Part 59: The Final Recording
Finally, it's unlocked. Time to see what's contained in this recording...
A low rumbling echoed in the slightly trembling elevator chamber. It was in motion, going downwards towards the depths of Complex Thirty-Nine. Aboard the elevator were two people. One was an extremely old and frail-looking woman wearing a strange outfit with a lab coat over it. The other was a younger boy with brown hair.
Neither spoke. Though, it seemed as if the boy was struggling with an emergency of the bathroom variety, as he kept shifting from one foot to the other.
Are we there yet?
In reality, he couldn't contain himself in the silence and broke it after only twenty seconds had passed since the elevator had begun moving. The older woman looked at him with a stern stare.
Not yet. The elevator hasn't stopped moving.
We should've used the descendor instead...
Another one of your jokes? What's the punch line this time?
Oh, nothing, just descendor instead of elevator, since we're going down and not up.
Complete deadpan. Meanwhile, Marco had a stupid grin on his face.
So... why does this one have the keyholes too?
The keyholes. They're used to lock the other elevators.
Oh, that. They probably overlooked this one. Maybe they made all the elevators here on the same model. I don't know. Does it matter?
Once again, silence. ...Eventually, the elevator did stop. The doors opened to darkness. The two of them stepped out in this familiar, yet unlit room.
Where is the light switch again?
To your left.
She flicked it, causing the lights to turn on.
BGM: Mereo Mentis
This was the white room in Complex Thirty-Nine. Years ago, this was where My Emptiness were adorned with helmets, and where the ME Code was copied into their heads. Now, it was empty, silent and dusty.
Thankfully, it was the light switch and not the heavy switch, so you could flick it easily.
I'm stronger than I look.
Mentally, maybe. Physically? Jury's still out on that one.
There was a brief pause while Ityne walked towards the computer in the center of the room. She examined it for a moment, attempting to power it on. ...Nothing happened.
Heh. This place hasn't changed at all since 2014, has it?
Nobody came here afterwards. It was abandoned.
Hmm, I see. I mean, it makes sense. There's nothing left for the Empty S here, even if there's all this hardware still. ...Hey, I'm also wondering why're you filming?
In Ityne's hand was a small camera.
I need to make this recording.
Aw, man. If I'd known, I would've dressed better for the day. I just threw on this shirt I'd just got printed. You like it?
Ityne stared at him, deciding not to answer.
A Bichromatic Meridian... that's me.
Okay well, whatever. The recording, is it for someone?
Yes. It's for YOU.
Oh, well, thanks but no thanks. Going through this once will be more than enough for me, I think.
Dumbass. You know what I mean.
Yeah, yeah, I do. But still, couldn't you guys have named God something different like... Zachary or Nina, or even Bruce Way-
Let's focus on what's important here today.
She abruptly cut him off and went to another elevator. This room had in total three elevators; two were in opposite corners, and they led down to each side of Complex Thirty-Nine below. The third one was in a corner between them, and led up to the surface.
Fine, but, tell me what we're doing here, at least?
Ityne waited as they entered the elevator itself. It set in motion, and then she spoke.
I need to retrieve an important object I left here in 2014.
And why didn't you take it back then?
I was busy leaving as fast as possible before the Empty S showed up. Those moon guards are pretty serious...
Oh yeah, those black-suited, red-lined guys. Dangerous!
He frowned, then continued to speak.
Seems weird that you'd trust this place to hold your precious thing...
No one has had any reason to come here after the brief inspection given by the other branches.
...Or maybe they were forbidden to.
Silence. A long silence settled in between them again, during which the boy once again resumed his shifting. ...Left foot, right foot. ...Right foot, left foot. ...But this time, he didn't speak until the elevator doors opened again.
How far in is it?
Pretty far. Thankfully, I know the shortcuts through the plates.
The two of them left the elevator area entirely to enter the middle of the Crossroads.
Then, they stepped further into Wing A. There was no sound but their footsteps upon the cold, dusty ground. It was dark, stuffy, and every step was difficult as if the air, charged with so much dust, was physically blocking their legs. It was lucky neither of them were claustrophobic; with the suffocating atmosphere of this abandoned complex, they could've passed out right then and there. Especially with how stale the air was.
Ityne made a small grimace when she breathed in the air of Wing A.
The ventilation was turned off... just like the lights.
Having said that, the boy was the one to flick the light switch this time. And, thankfully for them, this was the last switch; despite each room having its own, they had all been left to on when this place was abandoned. The master light switch had thus given them sight for every area going forward. Once again, they set in motion, and proceeded through Wing A in complete silence. Marco was merely following Ityne, who moved with intent, knowing where to go.
Eventually, they stopped in front of the duo of rooms related to Luxuria.
Oh, why are we here?
This is where I left it.
In his room? Really? Of all of them, you picked his?
It was left in an inconspicuous object that nobody would think has it inside.
Marco shrugged, and the two of them entered the room. ...Specifically, they entered the left room; the one that looked like a hotel.
Ityne looked around briefly... and her gaze settled onto the desk next to the bed, on the right. She walked over to it while Marco waited near the door. With a flick of the wrist, the drawer was opened, and she lifted a peculiar item.
Ah, there it is.
This is the... fork. ...Heh. E288 was pretty silly, interpreting this as a fork. She probably just had no concept of what it... is. And, given its nature... it's true that the others didn't pay it any mind.
Really? We're here for this?
No, not exactly. Don't let it fool you, boy. This object is actually hollow... and it contains a USB stick.
I see, I see... Or I don't see, because I only see this interesting object for now.
Ityne pushed against a side of it, causing the item to break apart into multiple pieces. In her hand was just what she said: a USB stick.
You're right; no one would've messed with this to find out if there was anything inside of it.
Another silence settled while Ityne pocketed the stick.
So... what's on it?
The details of a certain project that will happen sometime soon... most likely in 2022.
Ah yes, the Tower of Rebirth, correct?
No. This is Project Deforge.
Hmm. Kind of a silly name. ...And what's that one for, anyway? You never told me what it's all about...
It is... for the future when none may tread.
That sounds cool, at least. Maybe I'll put that on my next shirt!
Cease this mockery. It will happen soon, and you'll be a part of it too.
Oh, neat. ...But seriously though, can I put that on my shirt for Project Deforge then?
No, you'll be wearing something else. ...I have two tasks for you first.
Ityne set down the small camera on the side desk and moved over to the bed as she spoke. She stared down at the surface, then flung the sheets off.
Woah! Sorry, ma'am, but this is a Wendys.
...What are you insinuating? No, this bed doesn't have to do with your tasks. I meant simply to get this, too...
She reached for one of the pillows and pulled it apart. Then, she threw the pillowcase aside and ripped the pillow itself wide open, sticking her hand through the hole. Her fingers hit an object and she slid it out. It looked like a strange tablet, and on it were three numbers...
BGM: Mereo Mentis
Oh, neat. That's our reset number.
Precisely. This can tell which reset we're in, as you can see.
And... how does that work? How does it know?
It knows because YOU knows.
Oh, okay, that explains everything. Makes complete sense. ...No, but really, care to elaborate?
Sure, if you have a few hours I could tell you about the radiation of antiparticles causing a coalescence of antimatter and their cycle in...
...You could, but now I'm regretting having asked.
And that this is all the source of the bichromatic part, where one reset is red and another is cyan; the number symbolizes the mid point between both... allowing for an assigned number...
Okay, okay! I get it.
Oh? But I thought you were a fan of this, seeing how your shirt says A Bichromatic Meridian...
Ityne gave a rare grin, knowing how much this subject grated the boy. Having considered that a victory, she left the bed side after picking up the camera again and walked away, towards the door.
We're done here?
Almost. Take the bichromatic telegrapher.
Alright. Here we go, one bicolor television rapper.
Now, about your tasks...
For all his mocking, Marco seemed pretty alert now that this subject had come up all traces of joking having left his face.
The first task will be to assist E288 with anything she may require in the Tower of Rebirth.
Aw, really? I thought she's off doing whatever she wants.
Unfortunately, this is pretty crucial.
I don't especially want to be used as a pawn in the future for some stupid execution game...
Hmm... in that case, at least do the recordings.
Well... Gah. Fine, then.
And your second task will be to join the members of My Emptiness alongside me in their investigation for Zachary and steal the Abime from the Empty S.
Yeah, no big deal, I'll just do that real quick. No, but really, where is the Abime?
Honestly... I'm not even sure if it actually exists. If it does, it is crucial that the bichromatic telegrapher is brought to them. Otherwise, YOU won't be able to identify the current reset.
Who's them? The Abime? The Empty S? My Emptiness? ...Maybe it's My Emptiness, since it could help them in their investigation... somehow? I'm not sure what knowing a number is going to do, but maybe they have special instructions to follow depending on which reset it is...
Okay. And if it doesn't exist?
Then... improvise. You're good at that, no?
What do you mean, improvise?? You're making this stuff up as you go along, aren't you? How are you creating a plan that hinges on something that might exist if you don't know it does?
If you can't find the Abime, ensure that Zachary has the bichromatic telegrapher. Is that fairer to say, then?
I guess. I don't know what this is going to do, given how this number is super meaningless for ephemeral existences such as ours.
Ityne was ready to go, though she stopped Marco in his tracks.
Before we go, I have another, far smaller task to leave you. This one may be more ironic than you know, but it has to be done.
Irony, my favorite.
I need you to go around this entire place... and set fire to every piece of equipment you can. I don't think we're in any danger, but there is some dangerous hardware left here. Torch it all.
I don't get what the ironic part is unless you're saying I'm hot, to which I'll say thanks but no thanks...
...Never mind that part. Just put the flame to everything. While Lucille's explosive wasn't really used here, actual explosives high grade, not her handmade stuff are all around the place. If you set a fire big enough, it should make them all blow up even if it's been years.
No controls for the bombs?
The hardware linked to it is unresponsive. That's what I was checking earlier in the white room.
You're lucky the Empty S didn't blow up this place in 2014.
They couldn't afford to just yet. They still thought the stuff here could be of use later. Then everything started going wrong, and then destroying this place became a distant worry...
Right. Well then, I'll be back. Don't leave without me.
He vanished from her view, and she decided to wait for him next to the elevator.
Casting a glance over while waiting for Marco, a small sense of dread filled the old woman. Dread, and something close to, but not quite like, nostalgia. She remained immobile, staring at the area, the elevator, the middle of the Crossroads... This was goodbye to Complex Thirty-Nine, and this time, there would be no coming back, ever. This was also, in a way, goodbye to the Empty S. While she no longer occupied any rank within the organization, it did tug at her a little bit the realization that with this act, the complex she had worked in so long, so hard, would be gone.
Just like all the others... one by one, buried by my hand... ...though, it was inevitable. It was already collapsing. And now, it's only all the worse.
She closed her eyes and remembered the bichromatic telegrapher's number.
Reset 288... so little time before the final reset, 300. And the only hint that the Abime exists is this bichromatic telegrapher. It must exist... It just has to. But... it's all hearsay from that Sansoucy.
I need to know if 300 truly is our limit... if it truly is as the Abime supposedly divined it...
She clenched her teeth.
Well, next... in 2022... will be Complex Twelve. The last possible location that could contain it. Complex Twelve... must have the Abime.
The feed cut off without any fanfare.
No doubt after destroying Complex Thirty-Nine, Ityne and Marco made it out. This is where the recording ends, though. ...The Abime, huh... I wonder if there's some sort of difference between me and this Abime. A Bichromatic Meridian does make ABiMe. ...It seems as though both Ityne and Marco will take part in this Project Deforge, in Complex Twelve. And... who's this Sansoucy? Isn't that Annie's surname? Where does she figure into this?
...Anyway, this is the last recording in here. Now to wait... until the events of Complex Twelve.