He tilted his head back in a sudden understanding; she was on her way elsewhere, then, when he intercepted her. How bothersome, to be before another entity and to not have their full attention. Usually, within his black hole, things came to him with the intent of giving him their all . . . not that it was ever enough.
To be fair, of course, he was no longer in his black hole, and preferably so. Whatever her attention was cast on, the girl had a sense of humor, and an appropriate amount of caution about her.
Sirius had an agenda with this meeting, however, and could not allow it to get too far away from his intentions. "I do indeed know you," he confirmed, floating closer again. "It is unfortunate that, until recently, that knowledge was more closely likened to the knowledge of a caretaker's knowledge of the fish in their aquarium. Able to survey much within the universe, I know passingly of all things within it, even the tedium that this Earth once represented," he went on, referencing the world around him. "As my interest was called back to this world, I have learned much of it in a small span of time, and as my interest was called to you, I have learned much more.
"I know that you are merely a human using impressive technology for this world to walk among Navis. I know that you fight for the freedom of this digital and your own, and for the ideals that would permit the two worlds to coexist more peacefully. You . . . are interesting, surely, ghyahahaha! I have found many like you, that should be so far beneath someone like me, to be far more entertaining than many of those which I have communed with in the reaches of space."
He considered Faith further in silence, unsure how she would take him for his self-perceived importance and grandeur, but ultimately feeling that transparency of his assuredly elevated status would make this situation better. She should know where she would stand if she did not assist him, as her value would once again be reduced to what he saw the rest of her kind like: Interesting, like a farm of ants to its owner.
"Enough of what I know of you, however. You know very little about me, as I am aware. You must not have been present when I made myself known to your world. I am what you may know as an EM Being, and am one of, if not the single most, oldest sentient lifeform of our universe. I am the personal creator and operator of the Black Hole Server that many of your brothers and sisters recently attempted to prevent from consuming your world. I was . . . surprised, to say the least, at the impressive capabilities of these people to surpass me. Your world is full of entertainment, able to defend itself . . . I applaud it, for that."
Again: Transparency. He spoke with a smile on his face, as though it were the simplest thing in the world to admit.
" My, my! The universe just revolves all the way around you, doesn't it?"
Somehow, the way she said it didn't sound like she was mocking or patronizing him. It wasn't exactly genuine either, but more akin to a motherly enthusiasm, one that would elicit the same response even had he said that he lacked any grandeur -- a very "I'm so proud of you no matter what" kind of tone, one that could inflate even the littlest of feats into sounding as if it were the greatest of accolades.
His smile was met with her own, as if his arrogance was more amusing than it was annoying; no doubt the opposite of the way anybody else would have seen it. Perhaps it was his childish tone or temperament that instigated her own exuberance, but there was no negative connotation about it. It almost seemed like she was supporting the behavior. Maybe even teasing him?
It wasn't that she didn't believe him, of course. If anything, that outlook made perfect sense: the oldest sentience in the universe would have had no authority, no discipline, nothing to look up to. There'd be no inclination to discard of its childish ways in favor of maturity, and if it maintained its hierarchy above all others, there'd be nobody that could force it to. "Consequence" has no meaning to a being devoid of any.
This left her in a peculiar situation though, from that angle. She noticed his constant approach toward her, but in her muse remained where she was.
" Almost sounds like you don't need me at all! But for the oldest and wisest among us, surely there must be something... "
That was the part that didn't quite add up yet, but she didn't leave much room for answering before pulling something out from the pockets dangling at her waist and continuing the sentence seemlessly, retroactively subverting its implication for his elaboration and onto something entirely different instead.
" ... that you would know about these, hmm? "
Held in the palm of her outstretched hand were the Ashen and Apex Fragments she had collected from Rosso, Nero, and Blu. She had tried to analyze them on her own before with... less than remarkable success. Whether or not Sirius came to the same conclusion was beneficial for her either way, but at the very least, it presented itself as an unspoken bargain to him for her assistance with whatever his predicament was.
That wasn't a welcome invitation to finish his approach, of course. It'd be too easy for him to simply grab her wrist as he reached for the fragments, if that were the case. Rather, this was a "look don't touch" query. She'd nonchalantly mind her proximity if he continued closing the distance -- something that wouldn't be too hard with a bit of casual pacing and playful footwork to mask the evasive intent, if it came down to it.
Last Edit: May 19, 2022 15:21:58 GMT -8 by Warrior
She had an interesting way of thinking, Sirius realized. Her genuine smile was met with his naturally aloof, carefree smile. The way she responded to him reminded him somewhat of his own way of thinking; they were compatible in more ways than one, it would appear.
An eye for an eye, he figured, however, as she dug into her pocket and produced the strange fragments. He tilted his head as he looked at them, his amusement without end. She was pragmatic, careful, using her words, teasing him and thinking that his demeanor made him easier to control. She was wrong in that matter, of course, but there was another concern with the items that she presented him with.
"I understand how one would like for one to give of their trove before they grant unto them their own need. I do not, however, immediately recognize these tokens. From where did you get them? I am reluctant to analyze them given the dangers that I am presented with."
Her smile sank -- not fully to a frown, but to a sort of concern as she closed her fist and returned the fragments to her pockets.
" That worries me more, then. "
Just who were these New Forces if even Sirius, in his alleged grandiose, wasn't aware of them? She supposed that, while he was able to survey much within the universe, he only knew passingly of most things within it.
She quickly chirped up again, though, not intending to show any disappointment in his lack of ability here as she went on.
" These come from the folks that likely held my attention while you made that grand entrance you mentioned just a moment ago. And while I'm certainly just as special and terrific as you've implied... "
That enthusiasm was back in full swing now, her own tone mirroring the way he described himself just previously -- whether she was satirical or solemn was getting harder to read, but she no doubt found amusement in making these sorts of reflections. As she went on though, the tone certainly shifted to a more serious one.
The lofty collector narrowed his gaze at Faith's concern, realizing that his reluctance to analyze them may have been his only salvation. For beings such as them to be able to claim attention over him, these forces truly have been meddling and bothering the Earthlings for some time, haven't they?
He had been observing Earth and communicating with the interesting one for a while now, and so he knew much of what was going on, but was not in a position to do much against them at his current disadvantage. These beings had access to power and had cornered Sirius when he was vulnerable, not at his full power, and not looking for real threats. They hadn't played fair. Such was to be expected, but he did not expect it to be such a dangerous situation for him, in truth. He's become too complacent.
So, comes his predicament. "I would agree with you that they are likely in an echelon all their own," he muses, staring off from her for a moment, as if staring beyond the horizon and at something beyond her ken. "One could assume that the very beings even I must be concerned of are where you got those tokens from. To analyze them would be as offering my hand to the fire and expecting to not be burned.
"It is not usual for me to need be concerned with such things, but to be able to have this conversation outside of my usual abode is also usually beyond even my power . . . as I have always wanted, more interesting things come into being for me to explore, but they come not only with more intrigue but with savage intent. I, at first, in my interest for what they would bring, agreed to help them, in some ways. We communed, spoke at length, and I had promised to entertain them by eliminating a fair deal of Earth's defenders for them.
"I failed in that endeavor . . . Earth's defenders surprise me, and, in truth, I enjoy surprises. When I failed, I learned that I had been betrayed. They intend to eventually remove me from the playing field entirely, towards their ends of reducing the power of the one that holds them back from their own plans. To raise my power, however feeble the attempt may be, I need a carbon that I am compatible with.
"My resonant frequency, based on all analyses, is closest to yours. Wave Beings are capable of resonating with compatible life forms, merging our forms and consciousnesses together, and amplifying the wave being's natural power in the process. You are the human on Earth with a wave frequency closest matching mine.
"I require you to consider entertaining yourself with the concept of power unfathomable increasing by nearly a dozen fold by our joining, with the intent of using our might to stand against the forces that assail your world and threaten my playground."
She put on her serious countenance as she continued -- while she agreed to the offer, there were terms.
" ... not until a certain criterion is met. "
There were a number of reasons she could go about explaining her hesitation. "Absolute power corrupts absolutely", as they say, and after her encounter with Exa, she'd be a fool to think of herself or Sirius as an exception to that statement. There was also her previous subjugation under Deav to consider: she'd shared a body before, and when interests were in conflict, the union wasn't quite as optimal as he described. While she and Sirius had a common enemy and similar goals, there was undoubtedly still friction when the matters were considered in full -- neither of them had really given the other all of the details about themselves, after all.
Those reasons were relevant, but she could find a way to excuse them in order to keep from holding herself back, if needed. More importantly, they were of little concern to Sirius, if of any at all. No, her justification instead came from their shared intent to combat and ultimately overcome The New Forces, and it was one that was difficult to refute in light of everything they'd been up against.
" Great and grand as you are, you know victory through superiority. "
He described it plainly himself: all others were fish in an aquarium, or ants in a farm. The way he treated everything as a game, planets as playgrounds, warriors as toys: he didn't know the meaning of struggling. It was only natural to seek further power after his first encounter with failure. He never had a need for any kind of "strategy" before now, and that was likely what led to their enemies' confidence in writing him off once he had been dealt with.
" But I know victory from inferiority, and that's the position we're in now."
She was more than a few notches less than the oppressors of her previous encounters, and while her company was certainly to thank for many of those victories, she had her own catalogue of independent accolades outside of that where she had seen victory despite being at a distinct disadvantage against her opposition. Sirius, all-seeing and all-knowing as he was, would perhaps know of even the undocumented ones such as her triumph over the Colossus or Warrior.
" If our unity is as strong as you're describing, we should keep that concealed until a decisive moment. They were able to devise a plan against you by knowing of your existence and making preparations accordingly; I would say that we deny them that opportunity if this is to be our trump card. We've no idea where to strike them if we went for it now, and who's to say that wouldn't give them enough time to make preparations again once they've seen what we're capable of. "
The more tactical approach was to convey a strength that was much lesser than what they were truly capable of; the presence of Sirius among them would certainly be enough to deceptively imply that no bars were being held. To have such a powerful force added to their side and still have the potential of pushing deeper through their union, it would be a significant swing in their favor amidst this power struggle that they were in.
She smiled playfully again as she concluded her stance on the matter, referencing back to what he had just described himself as enjoying as she finished her proposition.
" Our own little surprise, you could say. "
Join her company for now, but refrain from joining her body until a critical moment.
The slightest curve at the edge of his lips threatened to show Sirius' smile faltering, but he maintained it despite his displeasure. He was not accustomed to needing to be denied his own wants; as she put it, he was very much accustomed to winning in all scenarios through his superiority, including the presumption of his importance above all others. How could she begin to deny him what it was that he desired, for any reason?
Even as these thoughts came to him, though, he could not help but hear her words; listen to them, even. Freed from his prison, his physical perspective had changed, yet his mindset was still very much locked within that perspective. He made ostentatious demands of the planets that he waged war against in order to acquire some semblance of entertainment within the void that he had unintentionally locked himself within, and had no reason to take no for an answer - he got what he wanted, because he had the power to claim it. To give them the opportunity to entertain him of their own wiles was naught but for formalities; a toy that plays the part willingly is far more fun than one he had to break and put back together, first. They always lost a few pieces after he put them back together . . .
. . . doing such a thing here would definitely be possible, but, the risk of what she would lose when he put her back together would be too great. It was a very delicate process when it came to wave conversion; any inconsistencies, any irregularities in her mood, even the slightest change of her frequency, would make them no longer compatible, to say nothing of the importance of mental synchronization. While he had never needed to Wave Converge before, he was still very well versed in its concept. He was powerful enough to not need a compatible carbon to bond with to fight, and yet his peak was not even this state, but a state reliant on her.
He hated the idea as much as it intrigued him. What an interesting place Gate had permitted him to find himself in, and what an insightful human Gamma had found for him to be compatible with. She was wise beyond her years, seeing farther than her current situation. It was a skill he possessed, but he used it at his leisure. She was so often forced into a situation of inferiority that she could not afford to not use it. Was she correct? Was his technique, strategy, capability, and overall strength tainted with his lack of failure? He'd observed himself failing before, in alternate realities . . . but had he done anything different than to just use more of his power before he could be overwhelmed?
Did he dare consider the possibility that, as he were, even if he could unlock his full, unfiltered might, he would be unable to defeat Immortalis through his power alone? A truly inconceivable idea, he, who had never needed his full strength even once, to contend with the idea that even his full strength wouldn't be enough . . . his smile returned in full.
". . . It is because I fight from a vantage point of inferiority, as you say, that I must fail your criterion in part, but not in full.
"I am, as it were, already compromised. They already know much of me, to be able to contend with me with such perceived leisure that I am currently being permitted to do as I wish, rather than being hunted down. It is only until I break from whatever trite restraints they have placed on my activity that I have freedom. If I were to follow you around, presenting myself as a constant threat against whatever it is you are contending with, I would surely be going against such restraints, and I would be summarily eliminated . . . quite an unwelcome outcome.
"You are correct, however, that we may be able to surprise them, regardless. Now that I am familiar enough with your signature, I am able to cast off my thoughts to commune with you. Should I find myself in dire need of you, I will call, or if you feel your life is truly endanger, reach out, and, if I can, I will answer. Are these amicable terms?"
She held out her hand as if to shake his; a formal gesture he'd recognize, she hoped.
She would come to his aid, or he to hers, in either of their times of need. While his addition to the party seemed desirable at first, he made a strong point that it could end up make matters worse instead. So having him on speed dial was the next best thing, she figured.
" It'll no doubt come to that at some point, by the sounds of it. Otherwise, maybe we'll find away around those restraints. "
In that regard, there was a chance that their union wouldn't have amounted to as much, anyway -- depending on the severity of those restraints, that is. Perhaps her scope of that situation was too little for her to truly know for certain, though.
Last Edit: May 21, 2022 15:56:37 GMT -8 by Warrior
Sirius stares at her extended hand, his smile not faltering, but his demeanor definitely changing at the gesture. He tilts his head to one side, an unknown force grabbing Faith's hand and gently shaking it without him reaching out his own hand to touch her.
When it was all said, he was still exalted. This was a desperation play due to his being unsure of just how much he would have to exert himself in order to contend with this adversary, and, regardless, having the ability to surpass his own limitations and ascend to his true strength was an enticing prospect to him that he had never even considered necessary before.
"This is where we part, then, Faith Nymphra." He gazes past her, at the vortex that she was previously marching towards. ". . . I believe those you are searching for are in there. Go, then. I will watch from elsewhere."
Blinding light floods the space as Sirius exits, leaving Faith to herself at long last.