Joker and Merrill stepped out in a bleak area. As Merrill settled in behind Joker, the fragmented portal closed slowly behind them.
Static filled the air. Fragmented black lines of some strange, foreign form of data zipped through the space, falling through and making pathways that were hauntingly similar to the data styles of the Black Hole the two just endured moments before, but of a very different style. Perhaps the same form of data, just more akin to bugs than to actually structurally sound code.
Still, the blackened pathways they stood on, asymmetrical and in the shapes of large blocks melded together at odd points to form irregular platforms and dizzying pathways of multiple blocks stuck together. It was a strange place of geometric logic composed entirely of perfect squares arranged in different ways to make asymmetrical shapes.
Joker seemed at home on these blackened pathways. Even as the Noise Wave seemed to extend out into an uncertain horizon, Joker walked forward like he knew where he was going, pacing down one of the criss-crossing pathways, stepping between a set of squares connected at a corner rather than along a side, and marched purposefully towards some unknown destination within the strange network.
"Move quickly. You're not acclimated to this space yet, so the longer we spend here the more detrimental it will be to you. I can hold it off for a while, but my power here isn't supreme. Its not exactly the same, but it will be a similar effect to Bugs, like from Pandemic."
Joker would quickly realize that not all was as it seemed here. Whatever reason may be that he had chosen to traverse this road, the time they had to traverse it had been summarized quite nicely by the giant himself. Parts of the space were simply vanishing without a trace, as if it was ceasing to exist while they were inside of it. And the longer it would take them to reach their destination, the sooner the same fate could possibly encroach upon them as a result.
Joker didn't pause as his eyes moved around rapidly, realizing just how true his own words were. Snarling, thinking back to that being of static that interrupted him against the Crimson Dragon, Joker turned, held out one hand, and focused. Intensive crimson energy wrapped around his fist as he irradiated the Noise still surrounding him and compounded it into more stores for his reserves.
Even as the Noise Wave collapsed around them, he expanded its boundaries, pushing it outward towards the collapsing void but bringing what he needed closer to him. Another rip like the one he created before opened up, and he turned to face Merrill.
"Come on!" he called back to Merrill. "Whatever our enemies are working on, its affecting my Noise Networks. Not only is it not safe here, its about to not exist!"
Joker waited, exerting all the power he had over the Noise Wave and expelling more and more crimson in an attempt to hold it longer for Merrill to get into his make-shift short cut.
Merrill appeared out of the portal behind Joker. This foreign place was different, and he paid very close attention to Joker's words, Nodding in understanding.
"Makes sense. Lead the way!"
He could tell there were subtle changes in the area, but he did his best to keep focused on following directly behind. Dealing with new forms of ravel on various planes was quite the transition. He had quite a ways to go to acclimate, from traveling by darkness to these new noise waves and various other portals.
Knowing that the bugged data was in play, he gently created a thin veil of light around his body in effort to help reduce the effects. He wasn't sure how effective it would be, but better than nothing.
However, he wasn't given any time to ask question, as he could tell something wasn't right as Joker increased his pace. As Joker called his own power forth to help delay the collapsing area, and called out to him, Merrill got the message. With a sudden surge, within the blink of an eye, he traversed the remaining space and threw himself into the portal.
Merrill closed the distance instantly, and Joker was no sooner right behind him, stepping into the gateway just as the Noise Wave collapsed entirely.
As Joker stepped through, he lamented the necessity of pushing through this, but recognized that his means of traveling about undetected by other Navis was now a moot endeavor. There was something else that concerned him, of course, but it wasn't something that he could outright check at this moment. He pushed forward, into the light, and Merrill and Joker materialized elsewhere.