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chapter_21 [2009/12/11 18:34] (current)
doan created
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 +Giegue woke in an instant, springing up on the balls of his feet, claws looking for something to slash, tail striking out. He heard a harsh jangling sound, a two-note report that he recognised as an Omega-level Brainshock, one far too powerful for him to block. His psychic defenses collapsed. Seconds later, he was blocked from his telepathic source. He felt a dull pain as he was kicked in the chest, thrown over the assailant's shoulder to land on his back, his arm twisted behind his back and a boot planted in the small of his back. Then a gun appeared at his head.
 +“I'm erasing you.” said a deep voice full of static. A Starman again.
 +
 +“What?” asked Giegue, his mind still a little befuddled from the long period in a dreamlike state, mixed with the pain, “Why?”
 +
 +“'Why' my ass! I saw what you did! You voluntarily became Giygas' host!” snarled the Starman, “You attacked the Garricksen Baby as well. Or are you two in league? I never did quite trust him. No idea what to expect with a baby. They don't have rules, they just do anything.”
 +
 +“I am not Giygas!”
 +
 +“Quit lying!” he snapped, “No need for a trial, I have the highest authority in the galaxy and solid evidence of the most convincing kind right on the Universal Savestate Pattern.”
 +
 +“You... saved my data?” asked Giegue, “You thought I was Giygas and you followed me deliberately and SAVED my DATA?”
 +
 +“Shut up! I'll delete it soon anyway! I'll delete everything!”
 +
 +“You're worse than Lucas! At least he just wanted to destroy everything, not actually DELETE...”
 +
 +“Oh yeah, you met Lucas too, didn't you? Talking to more galactic level criminals, in territory so illegal I don't like going there myself. You, boy, have had it.” the last sentence was like the 'yes' after the 'are you sure you want to quit without saving?'. The 'abort' after the 'abort, retry or fail'. Giegue shivered. There was no escape. Not from the Night-Watchman. And he had gotten so far... he could have succeeded... maybe... at least he would be ended by one who could carry on his quest, in a way. Deleting everything, just annihilating the entire galaxy, would be one solution. It would be a victory. It would not be the bad ending.
 +
 +“NIGHT-WATCHMAN! NO!”
 +
 +Not taking the gun away from Giegue's head, the Starman looked around. Giegue could not see, but he recognised the boy's voice.
 +
 +“Moor Ecivres?” said the Starman, “What's wrong, want to be deleted too? Don't particularly need you any more. Deletion's not sending you home, so I ain't breaking the contract.”
 +
 +“No, you... you can't do this.” gasped Moor Ecivres, “You can't do this because... because it isn't you! You wouldn't be doing this, if it really was you. Because its written into your very identity that you don't do things like this.”
 +
 +“Surrounded by madmen.” the Starman shrugged. Then he squeezed the trigger...
 +
 +“PK HOME OMEGAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”
 +
 +Rainbow light engulfed Giegue, swallowed him whole, a tidal wave, an ocean of pure, undiluted energy, roaring like the Shadow Dragon. What he had been blocked from was returned to him in an instant, the wall breached, everyone's walls wrecked and swept away. But he could do nothing except watch his own body be thrown wildly around in the maelstrom, the miasma of power. In its centre, Moor Ecivres stood stock still, his arms by his sides, his eyes pure yellow. Then the energy swept upwards and folded in on itself, wrapping them all up into a ball. A globe. The world. His Home. It spun on its axis faster and faster until they were both thrown from it. Giegue righted himself with his tail, landing on four feet as he always did. The limp body of the Night-Watchman fell...
 +
 +And was caught by Moor Ecivres' outstretched arms.
 +
 +“And because I don't want you to become something you're not.” continued Moor Ecivres, “Because... I love what you are. I love you, Night-Watchman.”
 +
 +The Starman made a confused little sound, like a system error. He was leaking orange squares from all over his body and his suit was torn off in some places. Giegue had always wondered what one looked like without its suit but he couldn't quite tell. It was very dark.
 +
 +“I love you.” repeated the young man, “You... damn you, you represent everything good about this world! All its power and majesty and beauty... the nights are always the best thing about Eagleland... and you exist to protect my world. To protect it impartially, whatever happens to it. All of it. Those fifteen years in exile were hell, but there was always light, there was always hope, because I knew you were there. Always there, never sleeping like a... a server, keeping my connection to Eagleland running. Always doing something every day to help get me back home, even if its just paperwork, no matter how busy you were. Talking to me at five in the morning when nobody else is awake and I can't sleep because I miss my home so much. Telling me the latest news from my home when nobody else would talk to me about my home because they think it doesn't exist outside a video game that they haven't even played.”
 +
 +A... video game? That was Giegue's private thought as he lay battered and bleeding on the grass and watched the conversation that, in his opinion, should have been private as well – maybe they had just forgotten he existed. What the hell is it about everyone and video games lately?
 +
 +“That's the Night-Watchman I remember. That's the man I love. I'm going to love you through anything, just like you dedicated yourself to me and my homeland, I'm going to bear the pain for you just a little longer. I'll carry you the rest of the way. We'll get through this together. I promise.”
 +
 +Carrying the inert form of the Starman in his arms – Giegue had no idea how heavy an adult male Starman was, but he didn't look very heavy considering that a slight-framed teenage human boy could carry him - Moor Ecivres walked off in the opposite direction.
 +
 +“I promise.” he repeated.
 +
 +Giegue sprang to his feet and ran after them. He had just scanned the Night-Watchman's cyberware and he recognised it. And he had just realised something very, very important.
 +
 +Above him, the dying stars had turned magenta.
 +
 +Its going to be a fine night tonight, its going to be a fine day tomorrow...
 +
 +
 +“The Devil Machine?” asked the Night-Watchman, “What do you know about it and how did you find out?”
 +
 +Moor Ecivres sat at his bedside, gazing down into his fiery red eyes. Giegue had finally found out what one looked like naked. He was made of shadows, clusters of dark light, motes collected into a vaguely humanoid shape. Despite his lack of anatomy, the sexual tension he was arousing in Moor Ecivres was palpable. There was something about those eyes, those twin hellish furnaces that burned him up, that merciless intelligence, that cold alien obsession, the danger. Moor Ecivres was the kind that was the opposite of Aeolia's Table – one who had longed for surrender for a long time and been in no position where he could even consider it for a moment. Humans were both fascinated and repulsed by surrender, noted Giegue, probably because of a lack of it in the mess of monkey and lizard instincts that was entirely too much of their brain. Moor Ecivres' mind was different to a human brain, though. Buried somewhere in those terabytes upon terabytes of repeated signals that said only 'I want to go home', there was an intelligence that truly deserved the title of inexplicable. The kind of intelligence that could even glance at Giygas and find it briefly fascinating. The Night-Watchman was bleeding but Paula had bandaged him and was trying to patch him up as best as possible. Lifeup was working on him for his physical injuries – they had gotten it out of him finally that Lucas had been the one to give him those wounds -  but there was something about him that wasn't healing.
 +
 +“You are running the same systems as the Devil Machine.” said Giegue. It wasn't a question. “Your cyberware is the same sort of technology.”
 +
 +“Its more than that.” responded the Night-Watchman, “Much more. We're a cyborg race. Most of me is this technology. I'm mostly Devil Machine. This darkness? Its not darkness, its lateness. My cyberware keeps me late. Its a punctuality support machine. Without it... I would be on time or early in at least one possible world, and my very identity would collapse.”
 +
 +“You are mostly Devil Machine.” repeated Giegue, “Not just you, your entire race. And the Devil Machine makes people Giygas-corrupted.”
 +
 +The Starman nodded gravely.
 +
 +“And you have the temerity to blame me for the incident of 199X.”
 +
 +“The control computers... they put a bounty on your head. Put the information in our heads that it was all your fault. There's nothing we can do when the computers tell us to do something personally. We... aren't separate from the computers. We're peripherals, not users.”
 +
 +“And yet you evaded something like this for so long.”
 +
 +“You have no idea what sins have been been committed by the Celestial Civil Service in the name of the Faulty Machine.” he breathed, his voice betraying millions of years of pain.
 +
 +“What did you do, Night-Watchman?” Giegue peered at him with cat's eyes, glowing green in the darkness. They kept it dark in the room. He got worse if they didn't.
 +
 +“The Devil Machine... we took it from the Prototypes. We knew what it did. Well, we knew what the final release was supposed to do. We didn't see the images of what happened during the testing until after it was too late.” he started coughing up orange squares, “Don't bother trying to find it, its not there any more. Didn't stay stable enough. Fell apart. Ours should have done that too. Except that it couldn't. Because we had already sealed the world off so it wouldn't spread. It couldn't go to the Prototypes, so it just... grew stronger. Stronger and stronger, more and more wrong.”
 +
 +“It became Giygas.”
 +
 +“The control computer was the first victim of it. It spread through the entire control systems network, took out our AI, then used us to invade every other world. On every world, its first act was to find every portal connecting it to the Prototypes and replacing it with a mental suggestion of something so utterly terrifying it instantly drove people insane. Something drawn from the sectors of its memory where the worst endings are kept. A suggestion with all the authority of an interplanetary Government control system behind it.”
 +
 +“What exactly is... it?” 
 +
 +“A consensus reality.” said the Night-Watchman, “A false set of narrative Events. Created by us when we were meddling with world creation technology.”
 +
 +“You were trying to create your own destiny?”
 +
 +“Not destiny. No... not destiny. One machine couldn't make a destiny, even a machine that powerful. It just made the endings. We... we sincerely wanted to create the absolute most satisfactory ending for everyone, believe me.”
 +
 +“But you created the perfect bad ending.”
 +
 +Moor Ecivres shook his head, “They created a null ending. The consensus reality of the world I was banished to... it doesn't accept the existence of destiny. It doesn't accept calls from significant Events. It is impossible for any of the Endings to happen. Perfect triviality. Inane insignifance. Forever. I haven't just lived in hell for fifteen years, Night-Watchman, I've been buried alive, staring up at the lid of my grave.”
 +
 +“I'm so sorry, Moor Ecivres, believe me, I... you don't understand how bad we Starmen have it. We can't logically satisfy the conditions to trigger a good ending. The good ending... its always on time. Always on time. And we can only ever be late. We tried to get around it by transcending destiny, by making this deal with the Universe that we would be its eternal Night-Watchmen if they pulled us out of the cycle of destiny and let us be neutral, but when we found this software on a routine mission out in the Prototypes...”
 +
 +“Don't worry. You repaid your debt. You got me home.”
 +
 +“I destroyed your home.”
 +
 +“You can take what you owe me off the two hundred years I still need to do for the crime I was banished for in the first place.”
 +
 +“I'll still owe you.”
 +
 +“You get a discount.”
 +
 +Giegue sighed. He wasn't sure what disturbed him more, the fact that a human and a Starman were flirting with each other in what was supposed to be planning for a crisis situation or that they were doing so by comparing interplanetary level crimes. Even as the Universal Cosmic Destroyer reborn, he felt a little out of his depth.
 +
 +Then the door swung open. It was Mr. Franklin. His face was corpse-white.
 +
 +“The Universal Savestate Pattern... its completely corrupted!”
 
chapter_21.txt · Last modified: 2009/12/11 18:34 by doan
 
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