Operational Parameters (Takashi Agera)

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Operational Parameters (Takashi Agera)
Date of Cutscene: 01 June 2016
Location: Riventon's Lab, UMBRA HQ
Synopsis: Takashi is a totally calm and stable individual, and is taking his breakup well. (SPOILERS: Not really.)
Thanks to: Ami Mizuno
Cast of Characters: Takashi Agera

Takashi Agera had been shut up in his laboratory for four days now, nearing five. The miasma in the lab was thick, the dark energy shutting out everyone else who might attempt to reach him - shutting out the world. Trying, and failing, to shut out the feelings that were still boiling within him - trying to drown them in dark energy, in work, in self-confident proclamations. None of it was really working completely, but it was at least taking the edge off. Mostly. Or maybe that was the fact that he also hadn't slept in five days, dulling his senses and his emotions.

Of course, he wasn't truly alone. His constant companion - or at least the one he hadn't tried to leave sticking out of the side of a mountain - was there too. Axion, weapon and research assistant, constant recipient of upgrades. Finally, the situation had grown dire enough the device felt the need to chime in - perhaps as visually evidenced by the way his hair was starting to take on the shading of Riventon's, with the deep purple at the tips.

<<Meister, you are operating well outside of your parameters.>> his device said, breaking the silence. Two eyes glared down at the device, and he spoke in something that wasn't a pained shout or angered scream for the first time since he'd returned to this lab. "No, I've been operating well outside my 'operational parameters' and my field of expertise for too long. THIS is what I am GOOD at. This is where my strength lies." Takashi returned to the orb on the desk, manipulating it, twisting and turning it, laying new slices of dark crystal into it like wafers of silicon. Not too far from the reality.

"Anyways, I'm almost done with this one. It just needs the last component." Takashi said, raising both hands to his chest as though holding an invisible basketball there. And with another surge of energy rolling around him, something began to coalesce there. This only caused his device further consternation.

<<Meister, you haven't recovered from the last one! This is not safe!>> Axion said, conveying panic even through its mostly-digital voice. Takashi let his hands fall to his side, and he took a step back, leaning on that back foot, looking up at the ceiling tiles, at the collecting dark gunk before it drips onto the floor.

"Do you know what I haven't recovered from? I haven't recovered from having the girl I love tell me she doesn't care for me, and hearing her tell me that my value to her is so low I have to become someone ELSE to have a chance with her. I haven't recovered from seeing one of my most promising students turn her back on me and my power and vanish. I haven't recovered from having my familiar stolen away and seeing her denounce me, too!" Takashi shouts, at the device and at reality, too, the sound echoing off the walls of the lab. "I haven't recovered from watching everything I wanted or care about slip through my fingers." he says, his voice going from a shout to a low sort of defeated noise.

"I've seen what happens when I don't have the power to change things. I'm not willing to accept this reality. It will break or I will break. And to that end, by comparison, a little bit of pain isn't anything to me. I've already gone through so much for no benefit - at least I can take a little bit more to empower my position, to increase my power, to bring me closer to the point where I can affect the change I want and create the reality I want.." he says, returning his hands to that position as before, and energy begins to coalesce outside of him again.

Without the pervasive environment of the lab's near Dusk-Zone levels, it's quite likely this process would've rendered Takashi unconscious or worse. But as it is, the energy creates a tenuous tether between Takashi, and the linker core he pulls out of himself. A tiny, pea-sized center of light surrounded by a roiling atmosphere of darkness and red and purple scars - wounds on his very soul, and mostly self inflicted. To someone like Iris Shelby, who was familiar with such things, the signs of abuse of his Linker Core would be as evident as a neon sign. To Takashi, they're a part of doing business.

And it's from that center that a mote of light is drawn, pulled like a droplet of sun, though polluted and black as it moves through the outer layers. On the edge of Takashi's finger the dark energy from him, and the dark energy in the room wraps around it, and it grows into a fine, black needle. With that work done, Takashi pushes his Linker Core back inside himself, and looks at the 'soul spike' he just pulled out of himself for a moment before suddenly he stumbles forward and has to catch himself on the desk. The spike remains safe, balanced with more priority than his body.

"Didn't... even hurt... as much as... usual." Takashi says to his device, who can feel the truth in that statement, as much as the severe pain and shock Takashi has still put himself through. He gets to his feet and looks at the shard. That was the thing that made his Nullhearts so reliable, that made them unquestioning. That made them loyal. That meant he could trust them as extensions of himself, as much as also related to their original selves. Because they had enough of him to be controlled, but not so much as to get their own opinions, to truly be their own people like Ayana did. A small price to pay, he thinks, as he slides the needle into the waiting spot on the orb he was working on, where it lights up with a dim orange glow.

"If reality doesn't want to bend to my will, then I just need more power." Takashi says, looking down at it. "I will not accept this outcome, and I will change it. Trying to do things their way brought me pain and misery and suffering. That experiment was a failure. Now I must, as a good scientist, disregard what does not pass and return to the other methods."