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[Mirage] Gatekeepers' Avarice; Closed
Topic Started: May 15 2018, 06:20 AM (85 Views)
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The Original Ni-san
There are certain wondrous attractions that tend to go largely unnoticed. Whether due to bad publicity, being of niche interest or simply being seen as such a convenience that people overlook or forget about it. The longer this remains the case, the easier it is for some to look consistently, and begin to predict patterns and when activities change. When something is too calm, too commonplace, so readily seen, it makes it easy to hide things in common sight, where people would not think to look.

A woman stood on a rocky outcrop, looking over a wide and barren patch of earth where several men and woman at work. Some busy at portable and strange looking machines, others moving various equipment or cleaning it, some taking this equipment and heading off into the foliage and underbrush of the jungled forest that surrounded and concealed them. Some of the men and women, subduing a series of creatures in cages with all manner of shocking implements and anesthetic drugs.

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Wind blew quietly through her hair and she let herself smile. They did good work for hired help, of course, now that she was employing them, they'd never have another job again. When they got back, she'd pass them on their good work and make good on her deal to give them a 'working opportunity of a lifetime.'

Something crept up behind her. In all fairness, it was technically a him, or had been once. His origin still confused her, but his knowledge enticed her and had already produced such great results. Fulmine and Tuono were not exactly masterpieces in her eyes, but they were stepping stones to something great. They could be made stronger, so long as they kept on schedule and ensured the rebuilding of the source vessel.

The source vessel was broken. Actually no, correction. Shattered and obliterated. Paper thin. And yet for it to have given what it did to Fulmine and Tuono and not vanish, holding onto its essence, what little form it had. It was for that reason alone, that sheer tenacity, that it was worth keeping. She smiled at that and felt her tongue slide over her upper lip. Oh yes. Well worth keeping.

She turned around and looked at the black blob. Apparently he'd chosen to be formless at this moment. Annoying considering there was no face to look at, but not unbearable. Potentially better. She would not have to make eye contact with that distorted face. "Everything seems to be going well. No signs of us being detected?"

"None. Truly my most sublime creation yet. The fractal-step warping lets them walk right through to the other side of us as if they had not missed a beat. Not perfect, but I doubt some barbarian could just break through. We are just waiting on the last of the specimens before we can head back."

She nodded, "Excellent, your work as usual professor, is without equal." She smiled, quietly to herself and turned away from him, looking back over the camp, "I wonder if he's missing me~"

Edited by Nickle, May 15 2018, 06:26 AM.
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Maybe it was her recent encounter with her new roommate. Maybe it was her recent encounter with Nickle and Chizu weighing on her mind.

Maybe it because that person was always on her mind.

Ever since she'd heard his voice, she wanted to believe it was possible that he was really alive out there somewhere and it wasn't just some kind of hiccup in Nickle's soul. Sure, she felt Dominique inside herself sometimes still, maybe even stronger since she confronted them, but it was never like that...

Maybe this was stupid. Maybe what she found would just break her heart even further. Still, she couldn't shake this feeling. It had almost certainly been stirring inside her since her latest rebirth, but it was only recently that she'd awakened to its existence. It wasn't rational, it wasn't an anomaly in her function, a bug in her data. Knocks could just sense that he was... out there somewhere. That Kinclex was alive.

So she finally determined... she would look for him in earnest.

For some this might be scouring the internet, perhaps putting up posters or enlisting the assistance of the police or a detective agency. Noxiquidem would have to search much further than any earthly authority had any right to. For the first time since her death, Noxi would once again have to violate the boundaries between worlds. Not for the goal of any misguided conquest, not to search for the heart of worlds. She would do whatever she had to in order to find Kinclex.

To that end, an old experiment was renewed.

She had done it once before. Though it was that girl who had actually built it. It was a failure at that time, fusing her incarnations from each of the connected universes by harmonizing each of their individual wave patterns. To be expected considering it was made from extra-dimensional refuse. This time, she had proper materials, and for this experiment, modifying Nickle's wave pattern would be sufficient.

If everything went according to plan, if he really was out there, this might find him. Better still, it should take her directly to him.

If it worked.

Unlike her last attempt, the device was portable, not much bigger than a television remote. It had taken a bit of time to put together and the process was exhausting for her damaged body, but by all appearances it was successful. Of course as any good engineer will tell you, the real test begins once the on switch is actually hit. So from her secret place, that basement she had made her private home, she used it. As before, a ball of light formed on the end of the device, grew and engulfed itself and its creator, and caused them to disappear.

In those brief moments between seconds, Noxiquidem prayed.

The light subsided moments later, leaving her standing in a flattened clearing, someplace familiar. Too familiar.

"Back on... Kaneshima?" Had she made a mistake? Was it possible he'd been this close the whole time? Or maybe...?

She looked around, surrounded by unfamiliar faces. Workers, equipment, devices that looked all-too-familiar. Kinclex wasn't here, but someone else was experimenting using the same technology. Their equipment must have been generating interference. That explained why it stopped her here. One possible reason, that is. Her eyes quickly wandered to the imposing presence looming over the site, staring down where she and the peons stood. She returned the look, her own cold and empty expression conveying nothing, though her presence among them was already starting to generate notice.

Who was this person...

Why did she have this technology?

And did it have anything to do with Kinclex...?
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The Original Ni-san
A bright light shone out into the encampment as Knocks appeared amidst the workers below. The hazel-haired woman had been looking at the black blobbed form of her associate at the time and had had to shield her eyes from the sudden light. She moved her hand away, looking down, eyes narrowed as she stared at Knocks.

The next few moments that passed were ones of dangerous uncertainty. Who was this girl? How had she gotten here? What would all of the workers do. Well in situations like this, best not give them time to make their own decisions. The woman shot a glance to her associate, "V-Valeria, I-" he began, but she cut him off, "Your work still appears to have some glitches. I suggest you see to them. But first, wrap things up here. Now." She did not shout, it was a simple, clear command of what was to happen next and that it should happen fast. The inky black mass slunk away quickly to see it done.

Valeria turned her attention back to Knocks and jumped down from her perch. As she approached the ground, although it was uncertain how, she seemed slow her descent and come to land on the ground just a little bit in front of Knocks, hands in the pocket of her white lab coat. Some of the workers looked at her and she waved them away, indicating that they should carry on with what they were doing.

She then took a few steps towards Knocks, an expression on her face that was meant to be a show for the workers, as if this was expected. However her eyes told something else. What are you doing here? Valeria regarded Knocks as she approached. Not exactly human, that was clear enough, but she dealt with such things daily so it was of no consequence. However the girl in front of her had an aura about her that was very familiar. From The Backyard? It was entirely possible. However it then begged the question...who helped her. Was it some of their equipment that had been tampered with? Or, more interesting yet, had she escaped the place without assistance from outside.

If that was the case then...

Valeria's smile widened and she took her hand out from her coat's pockets and clapped for Knocks. "Wonderful trick. You just popped right up. Though, do you know where you are?" the woman's arms crossed in front of her, her smile pleasant, but annoyed.

Around Valeria and Knocks, the pace had increased. Equipment was being moved at a much more rapid pace and in two different directions, both which lead to caves in the rocks at either side of the plateau. The inky blob from before was moving around and giving instructions at a rapid pace. It had taken on a more humanoid appearance now, but was still difficult to discern.

The professor was anxious. Anxious, perplexed and potentially angry. He had not accounted for this approach of invasion. He had not fathomed that someone else had discovered similar warping tech. The barrier could deal with displacing anything that approached it, but circumventing it entirely? He had not planned on that. Still it meant pin-pointing them! They were undetectable! What had this girl gotten a hold of to pin point them? What was the beacon? Everything on the camp was accounted for! It always had been.

The inky blackness looked at her. This was going to cause a problem if it was not seen to. Valerie was calm now, it was a tactful approach so as to not disturb the workers much. He froze, realizing there were workers still out in the field. He swooshed off. No sense in having them come back here, they would need to regroup and stay out of sight until they could be picked up later.

Valerie grinned at Knocks, "Who are you then? What are you doing in my camp?"
Edited by Nickle, May 22 2018, 04:49 AM.
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So it was like that...

Knocks' eyes moved up to the sky and directly into the sun, the artificial retinas having no issue with the glare. Comparing the relative location of the sun with her own internal clock was enough, though she could use GPS if necessary...

"We're in the Nature Preserve. I could give you coordinates if you want, but I don't think this line of questioning will be very productive." Was it a veiled threat? Trying to notify Knocks she'd stumbled into this woman's territory? Whoever this person was, she seemed terribly suspicious. Given the advanced and sensitive nature of the kind of research they were both apparently familiar with, she couldn't help but notice the air of deceit around this woman. It was no ordinary mistake that had landed her in this place.

She didn't believe in such coincidences.

The air seemed tense as the workers around them alternated between trying to keep up the pace of their work and wanting to see out this strange occurrence in the middle of their once supposedly hidden camp. In the end, the alpha woman above them effortlessly cracked the whip at the group with merely a flash of her eyes and a wave of her hand. An imposing presence, to be sure. One which easily bled out that of the small bronze girl, someone who could hardly be said to exist at all.

But something like that wouldn't deter her from something this important.

Her cold stare fixed itself back to the white coat that gazed down on her in like the giant at Rhodes. Her voice, while small and monotone bore a note of resolution which permeated her aura. She faced the woman she hoped would have the answers she sought and prayed for the will to see those answers through. To that end she allowed the words in her heart to blossom into speech.

"My name is Noxiquidem. I am Nobody and I'm here looking for my nii-san."
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The Original Ni-san
Valerie raised an eyebrow at the first response. Not exactly what she had expected, but the reply did at least start to show some indication of who she was dealing with. Clearly intelligent, although given the appearance, mechanical parts and way the girl's voice sounded then some kind of machinery could account for that. It almost had to give how she stared at the sun. A cyborg? One possibility at least.

And if that was the case. A cyborg that could warp around. "Oh I know where I am. Clearly you know too." cooed the woman, although the tone of the voice was not exactly sweet. The size of whom she was talking to meant nothing to Valerie. Dynamite came in small packages as far as cliche's went, but given what she dealt with you could never wait until the package opened of its own accord.

She looked around casually, not bothering to mask that she was looking at what her workers were doing. Currently moving the captured beasts. That was good. They could get moving soon. The girl then spoke again and Valerie returned her gaze to her, her face showing genuine interest. That look of interest froze in place at the mention of who and what she was.

Valerie started to circle Knocks, thinking quickly, but not faltering to reply.

Another one... she thought as she circled.

"Noxiquidem? That's a very interesting name. I'm sorry to say, but I am quite certain your nii-san is not here." As Knocks listened, Valerie's words held nothing but truth. However, if she was really, really listening, they implied that she did know where Kinclex actually was.

Valerie's circling motion ended and she continued to walk away and in front of Knocks a few steps before turning around to face her, a blush on her face, clearly thinking of something that delighted her. "He's a bit tied up at the moment. Somewhere safe and sound."

An image, then somehow flashed across the inside of Noxiquidem's mind. An image of...a man. Barely there. A form that was transparent against a barren environment. A man with barely any essence to him. Head hung low.

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The voice was barely even a whisper and even then, the image gone in an instant, yet somehow only Noxiquidem would have heard and seen it as Valerie seemed to continue smiling.

She was smiling because, there was now another key right in front of her. She had not been aware of it, but here she was, ripe for the picking.
Edited by Nickle, May 22 2018, 04:44 AM.
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The woman seemed to examine her for a moment after the introduction. Had her name triggered some sort of recognition? The possibility was not only explored, but confirmed by her coy response. Although she couldn't ignore the possibility that this person was leading her on by her own words, the mere possibility that it she might know where he is...

That she could even see a ghost of him...

It was too much to ignore. Her resolution wavered, her natural passivity and desperation threatening to eat away at her will. If this person could really lead her to Kinclex, how much was she willing to give up? Was there any such limit at all? No, her life had no meaning apart from this. She had decided that much already...

"I-If -BIRI- you know where he is..." Her cold determination now felt like meek surrender. "I would beg you..." She could feel her heart being twisted tightly like a poisonous snake, its venom coagulating in her blood leaving her cold and motionless. This person knew. She could feel it to the very depths of her self, and that alone kept her rooted to the spot.

That, and a sudden vision and a familiar voice.

It was like a phantom from someplace beyond any afterlife. Someplace too distant to be called a place at all. So fleeting she could hardly say whether she experienced anything to begin with, but it wouldn't be ignored.

"If you know where he is. If you only have a small piece of him. If you only have an idea of where he might be or how to retrieve him... I will -BIRI- help you. Whatever I can do. I will offer no resistance. I will not trouble you. If my life must be taken to complete this task I will offer it freely. There is no price I'm unwilling to pay to see him again or at least ensure his continued existence. I will leave my whole being entirely in your care, but please... take me to nii-san..."

Run? How could he even ask that. Back then he had died because she didn't do enough to rescue him. Not from Xemnas, not from the Zodiac Stone, and not from Nickle. To exchange everything for him, it was a pittance. He deserved to be here now and she deserved whatever oblivion and death he now hovered helplessly between.
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