Xenogears 2: The Numinous
Presented by: Xenogears: God and Mind
After repeated protests about why I wouldn't be writing a sequel to Xenogears ---- I'm writing one. There is an extremely good, logical and wholly sensible reason for this ---- unfortunately, it's not the reason involving Elly promising to go out with me if I write this, but it's almost as good. Mist told me to!! If you don't think this is a good reason then I suggest you explain this to Mist --- and then you'll probably understand why it's a good reason.
Well, here it is then, Xenogears II ---- or at least the start of it. I'm sorry to disappoint you but unfortunately Grahf is dead, Krelian is somewhere else and Id is behaving itself. Also Deus will not be making a second appearance ----- Yes! The big D! is finally big D-E-A-D.
Due to the lack of evil villains on the planet I have to bring in some new ones from outside. Please don't expel this from your hard drive at the first mention of the word spaceship --- I promise that the level of tackiness will be kept to a minimum.
Well here you go ---- the first bit, if you like it please give us a yell and we'll ---- well I'll try and write some more.
Pain! But it wasn't the pain that mattered, that was only a side effect, it was the memories that hurt more, blood, death, fires blazing across the skies, people screaming ---- innocence dying children! She fought the memories; letting her consciousness ride the torrent of chaos like a surfer on a black and bitter sea, she was herself! Herself! She was good! ------ The light! ---- The light!! But the memories seemed to spin faster and faster, like a black and bloody carrousel or an instrument of torture, a thumbscrew twisting in the flesh of the spirit. Darkness ---- blood ----- nakedness ----- sin!! Darkness!! And more darkness.
Then suddenly another memory ---- or was it a dream, whiteness, and laughing eyes in a tanned face. A presence in her mind gentle, calming and fully of a golden radiance of goodness like polished honey. She heard the shrieking clanging music of the black spiral of memories, but it didn't matter not when he was there. She reached out, as she had done so many times before ---- and as before he retreated, the intrinsic shyness of his persona clear in this world of mind and impression. And once more she longed for his touch.
"It has happened again Doctor Celia ---- we've lost it"
The voice drifted into her sphere of awareness like some black ship with out sails ---- no not black, gray and colorless, full of a cold precision so much more chilling than the hot evil of the spiral.
"You are fortunate that I have ascertained that it is not researcher error that is causing this."
The girl opened her wide brown eyes on that hated room, its walls and floor smooth polished metal, mat gray as dead water, on the ceiling above her the cold strips of florescent lights burnt on in their uncaring brilliance. She moved her head, feeling the wires attached to the electrodes move with her like long insulated strips of hair which hung from the steel coronet of instruments that pressed down on her shaved skull.
She lay back, feeling the cold metal against her scalp, and wondering if they had given her some kind of hormone to stop the flood of dark brown hair from growing back.
"I am sorry ---" The voice ---- so normally flat and cold held a trace of hesitation almost of fear. But it was a wise fear the girl knew, a fear with which she could wholly sympathize. "Do not waste my time with pointless emotions, you have no reason to be sorry, this same abnormality has been observed with many researchers on this girl, the problem is internal."
"But I carried out all the scanning checks at the transcendental limits before I commenced stimulation, I detected nothing." There was a pause, as if the speaker who had lost all coldness had just realized what he'd said. "------ Doctor"
"That is immaterial, you know that the Eldils can manifest themselves instantaneously on the T. plane with out causing ripples in this dimension -----" "-- I do not believe it is an Eldil doctor"
There was a pause, and the girl could imagine those cold eyes, blue like the edge of burnished steel. She shuddered, causing a light tremor in the steel cuffs that held her wrists and ankles to the hard surface of the examination table. Luckily, the two who spoke were behind her, standing with their heads bent over the glowing face of the computer screen like supplicants at some glowing altar to a god of science. But she preferred it this way ---- she didn't have to look into those eyes.
"On what basis do you draw that conclusion?" There was a cruel sharpness to the voice now, keen and cutting. "The disturbance did not interrupt the flow of memories into the main portion of her mind, it merely provided a buffer for her ego somewhere at the Id level of the unconscious." The first voice spoke again, and this time it was back to it's dry chilling normality. "The girl's superego, but I wouldn't have thought that it could influence the flow of memories that have not actually been experienced ----"
The voice continued like the audio equivalent of an endless expanse of metal and the girl closed her eyes tightly and tried to shut out the sound. "She has an extremely strong superego. It is curious that Opophis would have chosen such an innocent as it's emissary, but perhaps that is simply part of her suitability. After all the Nulia work in ways that we cannot imagine. Maybe it wishes to corrupt her from the inside."
"---- Her genetic profile is correct isn't it doctor?" The man's voice then gasped as he realized what he had said. "Of course, I am never wrong. She is the Contact."
The girl let the voices drift away from her, lying peacefully in her mind and letting thoughts ---- blissfully her own thoughts, come to her in snatches. The night sky of Osier with the core of the galaxy splayed across it like a stain of light, her mother ----- but no, she wouldn't think about that. Then there was him, she knew nothing about him, not even his name or where he was, but she knew one thing ------ she loved him.
"You may return to your quarters ---- you are no longer needed."
That was another thing she hated about this place, that no one ever used her name. She remembered one day when she had turned to the one they called doctor Celia and screamed
"My! Name is Sylina Silver!!"
The docotr hadn't changed expression but simply gestured in a peremptory way for her to lie down on the hard examination table. She had refused of course, but before she could move two guards had seized her and slammed her drugged weak body onto the cold steel. That was another thing she hated ---- the helplessness. She remembered what her father had said when he first started to teach her Chi
"You'll never be helpless if you know how to fight back"
But he hadn't bargained for this, for a research ship in the middle of the void, for drugs that kept her muscles weak and her brain confused, for a dam identity bracelet on her wrist that could be made to inject her body with a knock out drug at the touch of a button.
Sylina walked docilely between the two guards, down the curving bare steel passages of the ship to the tiny steel box which they had placed her in, and knew that the only thing that would sustain her, the only thing that would stop her going mad, like water to a man in the desert, or healing to the desperately ill ---- was the thought of him.
Celia walked from the laboratory with the cold energy saving stride of a robot. Her pale skin and blond hair, her blue eyes and physical grace would have made her heart-stoppingly beautiful if it weren't for the cold set expression and the cool cruelty in those eyes. The white lab coat that might have made her appear innocent simply lent her an icy majesty, as with her short pony tale bobbing behind her she made her way to the bridge.
It was a cavernous space with banks of equipment like mountains of metal and glass and incomprehensible switches. There were several cold steel chairs bolted into the floor in front of the consoles and wide panoramic windows that gave the bridge it's view of star speckled blackness. Celia cast her blue gaze out to those cold points, looking at them with the disdainful knowledge of a woman looking for her favorite jewelry.
Her contemplation was interrupted by the bleep of an internal communication. Crossing the control area she ignored the two crewmen in their gray coveralls with the red flashes, and the blue circlet on the chest who watched the instruments like human robots. Celia bent to a small steel table, her slim cool hand reaching down to activate a view-screen linking bridge with another part of the vast ship.
"Doctor Celia, I wish to report that we have finally managed to trace the T. plane disturbance from six months ago." "Proceed Thrim" The man on the screen seemed to nod; his black eyes were deferential in his pale broad face. The mud colored hair that sprouted from his head in raised spikes held a tint of green like the worst of swamps. "We measured the ether produced and saw that it could be nothing but an Eldil, then we started to reverse track across the T. plane to try and determine where in space the Eldil came from" "Was the Eldil Nulia or Celestia?" Thrim's voice ---- the rasping rumble of a hard muscled man sounded almost disappointed. "The etheric pattern indicated one of the celestia ----- but when we looked at the planet with long range sensors we were able to determine residual nano-mechanical traces in the ionosphere ---- and of a design we have not seen before"
Celia's expression did not change, her eyes bored into Thrim like darts of blue fire. "Does the planet correspond to the known location of the Eldridge?" Thrim shrugged. "As far as we know, the galactic drift hasn't been too great in 10000 years, and the planet is the only one in its system." "How was it that the planet wasn't discovered previously if it is inhabitable?" Thrim shrugged again, his beetle black eyes lowered to avoid his commander's blazing stare. "Too far from any of the main space routes, and it's a fairly small planet, hardly worth bothering with ---- until now." "Are you absolutely sure that the Eldil is that from the Deus system" Thrim nodded. "To the best of our knowledge, the records from that era are fragmentary at best but someone managed to calculate the Eldil's etheric range, and what we picked up corresponded exactly."
"Excellent." The chill with which the word was spoken robbed the compliment of all praise, leaving it dead and cold like a crown of iron. "Inform navigation of the planet's coordinates and proceed to that location with all speed" "Yes Ma'am." The screen flicked off, leaving a space as old and dead and empty as the intastella void outside the small metal can that was the ship.
Celia crossed once more to the window and glowered out at the stars, each small point of light like a million million nannomachines making up the universal infinity, incomprehensible and immutable. But soon ----- they would be hers, when the purpose of humanity was realized.
The summer sun rose yellow and warm like a golden fire in a great of purest sapphire. The world cuddled close to that fire, like an old man with cracked hands who held them out to the comfort of the flames. But the world was neither old nor tired, nor worn out. The forest bloomed with life and growth, green and fertile with the smell of damp earth, and the deserted heaps of rubble were disappearing into orderly shelters under the heavy hands of roaring bulldozers and earthmovers. But here in the forest the restoration was quiet and calm --- just as Fei wished it.
With slow grace he bent and pulled a wild flower from the forest grass beside the path. He had no idea what kind of flower it was but its petals rose in a purple cup, tipped inside with delicate yellow. He turned to Elly, his face full of peace, brown eyes smoldering with shear contentment.
"For you my lady"
He made an elaborate bow, bringing one tanned arm across his waist, and ignoring the long hair that fell around his face like a vale. Elly took the flower and curtsied.
"Why my lord this is indeed a princely gift for a poor maiden who is not worthy of thine noble attentions"
She had almost totally lost her Solarian accent over the months, and had let her hair grow down her shoulders until it was as long as Fei's, rippling behind her in the wind in a sheaf of dusky autumn. She paused, her delicate face --- less pale than it had been, taking on a pensive expression. "Well, I suppose I'm not really a maiden ---- but it's a very nice flower" She stuck it in her hair, ignoring the bad contrast of purple against red brown.
Fei moved forward his boots scuffing through leaf litter and mould. He didn't often wear his old khaki trousers and sleeveless shirt, but something in the air today ---- in the light forest breezes blowing over Lahan, had told him that today was in some way --- a beginning. Elly too had sensed the change in the air, and wore her familiar flying trousers and Geblar uniform jacket.
"Why aren't you a maiden?"
He asked a little petulantly. Elly gave him a mischievous smile her deep violet eyes flashing wickedly. "A maiden is a girl who hasn't ----- well you know" She made a peculiarly expansive gesture with one pale hand, light and shadow dancing from her skin like water. Fei flushed slightly beneath his tan and looked slightly embarrassed.
She gave him a mischievous twinkling smile. "Well ----- I'm not a maiden." She said smugly. Fei lowered his eyes to the ground. "But you shouldn't just -----" He petered out into incoherence. Elly reached forward and kissed him with a quick exuberance like a flash of sun through the green shadow of the trees.
"Oh Fei ----" She slipped an arm around his waist. "--- After all you've been through ---- your still so innocent." He raised his head and gave her a wise sad smile, slipping his muscular arm about her shoulders and cupping the back of her head in one hand. "Maybe it's all I've been through that has made me innocent. Doc would probably say that it's some kind of psychological defense." "Psychologists! What do they know about the human mind, you can't apply cold logical to something as vital as human emotions"
He took his arm from about her shoulders and slipped it through hers so that they walked like bride and groom through an aisle of long forest shadows, the twittering of summer birds their bridal march.
"I don't think Doc would agree with you on that one. He wants to explain everything." Elly shook her head, her hair gently brushing against Fei's shoulder with feather lightness. "You can't. ----- But let's not argue today." Fei stopped and faced her, his boots crunching in leaf mould. "Elhaym Van Hutan, I don't think we've ever argued."
"Oh yes we have!" Her face split in mock anger. "No we ----" She cut him off, her violet eyes clouding with an anger so convincing that Fei took a step back. "Fei Fong Wong! I won't tell you again, we have! Argued alright!" The abruptly she laughed and reached forward to kiss him again.
But as Elly stepped forward Fei's eyes clouded over, his face loosing all expression and becoming blank as an empty screen. He stood rigid and frozen like a statue carved in ice. Elly touched his arm.
"Fei? What's wrong I was only joking" He looked past her as if looking into infinity. "Fei?" Her voice was a little louder, surfaced with the edge of panic.
Fei stood blank eyed like a robot with a broken connection. Elly put out a hand a touched Fei's shoulder, then shook it, but it was like shaking the shoulder of a standing corpse. "Fei!"
"Darkness ------ blood ---- fire ----- black spiral ----- not again not here"
"Fei! What are you talking about?" But it was as if Fei hadn't heard her, he continued in a grim monotone.
"Spiral ---- darkness ----- it's alright ---- it won't hurt you"
Elly took his nervous hands in hers, thinking that the last was meant for her, but as her violet eyes met those smoldering brown pools of emotion she so loved, she saw that he did not even see she existed.
"It won't hurt you ---- it's alright ----"
Then, abruptly his eyes cleared and he fell weakly onto the ground, his knees folding under him. "Fei! What's wrong?"
"E ----- Elly! It's you" His voice was hesitant, almost lost and Elly was instantly reminded of a small child wandering through unfamiliar streets in search of its mother. "Yes it's me, Fei what's wrong?" Fei sat up. "Look Elly ---- I'm sorry you had to see this, I didn't mean for it to happen this way" Elly glowered at Fei, exasperation in her face. "Fei! What has happened? I need to know Fei."
"I thought it was just a dream, it was so faint before, but now it's stronger --- no not stronger closer ---- much closer, something's coming Elly, something black and twisted and deadly." Elly's eyes widened in fear, she sat down beside Fei and took one of his hands between both of hers looking into his face with imploring eyes.
Fei's face turned towards her, his brown eyes hard and somber, all the lightness of the sun and love totally gone.
"Look Elly ----- I don't know what's going on but it's not good" Fear filled Elly in an icey torrent, but even as it flowed through her the iron control that was so much part of her personality asserted itself, like a damn to the river of terror. "Look Fei, I think we ought to go and see Citan ---- this isn't right." Fei nodded, his long hair waving. "Yes." He said slowly. "We should talk to Doc"
And this, is a preview of what's coming next ---
Fei tried to raise his fist, to spin and throw a punch but his body seemed made of lead, his muscles water. His feet slipped on the polished metal of the floor and he fell to the ground, unable to put out his hands to stop his fall. Then strong hands seized him in a merciless grip, he struggled but the hands held him like a kitten being drowned. He was lifted, the two gray uniformed guards pulling and pushing his limbs as if he were a doll, one of them even let go his arm as they buckled down the cuffs on wrists and ankles that bound him to the examination table. Fei fought the clinging weakness of the drug, trying desperately to raise his arm and hit out against his enemies, but he could only raise the limb a few inches, and that effort left him bathed in sweat and breathing in short ragged gasps. Then the guard returned, and with an expressionless face snapped the last cuffs home so that Fei lay, spine against cold metal, pinned down under the lights like a butterfly on a nail.
He turned his head to the side and realized that Sylina was beside him, lying quietly lids over her deep brown eyes. Fei struggled to lift his head, to see what was coming across the metallic floor of the lab with the inevitable quality of fates judgments.
"Don't fight it. It just tires you out believe me" "huh" Fei stopped fighting and turned his head with infinite slowness towards Sylina, her tanned beautiful face calm almost resigned. Fei reached out with one hand, feeling the muscles protesting like rusting hawsers, he sideways, sliding fingers across the cold metal until the hand cuff chain was at it's limit, then his fingers closed around Sylina's hand and held it as firmly as deadened muscles would allow.
"We'll get through this --- we have before"
Sylina sighed and her hand clutched Fei's, tears shimmered in the depths of her eyes. "It'll hurt Fei. It always does ---- and they'll hurt you too that's why you're here." She laid her head back on its cushion of dark hair.
Fei thought of that time so long ago now but still so clear when he had lane on cold metal with the cold eyes of Krelian piercing him, and the probes digging from his body. Darkness had come of that pain, the horror and shame and agony that had called itself Id --- what would come of this pain.
"Oh Elly" He wispered. "Give me strength"
In the distance he heard a woman's voice, like cold liquid mercury, the metallic walls of the room making it dead and tomb like.
"You have interlinked the memory transference circuit." It was not a question. "Yes Doctor Celia ---- and I have set up the memory stimulation apparatus." "Continue monitoring T. plane activity ---- especially around the mind boundaries of these two ---- tell me if you detect any Eldil movements whatsoever." "Yes Ma'am"
There was a pause and then A gray uniformed figure towered over Fei like a pillar of stone and before Fei could move a light crown of metal had been pushed down over his forehead, wires lead from it past his feet to a complex of boxes and connections. Looking across he saw that Sylina wore a similar coronet over her lustrous hair.
"This is it Fei --- I'm sorry"
Fei didn't speak, he could feel the girl's fear, and could feel his own but he clutched her hand tight in his, trying to maintain the single human touch in this cold gray nightmare.
"Initiate memory stimulation"
Pain! Agony ringing through Fei's body and mind a roaring blairing tide of trumpet sound that took every nerve and cell of his body and dipped it in acid and fire. He screamed, and beside him he was dimly aware that Sylina was screaming too, a high thin sound over his own deeper cry. Fei tensed his drugged muscles, and was sure that had their bodies not been weak they would have clutched each other's hands to bloody ribbons.
He screamed, exhorting Sylina to something anything, to keep the pain at bay.
But then the images started, a child's chest ripped open and bloody, the knife that had carved out it's heart still wet in his hand, a building full of a blood colored fire and the shrieks of agony drifting out on the acrid smoke, nakedness and sin in waves a nauseous darkness. Dimly Fei became aware that he was sobbing, sobbing out his pain and the blackness of the fire in his mind. The images started to spark other memories, of the fire and blackness that had once been Id ---- the nakedness of pure power and the lonely flaming perversity of true evil. Pain! Blood! Nakedness and darkness! The siren song of agony awake and hideous in Fei's tortured mind.
Darkness ------ blood ---- sin!
And then blissfully, oblivion rushed over Fei like a black and soothing balm, and he knew no more.
To Be Continued...