Everything in Michael's room is awash in a faint, violet light…it'd be kind of pretty if there were any obvious source. Or if Michael's entire body didn't ache as if it had been flayed open and very slowly stiched back together with metallic pipe cleaners.
3:09 PM Michael_Lin
…purple light…? Where is it coming from…? He opens his eyes, cautiously, trying not to make everything hurt even /more/ and stares up at the living room ceiling.
The wall, the ceiling…oh. Michael can see LINES glowing through the sheets. Traceries, not unlike those seen on high-end AR clothing…why is he wearing…wait…he doesn't feel clothing under…the…sheet…
3:11 PM Michael_Lin
3:17 PM
He sits up, trying to make more sense of this entire situation - and is rather confused to find what amount to /feet/ of hair surrounding him, enough to spill to the ground if he were standing. He knows his hair hadn't been that long before. He /knows/ it.
The aching. The rushing wind. The eyes of an uncaring…something. The /refusal/.
3:18 PM
The fall.
3:18 PM
Was that real?
3:20 PM Michael_Lin
Part of him wants to say no: (…you were dreaming. Now you have woken up.) soft behind glass: but he can't deny the /glowing/. Something has very, very clearly gone wrong.
3:22 PM Greenling has joined the channel.
3:24 PM Michael_Lin
But he can't just lie here. It takes effort, and everything aches suddenly even more as he moves (and he bites back that little gasp of pain), swinging his legs over the side of the couch. Standing first.
3:31 PM Michael_Lin
Clothes…all he has is the one salvageable school uniform, but that will have to do for now.
…is that coffee? Michael definitely smells coffee.
3:34 PM Michael_Lin
…okay, he is going to get dressed /very/ fast then, because there /isn't/ coffee kept in the apartment, which means someone else is in the apartment. /Again/.
3:35 PM
And then once he's dressed, going to drift silently towards the kitchen, with his hair dragging on the ground behind him, to see whatever it is. He sighs to himself, silently.
Coffee. Toast. Eggs…sliced ham? Someone has /cooked/, but doesn't seem to be here.
3:35 PM
…and there's also half a ham-and-pineapple pizza, apparently.
3:37 PM Michael_Lin

3:37 PM
Now he is just going to search around for any /other/ clues that they might have left behind.
3:38 PM Michael_Lin
The shower's been used. His own clothes from before, almost completely red, are soaking in the tub….the toilet is stopped up with some sort of…meaty substance that's best not thought about.
3:42 PM
Another set of clothing is hanging over the tub - a blouse and tight pants. Tall women's boots sit by the tub.
3:43 PM
…his mother's room has been opened. A few things are in different places. Underwear is laying on the bed. His mother's mirror has been broken.
3:43 PM Michael_Lin
…not this again.
Whoever it was, they left recently. The food's still very warm
3:45 PM Michael_Lin
Staying here is clearly, clearly not an option.
…that's odd. The door….does not appear to have a knob.
It just seems to merge smoothly into the wall.
3:46 PM Michael_Lin
…this isn't…
3:49 PM Michael_Lin
But he doesn't leave his mother's room yet, hovering uncertainly on the threshold, before he bites his lip and forces himself to step forward. He knows she's involved in this…but did she leave her notes behind? Anything at all? He never would have done this before, and he almost doesn't try now.
(To clarify - the apartment door, not the room door.)
3:53 PM
There isn't much else in his mother's room. The television is on, but muted - showing a news report about the hospital suicides. A lot of speculation, but no actual facts. I mean, how could they know?
3:58 PM Michael_Lin
He turns it off without thinking about it and closes her door behind him. Picks up his bookbag from where he had placed it…earlier in the evening? Nearly trips over his hair, too-
…there are /things/ in Michael's bookbag.
3:59 PM Michael_Lin
…he hadn't had hair that long before, obviously, and he pushes behind glass the vague almost-pleased feeling. But it had been the length of the hair he'd given Nikaia when he designed his in-game avatar.
3:59 PM
…being what?
Three or four…small emergency medical kits? But there doesn't lok to be a way to open them. Just a button. Four palm-sized stones - blue, green, red, and yellow. Blankets. No books
4:01 PM Michael_Lin
Is that envelope even in there, still?
That's been left out on the kitchen table, it would seem. Otherwise untouched.
4:05 PM Michael_Lin
These are things not found in reality (except the blankets): he has to think about it, but they had been game items, hadn't they? He remembers the stones, at least.
4:06 PM Michael_Lin
And he's seeing them without the glasses…
…his eyes ache.
4:07 PM Sasha is now known as Greenling
4:10 PM Michael_Lin
rubs his eyes. This must be part of whatever aunt Iris had done…what she had hinted at.
4:14 PM Michael_Lin
He can't bring himself to be angry, only very tired, but he's been tired this entire time (and we have to wake up), his other self whispers. Going to go retrieve the envelope- (does he even have shoes any more?)
At the moment? No.
4:21 PM
The envelope still contains the digital camera and the password hint: "Your greatest fear"
4:26 PM Michael_Lin
…before anything else. He is going to have to see what is on that camera. And going to get the envelope off the kitchen table and going to take the camera out, plus the memory card.
4:37 PM
His greatest fear…and behind glass, whispers the answer he doesn't want to, can't admit, but has to. (Being yourself.)
As soon as the code is entered, the system opens. A few photos…and one larger video file.
4:49 PM Michael_Lin
He closes his eyes for a moment, tightly, before opening them again. First photograph, then.
By filename: Emily Lin. Naito Hiroyuki. Yamazaki Makoto. Iris Lin. Freyja Tamm. Alanna Church.
4:53 PM Michael_Lin
Looking at the one with his mother's name, then.
It's a picture of her, laughing and smiling…must have been years ago…in the arms of a man just out of view. Several lines of text are splayed over the image: "Creative designer. Morality system. Appearance and character modeling. Tribal system. Did you ALWAYS know?'
4:56 PM Michael_Lin
…he is going to silently, softly, note that away, before flipping to the next photograph. Night's father.
…the scene looks similar. Soft smile, lovely (and somewhat feminine) features. (It's like Night got all of his hardness and only half of his pleasantness) His finges are caressing an open book. "Logical designer. "Creative consultant'. I….I trusted you, Hiroyuki. The wheel must turn, an age shall end, and all we have is to decide its barest edges…you bastard"
5:01 PM Michael_Lin
Night…is going to want to see this, he knows, quietly.
5:01 PM
And the next one: his aunt herself.
This is a different picture, more recent than the others. Sitting with a red-haired woman and a lovely European - the girl from Will's pictures. 'ARchitecture specialist. Dynamic design specialist. Integration. 'The world of a game is beautiful - more beautiful than random chaos. With this, the world can spread. Ordered aesthetic overwriting the mundane'…no wonder they picked me. Damn it, I believed…"
5:06 PM Michael_Lin
And noting this to memory, too, as he bows his head. The next one.
Skipping Makoto and on to Freyja?)
5:07 PM
5:07 PM Michael_Lin
(no, going back to…father nonexistant)
Tall, handsome, more imposing than his physical space…and clutching Emily like a treasure. "Makoto Yamazaki. A young investor with…interesting hobbies, from hardware design to Le Veyan Satanism. I can't believe she fell for it…not that I can blame her. I feel sick just looking at it. Only someone who has everything wants nothing."
5:13 PM Michael_Lin
…and going to click past. Unlike the sadness he felt looking at his mother's and his aunt's pictures, there's absolutely /nothing/ looking at his father's.
5:13 PM
But then, he's never had any attachment to a man who might as well have not existed for his presence.
5:14 PM
And going to the next one.
Freyja Tamm. Definitely attractive, but her eyes are the sharpest feature…the picture's black and white, but the eyes just seem to SEE him. To know. "Linguistic and localization expert. The "Key", whatever that means…oh. Oh, god. That…that poor woman. They'll pay for this. God forgive me."
5:19 PM Michael_Lin

5:24 PM
The key to make this work.
5:25 PM
And…slowly, very slowly, to the last one.
Alanna Church. Attractive, capable, professional, and with the eyes of a hunting hawk. "President of the Paradise Corporation. Wealthy, connected, and American - bad combo. I used to think she was just blind money…until she presented the Rapture servers. At least she's no fan of Yamazaki. Can…can she help me? Why is she out of reach? Have they already killed her?"
5:27 PM Michael_Lin
Alanna Church…Michael frowns to himself. Has he ever heard of her at all…?
5:27 PM
…and then the video.
The image opens to Iris - in her vest and beret of preference. "Michael…I'm…I'm so sorry. If you know anything of what's going to happen, then you know that I don't deserve forgiveness. What I've done…what I've helped to accomplish? It is beyond the scale of words…"
5:33 PM
She looks off-screen for a moment, as if afraid. "I'm being followed, but I can make time by confusing him. A few hours, at most. But…someone has to know the truth. Someone has to see it coming. It's already too late to stop it. The catalyst is live, with some doctor here in Singapore. I tried to disable it, but…there was no time. It's grown beyond my knowledge. I'd burn out my brain trying."
5:35 PM Michael_Lin
…he swallows, nervously, as he listens. The catalyst for whatever is happening…and he can begin to guess, now…is with a doctor in Singapore. In a hospital…
5:36 PM
Everything is coming back around to that hospital, now, isn't it?
"So…god, where to start. I guess…with you. There are two axes at work. The reason of the world to come and the answer of the people in it. Two systems, two reward structures…and each system has an avatar. A core structure. A god. I designed these, as a simple control mechanism. This was meant for terraforming…negotiating dynamic circumstances. HELPING people…no, I'm lying."
5:38 PM
She sighs. "I wanted to make the world BETTER…and I was naive and stupid enough to think that two people could ever have the right to say into which form…"
5:38 PM Michael_Lin

"The Magatama. The core control. When introduced to the Rapture servers and the Eden construct…no, that's too technical. When brought to the two hearts of the system, they decide what form it takes. By agreement…or override. I don't know what mechanism that override takes, but I can guess. Makoto planned THAT part." She spits the name.

"I managed to keep one, but the other…Makoto again. He never trusted Emily, not completely, and Hiroyuki never trusted her, either. So it was easy to take…I think he helped. The bastard. But I'm drifting again. I…implanted it, using the game software I gave you. I…I did this to you."

5:50 PM
"I'm so sorry, but I couldn't let them have it. And…I think you'll do better with it than Emily ever thought. She believes that there's some sort of demon inside you. That you're /her/ son…but…she never treated you like a son. She doesn't /deserve/ you. I believe in Michael, not in some other person."
5:52 PM Michael_Lin
Michael doesn't believe in himself, not in the least, but he folds his hands in his lap, twining his fingers together tightly. He can't get away from this, he knows now…and he doesn't know if he can do anything without belief or faith in himself, but he…he can't waste his aunt's faith.
"If you're getting this, I might be dead already. I stopped by, just to see you again before I try to take on the other demiform. He's…god, he's unnatural. Stay AWAY from Emily. Listen to people. Find out the world they want…and make the right choice. Michael, I….I love you." She reaches over and the recording ends.
5:55 PM Michael_Lin

"It's true. I do." Standing in the now-open, once-sealed door…is Emily. Wearing one of Emily's dresses. With her hair down, she looks just like the old picture. No wonder the mirror's broken.
5:57 PM Michael_Lin
5:57 PM
and abruptly on his feet, whirling around.
She walks over, and unless stopped? SLAPS Michael across the mouth as hard as she can.
6:01 PM Michael_Lin
Which probably means that he's knocked off his feet.
She winces, cupping her hand. "….do you know why I did that?"
6:03 PM Michael_Lin
And going to stand back up. "I-I t-think I-I c-could g-guess." very, very resigned.
She crumples into him, hugging him tight. "I'm so glad you survived…" Tears start to stain his shoulder.
6:05 PM Michael_Lin
6:06 PM
He is, suddenly, quite certain that he is dreaming an impossible dream, at this moment in time.
6:08 PM
And going to try to step away, because he /knows/ the other shoe will drop and he wants to be out of arm's length of her when it happens.
She takes a second to collect herself, shuddering. "…all right. I'm…okay. Sorry. That was selfish of me. I…I guess you're going through a lot. And that's my fault, so…" She looks away. "Whatever you want to do, I'm here to help. I'm your tech specialist. I…have no right to refuse you anything."
6:11 PM Michael_Lin
"W-why d-do y-you l-look l-like m-my m-mother?"
She looks down at the clothes. "…oh. I mean, she /is/ my sister. I usually downplay the resemblance, but these clothes fit all right,and there was so much blood…" She pales a little.
6:17 PM Michael_Lin
….someone is just very, very confused.
6:20 PM
"A-are y-you a-alright…?"
She shakes her head. "Oh, y'know. End of the world….and you didn't eat my eggs. Did I do them wrong? I don't cook often…"
6:22 PM Michael_Lin
"I-I w-wasn't h-hungry."
"…oh." She looks down. "….I…guess we wait, then? The catalyst's been activated. That'll trip the satellite failsafes…and then, well…We're big in Tokyo." She sits on the floor, hugging her knees.
6:24 PM Michael_Lin
"H-how l-long?"
"Maybe….24 hours before Event Convergence. Just like the game." She chuckles, but the sound is hollow. "…more, if we can destroy the catalyst. Maybe it'll…delay the signal."
6:30 PM Michael_Lin
"W-what i-is t-the c-catalyst?" he should…consider sending Night a message. About the video, and how little time they had, and…he does it on accident, sending her the message just by thinking about it.
"The Millionth Pixie…the big gimmick is that it's a rare item. A pixie that'll evolve and upgrade on interaction. A beta, you know, for smarter demon programs." She sighs. "The thing carries the base structure of both the Rapture gnOSis software and it's own Eden mini-fab. The thing weighs 10 pounds, but…it can fabricate from air and dust. Expand the environment. Color in the lines."
6:37 PM Michael_Lin
6:37 PM
He knows of only /one/ pixie with a strange file that sounds /anything/ like that: Danu, Dr. Nolan's pixie, the one who was far larger than a normal pixie.
"I couldn't crack the code, but…maybe you can kill it. You're dialed in. You decide reality." She sighs. "…and, god help me, I couldn't kill her. She's /alive/, Michael. She begged me to stop."
6:39 PM Michael_Lin
"Besides. The Other was still tracking me, then. Now…I think it went back to its mistress. Which is bad. It's been trying to kill me for months."
6:41 PM
"…why would it stop? Unless killing me no longer mattered."
6:42 PM Michael_Lin
It…seems so.
6:43 PM
"O-oh." and it is a different tone this time, one acknowledging that he understands.
"It's all up to you now. I can't save the world…but you can rebuild it. Just…whatever you do, don't listen to Rapture. It's…logical. Excessively logical. Surgical and utterly amoral. As long as everything functions, it won't care /how/. It's…beautiful. Everyone would be happy, but…no one would /be/…"
6:45 PM
"It's what I have nightmares about. Just…being nothing, happy and empty."
6:45 PM Michael_Lin
"D-don't w-worry. I-I w-won't l-listen t-to it."
6:45 PM
(It threatened us with damnation for simply wanting to know who we were.)
6:55 PM
He realized that he, did, in fact send that message to Night just by thinking about it…and experimentally, he vaguely pokes at that /again/, attaching the video to another message he sends her, simply noting that it was something she needed to see.
Iris watches him. "You know…it's…beautiful, in a way. Your design. It incorporates who you are into something so very 'other'. It's…some of my best work." She looks like she might vomit.
6:57 PM
Iris Lin is not mentally okay.
6:58 PM Michael_Lin
…he doesn't know what to do. But somewhere behind glass, is the answer, and he brushes that before gently touching her hand. Trying to be comforting. It's…it's not likely to work.

She looks at the hand…traces a glowing line with a finger. "…Are…are you going to kill me? It's okay, if you want to…."
7:01 PM Michael_Lin
shakes his head. "N-no." and behind glass, that part of him whispers with his own voice, (I never promised you thorns. I have no promise of them for you.)
She nods. "Then…I guess I belong to you. Since…you're half of god, that's not bad. Priestess of Order…has a ring to it." Her eyes aren't tracking. She's…on the edge of despair, but clinging.
7:10 PM Michael_Lin
"P-please d-don't, a-aunt I-Iris."
She looks up, vacant. "Don't what?"
7:12 PM Michael_Lin
"I-I'll w-work /w-with/ y-you, b-but y-you d-don't /belong/ t-to m-me."
She looks up at him, confused for a moment, as if looking from very far away. Then she nods. "As you wish, Michael."
7:15 PM Michael_Lin
"Y-you s-should s-sleep a-a l-little." he adds, worriedly: it's a mild, timid suggestion, from someone who isn't at all used to suggesting and is still trying to adjust to being completely unable to disappear now though he really, really wants to.
She nods. "…haven't slept well in a long time. On the run, y'know…your clothes should be okay eventually. Everything'll be okay eventually." She stands up and goes over to the bedrooms…unable to really look at Emily's room, she choose to sleep in Michael's bed.
7:17 PM Michael_Lin
Which means she's sleeping on the living room couch, but it's comfortable enough.
(Doing anything else for now, before things head elsewhere?)

7:22 PM
She lays down, sighing. "…I don't belong to you…but you belong to me…so…be brave…" She's asleep by the time she finishes the sentence.
7:26 PM Michael_Lin
He doesn't know how to be brave, but he can try. Or be Nikaia, who is and can be. And going to tuck a blanket over her, before picking up his bag again.
7:28 PM
He should…likely attempt to find Night. At least give her those photographs in person. After that…the hospital.
7:28 PM
…oh, right, shoes. Er. This could be a problem.
7:32 PM
…and then a familiar pair of heeled white boots and white-purple dress are suddenly lying on the carpet in front of him.
7:34 PM
He stops and stares at the dress: the material slides through his fingers, and behind glass with everything else is the /liking/ of pretty things, of both and neither and…
7:36 PM
He shouldn't. He /can't/. He doesn't just leave the dress there, though, he drapes it neatly over the back of the chair, before putting the boots on, picking up the bag, and leaving, being sure to /lock/ the apartment door behind him. As well as he can.
7:37 PM
Attempting to find Night…she hasn't responded to any of his messages, so she is likely busy. And going to message Shousei to see if he has any ideas. (Because she stalks him almost as much as you).
7:45 PM
…he sighs. He…doesn't particularly want to go to Shousei's house, especially not with his mother around. But…
…first he is going to find a makeshift hair tie and tie his hair back.