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Destiny Village ~ Central Crossroads

Sudmensch

Professional Procrastinator
Pronouns
he/him
Dill stood there for a minute, letting it all sink in before sitting down and putting his hands to his head.

"Crap. Crap... we win, I die for good; we lose, Cibus dies..." he muttered to himself as he trembled.

He didn’t even know what to think anymore.
 
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Negrek

Triple Cross
Staff
Nate came wheezing up the street almost twenty minutes after the first telepathic messages had come out. Rocky followed close behind, but the familiar was somehow larger than usual, bloated with half-dissolved chunks of meat and ghostly clumps of rice that all sloshed back and forth as he moved. For once he didn't look to be in much better shape than Nate.

The marshtomp staggered to a stop at the back of the group accumulating around Diyem's stoop, gasping and leaning against a front-yard bush for support. Another thing he wouldn't miss about fucking Cibus: showing up half a fucking hour late to everything, dying out of breath, because of his stupid fucking tiny legs.

What were they even talking about? Nate had only caught the tail end of the conversation, something about Cibus being destroyed, and the Blacklight thing eating people's souls or something, and that goddamned battle again. Nate tried to get enough air to think, sort through all the things he wanted to say, the lot of them crowding in his throat. One of the fucking Overseers... the big Bean, or whatever the fuck... "So if we win, which we fucking will, what happens then?" he got out at last. "Does it matter if Diyem saved the fucking world... if he broke your shitty contract?"
 

TheGOAT

🗿
Location
Houston, Texas
Pronouns
Him/his
Partners
  1. serperior
  2. custom/alolatales-goat
Astrid frowned. And frowned and frowned and frowned, all the way through the talk. It all felt so far above her head… right until they got to the part where lives were at stake. Ah, that part was easy enough to understand. Familiar. Everything else, no so much.

Benefactors they were, all crowded on a front lawn discussing the fates of the same billions of people Team Spectrum had saved who-knew-how-many times, except this time, they were kings and queens deliberating which of their subjects gets to die and who doesn’t. Not such great benefactors anymore, were they? Not if they allowed that contingency to go into effect, they weren’t. That wasn’t who they were, hell no.

“That would be an inconvenience, a-actually. A pretty big one, erm, if you even want to… frame it that way at all. No way that’s happening, sorry,” Astrid said, addressing the Zygarde directly. She flinched, going wide-eyed briefly when a few eyeballs quickly glanced her way. For all she knew, there could be thousands of Overseers listening in, not just this one and her friends.

Fuck. She doubled down anyway. “I-it’s, I mean… okay, okay, we’re all on the same side, but seriously, there’s no way we’d let you pull off a class four whatever on Cibus. Surely you have a better option than committing genocide? We’ve been preventing that all year, and we can stop anything! And we aren’t going to lose in the first place, so, so, what are we even…”

She tried forcing a diplomatic smile through her frustrated stammering. “Right, Diyem?”
 
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Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
  2. milotic
Diyem said nothing. He paused for a time, and then looked away. "...If we fail to defeat the Blacklight," he said, "then it will grow and become more powerful. It will seep into Cibus once again, as the core conduit. In fact, it may seep directly through Arceus like a gateway.

"I cannot maintain your forms for much longer. They will not have us to defend against it. They will... very likely fall. And the Blacklight will twist the world into something... possibly unrecognizable with time. Killing them before that happens would be a mercy." Diyem looked away, fist clenched. "If we fail, I would not object to the Overseers' resolve."

"With the help of this world's reality administrator and spirit flow manager, the situation may be salvageable, especially if you weaken the Blacklight."

"Spirit flow manager...?" Owen frowned.

"Voice of Life," Diyem translated.

"Yes. In fact, if things are dire enough, we could perform a Class IV evacuation instead using the Voice of Life's capabilities... from what we have learned from the one you call Maple."

Diyem narrowed his eyes. "I see. So that's your plan. Trigger an apocalypse to restore them later... but only if we weaken it enough to buy such time." He grumbled. "I guess that still relies on our efforts."

"Hey, don't sidestep the question, either," Cal said firmly. "After all this is over, what're you going to do to Diyem?"

"Do?" Zygarde asked.

"Arrest him? Seal him away?" Cal's ectoplasm rippled.

Zygarde's eyes seemed to flicker again. "That is currently not on the table. If you wish to seal Darkness Dark Matter Diyem away, you will need to submit a formal request to the Overseers and we will take it into consideration."

"...What?" Owen hesitated. "But... Diyem said that he was going to be in trouble for... And that what he did was going to..."

"Hmm." Zygarde raised a paw, writing a few notes down, and then it disappeared again. "Dark Matter as a species have a tendency to be negative. Catastrophizing situations can sometimes come naturally. Diyem's behavior will be taken into consideration, but so will the circumstances surrounding it. However, information we have already gathered suggests that imprisonment is not an appropriate reaction."
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
Pronouns
they/she
Partners
  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
  3. custom/luz-companion
  4. custom/brisa-companion
Brisa made a sound somewhere between a laugh and a growl.

"Chief, ain't things worked out enough times fer you t'consider that good outcomes ain't vanishingly unlikely?"

She thought of how she'd been so sure that Diyem and Maple could be allies, and how she'd been goddamn right about that, and allowed herself a small smirk.

But the situation remained dire.

"Zygarde, if you have any advice fer us, now would be a good time fer it, I reckon."
 

Negrek

Triple Cross
Staff
"Oh, well that's great," Nate said, ignoring all the blah blah blah about mercy killings and everything being corrupted and all that speculative bullshit. The team always won anyway, who gave a fuck. "Love that. Guy comes in and cleans up some mess that you didn't even want to fucking touch yourselves, and you think probably you won't lock him up forever. Great. That seems fair. But how's this for a better idea, huh? How about you fuck off and stop threatening to throw him in super-prison or whatever the fuck in the first fucking place? How about you just leave a guy the fuck alone, like you should have done from the beginning? Maybe thank him for his help before you go on your merry way?" Nate was breathing hard, like he'd started up running again. "And stop with the, with the condescending little notes, like he's some kind of fucking test subject!"
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
  2. milotic
"And stop with the, with the condescending little notes, like he's some kind of fucking test subject!"

"He is a test subject," Zygarde said.

Diyem grumbled. "That much is true."

"The results have been very promising. With our findings, we will be able to treat many other Dark Matter entities without worrying about them trying to create more hellworlds. They can even help liberate existing ones, from what this Blacklight incident is teaching us.

"Dark Matter tend to be entities responsible for countless mass-Lockout incidents or hellworlds when left to their own devices," Zygarde explained. "They are entities formed of pure malice, hatred, and pain, and are sustained by the same emotions. By their very nature, we assumed for a long while that turning them into productive members of society was impossible. Diyem is proof of the contrary. The concept of forcibly sealing him in any way had been dismissed several UOC decades ago."

Zygarde then glanced at Brisa. "You know more than us in this specific situation. The advice we have will be directed toward the Cibus spirit flow manager and reality administrator for worst-case preparation."
 

Negrek

Triple Cross
Staff
Nate ignored the feraligatr. "He's a person," he snarled. "And you've been experimenting on him for hundreds of fucking years as part of some bullshit scheme of yours. And you're expecting me to cheer because now you're going to go out and do that to more people? Diyem wasn't making a hellworld or whatever the fuck a lockout is, he was hanging around being fucking dead. Wasn't hurting nobody! It ever occur to you that maybe a productive member of your fucking lovely society ain't what a Dark Matter's supposed to be?"

"Sorry..." Rocky muttered to Dill. "He doesn't listen to people when he gets mad." He thought for a second. "Or ever."
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
  2. milotic
Zygarde looked at Nate, not saying anything. But perhaps for the first time, there was a ghost of an expression in those unmoving eyes of his. Puzzlement, perhaps, or curiosity.

But before Zygarde could say anything at all in response to Nate, a deep, rumbling, spine-tingling laughter started. Little dribbles of darkness fell like stained water in a cup. Eyes turned slowly to the origin--Diyem. Laughing. It was... unnatural. There was a strange mirthlessness to it, as Diyem tended to be.

"Diyem...?" Cal asked.

"I never would have thought of it," said Diyem. "You, of all people, Nate. For me to hear something I'd've expected of Owen, coming from you instead. I suppose in the end, all you needed was someone to hate strongly enough."

He stopped again to laugh, and Eien drifted cautiously toward Diyem, offering a claw. He shook his head, declining. He was withstanding it, somehow, eve as his shadowy flame sputtered.

Eventually, it stabilized. His dark eyes focused on Nate.

"You are a fool. Speaking expertly about something you know nothing about." His flame grew back to its normal size, black embers absorbing the light around it. It hummed like a large electric cable. Diyem stared Nate down. "...What do you really think someone like me is supposed to be? What do you think happens when my kind die?"
 

Negrek

Triple Cross
Staff
Nate grimaced at being compared to Owen, and watched Diyem's display with growing unease. But when there was the chance to get a word in edgewise, he scowled and said, "Uh, I dunno? Whatever the Dark Matter around here gets up to nowadays. Hanging out, not doing much, telling people to fuck off occasionally. Sounded pretty uneventful." He nervously dragged his gills through his fingers. "I mean, I know if, like, Maple sliced you in half or some shit you'd just come back, greater and more terrible than before, whatever. I ain't talking about that kind of dying. I mean the other kind."

He sighed. "Or are you saying this place is even more fucked up than I thought?"
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
  2. milotic
"Mmf." Diyem paced. "There are three ways for my kind to be dispatched, or three categories. One is the way that they usually first try... The way that fails. Killing outright, as you described. Dark Matter eventually returns and repeats the cycle of destruction. The second way is how things ended on Cibus. Accepted into the hearts of all, brought to dormancy but without any true sense of self. Placated until one day reawakened. And the third..." The flame was darker than ever, now. His wings were showing that strange dark tinge once more. Golden, ghostly wisps drifted through the membrane, wandering. "The third is if they win, claiming all into the Void, and becoming the Voice of their own reality. Dormant until a new reality meets it, or it finds another to pull apart. All because if it cannot feel joy, then nothing else can, either.

"That is what we are supposed to be."
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
Pronouns
they/she
Partners
  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
  3. custom/luz-companion
  4. custom/brisa-companion
Brisa contemplated Diyem's past, not for the first time. Now, in front of teammates and bystanders, wasn't her choice of time and place to discuss it with him, but here he was, discussing it.

"How'd yer own dormancy end, once you 'won', chief?" she asked, evenly enough.
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
  2. milotic
"...In the end, my true dormancy was brief," Diyem said flatly. "I was an exceptional situation. I did not lie... when I told you that I had been defeated by..." He trailed off, looking at his own hands, squeezing them, thoughtful. "...In the end, one spirit shined brighter than what I could contain. I fought that person for what felt like ages. Someone who never stopped fighting. Who refused, even as every single soul otherwise was claimed by me, refused refused refused to stop trying."

In Diyem's left wing, a faint outline of a Gengar's smile appeared, but maybe it was a trick of the eye. Familiar wings appeared around the face. But then, the presence faded out. Owen tilted his head.

"...Eventually... that battle drew the attention of the Overseers, as any hellworld tends to do. What follows... is clear."
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
Pronouns
they/she
Partners
  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
  3. custom/luz-companion
  4. custom/brisa-companion
Brisa eyed Nate for a reaction.

"So, prior to that experimentation, you'd set up a tidy li'l reality of torture and despair fer countless souls. An' here y'are, subsequent to that treatment, responsible fer sparin' another world from a sim'lar fate. Quite the turnaround, Chief."

She wondered what gesture of sympathy existed that could spare Diyem the sting of positive emotion, and whether hostility – of which she could summon only unsophisticated fumes for him – was really any better.

"D'you reckon you'd have been better off without that treatment, captive souls aside? And will future members of yer kind be made to suffer fer as long and as grievously as a result? D'you care?"
 

Negrek

Triple Cross
Staff
Nate narrowed his eyes, still dragging at his gills. "Bit different than the story I remember," he said. "So you're saying the Overseers came to kick the shit out of you on your hellworld, then? Took you off for your program then?" He frowned. "How did you come out of your "dormancy" thing in the first place, then?"
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
  2. milotic
"The spirit fought back," Diyem replied, looking away. "...In the end, I was still defeated. It was just... delayed. And I don't like to talk about such things... I'd rather it be clear that there was never a time when everything had been plunged into darkness... After that, it's... it's a blur. I only remember awakening later. The Overseers were involved some time there and the program began."

Zygarde nodded. "We ultimately had arrived too late to stop the calamity from happening at all. But we were there to help rebuild. That is the currently-250-year-long process that Diyem is currently undergoing. Other Dark Matters that we put through a similar program will likely see faster results, due to more knowledge of this pilot program... and getting more information from the far end of the Overseers' reach, where the other Diyem had gone through something similar."

"I guess it's hard to centralize information if you're spread across all realities..." Cal frowned.
 

Negrek

Triple Cross
Staff
Nate closed his eyes and frowned while he listened, still rubbing at his face. He didn't really have a clear picture of what Diyem was saying the situation was anymore. Didn't seem like Diyem really wanted to clear it up, either.

"I think it matters," he said after a moment, "if the Overseers all rocked up and bagged you when you were about to like consume the planet or reality or whatever the fuck, or if you were chilling out not bothering nobody and they decided to drag you off to run some tests on you. One of those is more like what I thought happened than the other, if you know what I mean. But either way." He opened one eye to a slit.

"I don't really like when people decide they're gonna try and fix somebody else, whether they like it or not. I don't like it when people decide they can use you, like now you got to do what the Overseers tell you, you got to go off and help them with their shit and whatever. And I really don't like it when you got to worry, and you got to hide, constantly, because trying to save somebody you care about means you might get thrown in prison forever by your asshole parole officer. I don't think you oughta have to dance for nobody's approval or else they'll kill you. That's fucked up. And it ain't like it's the only option, right? What about that deal you made with that other Dark Matter and the heroes from his world? Where there could be a place for him as well as everyone else? Who says torture therapy's the best way to handle this?" He hoped that was vague enough that the zygarde wouldn't be able to get anything out of it.

"Ain't really about me, though," Nate said. He looked up at Diyem. "What do you say, then? You like the sound of this? All this"--he waved a hand at the zygarde--"taking other Dark Matters, putting them through the same thing as you?"
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
  2. milotic
Diyem growled to himself, glancing at Zygarde, who seemed, wisely, to not be speaking. Only watching.

"My opinion," he said, "on being put through that torment, for the result that I have today? For the future trials I will need to endure as part of their program?"

He kept his hands clenched. They were almost shaking, but he was even enough that he spoke calmly. "Torture. Torture would be a good way to describe how it felt, especially during those early trials. Sealed and exposed to countless horrors that so many would have considered mundane. Something worse than the malice I typically felt. All just so I could live as a normal, proper creature...

"You ask if I would condone it. Condone that same horrible practice on the rest of my kind? All of that pain to acclimate to a sense of joy and belonging?"

His eyes wandered to Eien, then at Nate. Then to Zygarde, and then at Owen, and Cal. Rocky. He lingered on those two in particular. He glanced at Dill, still trembling with anticipation of escape from his fate. And then he looked back at Nate.

"I would do everything in my power to force them into the same process. My kind deserve no sympathy until they learn how to give it to others."

Zygarde's eyes flickered again. He reached for his notes--

"You stop that."

The notebook disappeared.

Diyem paced as he spoke. "You speak as if the words written on a piece of paper that rules over a patch of land on a single planet in a single universe would matter to something that exists on the cosmic scale. That we Dark Matters have a right to exist as what we are. There is no right. Most of us are formed as accidents from the gods who created their realities to fuel itself off of things like hope and wishes. We were never meant to be. Existence is an eternal pain. If it must get worse before it can get better, and if I am the one they are performing their first trials on, so that better treatments, so we can actually be happy, become available in the future... so be it."

He slammed his tail on the ground, resolute. A small miasma formed upon impact, quickly evaporating. "After all I've seen from this world and everything I've seen Team Spectrum do... None of that would have been possible before, for me. I... want this. And I know more than any entity in all of the Overworld that it's better this way. That it's better of our kind were... not to follow our original creation's accidental purpose."

He huffed out a small plume of darkness.

"I'm sorry that I omitted... so much from you all. But, 'I destroyed everything' doesn't have as much of a ring to it, now does it? ...My kind are naturally born in pain. I am the first case of being able to fix it. Of course I would want to help the rest of my kind feel the same."

...And in the end, Owen thought to himself, wondering how many others thought the same, the Eternal Blacklight is the same way... isn't it?
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
Pronouns
they/she
Partners
  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
  3. custom/luz-companion
  4. custom/brisa-companion
Brisa nodded solemnly. She caught a glimpse of Owen's expression and wondered if he was probably harbouring similar thoughts to herself.

"I don't really like when people decide they're gonna try and fix somebody else,"

And there it was, the projection. Brisa had spent hardly any time around Nate, but she knew that his familiar was always telling him what to do and scolding him for his temperament. She imagined Luz doing that to her and grimaced with anger. She recalled the endles scrutiny and exhortations to be better than she was, from Jesse. But then, did that principle even apply when a hellworld full of souls and Diyem's ability to feel something besides pain were at stake? She didn't feel it did. Neither was she comfortable with that.

Comfort was, perhaps, a moral luxury.

She dipped her head to Diyem. "You'd've had a hard time bringin' us 'round to the mission if you'd been up front about all this, chief," she offered. "Makes enough sense t'me. Ain't gonna hold it against ya."
 
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