready to fight Sirius? ...that's a problem.
A chair pre-emptively forms from the orange energy that permeates the network and takes its place behind Gate. Without even looking, he sits back and studies the screens with narrowed eyes.
Gate: If they manage to delete him, then the black hole could go berserk and destroy the earth. If he wins or manages to escape, then he's sure to use his black hole to greater effect than he has thus far. They surely know about our meeting already as well, so it's easy to assume that they're already in position. If this rag-tag group wins, then our special guests are likely poised to take control over the black hole. If anyone intervenes, then they're probably ready to pose an ambush. They've probably already got a trap set for me at this point, as Sirius is a very interesting bit of bait.
Gate looks skywards again, motioning towards the sky with his head.
Gate: Not sure that you can beat them? Don't kid yourself; they're on our turf, so worst-case scenario we can always jump-start the plan... although we still need that last piece, so we can't risk that potential vulnerability. I suppose that the contagion would be far more suited to this... yes, he could definitely manage, though I'm afraid that letting him run rampant like this could have dire consequences as well.
Gate sits back in his chair and rests his face in his hand before eyeing one last window, viewing three other Navis in another part of the net.
Gate: ...and then we have that problem. It will likely take care of itself to a degree, but where it goes could be terribly chaotic. Overall, rather an annoying little Xanatos gambit that we're likely dealing with right now... wherever that name originates from.
Gate lowers his hand and looks skyward again, letting his eyes wander for a moment before standing up again and speaking to the orb that hovers nearby.
Gate: Recall every WWW unit in the field, and inform them that they're not to leave the safety of the Third System without my direct order, and make contact with our field operative, as we have quite a bit to talk about. I also want you to run a comparative analysis between Juno and Sirius, with whatever little data we have available. The similarities are too great, and it can't be a coincidence. Once you're done with that...
Gate turns his eyes back to the screen with the black hole, his smile widening knowingly.
Gate: ...say a prayer that I didn't just kill us all.