Family Ties and Family Lies (Takashi Agera)

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Family Ties and Family Lies (Takashi Agera)
Date of Cutscene: 21 August 2016
Location: Tokyo
Synopsis: Takashi's father has grave reminders for him.
Cast of Characters: Takashi Agera

Takashi Agera walks out of his house, not dressed in the casual clothes for a late-summer day, or his labcoat, or his school uniform. Today, he was in a black suit, perfectly tailored. Because his destination is the black limosine with windows tinted so darkly that it seemed like they sucked the light in from around them. And given the garage it likely was sourced from, and the occupants it carries, that might be the truth.

The path down from his house to the street seems longer. Part of that is because he's actually walking it, of course - not shifting through the Dusk Zone or flying. Part of that is the concern weighing on his mind about the strangeness of this meeting and what it might portent. An Eclipse executive calling to want to pick him up and talk was strange enough. The fact of who it was made it even more strange.

Takashi and his father usually saw each other twice a year, at most. Always in his office, always short, usually focused on business. Since nobody else knew of the truth, and his father had wanted to keep it that way, to keep it from his trophy wife and Takashi's half-siblings, to keep his little family together and not have to explain his own indiscretions.

And it was useful for Takashi in a way, as well - since his father was the executive in charge of watching UMBRA and had always been lax. This was not an oversight Eclipse would've been happy to allow had the truth of Takashi's pedigree been known to the public. Still, the lack of a true 'dad' had contributes in no small way to some of Takashi's problems. And yet, Takashi valued in subconscious ways the approval he would get and feared disappointment.

Takashi opens the door and slides in on the passenger's side in the back, slipping from the bright world of the outside to the pitch blackness of the interior of the vehicle. Shrouded in shadow the older Japanese businessman sits, suitcase in his lap, stern features thrown into sharp angular relief even in the shadows. The driver is one of Eclipse's robot-like youma. But even though the thing likely cannot process the speech, the man flicks the switch to bring up the divider between drivers and passengers as the limo begins to move.

There's a period of uncomfortable silence before the executive breaks it. "People are raising questions over your resource expenditures versus what Eclipse is getting. They're questioning your ability to retrieve artifacts - which is part of your purpose - and your dedication to it." he says, gruffly. They don't call each other by name - they never talk in front of anyone else, so it's obvious who everything's directed at. "I can't keep waving them off. You're going to have to provide something of value to Eclipse, soon."

Takashi frowns at this. "Not all progress is tangible." he says, somewhat huffily. But he knows there's a real point here - he hadn't provided much of value to appease the higher-ups lately. Of course UMBRA was his personal project, but Eclipse expected to garner at least some value from it. "...I'll pull out some old projects and give them sanitized notes. And pass off a chunk of magi-tech or two. That should do it."

"Sure - they won't be hard to mollify." the man says, leaning back. "But if it was just this I could've sent you a memo." he points out. "More of a concern to me, is that I think your actual personal progress has slowed roughly since we approved your request to reduce your school activities." The man says lowly. "I expected you to accelerate, not slow down."

"Once again, not all progress is tangible." Takashi replies. "Just because my work has shifted for the moment from loud and obvious to quiet and planned doesn't mean it's not ongoing."

"I can only speak to what I see. And what I see is large holes in the wall of Sunset Tower, destroyed labs, no increase in your own strength..." the man turns to face Takashi. "...but I have seen you around town puttering around arcades with a girl."

This actually causes Takashi's facade to shift - not to drop, he's too on-guard in this situation - but it's off for just a moment, a perceptible moment. "I can't stay in my lab every waking moment. I know, I tried. Time outside means I can make better use of work time." He doesn't address anything else. "It's more about productivity than you think. Without the ability to relax, I get sloppy." he admits, quietly.

"As long as it's an improvement and not a distraction." the man says to Takashi, and his voice indicates he's suspicious it might be the latter. He's about to say more, but instead as the car stops, and a group of workers cross the street, his eyes darken and he glares. "Look at them. Maggots. Vermin. They want the world for nothing. Doing the same thing day in day out, with no pride, no push for greater - how do they possibly expect to have an effect that anyone will remember in a decade." he snarls more than says.

"Those are the kind of people who only have value in their groveling and the utility they can provide to real leaders. Real people willing to take risks and make changes and rise above." As the car gets moving, he turns to Takashi. "That's what I'm worried about. You shouldn't become just another lab coat in Eclipse's machine. Or worse, someone out there like THEM."

The car turned slowly into one of the few parts of Tokyo not rising up like fingers to scrape the sky - passing under the gates of an small cemetery. Takashi looks at his father, and the man fingers the catches on his suitcase. Instead of papers or a powerful relic, the suitcase only contains a bouquet of flowers, which he takes out and passes to Takashi. The car slowly winds through the graves - some large, some small, from headstones to grand mausoleums, before resting on the drive just near a small, unmarked headstone tucked in the shade underneath the trees that form the edges of the property.

The man gets out, walking around towards the headstone, and Takashi gets out and follows. "You're not like them, Takashi." the man says, looking at him sternly. "You were born different. Born better. You've shown the talents of both of your parents, and your mother's sacrifice gave you strength that's entirely unique in this world."

Takashi's left hand moves up subconsciously to clutch at the locket he wears underneath his clothes even still - that locket with his mother's picture in it. "This is..." he begins, looking straight ahead, not at the small marker, keeping himself together only barely.

"It took me too long to find it." the man says. "But now you can, in a small way, pay your respect to the woman who gave everything so that you could have that power inside you." he says, stepping away but gesturing towards it.

Stilted and slow, Takashi walks, carefully, towards the grave, from the side, as though afraid to even walk on the ground above it. Silence reigns as he lays the flowers near the headstone.

It's his father who breaks that silence. "Takashi, you are someone who's been given everything, the recipient of sacrifices to make you strong. And it's worked. You're potential is unparalleled. You can reach your strength to the heavens and beyond. You can control this world. More than that, you should. It's your destiny. It's your responsibility. It's how you can show the sacrifice wasn't in vain."

"The only thing that can hold you back is you. You have the potential." the man says, putting a hand on Takashi's shoulder. The boy is almost stoic, but that hand is still clasped around that locket, rubbing it with his thumb through the fabric of his shirts. "If you utilize everything that you've been prepared with, no one can stop you. You can save this world, and you can control it. The two are one and the same. Humanity will destroy itself without a leader, or be destroyed by the threats from without."

"Don't squander your gifts by wallowing in mediocrity, Takashi. Don't dishonor her sacrifice." the man says to the silent boy, before turning and going back to his car. The man gets into the back and the car drives off, but the teenage boy stands there, gaze trapped, fixed in the air just above the marker.

As the man leans back in the back seat of the car, a voice from his right startles him.

"How much of that was a lie?" the little white creature with grey eyes asks, twin tails flitting back and forth on the seat.

The man doesn't answer - not with words. He relaxes from the surprise, almost looking peacefully zen. Then, he reaches into his suit and in one smooth, far-too-practiced motion, draws a strange Eclipse magitech pistol and fires a glowing purple shard into the creature. The shard sinks into the creature, pinning it to the seat, though no blood can be seen.

Nyubey's body shudders and twitches in its death throes before erupting into motes of dark energy - which reform a few meters to the left as a black form of darkness, Nyubey now shaking itself off like a dog shedding water, the black form giving way to soft white fur instead as it does so.

The man glowers. "How did you know I was lying." he asks.

"You're a human in a fancy suit. I guessed. I knew when you responded with violence." the grey-eyed fuzzy monstrosity answered with a twisted grin.

"Takashi needs this." the man says, sternly. "And if you tell him, he won't believe you, and I will put all my resources forward to find a way to destroy you utterly."

"I see no reason to tell him, unless he asks." Nyubey says, moving back to a sitting position. "But it's you who should be wary. If he finds out you were lying about his mother in any way, there isn't a force you can muster which would save you." Nyubey continues, those grey eyes glaring, smirk fixed firmly on its face. "I won't need to worry at all."

"What I said about his potential is the truth." the man says, pocketing the shard-pistol back in his suit. "What I said about the need to honor the sacrifice was true. The rest is just window dressing. Unimportant." he says. "Takashi mustn't grow soft or he won't excel as he should." he continues. "Now, leave my sight, you horrid little thing."

Nyubey doesn't stop smirking. But as the car slows to a stop, it lets the momentum cause it to roll off the seat, and when out of sight, he vanishes.

It's not until the sun creeps below the trees that Takashi turns and walks through the Dusk Zone, returning to his lab, and returning to his work, and returning to his destiny.