|Proposals and promises...|
You walk into a very large restaurant with high ceilings that leave the rafters exposed. Fluroescent lamps hang from the ceiling, adding light to the place and tables. Windows adorn the sides of the place, looking out onto the chaos that is Twisted. On some of the walls are paintings, photographs, and some holograms of different B-movies, and a number of people who tend to visit the UR as they're singing karaoke. The hardwood bar rests at the back of the place, it's surface polished and shiny and all together spotless (most of the time). Behind the bar are various beverages that are servered and a giant mirror. There seems to be an inordant amount of different drinks. A large stage rests in one of the corners of the restaurant, with an amazing sound system and a few microphones strung about it. Multiple round wood tables are in the room, and a swing door leads into the kitchen. Another door leads to the dance club, and another to the gym. And of course, there's and exit outside. A large fireplace rests in one of the walls, with a beautiful stone chimney that flows up and out. A long spiral staircase rests near the entrance to the kitchen, leading to a second floor balcony that overlooks the UR itself. The lights up there are a bit dimmer than those down below.
With a loud crash Johnny kicks open the door of the UR and marches inside. Obviously someone's in a bad mood tonight. Stomping past the bar he simply demands "Cherry Coke" before making his way to the farthest table from the door as usual. The second he kicks his feet up on the table, his dagger is drawn and twirling in his hand. Luckily the skutters aren't the least bit phased by this as one brings him his drink and watches it snatched away by the disgruntled maniac.
There are strange things that happen in Twisted. Men fall from the sky, plasma belches from ice dispensers, and women with thirteen breasts somehow avoid the Jerry Springer show. And then there is Crux. Who is just... strange. He's currently got his head down at a table. Or is it the bar? Or is it a different table? He keeps shifting from one table to the next, like a badly edited video tape where someone turned off the recording in between Crux getting up and walking over to another location. One thing that doesn't change though... his snoring.
Johnny ignores all of this as he watches Crux blink around the room to the constant sound of snoring. After all, this is just more proof to the belief that everything around him is fictional. Why should the figment of his lost friend be any diffrent. However, as Crux phases onto his table he decides he's had enough. Stabbing the table loudly one would think that Nny was aiming for his head and just happened to miss at the last second. Either way, he likely pins a hair or two into the tabletop before yelling, "DAMNIT! KNOCK THAT OFF!!"
Crux snerks and wakes up with a start. "Uh? ... Hmm? Oh. Hi. Been looking everywhere for you, you knowwwwzzzzzzzzzzzzz....." He falls over in his chair and makes a loud crashing sound as he hits the floor, and opens his eyes again. ".. Nngh. Alright, I'm up, I'm up...." He struggles to his feet and rubs his eyes slowly. "...Where'd you vanish to after last time? It's getting hard to keep track of where you keep disappearing to."
Johnny chooses to ignore the irony of that statement with a drink from his soda. "Getting snubbed by Cale, taking in people to sleep in my house, continuing to dwell on how much this world diserves to be fucked." His anger fades briefly as he relaxes and shrugs, "Just the usual." Shortlived it is though as the anger washes over his face again and he yanks the dagger out of the table with a simple flick of the wrist forcing the weapon to just simply -be- in his hand again. Twirling it he shakes his head. "I don't know how much longer I can keep dealing with this crap..."
Crux blinks and stares at Johnny for a moment, tilting his head. "You're starting to sound like you did back on Neo Tokyo, again. What happened this time?" He kicks his chair up into his hand and then sets it down properly to sit back in it. He stares at the maniac for a few moments. "... I don't know why you're temporally and spatially unstuck, but it can't be THAT bad.... Unless you keep popping up next to Lalorien. That'd get old real fast...." He scratches his head for a moment. "... Hmm." The silver haired advent thinks for a moment, on something interesting.
Johnny leans back, kicking his feet on the table once more. "I'm just sick of it all. There's nothing here that convinces me I'm not dreaming. Every day I feel more and more like everyone here is just trapped in a dream and the real world is just outside our reach rotting as we're all trapped here. I want to find the bastards in charge, give them a taste of what it's like to be used as nothing but fucking pawns in a game and find out just WHAT THE FUCK is wrong with this universe. I want to... I want to see what's beyond it. I want to blow a fucking hole right through what passes as reality and finally just fucking relax and clear my head without feeling like we're being used!" His rant spent he drops his feet to the floor letting the chair crack loudly against the floor. Stabbing the poor table again, he releases the dagger and takes another drink of his soda. "I'm sick of playing nice..."
After a long bout of staring at Johnny during his rant, Crux tilts his head again. "... You want to punch a hole in reality, huh?" He shrugs, and inhales slowly. He leans across the table and raises a hand up. ".... As you wish." The hand slams down into the table flat, only there's no 'thunk' or crashing sound. The table ripples outwards for a second, and then... air rushes throughout the usual for a moment as a black and gold swirling vortex opens up inside the table. "If you're going to be all melodramatic about it, then there you go. Just jump up on the table and come with me for a ride."
Johnny raises an eyebrow as he stares at Crux trying to decide if he's being serious or not. The swirling vortex sucking his soda away is an intresting thing to contimplate. Luckily he'd already exchanged it for the dagger once again. He stands slowly, looking down at it in mild disbelief. Finally he just looks up at his friend with a raised eyebrow. "I was drinking that, y'know..." Letting the words hang in the air he glances at the bar, then to Crux. "Lemme get another one first and your on. Can't be any weirder than anything else I've seen lately..."
Crux grins broadly at that comment. "You never know." He pushes himself up out of his chair and glances down into the vortex. "...If you're dreaming, you don't need anything to drink, Johnny." The portal leads to Crux's pocket dimension, which is isolated from the entirety of the timestream itself. It's going to be... different.
Johnny waves at the nearest person who looks like they work here and guestures for another drink. "I don't care. I don't like to dream than I'm thirsty either." It only takes a moment before another skutter arrives with the soda. Snatching it up he uses his chair as a step and stares down at the portal. "Well, I'm ready. Let's go." Taking a drink he steps off into the swirling colors without any hesitation.
The first thing you notice about this pocket dimension is the lack of anything to notice. Expansive and nigh endless black stretches in every direction. Only it's not dark. And there's definately air. And it's not cold. And you're standing. But not on anything. It's an interesting place. One can move freely in all directions, but stand anywhere they wish. It seems to stretch on infinitely, but anything is within reach in here. There are various objects that you can find if you look. Old suits of armor, sets of clothing... a colonial viper mk. III... nothing important. Strange, even though you can stand or not stand as you see fit, everything seems just a little heavier in here...
There's almost no strange sensation as Johnny steps into the portal, save perhaps, that he seems to be falling. It's only a sensation. After all, suddenly, there are no landmarks to indicate anything one way or another. The new area he enters is filled with varying shades of... uh... black, and there doesn't seem to be any ground or ceiling or walls... Actually, though, he appears to be able to stand... though there's nothing to stand on. Crux emerges right in front of him, standing upside down. Or is Johnny standing upside-down and Crux's rightside up? It's hard to tell. At any rate, Crux makes a grimace, and then points at Johnny. "... You're upside down." ... Helpful. "... Anyways. Welcome to my house. It's... roomy." The expanse is endless, various objects seem to float in it a some indefinite distance away. A black cat wanders by, staring at the two idly. "... Nyah."
Johnny stares at his glass wondering how the fluid is staying inside if he's upside down. Taking another drink he bends his knees behind him and floats. One of the perks of levitation is being adjusted to being weightless, even if that's not exactly the case. Habbit makes him right himself as he glances around. "Reminds me of the spot where the timegates cross paths on Chronos." Raising an eyebrow he looks downwards. "Ooops, I knew there was something I was supposed to fix..." With a mischivious grin he shrugs, "They'll figure it out eventually."
Crux blinks at Johnny's mention of Chronos again. "... You mention Chronos a lot. Is that your cute little portable world? I found Sun there, you know. How come she was invited and I wasn't?" He's joking around again. But portable world? That's just a strange statement. He crosses his arms and gestures towards the Viper in the background. "... Tell me you remember my ship. If you don't, I'm totally not taking you for a spin." He idly scratches at his head. "... And what do you think of the decor? ... I tried to get it a painfully blinding bright white... but... ... well... noone's perfect."
Johnny smirks and snickers at Crux's words as he glances about. He especially eyes the ship with vague rememberance. "I've seen the ship before, didn't know it was yours though." Taking another drink he looks around more. "White is overrated. It's not very easy on the eyes either. Dark is more peaceful. Anyways, Chronos was where I was trapped. Well, it's what we made of the world where I was trapped. I think Emi saved whatever it was before that, but I can't quite remember anymore. I tried to make the best of it, but I bit off more than I could chew. There's a statue of you in a cave there somewhere..." Leaving it at that he reclines slightly. "So what's the plan? I'm assuming 'come along with me' ment more than a sleep over."
Crux raises a finger at Johnny's mention of Emi. "Emi, huh? Haven't heard that name in a long time. How's she doing?" He contemplates saying something about the statue, but decides against it. No, no, he's probably better off not knowing about that. He hates being worshipped, and idly wonders how the hell some place he's only been once managed to erect a statue to him without ever having laid eyes on him. Obviously he doesn't take Johnny's meaning very clearly. "... Of course. I'm going to show you a few things. Maybe you'll believe you're awake, maybe you'll just believe you're dreaming more. Personally, I don't care, so long as you don't go disappearing again. You know, you were much easier to deal with when you didn't just fade from existence every now and again."
Johnny goes wide eyed at Crux's comment about fading. Retracing his thoughts his gaze narrows, then his head tilts. "Waaaait, don't give me that. Your the one who randomly fades away without warning. Well, you usualy blink more than fade, but somethimes..." His head tilts the opposite way as he continues to dwell on it however. "Ok, maaaaybe. But I come from a very strange artist." Hopefully his sarcasm will hang thickly enough. He's never believed an artist created him anyways, reguardless of what other worlds might say.
"An artist, huh?" Crux chuckles a little bit. "... Are you a fictional character too, Johnny?" Too? ... Strange comment. "No wonder you don't know what's real and what's not." He waves a hand in front of him, and colors and lights dance across the lack of space for a moment, and then are gone. "... But don't worry. I'll show you." The man's amber eyes blaze golden for a moment. "I'll show you the truth of reality, because you've already gone insane enough times. I figure you can handle it. Or you'll just have another psychotic break. Same difference, right?" He pulls his hand back and clenches it into a fist, as if he's going to punch something. But he's too far away to reach Johnny. What's he doing?
Johnny completly misses the 'too' comment. Especially after the brief light show. Nodding at his speach he waits to see what's to come. At least until he remembers a question left unanswered. "Oh. Emi's doing ok, by the way. She's taking being a 'mother nature' to Chronos a bit too seriously though. At least, I -think- she's ok." Little does he know he may have killed her. But he's always been a bit dense when it comes to seeing past something's appearence. He doesn't add much else to the conversation as he watches. Nothing else to say really...
"That's good. Datenshi'd kill you if anything happened to her. I think. Never did get inside his head enough to know for certain." ... Does NNY even *know* Datenshi? Well Emi must've mentioned him once or twice at the VERY least. "... Well, anyways. Brace yourself." The fist slams forward, and the black between NNY and Crux just explodes. It's a very impossible thing for black to do, but then, everything about this place is impossible anyways. At first, only more black is revealed, but soon, a faint pulsing can be seen between the pair, and then suddenly, the pulsing increases into a bright continuous pulse of light. It's a brilliant green, coruscating and... no, wait... it's more of a light blue, flowing like water... ... ... or is it white, and glowing faintly? ..... It's something like that. Or all of the above. "... You should be able to see it, since you're looking from here in my place. If you were anywhere else, your eyes wouldn't see anything. But light isn't how you see things here, so..." ... Well, that's great... but what's NNY seeing? Whatever it is, it branches off into tributaries like a river... or forks off into different directions like a bolt of lightning. Trying to focus on it is ... very hard. It seems infinite, and yet, it's always only as big as NNY's field of vision.
Johnny's form begins to fade as he watches. It's not like the times Crux's likely seen it before. He's not going somewhere else, it's more like he's no longer being physical. His eyes clearly reflect the colors before him as it comes and goes, his attention is very clearly focused. A smirk seems to be trying to take control of his expression. Quietly he mutters, "Very very cool... but what is this exactly? This can't be what you wanted to show me... is it?" As he speaks his eyes refuse to move. It's almost as though he's afraid if he looked away the vision would vanish.
Crux looks a little concerned when he sees Johnny start to fade, but after a moment, he relaxes. It's not like before. That's good. "... It's the timestream, Johnny. You are looking at what your mind can comprehend of the multiverse. This is the part where it might start to hurt." Crux points at a space outside of the light, far away from the 'timestream' as it were, and there is nothign there. And suddenly, the view zooms in. Drastically. Quickly. That infinite vastness of the stream that could fill a billion skies in a billion universes, simply slips from view, so immense is the zoom, and still there's nothing. Nothing at Crux's fingertips... nothing at all.... wait... no.. a tiny sliver, the tiniest sliver of light... or water... or ... you know what, it's something, and it's at his fingertip. The magnification is very clearly hundreds of millions of a very large number bigger than it looked from the earlier view. "... You are here."
Johnny does something only few would really comprehend at this point. He begins to giggle. Not a chuckle. Not a laugh... A full childish giggle. The kind of giggle you hear from a serial killer just before he draws his knife. His eyes widen a little more as a manic grin follows the giggling. "It doesn't hurt... I've seen something like it before. I've broken things like it before! It wasn't this elaborate.... but...." More giggling. Perhaps he wasn't the best person to be showing this to.
Crux stares at Johnny for another long moment, assessing his laughter. "...I'm afraid this one does not break, Johnny." The image zooms out again... showing the timestream once more in all its glory, and then zooms off to another direction. A tiny sliver once more appears, but this time parallel to the main stream. It's a sliver, not a speck, but the magnification is only a few hundred million times in. Only. "... This is Twisted." A near infinite number of almost imperceptible lines lace it to a gigantic chunk of the timestream next to it, lines that seem to be ever growing... but seem to have an infinite way to go before every gaining a fraction of the multiverse in links. "... It links... everywhere... eventually." ... So why isn't linked everywhere now? He offers no explanation. "... This is reality. Absolute reality." He waves a hand towards the image and then clenches it into a fist. "....You can live a million lives, a billion eons, until the end of time and back as many times as you want... and you will never break it." His words sound a little harsh, now, even slightly authoritative. "... Do you still want to try?"
One of Johnny's eyes narrow as he looks up towards Crux finally. "Anything can be broken. Everything can be beaten. If I'm right this is fiction. What lies beyond what we see, that's reality. What your showing me now? It makes me feel..." He pauses a moment. Not quite looking for the right words, but yet he is. "...awake. It makes me feel awake. If this is really the flow of time, if this is really how it appears to see the scope of reality, then every decision is already planned out. Everything has already been recorded somehow. Someway. If that's the case why do those in charge enforce their stupid rules? Why dictate what people can and can't do? If it's going to happen, it'll happen." Johnny crosses his arms wondering briefly what had happened to the drink he'd had. His thoughts are becoming frustrated and being told he might be wrong annoys him. Finally he points at the line ment to be Twisted. "If that's Twisted, then do you see that??" He points randomly. "That is me CUTTING A TRAIL OF BLOOD!! If things are as you say, then I shouldn't be bound to promises. I shouldn't have to worry about what is right, and what is wrong. The outcome is the same REGUARDLESS!"
Crux squeezes his fist tight, and the image flickers. His hand opens slightly and his fingers hook, as if grasping around a sphere. "...Do you not like being argued with?" He squeezes again, slowly, as if tightening his grip, and grunts a little, a look of effort appearing on his face as blackness swallows the image once more, leaving just the two standing there as the hand snaps closed into a fist once more. "... You are not dreaming. If you want to slaughter the whole of Twisted itself, you can try. But the timestream is beyond your scope. Beyond mine. Beyond that foolish council's scope as well. They are lost in the river without a paddle, like everyone else." He sighs, relaxing visibly and lowering his hand. "... I am your friend, Johnny. I do not want you to murder thousands, millions, billions." He crosses his arms slowly. "But I will help you when you need it." Crux is a good man. But more than good, he is eternally loyal. It surpasses his persona, his personality. It's just the way it is. "...Is that what you wanted to hear?"
Johnny crosses his arms again and takes a deeeep breath. "I've spent my life being the Universe's kicking boy. Once upon a time I got fed up with it. I crossed over the edge. I went on a homicidal killing spree that went on so long that I forgot how it began. Hundreds of people have died at my hands. Along the way I was used AGAIN to see how much chaos I could pump into a wastelock, the whole reason for me being used in the first place. I didn't even realise it until it was too late and I'd driven myself to suicide and succeded." Uncrossing his arms Johnny begins to pace around Crux keeping his eyes on him the whole time. "I find out I didn't belong in the afterlife. They didn't have a place for me. So what do I do? I get tossed back into the very cess pit I'd try to escape. I ran. I ran until I ended up in Neo Tokyo. Just when I thought I might fit in, everything around me is destroyed and I loose everything, including my friends. I make it out only to become a self-appointed protector for Terry's daughter and the TWO OF US GET USED AGAIN! So now I'M PUNISHED! I'M BANISHED!! I spend SIXTY SIX BILLION FUCKING YEARS OF UNLIFE WATCHING PEOPLE FUCK EACH OTHER AND DIE!!! Do you know what it taught me?? It taught me that the people who make the decisions for everyone else are just following orders from SOMETHING ELSE ABOVE THEM! So I try to stand up. I try to change things to reclaim everything that was lost to me from time, and what happens??? THE FUCKING COUNCIL SHOWS UP AND THROWS ME OUT BECAUSE I -CONTAAAAAMINATED- CHRONOS!!!" Grabbing the sides of his head he screams angrily, and then yanks his daggers out clutching them tightly. "Now you're telling me that not only was I wrong about the way my mind tried to cope with things but that EVEN THE PEOPLE USING ME ARE BEING USED and you want to tell me there's nothing BEYOND -THAT-!?!?!? If we are nothing but mindless sheep in a fucking ongoing wheel of doom than GOD DAMMNIT I WANT TO DO IT WITHOUT SOMEONE ELSE TELLING ME I'M WRONG!!!" As he yells this at the top of his lungs his body returns to it's blackened state, his eyes burning red in their sockets. "I VOTE WE GIVE THEM A TASTE OF REALITY! I SAY WE TEACH THEM WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE USED!!" Johnny points at the ground with the tip of one dagger as he declaires, "I WANT TO SEE THEM ON THEIR KNEES AS THEY FEEL THE WRATH OF EVERYONE THEY TRIED TO CONTROL!!!!"
Crux purses his lips and narrows his eyes, not saying a WORD during all of Johnny's rant. Indeed, there would be little point in doing so. He crosses his arms and stares, letting the maniac build up his tension to a maximum, and then he speaks. "...I don't disagree on any particular point." Well... that was ... not worth all that buildup. "...But what happens afterwards?"
Johnny doesn't even pause to think. He simply shrugs. "I dunno. We go get something to eat maybe? See if anyone hasn't learned their lesson? Fuck, at that point we might as well go get Terry and make fun of him for missing it." Grinning he twirls his daggers and resheaths them. For a moment at least he seems focused. Very focused. Soon his own sanity will likely destroy it, but for now he means what he says. "You in?"
The silver-haired advent stares at Johnny for a moment longer. "...I'm sure you'll see me there." More needlessly, and pointless cryptic comments, eh? His tone is dark, though, and it doesn't sound quite like the normal tone of voice he uses. "Whatever happens." ... What does he mean by that?
Johnny's eyes narrow at the cryptocism. "...I see. So I take it your not bothered by having people telling you what your going to do and how things are going to occur, then? Or do you just feel it's pointless?"
Crux blinks for a moment, then chuckles. "Kalean tells me what to do all the time. I never listen." He shrugs after a moment. "...I'll be there. Of that you can be certain." He looks around for another moment. "... I should probably let you out of here though... it's ... not normal space-time." ... Whatever that means. The advent gestures towards ... uh... nothing in particular, and a portal opens up off to the side a little ways. "Back to the UR? I have a self-fulfilling prophecy to enact, and I'll met up with you later."
Johnny pauses to stare at Crux, more for the comment about prophecy than anything. "I... guess." With a heavy sigh he starts to make his way to the portal, pausing only to look at Crux and say one last thing. "You never told me how you stood on things. Friend or not, I like to know if the people who have my back are willing to do so without regrets. If I forced you to do something I'd be as bad as they are..." He leaves that in the air for his friend to chew on as he steps into the portal without looking back. Perhaps he has a prophecy of his own to keep...
Crux closes the portal behind Johnny and glances down the way. He walks up to a suit of armor, and inspects the sword attached to it. A legendary sword it is. One of the twelve most powerful weapons ever crafted by human hands. The excalibur. He was going to need the other 11... badly. "... But first..." He opens another portal up... to the TASK headquarters. Where Datenshi and ... Crux? ... are sitting around doing nothing. The scene fades to black, and Crux's voice can be heard. "Guh! What the hell?"