Description: Times are changing. The arrival of gears and other forces onto the global stage has thrown the world into chaos, casting a deep shadow onto the certainty of the future. Such chaos can not be allowed to run rampant. If Kokonoe, brilliant scientist of Sector Seven, wants to maintain any control on the world, she is going to have to enforce a little Order.
SECTOR SEVEN, SOMEWHERE IN RUSSIA
A lone figure sits in front of a large desk, her fingers dancing nimbly across the holographic keyboard that takes up majority of its wide metallic surface. Countless streams of data fill the space around her in windows of light that hover in air in haphazard arrays, screen upon screen of raw data stacked one upon the other. To anyone other than her, it is an indecipherable storm of anarchy and sloppy arrangement, much like the rest of the her laboratory, but Kokonoe sifts through the chaos with a practiced hand, seemingly aware of the location of every single scrap of information amdist the piles of holographic displays.
The atmosphere within Kokonoe's lab is one of dim industrial efficiency, its walls composed of a dull grey metal completely bare of decoration of affection of emotional attachments. Everything in the room has a purpose of some sort related to the advancement of scientific knowledge, be it through the ability to analyze data, conduct experiments, or culture samples. The majority of this steel fortress of scientific inquiry that serves as her bastion against the distractions of the mundane interruptions of daily life is lit only by the glow of the various machines, shimmering monitors and neon patterns of LED displays casting everything in a dull illumination that only further emphasizes its urban utilitarianist design.
The woman leans back in her chair, the ergonomic high-backed office roller the only piece of furniture in the entire lab that isn't covered in hundreds of print outs, folders, or equipment, serving instead as the lone bit of comfort that she allows to take up room within her clustered workspace. Well, that and the large box of candy that she keeps close at hand. Kokonoe lets out a tired sigh and stretches, her arms reaching upwards as she flops into the soft cushions. The chair tilts backwards under her weight, rotating to a completely horizontal angle that allows its occupant to lie completely flat.
Idly, she spits the used-up remains of a thin paper stick into a small depression in the wall that serves as a waste recepticle and reaches out to withdraw another of the small cat-earred lolipop from the box, popping the hard sugar and silvervine candy into her mouth. She stares idly at the ceiling for a few long moments, various ideas and possible scenarios playing out in her mind one by one, each one presenting some critical flaw that sees it discarded after only an instant or two.
The world as she knew it had gone to Hell in a handbasket in such a short time that the implications of the new developments were still beyond her ability to fully calculate. These Gears, as they had been named, had no precedent that she could find with her limited ability to scour the Boundary for information, seemingly having popped into existence one day without any sort of logical or obvious source. The possibilities for how this had happened were literally infinite - such is the nature of existence. Knowing that didn't really help her figure out what to do about it though. Justice was throwing all of her calcuations out of whack. Something as massive as the destruction of large portions of Japan, maybe even the entire island itself, would demolish the timeline model she'd so painfully reconstructed after finally noticing all of the little details that led her to discover its nature entirely on her own.
Apparently, this was something she had accomplished before, according to one precocious little girl, and that discovery had led her to realize the true nature of her hated enemy's plans. Now, however, she didn't really know what to think any more. Is this just another one of Terumi's schemes? An aberrant emergence due to noise in the time stream? Or perhaps the result of powerful Event Interference? Any of those made plausible explanations, as well a dozen others she could think of.
Ultimately, her primary concern had to be ensuring that a creature as powerful as that command Gear was not allowed to roam free to cause whatever sort of havoc it wished. One authoritarian dictatorship is bad enough, she really doesn't like the idea of trying to deal with an entire world government that acts like the NOL. Most certainly there will be others trying to stop this madness, but quite often she found that the vast majority of humanity was grossly incompetant at even the most basic tasks, which means that if she wants to ensure that things don't go tits-up in a hurry, she'll have to do something about it herself.
Hopping out of her chair, Kokonoe paces back and forth across the cold metal floor, chewing on her candy with a scowl. She has a couple of options at her disposal for situations like this but neither one of them are terribly appealing. Azrael she dismisses pretty much immediately. Fighting fire with fire would just make things burn down faster and there is an entirely uncomfortable chance that the nutcase would get swept up in his quest for glory and battle or whatever and blow the damn country up himself. Which just left her other option.
"Shit. Guess I'm really going to have to ask him."
Kokonoe scratches at the top of her head in frustration but turns to march towards the far side of the lab with a resigned sigh. She runs her finger across a small section of the empty wall and a thin sliver of light winks to life beneath a hidden display, scanning her fingerprint.
"Kokonoe. Release lock, code one-nine-seven-two-zulu-alpha-dash-four-four-six. Level six access."
The holographic screen chirps softly in reply to her command and a large rectangular panel simply fades away into nothingness providing access to the room beyond. The dimensional prison in which she had confined the individual in question is little more than a small box of theoretical space, a pocket reality that exists soley for the sake of keeping one particularly beligerant individual contained. Kokonoe's slippers make no noise as they pad across the invisible surface of its floor, or the mathematical construct that serves as its floor anyways, approaching the gaping hole in nothingness within which her prisoner is contained.
Hakumen, legendary hero and disrespectful bastard, hangs suspended in the darkness of the void. As if crucified on that nothingness, his arms and legs splay out to either side of his body encased in multiple rings of shimmering golden arcane runes. She eyes the binding spell that holds him fast, probing its magical integrity for any cracks or flaws that might have emerged but finds none that immediately stand out. The mere fact that he is still here is proof enough that the seal remains strong enough to contain him but it never hurts to be thorough.
"Oi. How's it hanging?"
When one constructs a prison for a living legend, one does not cut corners. A dimensional box constructed of theoretical space may just have been enough to contain the being known as Hakumen, if he were in his prime. But the figure that hangs in the center of the room, spread out and pinned by bands of energy, is significantly less than he once was. That he still exists at all is a miracle. To be trapped in the Boundary for as long as he was, mind held together through nothing but sheer will power, is a feat few mortal souls could hope to achieve. That there was a soul remaining in the armor when Kokonoe found it is nothing short of astounding.
Astounding, and frustrating, for her.
As one wall of Hakumen's prison fades away, muttered words float out through the opening, spoken in a deep voice full of quiet intensity. Each holds an odd reverberating electronic quality, as if mechanical in nature, though there is far too much passion contained within them for a robot to be speaking.
"I am the White Void, I am the Cold Steel..."
A mantra that Kokonoe has heard the towering figure repeat often, spoken over and over to himself while alone in his cell. What must it have been like to be alone for so long? Perhaps these words are part of what helped him through. A spoken reminder of who he is. Whatever significance they may hold, the rest of the mantra trails off as Kokonoe slippers into view.
Every crimson eye spotted across Hakumen's front swivels toward the pink-haired woman, gazing down at her with unblinking intent. A moment later, the faceless helm drops its nonexistent chin, horns angling toward the cat girl as if the man inside were staring her in the face.
"Devil cat," He begins, words growled electronically from deep within the white and black armor, "You grace me once again with your presence. What do you intend to do this time? yet more experiments? Some further torment with which to test me?" He does not sound even a little bit happy to see her, but there is still a rigid formality to his words. An unbreakable sense of Order to his phrasing. That he hasn't broken his bonds is likely in large part to his diminished power. it is difficult to warp reality by will alone when eighty percent of one's soul is left between dimensions.
Kokonoe accepts the insulting moniker with a casual swish of her tails, ignoring the disrespect radiating from the man's voice despite his formal manner of speech. She crosses her arms, the long unfastened sleeves on her Kaka Tribe jacket hanging loosely from her elbows, and reaches up to withdraw the fresh sucker from her mouth with a childish popping sound that she beligerently directs at him.
"As much as I would love to run a few more tests on that amazing body you're currently occupying," she says, her brows furrowing in annoyance at that fact, "No. I have a different reason for being here today."
The scientist holds the sucker out towards Hakumen and makes a gesture in the air carving some invisible sigil into the empty space. The array of circular locks holding the large suit of armor in place begin to rotate at her command and she directs them down towards the edge of the 'floor' bringing the prisoner down to her level as if conducting their movements with a baton. There is an inherent grace to the magic she wields but it is the majesty of utter geometrical precision, beautiful in its efficiency and practically, but lacking any sort of flare or pomp that might give it character beyond the cold necessity of its use.
"I know you're a little behind on current events, so I'll try to give you a quick overview. A month or so ago, someone in the UN apparently lost their damn mind and decided to dig up some old project from the World Wars. They created monsters, which they call Gears, and those abominations are currently running roughshod all over Japan. One in particular, their leader, is a really nasty piece of work. A few of the big players have tried to take her down but so far no one has succeeded. In the mean time, everyone and their mother with an axe to grind or something to gain has been using the chaos to create all sorts of trouble. It's throwing all of my predictions out of whack, which means that you-know-who could potentially use this to their advantage."
She pauses for a few seconds to let that sink in, giving the lolipop a few licks before continuing. Her tails begin to flick back and forth as she moves on to the next part, a sign of clear agitation that she does nothing to hide.
"So, since I'm sort of limited in what I can accomplish out in the field, I need you to... you know, get out there, and do what you do. Bring some Order down on a few skulls and sort this shit out."
Hakumen's horned head tilts, many eyes remaining focused intently upon Kokonoe as she reluctantly rejects the idea of further tests. it is not until his shackles begin to descend that he shows any sign of real interest, however, leaning forward slightly in his bonds to loom over the diminutive woman. It is ironic that he calls her Devil Cat, for out of the two, it is he who looks the more fiendish.
The single word vibrates through the hero's faceless helmet, tone holding a disturbing mix of eager expectation and burning hatred. As if scenting blood, the armored figure leans a bit more heavily into his shackles, clawed feet scraping lightly against the theoretical floor.
"What you claim is impossible! He remains trapped in the boundary even now. You assured me this was the case." Hakumen's tone morphs from outraged anger to seething frustration as he speaks, electronically tinged words echoing through the cell. Though he has no expression to read, the way he applies constant pressure to his restraints, and the fists his hands have become, give a good indication of how he feels, even had he not been yelling. "Do your lies finally see the light, Devil Cat? Or do you merely suggest he may use this time to escape? If you had not foolishly insisted to keep me contained thus, I could already be acting to end this conflict."
Kokonoe frowns openly, first at the mention of that name and again at the aggressive outburst as she is accused of subterfuge. Ofcourse, she'd lie right to Hakumen's face without batting an eyelash but in this case she has been entirely honest. Terumi, or what is left of him, remains trapped outside the veil of reality, unable to influence anything. The problem is, there's no way someone as powerful as that bastard will be contained forever. It could be tomorrow or a thousand years from now but one day he'll get free. Her calculations all pointed to that day being a lot sooner than a thousand years away.
"Ugh, calm down you oaf. Terumi's still safely locked away in the Boundary. But that won't last forever. For all we know, this chaos might just be the thing he's been waiting for to slip through the cracks, which is why I'm going to let you out so you can make sure that doesn't happen."
The candy vanishes into her mouth again and she tucks it into the corner of a cheek for a few seconds, sucking on it a few times, her expression smoothing back out into its usual faint scowl.
"I can't just let you wander around doing what you please though. You'll probably create just as much trouble as these other clowns. I'm going to give you a bit of leeway to investigate and solve problems but the moment you step out of line, you're going right back into that prison. Understand?"
The assurance that Terumi remains trapped in the boundary does force momentary silence upon Hakumen, the towering creature relaxing upright from his forward lean. With every shift of his body, the crimson eyes studded across his body rotate to remain fixed upon Kokonoe in a rather unsettling way, stare remaining unbroken. Having contained him for as long as she has,she knows well the capabilities of his borrowed body. No need to sleep. No need to eat. The ability to regenerate from massive damage, given time, and a near limitless supply of energy waiting to be tapped. A daunting foe indeed to release upon ones enemies.
Again the helmeted head cocks, something vaguely eery in the gesture. Though he is no longer pulling at his bonds, he stands with a prideful stillness, like a cobra waiting to strike.
"Very well, Kokonoe." the armor murmurs, words coming out soft but intent, "Release me, and I will depart this place to do as you suggest. This chaos must be ended before Terumi is allowed to escape. But I make no such promise to return. You must know that I will not be so easily contained a second time. Send your Red Devil if you wish, he will fall before me."
These words delivered, Hakumen spreads his arms to the limit of their bindings, pressing lightly against the restraints. The pose is arrogant, prideful. There is an expectance about him that suggests he thinks this conversation has ended. But at least he has given his word he will leave. That likely means he isn't going to try something reckless, such as attacking her in her own lab. He may not like her, or even respect her, but the power of Order does demand that he cleave to the spirit of his word.
Hakumen's unnatural gaze is met without fear, Kokonoe's own golden eyes half-lidded behind her pince-nez glasses in a nonchalant fashion. Though she is fully aware of terrible power that lays sleeping within that ancient suit of armor, she is also utterly certain that he lacks the ability to escape her bonds thanks to his jaunt through the Boundary. Letting him out is a risk and one that she does not take lightly. It's entirely possible that even a short repreive from his prison will be enough to allow him to regain enough of his strength to oppose her will. What choice does she have though?
"Hmph. We'll see about that."
Taking a deep breath, the small woman slowly raises her arms out to either side of her body. A flood of sensation explodes within her skin as she reaches out with her magical senses, a storm of cold fire and hot ice dancing through her nerves as she concentrates the powers of creation itself into a desired form. A whirling aura of scintilating energy begins to crackle about her body, bolts of magical power crawling across the surface of her body like spiderwebs of lightning.
"Commanding in the name of Kokonoe... Opening the 3rd-type restriction... Connecting the inherent Boundary! The one who seals away all forbidden knowledge, I request... unlock your bindings and release! Dimension Shackle - Open!"
As she chants the invocation the air within the already dense space seems to grow more heavy, the theoretical pocket of existence taking shape as reality as the energies of the Boundary swirl about with infinite possibility. Kokonoe concentrates and the raw chaos of the universe quickly bends to her will, taking the shape that she desires - namely, the magical key which will free Hakumen from her specially crafted restraints. The golden circles about his body hum in soft musical response and the mystical runes etched within begin to spin rapidly. Sparks of power fly in all directions as the potent magic unravels itself only to be swallowed hungrily by the dark void around them. And then, with a final gesture of her hands, it it done.
The light fades away completely dropping Hakumen to the ground. Kokonoe exhales sharply and sags backwards on her feet, suddenly tired. However, before the 'honorable' warrior has a chance to respond to his new-found freedom in any way, the cat-earred scientist reaches into her pocket and presses a button on the small handheld computer within. Reality distorts around Hakumen for a few instants and then he is simply gone, transported to a location somewhere on the edge of the embattled Southtown.
"I really hope I don't regret this," she mutters."
Log created on 15:08:44 11/30/2017 by Hakumen, and last modified on 16:31:19 12/01/2017.