Part 42: Image of Perfection
Chapter Ten! We're in the home stretch! I wish I could tell you that the stupid levels off, but we all know better by now.
The Savior of Terra, prone to panic attacks after seeing gaudy furniture.
I can clearly tell the thrones in the background are gold and brown, respectively.
Anyone else find it weird Velasquez has statues of feral lions in his throne room when actual anthro lions like Endymion exist?
I'm not sure where Velasquez is, and this concerns me. But as if to startle -- the door behind me slams shut. I quickly turn to look and see a man clad in royal gear.
It's finally happening -- this is Velasquez.
Rabies has been around this guy for ten seconds and is already feeling stranger danger.
By Terran law, Rabies is now legally married to Velasquez.
It's pretty impossible to not know who Velasquez is, an account of us hearing about his terrible fuckups through pretty much the entire course of the game.
He releases the grip on my hand, and walks away. Moving towards the thrones, I promptly follow suit. However, he doesn't sit -- he stands between them.
I was told you met Nami and Nagi earlier. That must have been unfortunate. Errant children often cause headaches.
He rests one hand on each of the thrones, and sighs. Errant children -- what did he mean by that...? I get the feeling I'm not in for a short discussion.
Honestly, I'm not sure where to start. I've envisioned this day for a long time. But now that we're here -- I'm at a loss.
I'm thinking it's more the latter.
Things are a little more complex, however. And I'm sure you have lots of questions. But permit me to speak before you inquire.
You deserve to know the truth of things. So I will be nothing less than transparent. Please sit tight, and listen to my tale.
I've just assumed until now that Velasquez is immortal because he eats his veggies.
I wish I had a quip for this, but I think it deserves to stand on its own. Out of nowhere, Velasquez dumps on us that he's from a stellar empire.
I can no longer be certain of their status. Terra does not exist in the same space. So I've been out of contact for a long time.
Earth as well, cannot reach out. We are in our own "reality plane". Billions of these closed off spaces exist.
They are given complete autonomy. You could even say they get stranded. Unable to return to the Federation.
When I left it behind -- it was hurting. We were in need of new sources of energy. So they looked to the brightest minds.
What kind of energy crisis was this Federation having if they had the ability to create universes?
Then again, if Velasquez is representative of the average Federation citizen, maybe they were still burning coal.
"We have a new energy source! We call it: the windmill!"
But the power required wold be vast. Breaking free would be a sign of success. Otherwise, they'd be stranded forever.
Though -- that wasn't really a bad thing. That was the secret nature of this project. If the Federation died, we would live.
Their catastrophe would not reach us inside. And we would only break out if we succeeded. It was a fail-safe in both directions.
I don't even want to know how Velasquez bribed his criminally careless ass into getting these super rocks.
Velasquez had almost infinite creative power at his disposal, and he uses the laziest name possible for his own personal planet.
Then, I had to create another world. A world where I'd conduct this experiment. After all, I was a Federation scientist.
But I thought outside of the box. If I created it -- I knew I'd fail. I was uncertain, and afraid.
Our deepest feelings enter our creations. I couldn't paint this canvas with doubt. If I did -- it would quickly meet its end.
Did Velasquez also create the sad Earth clipart to go along with it?
Couldn't you have just built a few million dyson spheres or something?
"I'll make them look like the parody of every bad deviantart villain OC ever! What could go wrong?"
Yes -- created Nami and Nagi. I created Terra, and The Ark as well. All using the power from these world stones.
After that, I fixed the stones to a spear. And I gave my creations a special gift. The ability to create a perfect world.
How do you use a spear to create the Earth? Why put the world stones on a spear in the first place?
Sounds reasonable. I can't wait to hear how you screwed up a simple request!
This desire for knowledge hurt the Earth. They started to neglect their duties. I had no choice -- I had to open up to them.
But they were not accepting of the truth. We were all thralls of the Federation. They said they'd rather not exist.
Who's honestly surprised that the Hot Topic twins were angsty teenagers?
Velasquez, the Federation's brightest mind, didn't think to create a failsafe. Great.
As much as I dread it, it's really looking like the basic thread of this story is some terrible scientist's kids having a bad case of Fuck You Dad.
They wanted to see who was playing God. Who was condemning people to these fates. Even if it was for "the greater good".
I'm sure they would want to kill them. They'd seek to tear the Federation apart. They were convinced this was a just cause.
To that end -- they broke free. You see, the stones weren't living beings. They couldn't grow stronger with experience.
But Nami and Nagi could -- and did. I cursed the fact that I created them. My abstract thinking condemned us all.
Well, at least we have an explanation for Velasquez's dreadlocks now.
Velasquez, the 'darkness' is called nighttime.
This broke the spear into three fragments. Two of them, are the weapons they carry. The third -- they hid away from me on Earth.
They told me they'd return one day. After they met the Federation's leader. That's when they would finish me off.
They wanted me to suffer for eternity. Watch Earth fall apart from their curse. I'd see my entire cause fall before me.
They had the power to destroy the galaxy. They'd rampage in search of the Federation. And I'd never get that third fragment.
Forgive me for taking Nami and Nagi's side, but maybe a whole Federation of people like Velasquez probably isn't a net positive for the galaxy.
"My plan falling apart was all part of my plan!"
Again, if the Federation could make rocks that had the ability to create entire worlds and was passing them out like candy, how were they running out of energy?
"I kinda half-assed it this time, to be honest."
So Velasquez is admitting he basically created a sociopath.
Has anyone else noticed how all of Velasquez's creations have a red and black color scheme? Reiyo's more subdued, so I guess the lesson he took away from Nam and Nagi was 'less spikes'.
This helped Earth stay correctly populated. He could even prevent the spread of disease. He kept the balance of things in check.
But I noticed something peculiar. A by-product of my children using stones. Death had an aspect of "power" to it.
When someone died -- energy was released. I don't know how to explain this. But it was an unfathomable amount.
I guess you could call it a "spirit". But we had no way to utilize that energy. So the spirit simply withered and vanished.
The way Velasquez says 'paradise' here makes me think that he created Terra solely for the purpose of doing fuck all on while Nami and Nagi did all the hard work on Earth. I'm starting to understand why there was family discord.
I agreed without a moment of hesitation. We put it into effect as soon as we could.
I used the last of my world stones for this. But I knew that it would be worth it. The energy started flowing through Terra.
When they arrived, we wiped their memory. We made them think they fled their home. They wanted to start life anew on Terra.
How would they have likes if you wiped their fucking memory?!
Terra had it's own laws of reality. It expanded to accommodate this traffic. You could call it a growing paradise.
That is what gave Terra its image. We were always open for "immigration". However, they were only coming from Earth.
I did have an ulterior motive, though. I wanted to grow this power on Terra. Maybe one day, it would be enough to escape.
Then I could help the Federation. Or -- if anything was left of it. I had no way of seeing the situation.
Backing up a bit, assume for a second that Velasquez actually did break out and present this power to the Federation. How would he explain it? That his powerful new energy source ran on ghosts?
However, I had other things to worry about. This traffic was starting to corrupt Terra. Nami and Nagi's curse was quickly spreading.
The more people died -- the worse it got. It even corrupted Reiyo into what he is now. Warped his powers, gave him more abilities.
Terra got the brunt of it, though. Disease, famine, death -- it all came here. And no longer was the world expanding.
Of course it was going to get overpopulated! How did you not fucking see this coming?! adflakdjf;lkasdjf;lkasjdf
This made me realize something shocking. Nami and Nagi would be gathering power. Their rampage would result in a lots of death.
But they held the ability to concentrate it. If I wanted that -- I'd need the fragment. So Reiyo and I started looking thoroughly.
You know Velasquez, if you have just lied to Nami and Nagi about their origins, none of this would have happened.
Eventually, we found the fragment. With everything in place, we planned. How do we grow enough power to stop them?
We had to set a trap.
They could likely sense energy. So we needed enough to lure them back. But my past had taught me one thing.
The stones on my sceptre were not enough. I needed to make something living. Something that could grow exponentially.
'Clear' as in 'clearly stupid', but continue.
Sorry -- I'm getting ahead of myself. Basically, we wanted to lure them back. We'd unleash our poer, and tap into theirs.
After all, they were harvesting too. I had to assume they held more power. So we only needed to get their attention.
When they came -- we'd spring the trap. Everything would be present in one room. All three fragments, them, and our lure.
A battle would likely ensue. But everything would be connected. We could unleash every bit of power.
And then Nami and Nagi's curse would spread to every conceivable reality! Good job!
And hopefully Velasquez would step down and never, ever be put in a position of power again.
We'd open trade routes, and help each other. All of the connections would be open. This has always been my goal, Rabies.
The Federation would live on. And billions of worlds would co-exist. I'd do what no one else could accomplish.
That's what I told the people, too. I was just selective in my wording. They could never know their true nature.
Another thing. They mentioned 'death' being a part of the curse that Nami and Nagi inflicted. Was everyone in the Federation immortal? In that case, I can sort of see why they were running out of energy if nobody died ever.
I'm still not really seeing a reason why the Federation deserved saving.
But he wouldn't just stop at saving the Federation. He'd give freedom to all of the reality planes. This would pull them into the same physical place. A new universe would be born -- completely connected.
If that was to happen, he'd need to lure them back. This meant concentrating power in his own vessel. If they came to harvest it -- a battle would ensue. All of that power in a single room, would be unleashed.
This is what Velasquez would use to carry out his plan. He'd combine his energy, with the energy they harvested. It would be like when Nagi tried to unleash my power. However, instead of destruction, it would be liberation.
And that is when one incredible fact dawned on me.
Of course Rabies figured it out! He got smart learnin!
A pretty impressive feat, considering the highest technology on Terra is probably the trebuchet.
Velasquez, does every plan you have hinge on somebody dying?
It was hard finding the few dozen people on Terra who didn't believe goblins caused tuberculosis, but Velasquez persevered!
Didn't you run out of world stones?
It was at this moment where the horrible truth of where babies come from dawned on Velasquez.
Okay, why them? Why not just sacrifice a few thousand prisoners or something, instead of the smartest people on the planet?
I'm not proud of my actions. I didn't want to take after Nami and Nagi. But I needed enough power to create a lure.
Then Velasquez killed PB and Phidget's Mother...? That's a horrible thing to do -- I'm shocked.
Don't jump to conclusions, Rabies. They are still alive and well. Just held within the vessel I created.
And that's where I was quite dishonest. The Exodus Project was not a failure. In fact -- it created you.
And now we see the truth depths of Velasquez's depravity: he sacrificed thousands just to create a cog monster with an insatiable thirst for PopStarr and squirrel blood.
It isn't complicated, it's convoluted.
Okay, how? How did sacrificing thousands give Rabies soul magnet abilities?
His name is Rabies, for he is many. And also because he foams at the mouth.
Again, how is this a practical solution to the Federation's energy problems? You come back, explain to them that they need to perform trillions of sacrifices to make more Rabies, and they're just going to roll with it?
We've already seen what Velasquez considers 'perfect' with Nami and Nagi. His definition of beautiful is pretty suspect.
I don't know how to feel -- this doesn't make sense. What about my memories, and my name...?
I know this must be a shocking revelation. But all of these souls fight for dominance. You may inherit their memories or ideals.
The worst part of this is that at some point, some person with the surname McFutts named their child Rabies.
Behold, the game's explanation for any time the player's finger slipped and they picked the wrong option.
And here's the half-baked reason why Rabies sees every pointless scene outside his scope!
What the hell does this even mean? Rabies sees all, but he's some kind of senile idiot who forgets about it instantly?
But you are nothing of the sort, my child. You won't hold these souls forever. You'll have freedom when the battle is over.
You'll be able to retain your physical form. But you'll hold onto the strongest soul. You'll truly become "Rabies".
That is -- if there is enough power. So we must hope your are strong enough. And that Nami and Nagi have enough as well.
That still doesn't negate the fact that if Rabies releases all this energy, he still technically doesn't have a soul, he's just keeping one trapped forever.
Okay, if that was the case, then why didn't Kila go to Terra first when he got blown up? Or Rocker when he got strangled, for that matter?
I notice he doesn't mention Reiyo or his plan. Was he keeping that secret -- even from Velasquez? If that's the case, I feel good about my odds. Reiyo had been growing this power for an eternity.
but Reiyo told me he didn't know what my power was. It'd odd that sending souls to Terra was his idea. It wasn't a hard connection to make, if you knew. They were both aware of the energy death created.
It could be another lie -- or maybe he forgot. He'd been living the same cycle over and over. His only objective was to grow this power within me. I feel unworthy of such devotion, even from Reiyo.
Couldn't you have just said this from the start and saved us from the One True Infodump?
But I know there is no evil with you. So the universe is in capable hands. I trust your judgement, Rabies McFutts.
Just then, the throne room door is kicked open. I didn't even get a chance to process all of this. But at that moment -- I realize I'd never get to. Nami strolls down the red carpet, towards us.
Rabies wasn't planning to! But thanks for your concern, Nami!
Nami -- it is not yet time. I'm speaking with my child. We have much to discuss.
So the Exodus Project made you, huh? I knew there was something about you. But I wasn't able to make the connection.
Father mentioned the project succeeded. But I didn't know you were its creation. A living vessel -- just like Nagi and I.
You can't be the only one, though. We should've won in that ballroom. Someone tapped into the flow of power.
Father -- you're a horrible man. You went on to create more slaves. Why didn't you learn your lesson...?
I'm beginning to wonder if maybe the Federation just sealed Velasquez in another dimension to get rid of him.
Nami's nothing if not an egalitarian. Rich, poor, powerful, weak, they all get stabbed equally!
Father, you're a foolish man. I can't believe Rabies would trust you. You only create others for your own gain.
Nami looks at me, displaying signs of sadness. She lowers her sword, as if to show a lack of hostility.
Father is a pawn, creating more pawns. He doesn't love his creations. If they rebel -- he wants to kill them.
I'm sure he's planning our demise. And it's unlikely he wants to use -you-. But that's all he ever does -- use people.
That brings up another problem. Assuming Velasquez actually wins and rejoins the Federation, what about the billions of people he brings back with them? Do they all get citizenship?
Nobody here exists beyond that purpose. And that is the harsh truth of things. The Federation thinks they can play God.
Or at least -- they -did- think that.
Nami flourishes her sword before attacking Velasquez. She skewers the blade through his gut, smirking. Looking straight in his eyes, she laughs.
It must have gotten pretty tedious stabbing trillions of people on billions of planets.
But I've waited so long for this. The chance to destroy your dreams. And punish you for everything you've done.
Blood drops to the floor, and I look on in shock. I want to do something, but I can't come between them. I'm paralyzed in fear as I watch Nami kill Velasquez.
I'm on your side Nami, but I'm thinking maybe your initial reaction was kind of overblown. You could've tried forming a union first or something.
I believe in a life of limitless purpose. Not a life planned out by a creator. You can't tie me down with strings, Father.
We lost all hope when you told us the truth. And now -- I will do the same to you. Your Federation is gone, completely razed.
You've waited millions of years. And it was all for nothing. No hope exists -- you can't stop us.
Good thing Velasquez built up a tolerance to swords by stabbing himself.
No, Nami -- you're wrong. Hope will always exist within us. Even when it seems like there is none.
It's up to us to chase after it. Instead of that -- you gave up. Only those who persevere will survive.
He grabs the blade, and pushes it deeper inside of him. It causes him more pain -- but closes the distance. He takes steps as he does this, moving towards Nami.
Everything about this plot, down to its last atom, is irredeemably stupid?
He impales himself further, taking more steps forward. A trail of blood spills behind him, and he gets weaker.
You think you destroyed the Federation. But it is based on the idea of unity. And Nami -- an idea can never die.
He's finally close enough to take action. He grips his sceptre and drives it through her chest. She grunts in pain, twisting the blade within him.
Velasquez coughs up blood, and turns to look at me. I knew this was over -- he wasn't coming back.
When this is all over, Rabies is putting a "Worst Dad" coffee mug on your grave! <>
You'd think, you'd just think, that if Velasquez made two "perfect" beings, he would have also made them incapable of rebelling or at the very least less prone to genocidal outbursts.
I just love how the entire game builds up to our meeting with Velasquez and as soon as he's done with his spiel he just gets fucking obliterated instantly.
I kneel down and pick it up with intense hesitation. If that was the case, its power was incredible. The power of Nami, the sceptre, and myself. If anything could stop Nagi -- it was this.
But when I pick it up, I hear clapping behind me. I turn to see Nagi standing by the throne room doors. He must've been watching, and enjoying the show. His slow claps echo loudly through the chambers.
He walks towards me and takes out his blade. I do the same in turn, and we meet in the middle. We stand in front of each other, weapons outstretched. I can feel beads of sweat make their way down my body.
Is there really any reason Reiyo can't stop time right now and just dump Nagi into the middle of a star?
I stand my ground, and grip the sword tighter. Last time, I didn't stand a chance. But with this sword -- I might be able to win. Especially if it's connected to the power within me.
We've harvested for an eternity, you know. You were only created a decade ago. What makes you think you're stronger?
I like how the female of the two is weaker for no real reason.
...Rabies is listening.
'Harvest' makes it sound so clinical. It's more like reaping!
But at the same time, he could easily defeat me. I'm unsure if I had enough power to stand up to him. There's a part inside of me that wants to join him. The souls inside of me must be fighting one another.
Conflicted, I presume? It's no surprise, given what you are. We're not so different, you know.
Tools, created by Father. No -- tools created by the Federation. Only left with doubt when told the truth.
One man's Ultrahitler is another man's freedom fighter, I guess.
He lowers his blade, like Nami did earlier. Then he stares into my eyes, and smiles.
Don't you want freedom, too...? Your destiny has never been your own. Everything has been decided for you.
I'm not as evil as Father made me out to be. I just went against his horrific ideals. He believes that slavery is acceptable.
It's not just my freedom that I desire. I desire freedom for every living being. For that -- the shackles must be destroyed.
You know you've failed as a writer when you omnicidal maniac has a point. The Federation was obviously dying anyway, so why bother propping it up when it probably would have just misused the energy anyway?
But I realized there's even more. Our journey has been long, but--I know it's nowhere near complete.
There's nothing to "connect" anymore. We've harvested everything, Rabies. Your reason to exist is now invalid.
But trust me -- I know that pain. Nami and I endured it for an eternity. All in the name of our noble goal.
I can tell what you're thinking right now. So many souls are contained within you. All fighting each other for dominance.
I think it's more they just want to get out of Rabies.
Nagi shall free all from the itchy wet skin of life!
I can't tell if he's genuine, or playing me. As soon as he mentions inner conflict, my mind fires up. Millions of voices sound in my head -- and it's insane. He uses this chance to start walking towards me.
I can no longer grasp what thoughts are my own. Do I agree with Nagi -- or do I oppose him...? My grip on the blade tightens, and then loosens. This confusion allows him to keep approaching me.
I mean you no harm. We don't have to fight -- not yet. I'll give you the chance to decide.
Father told you a twisted tale. He must've made me seem so evil. But I have a tale of my own, you know.
And I'd love to tell it to you.
Rabies doesn't want to go to Nagi's secret space van.
If this 'home' isn't plastered with Nightmare Before Christmas posters, Rabies is calling shenanigans.
Rabies would be tempted to make a 'beam me up' joke right about now, but remembers that Nagi literally stabbed the Federation to death.