Silver Knife, Sphere of Light (Kujo)

MKR

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Aug 19, 2018
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#1
Derrick's current surroundings were foreign to him, he had never before been on the Kalas estate's grounds, while his family and the one whose grounds he stood upon both traced back to the early days of Everglory there had been little interaction between them.
After all, his business was in the field of technology and T-Link based equipment and the man who he was here for was rooted primarily in biology.
The High Scholar Romme Kalas, a man of many fields and a lofty title. But-

Derrick looked down at Abremalin's gift, a sphere of off-white energy, its surface laden with a blocky texture that pushed in and out at intervals. The world's most advanced Rubix cube.
He had worked on it for a while by himself, seemingly to no avail. In any other circumstance it would be appropriate to request aid from those who had knowledge about this sort of puzzle, but the man who had left this orb for him had also made sure none of them survived.
As such getting aid with this puzzle became rather difficult, and pushed him to search outside of his usual circles. A man of many an expertise was exactly what he needed.

So here he was, trudging through the forests of the Kalas estate. But the estate itself, or the manor on it, were not of import. Anyone that knew anything about the Kalas family knew that the manor was merely decor. Instead he was headed for a small tunnel entrance behind the building and with it, the laboratory of the High Scholar. A man of many an expertise.
The tunnel below, like the manor above, was an antique. Luxurious by earthly standards and a five star hotel for colonists but in his eyes old.
Finding where he needed to be from here was simple, as only one door within the underground complex was modern enough to be added by the man he was looking for.

Derrick pocketed the puzzle, or more aptly said the lock, in his right hand coat pocket as he walked towards the new door and entered the room behind it.
 

Kujo

Member
Nov 14, 2018
35
1
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#2
Derrick entered into a room that could only be described as monochromatic. Despite its attempts to appear homely, what with its wood grained tiles and elaborate moldings, the lobby-like area was cast in all manners of white and gray; adding to the cold lifelessness of the room were small, recessed lights in the ceiling bathing the room in a frigid, pale white.

Straight ahead was a prominent door, the same model as the entryway to the complex. To the left stood a spartan little formation of a minimalist table with 3 equally simple chairs around it. Clearly Romme rarely entertained guests here, even if he was actually expecting them. On the right, a long, curved bar extended from the front wall to envelope a small desk space. On the desk was the form of a woman with her head resting face down in her arms, clearly asleep; her deep crimson hair in a thick braid trailed off down the side of the desk. Surrounding the woman were several knickknacks as well as a large monitor to one side of her. Behind her stood a fancy coffee machine accompanied by a multi tiered stand of trays containing a menagerie of candies.

At the sound of the door, the woman stirred before raising her squinted, sleep glared eyes at the man who entered. Individual hairs sprung up around her head, and a clear red mark was on her forehead from where it was resting on her arm. Without breaking line of sight, the woman reached over to retrieve a pair of rather smart glasses and put them on; the spectacles only served to enhance her hawkish gaze. She stared for a long moment before breaking the silence. "Sir Derrick?" Questioned the woman. "Romme is through that door. He said he was busy and didn't wish to be bothered, but considering he knew you were coming I doubt he's that busy." With that, the woman swiveled her chair around and poured coffee into an incredulously large mug.
 

MKR

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Aug 19, 2018
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#3
He had expected some sort of waiting room, a sleeping secretary who didn't particularly seem to care about repercussions, or perhaps knew that they weren't coming, was not what he expected. Though this reaction he kept to himself.
Instead he simply nodded as his name was said, his eyes went to the door she pointed out. Frankly he preferred this over the last time he 'visited' someone.
The room itself sat somewhere between an office and a poor imitation of someone's home. As if someone had thought that any color was too much and turned on the gray filter on real life.

The secretary and her surroundings were the any things that remotely echoed of life, the coffee machine and the bowl of candy standing as the only echoes of color within the room. Apparently the High Scholar had requested to be left alone, but the secretary seemed to show no care to enforcing this.
"Thank you." He simply said to the woman as he moved to open the second door.

As he did so some of the final words Abremalin had said to him echoed in his head
"This world is divided into men and Gods, and I am both, yet neither."
"So as I am, so shall you be, Derrick."


The man claimed to have achieved some form of godhood yet also not, and then followed it up with a statement that Derrick himself would attain a similar existence. Given this was Abremalin Zahed a claim like that was to be taken with a grain of salt, but at the same time heeded. Amidst the madness there was a kernel of truth. After all, he wasn't quite human anymore.

Shaking the slight dread off of him, the scientists opened the door and entered deeper into Romme's laboratory.
 

Kujo

Member
Nov 14, 2018
35
1
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#4
The same pale light, albeit dimmer, shone down on the next room. If "mad scientist" was an adjective attributable to a place, this would be the one word capable of describing the large chamber that Derrick had just stepped into.

Ovular in general shape, the perimeter was lined with all manner of tables piled high with a mixtures of books and notes, oblong beakers, strange flasks, and many esoteric looking machines and mechanisms. The ceiling was vaulted with an elaborate spherical pattern; hanging planters full of strange bits of organic life, and even some seemingly inorganic, were strung up at several points along the bars. In the center of the room, a marginally more organized mass of tables and desks topped with more standardized looking equipment like microscopes and measuring devices was formed around what appeared to be some sort of computing apparatus with several holographic displays with strange lines of text swiftly filtering down them. The "code" on these screens, to Derrick's trained eye, looked to be nothing more than junk code with bits of words like "cell", "pattern", "growth", and other such terms thrown in the mix.

In a remarkably unlit corner of the room, a figure bent over an array of monitors had his profile illuminated by the bright screens. To the left of the man was a surprisingly clear table with a singular, anomalous looking flower in a pot carefully set in the center. At the sound of the door, the man's head darted to look over his shoulder, a glinting golden eye peered out of the darkness at Derrick, almost seeming to glow. The man straightened up, eye still fixed on the visitor. He turned around to face Derrick slowly, his focus maintained; stepping into the light of the rest of the laboratory, Romme Kalas moved to greet Derrick. His movements were fluid but unnaturally mechanical and precise.

The room illuminated the Scholar's bourgeois raiment; his classic ensemble of dark grey with gilded trims and gold chains. The man's snowy locks were only further brightened by the cool color of the lighting. Similarly, his pale skin, the mark of years of research indoors, shone equally sickly and healthy.

"Ah! Sir Derrick! So good of you to come. What brings you to my humble workplace?" Romme smiled genuinely as he spoke but it could not have looked more genuinely forced. His mouth was curled inordinately and his eyes seemed to squint slightly as an afterthought. "Oh, what am I saying," continued Romme, "you said you needed to discuss something with me. Now what was it? Ah yes, you have something to show me, don't you?"
 

MKR

Moderator
Aug 19, 2018
290
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16
#5
In some regards Derrick was reminded of his own workplace, though his was decorated with items of a more mechanical nature than the plants above him.
Biology, as a field of study, had never been among those he favored. While every aspect of the human form and of those of both flora and fauna had important functions like any machine he put together, and in many ways mother nature had been a better designer than humanity could have ever hoped to be. Even if that was a title she was rapidly losing. The fact that when taken apart it all broke down had always irked him.

He was a tinkerer, by nature he liked to experiment and test, to discover the ins and outs of anything he worked on. Doing so on an organism, let alone a living, breathing one, was beyond morally questionable. Even if boundaries needed to be tested for science this was not the middle ages and since then there still was no soft reset after testing if humans could function just as well without 70% of their lungs.
So he stuck with his machines.

From the looks of it the majority of the screens were simply there to look impressive to those that didn't know better, something for the unknowing to look at and believe they recognized a pattern. Kalas himself, five years his senior if he recalled correctly, sat in a dimly lit corner. Like many a mad scientist that came before and would come after them working in some dark corner was the preferred location.

In some regards the two could be seen as twisted siblings, white hair adorned both their skulls and they were as tall as one another. Though Derrick was notably less bulky than the man in front of him.

Derrick would note the peculiarity in Romme's movements, though refrained from remarking upon it. As that seemed like a poor way to greet the man whose help you required and from the seemingly forced smile it appeared the two of them disliked being interrupted about as much as one another. The man's mention of something to show him caused Derrick to delve into the pocket he had stowed the sphere in.

"I do indeed High Scholar" He said as he pulled out the item in question. The white light of the sphere colliding with the pale light above.
"Recently I have come into possession of this item, a puzzle box of sorts. One far more intricate than any child's toy sold for entertainment. It also seems the previous owner was willing to kill to merely get the puzzle though unsuccessful in acquiring its contents."

The scientist gazed upon the sphere in question.

"So with that in mind and insofar no luck of my own in solving this, I began to look for those who would be able and willing to assist in such a matter. And seeing as among those upon Luna's service few have proven better at acquiring knowledge than the Kalas family, I reached out to you." He mixed in the message with some sweet talk, the puzzle probably seemed like a banal task to most even if it had proven itself formidable to both himself and Abremalin.
The trick became spiking the man's curiosity and willingness to assist both.
 

Kujo

Member
Nov 14, 2018
35
1
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#6
Romme listened intently as Derrick explained the situation. His smile faded almost instantly as he laid eyes upon the object in the visitor's hands. He stared intently at the sphere for a long, silent moment.

As High Scholar, Romme knew many things. In fact, it was practically his job to know everything, and he made it a point to exact that goal by any means necessary. However, it eluded him how this peculiar object could have reached the hands of the man standing in front of him. If anyone knew the age of this little puzzle, they would call it a relic; however it was much more mundane than some bit of EOT or old Lunarian culture. And yet, this shifty little white ball could not be more valuable to Romme than any ancient mechanism or mobile weapon that could ever be dug up from the great scar in the moon.

The golden eyed man took a heavy, slightly ragged breath before speaking. "Where did you get this?" He asked, equal parts aloof and accusatory. Not waiting for an answer, he continued. "May I... See it?" Romme extended his hand like an animatronic, his hand wavering slightly as it reached a seemingly set position."
 

MKR

Moderator
Aug 19, 2018
290
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#7
The man's reaction belief that he may have knowledge about the item, though Derrick had no way to confirm that. Aside from honoring his request that was. If the High Scholar knew the exact motions needed to unlock the sphere without any issues then he had his answers.
"You may." the scientist simply said, putting the sphere in Romme's hand.

"As for how I obtained it, what I can say for sure is that the previous owner intended for me to receive it, what I can theorize is that it used to be owned by.." He contemplated for a moment. "A select group who I previously had ties to, ones whom I commissioned for help with the Black Angel. Also the ones killed by the previous owner. I cannot say for certain that this item belonged to them, but it is in the ruins of their workstation that I received it."

A core of honesty with a lack of information seemed appropriate. There was no need to mention who his collaborators were, simply that they were now dead and the item presumably had been theirs would do.
Now he eyes the High Scholar and the sphere both, to see the results.
 
Nov 14, 2018
35
1
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#8
Romme's hand slowly ceased shaking in anticipation as he held the puzzle in his hands. He turned a bit to face a light beaming down from the ceiling and raised the item up to about eye level. Romme produced a small, knowing smile.

The lines circumscribing the sphere shone brightly for a moment all at once before going completely dim. One section slowly slid out of its place, then another, and then another. Piece by piece, the puzzle began to shape its round structure into the form of a cube slightly larger than its original size.

"While I cannot rightly validate or invalidate your story, I can assure you that what I now hold in my hands belongs to someone else. Furthermore, I highly doubt said subject was killed, at least, not by whoever it was that handed this to you." Romme said at length. He took a few steps over to a nearby table and cleared a space with his forearm, brushing a pile of papers and miscellaneous doodads to the side; he promptly set the new cube in the space. On top of the cube was a circular shape; Romme placed his hand upon it for a moment and then withdrew it. The circle rotated several times before splitting evenly down its center and ejecting a strange looking disc.

"You're familiar with my lineage, yes? Our history of exploration and study stemming from the Hiryu's expedition?" Asked Romme rhetorically. "My forebear, Sir Alt, was a rather skittish man, bright as he was. He had a habit of being grievously secretive with his work. However, it seemed that his paranoia was founded more often than not. Bah, but let us discuss the matter at hand. Alt had hidden away his studies from the expedition somewhere and on something that only he, or the people he trusted, could find it."

Romme confidently pulled the disk from the cube. "He hid it in this puzzle, on this esoteric little disc format that you see here. He locked it away knowing that someone didn't want the public to know what he found! Knowing that someday, his own blood would acquire it and know the truth!" He was beginning to get rather energetic, almost shaking. Romme took a deep breath and turned to the center of the room. He looked over his shoulder at Derrick. "And if this box came into your hands as well, then whatever is contained here must be rather pertinent to you as well."

Romme went up to some old looking station with retro looking patterns all over it, at least by Lunarian standards. A large lid flipped open on the device and Romme placed the disk in it. He pressed several knobs and switches on the large pillar in the center of the room before pressing a button on the old machine faintly labeled "read". The clearly ancient piece of technology hummed and clicked for an excruciatingly long time as it loaded up the data onto the pillar; all the while, Romme muttered on about how his progenitor didn't do this for secrecy, he was just a fan of obscure media peripheries. Finally the machine made a sort of satisfied hum as it finished and audio began to play through Romme's machine.
 
Nov 14, 2018
35
1
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#9
---BEGIN PLAYBACK DATED: OVER ERA 0044, APRIL 19TH, 12 PM

"You wanted to see me, Captain?"

"It's Chairman now, Chairman."

"Sorry, force of habit."

"Doctor Kalas... I wanted to talk with you about what we uncovered at Lagrange 3."

"The super-structure, right. I was wondering why the public hadn't been made aware of it."

"Was it really that conspicuous?"

"You publicized everything else."

"A necessary precaution... That thing - it's too dangerous. I wanted to ask for your cooperation in keeping a lid on the whole affair."

"Someone's going to stumble across it eventually. EOT is making space travel a reality much faster than we thought-"

"It'll become a graveyard, all because of that dead zone around it."

"Of course... but if that's so, why keep it from the public?"

"That should be self-evident."

"...You want to keep it for yourself."

"The Lunarians have been pulling the strings for far too long, Doctor. Ganeden's pawns meant to send us to our deaths."

"You think it was intentional?"

"I do. You're the only reason we're still alive, Doctor... That's why I need your help."

"..."

"Mankind is ill served by a so-called God that keeps secrets. What we saw in there - what we experienced? She's afraid of it. That's good enough reason for us to examine it more closely."

"You're asking me to find a way back? We barely escaped with our lives before-"

"Can you?"

"...I'll do what I can."

---END L-LOG: TRANSMISS-ERROR. E-ERRROR. ERROR PLEASE CLEA...
~

Romme gave the device a few hearty slaps to no avail. "Hm. Well at least you served your purpose, you old dog."
The data from the transmission had already been replicated onto his own systems. Romme put his hand to his chin and stiffly paced back and forth, absorbing the information.
 
Aug 19, 2018
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#10
It seemed his assessment was correct, and the high scholar explained as much. It seemed the puzzle belonged to Romme's ancestor. Which meant he had by accident stumbled exactly to who he would have needed to unlock this sphere. Or rather, cube now.
Derrick calmly followed and listened to Romme explain the origins of the item, paranoid ancestors who were of historical note did always seemingly have a penchant for leaving cryptic items for their descendants to solve. But to take the extra step and hide it was simply asking for trouble, though it seemed Alt Kalas had made his puzzle hard enough for it to work out in the end.

Seeing the High Scholar this... Giddy... Was a unique experience which the scientist doubted many had the opportunity to witness, nevertheless. His attention turned from the man to the log as it began playing back.
The contents were serious, it told him where to go next as it seemed there was a super structure hidden on L3, which would explain the ban on people going there.
But all in all, the contents of the disk were simply... Humorous to Derrick.

Here was the Chairman of the Directory at the time having received some grand revelation about this Ganeden figure's fears, who if she was as closely tied to the Lunarians as this recording tells may well be the Alabaster Lady herself, some earth shattering discovery of grand importance.
And what does he do? He tells no one, and lets hundreds if not thousands if not even more men go to their deaths to keep it a secret.

And then he has the audacity to judge the gods for keeping secrets immediately after?
It was so refreshingly human.

After being surrounded by gods, inhuman beings and the in between of Abremalin for so long it was so nice to hear the hubris of humanity taken shape speak in hypocritical tones. Derrick visibly stifled a laugh, barely able to contain it as the recording concluded.

He took a deep breath through his nose to calm himself.
"It would appear L3 is my next destination then," he spoke up. "Given its nature as explained in the recording the Directory likely has little to no personnel to protect it present. I do wonder whatever it is the Hiryu encountered there, would you happen to have any knowledge about this?"
 
Nov 14, 2018
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#11
"Please hold a moment," said Romme. He glided over to a nearby screen on the pillar. "Some data other than the log appears to have been uploaded as well." Romme swiped on a number of holographic displays that popped up before observing a specific one carefully. "Hm. Whatever the 'superstructure' the Hiryu encountered at L3 is, there's hardly a record about it. All that's here is that the Hiryu experienced a total catastrophic system failure shortly after confirming that they had reached L3," said the Scholar, "however, one can infer from the log that at whatever it is has some sort of 'dead zone' around strong enough to completely disable machines, even as large as the Hiryu." Romme flipped over the little hologram square and added, "Although, an inference is unnecessary as sir Kalas has kindly labeled this file as 'stasis field nullifier'."

"You weren't planning on heading out there on your own, were you sir Derrick? If that object has remained secret for this long, then that field is likely to be enough to render even your 'Black Angel' into a useless heap of metal." Romme took the sheet of light in his hands and turned to face Derrick. "It should only take a moment to whip up this device, as... strange as its primary mechanism is." The sound of bits and baubles tumbling about marked Romme's search for a specific tool on a nearby table: a thick syringe.

"Why don't you go and keep Lucrecia company while I complete the part; from there, we can go install this into my vessel and be on our way." Romme meandered off to a door on the side of the room while rolling one of his sleeves up his pallid arm. "I would invite you to attend, however this is truthfully the most 'organized' section of my laboratory and I wouldn't wish for you to become lost or for an... accident to occur." Once more a questionable, genuine smile came across the man's face before he entered the dark room through the door.
 
Aug 19, 2018
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#12
Derrick looked over the additional data as it passed by, listening to the high scholar's assessment of it- and the mega structure hidden within L3.
When it came to the man's assessment of his travel plans however, Derrick gave a simple nod.

"It was indeed my plan to head to L3 on my own, as you stated yourself. Whatever was contained within that log was of import to me. Or at the very least, someone is trying to guide me there. And given the reference to a 'so called God'-" He halted himself.
"Well, suffice to say my curiosity is more than piqued. You are of course free to partake in my curiosity and come with me to the mega structure. Wishing to know what one's ancestor encountered in such a place is of course not a right I have any intention to deny."

Even if the High Scholar had invited himself to the journey seemingly Derrick was not one to repay a kindness like solving this cube in a flat out refusal. Especially if he needed that Stasis Field Nullifier to enter.
The smile given to him by Romme however alongside the line given before it also made it clear to him that the man did not want him around for the creation process. Paranoia was in the family, the scientist surmised.

The man narrowed his eyes slightly at his host, guessing that there was some secret project further into this complex that he perhaps was afraid anyone would, or could, copy and take all the credit.
"Very well, I shall wait in the lobby then." He simply answered, turning back the way he came with only a glance back to the high scholar.

One back inside the lobby first and foremost Derrick would make use of the coffee machine, getting himself a drink while he waited.
 
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