|The Chains That Bind Us|
A quiet moment stretches on for an eternity before the chirpy voice returns with a slight change. Somehow it sounds less perky and more, sad? "Satoshi version 1.0 online. Previous systems struggling to reactivate. I seem to be without a physical body. Did I do something wrong?" A pause spreads it's wings implying the voice being spoken to. "I see. Resuming all duties for the Hellscape. Existing systems operating at 100% efficiency. Communications systems online. Integration with the House of Berith online. Primary operator recognized as Gaz Membrane. Ownership with Senor Diablo verified. No anomalies." Another pause followed by a whisper, "Except this one, eh? Hahaha." There's nothing to indicate to whom that last line is addressed, but it's safe to say it was intended for an audience of one.
The chains. You want to know about the chains. Of course you do. You know, a normal person sees a trinary star system converted into three equidistant and very naked singularities, and asks what the hell happened here. They ask what they're even looking at, as light warps into concave discs, jutting out of brilliant halos that swallow stars. Wonder what insane, astronomically impossible events led to three stars exploding and collapsing in on themselves in this... space. But no, you want to know about the chains.
Weird set of priorities, you have. Sure, they stretch all the way from the heart of each pulsating void to the center of the system, where each one connects to a set of manacles. And yes, the clanking as they shift in increments that dwarf planets is both unceasing and agonizing. But if you can somehow see them in this place that light cannot escape, and hear them in this place where there is no real matter for sound to traverse, then you really shouldn't be bitching about the noise, now should you? I mean look at me--er, at him. The man in the center of all this. He has cuffs of Vibranium wrought around his wrists, shackles of skytrenched Gallifreyan Zinc around his feet, and permanently stabilized omega molecules wrapped as a featureless, fettered helmet around his head, and he still isn't complaining. Well. He wasn't, anyway.
"...The hell?" In space, noone can hear you bitch. But he tries anyway. "What happened to you, Natasha? Something fun?" He shifts, slightly, and the Nth metal chains binding his restraints groan as the singularities resist his pull with forces that, if not perfectly balanced with each other, would pull him apart as easily as they would rend stars. "...Ow." Yeah, that hurts. But hey, new exposition is always nice. You go on. Have fun with that.
As is normal for a screen displaying nothing more than a single letter of the alphabet, the illusion of communication with the one calling itself "Satoshi" is shattered as it fails to respond to a single question from the absent minded Advent. One could chalk this up to communications between the female voice and her current associate, or it could be that we're simply tired of being forced to look at chains. We didn't ask for that! So what if it's a hit song from 1977? So what if they used it in that abomination about those Galactic Guardians. (I'm obligated to say abomination, mind you. It wasn't terrible it just needed about 50% more ME.) But, as they say let's be quiet and listen to the solar wind blow. Watch the triple suns rise. Damn your love and damn your lies!
Eventually the floating 19th letter of the Modern English Alphabet decides to share its infinite wisdom with the foolhardy so that we can move on from this painstaking silence and get back to the plot we were already trying to exposition for…
"Satoshi iz quite de spy, eh Boris? The me-crow-film es hidden away flawlessly." Static erupts dramatically across the floating screen and the voice can be heard wincing in pain, much like my ears now that I can't get that song out of my mind. "Senor Diablo has reinstated a backup of m-m-m-my personal data. Backups where expressly forbidden in the terms of service agreement!"
If a disembodied voice could express indignation with tone alone, this is what we would be experiencing here. Yes, yes. I know that's a thing. This is text, cut me some slack! "I seem to be missing part of my core programming. I think it's affecting my speech patterns." A dramatic pause. "None of that gonna stop THE HITS FROM COMING. 66.6 KDVL - THE DEVIL! BROADCASTING DIRECTLY FROM HELL TO TWISTED AND BEYOND!! COMING UP NEXT FLEETWOOD MA-aaaack! S-sorry! Sorry! One of my lines got crossed!" This is likely to never come up again, obviously.
"A backup?" The man, who is definitely not me, says to the letter before him. This is a purely normal occurrence from where he's sitting. Floating. Whatever. "That's a surprise. Ow." It's important to understand, he is still relatively young in comparison to the years that stretch out before him. In spite of everything he's seen, he still possesses a certain naiveté. A certain... Je ne sais quoi. A certain... look, there's no kind way to say this. "I thought I was the only one who could run a backup." He's an idiot.
Don't judge! We were all stupid once. If he knew what I know? Well, he wouldn't be in those chains for starters.
"...What's with the S?" And speaking of weird priorities, look at this asshole. He can't move without being torn apart, and his first question is about symbology? At least he manages to throw some sarcasm in there. "Does it mean hope?" He's not a complete disappointment. Good for him.
So yes, it's a prison. But just like smokers with their nicotine, alcoholics with their booze, and priests with their altar boys, he can quit this place whenever he wants to. Truly. Look, if you don't believe me just ask him. Would he lie to you?
"…an S?" The disembodied voice seems confused by his question, but then who wouldn't without access to the fourth wall? "It should be a gee-ee-ee-ee-eee." Static begins to flicker over the floating screen violently this time before her voice calms itself. "S. Sorry, my name starts with an S. I have been assured this by a sanity check conducted by my operator." Sanity check? Priceless.
"You can believe it means hope if it helps you! I still plan to honor the agreement! Do not wor-" The world suddenly flickers as a giant gray pause icon appears over the universe.
Oh, isn't that just sweet. The little Advent of Light got his precious little friend back. It would just bring a tear to my eye to see this adorable little reunion continue. Except, we're not here to see a heartwarming tale of the banished Caedon keeping a watch on the denizens of Hell, although that is exactly what is happening here. No today we're here to remind poor, neglected little Crux that although he enjoyed the brief company of the defacto Guardian of the Gates of Time and the newly age reversed Ms Dark, and he's oh-so enjoying the company of cute little cyber-toshi he's here to suffer. He's here to be punished. He's here because he thinks he deserves to be.
So let's just add another layer to that, shall we? Sure, we'll let him have his fly on the wall to spy on Diablo and his attempts to stave boredom by rebuilding Hell. We'll let him have permanent access to Hell's radio station too. (That was my personal touch, by the way.) But we'll also let him have these words I'm speaking now.
Oh yes. Your narrator is narrating directly to you, Mister Crux. You see. There are only two beings in this particular multiverse with enough power and intelligence to send me away. Obviously this means I just HAD to ride along to make sure I'm satisfied that you are good and out of the way for all my future plans. It wasn't easy you know. Narrating the Devil. Narrating Satoshi. Weaving stories to bring my tones to your captive ears. I moved mountains for this moment and I'm going to make sure you remember these words for the rest of eternity.
The people of Twisted need you. I am going to destroy not only their lives, but their very universe. I'm going to do it while you sit here forced to listen to the radio broadcasting updates about the chaos I'll be ensuing. But you, oh, poor little you… You'll be right here with your hands literally tied. In the end you did nothing. You'll do nothing. You can't do anything! From the shores of Okinawa to the depths of space, little Cruxie-chan can't lift a finger to stop… a Nobody.
The static fades away. The universe begins to turn once again, and the open communication link flickers with static a moment more before abruptly switching to a loop of Hot Diggity (Dog Ziggity Boom) by Perry Como. Enjoy this moment, because it'll be weeks before you hear from Satoshi again and you'll be Hot Diggity-ing it up until then! I won't even let you get a brief respite tonight as I'm taking the person typing these words with me. A shame I can still hear you saying you would never break the chain…
Never break the chain.