Ignition and the Self
- There is something to be said about standing at a threshold. When you're at a point in life where you realize that to continue, you would be changed forever. You would never be able to return to the life you once had.
- A certain demon girl was realizing she was at that point.
- It all started so simple, like most things of curiosity and intrigue often do. It began when she collected her first Royal Tree Seed from the universe of Tenchi... it was certainly a fascinating being. A sentient, living computer that was tied to godly power. A direct descendent to one of the Chousin. It could be placed in a ship to provide power, but did she really want to risk it? Nay, she wanted to see it grow. And it was much more preferable to think on what to do with it than all the suitors and the conflicts with her new Chaos group she had collected not even a century ago. And of course, there were so many things to do...
- As time went on, the project grew more grand. Waters that could change a being, fonts of Chi and spiritual energy... abundances of magic and mana, even the means to clone the trees and successfully allow them to intermingle. Where was once one, was now four. As time went on, four once again became one. Turns out when you let a sentient tree grouping stay connected for over twelve thousand years, the personalities eventually intermingle, even mesh together. It was both fitting and concerning that the entity called itself 'Omoikane'; a deity of wisdom and intelligence, called upon to give counsel to the Heavens.
- Maybe things should have stopped there. Maybe she should have given the trees a new home, to live as they saw fit. Such things were often lingering in Red's mind during times of quiet, when research was not involved. Of course... it also counseled her in figuring out new ways to improve the Gardens.
- The mixture of Psitanium and Wraithbone to improve the psychic resonance of the Gaia-class environment. The utilization of Nitramene to bathe the area in stabilizing radiation to reduce chaotic energies. Even a conversion method to create a wooden nanotech machine to alter the trees as needed, to further assist the formation of the Gardens. Crystals were used to provide further fertility in the grounds, the pocket space inside the doorway growing as Omoikane did. Red was certainly glad that she had created a pocket world inside a shack to use instead of the Warehouse itself... to mess with the dimensional boundaries would most certainly violate the Benefactor's agreements.
- Of course, talking about 'violations' may be a bit too far now. It was not as if she herself had not been changed as time went on. Her flesh... if you could call it that, was so intertwined with cybernetics, machinery, magitech, and nanotech that it was extremely hard to tell where flesh ended and machine began... or where either of them ended and the magic began. It was those little things that made you realize just how far you've come... and how far you've changed. Was she a machine? Was she a cyborg? Or was she a being of magical energy simply using some amalgamation as an anchor? To say nothing of the amount of times she had genetically engineered herself.
- Funny how it's only after the fact that you start to question such things.
- Even after the altering of their pocket world, the growth of the trees after exposure to the waters of Bismarck and the concentrated efforts of the Aer... even when the middle of the four was placed the great Yggdrasil, equally modified and used as the primary body for Omoikane's intellect and consciousness while the four trees that used to be its body was now simply processing power and inputs to be used; extensions of its will.
- By all accounts, the pocket dimension had become a demesne of Paradise. The psychic energies mixed with the magical wallpapers placed around made for a breathtakingly alien sky, and the Harvest Sprites had gone from the tiny caretakers they were to something... more. Graceful, tall and lithe. An alien beauty that made one unsure if they were people or plants. ...maybe both. They cultivated any of the plants that were borne from the seeds of the trees, cared for them. Tended to this place.
- This place... this strange, strange place. She had moved her Digital Pun-Pun computer to this place, and even now 'pieces' of code and pixels were gently rising from it, like some kind of incense. To many this would be a simple visual effect, but to those who knew the code it was an attempt at analyzing and calculating the energies. Determining what it was. Determining the effects of its combinations and the effects on people. On her. She didn't even have to tell it to, 'Rebecca' had practically volunteered. ...it was kind of eerie, seeing it and Omoikane working together so well. Sharing data, calculating, even creating.
- And now Red was at the final piece of it all. Five machines, with five vials. All ready to drop certain amounts of waters within their respective pools at the press of a button. Waters harvested from the world of Azeroth... read to intermingle with everything, to ignite into new Wells of Eternity. To feed the trees, to feed Omoikane... and by proxy, those bonded to it, which meant herself.
- It was an act that made her hesitate.
- Was this really a good idea?
- Red did a LOT of things. She created a device that could take apart magic and analyze it to a degree that made archmages terrified. Her weapon, a bow that she named the 'Crimson Storm', had enough power to take out entire battlefleets with a single release of the drawstring. Her custom-built machine made from various other machines could manipulate the genetic code of a person so effectively she could weave cybernetics in like they were a natural part of the body... and had such detailing that Saturday morning cartoons could only DREAM of having such accuracy. She could even plug a machine into the internet and cause it to alter technology on a nanoscopic scale, harvesting any world of Mantra to store for herself or for her Garden to use at any time.
- By all accounts, she had done far more than she ever thought possible, accomplished and seen things that caused gods to raise an eyebrow at... hell, she could TALK to the gods on demand! But despite all that, Red still had felt there was some part of her still remaining from when she started this journey. Some piece of her that still... allowed her to relate to others on a mortal scale. Maybe it was mental, or maybe it was that she still had flesh. Something. But there was the nagging feeling that once she did this, she would no longer be the person she once was.
- There would be no going back. No chance of calling that world 'home' anymore.
- It was mere seconds before she could hear... no, rather 'feel' the voice of Omoikane. It could go either way... hard to tell when you're this close. "Madame Red? Is something the matter?"
- The demon girl sighed, looking up at the tree. "...it's... it's stupid, Omoikane. But this is a lot of magical power we'd be unleashing, igniting... I mean we BOTH planned around it, with the modifications and the nanotech and the conversions, but... am I really prepared for this sort of thing?"
- "Well Madame, no one is fully prepared for change. ...are you afraid you will stop being Red? Warp into another being?"
- "...maybe." The answer was actually 'yes'. She had seen her fair share of how people reacted to power. How they act when it overwhelms them. Hell, she had to STOP people of those exact time, who fell to the sway of power and let it take them over entirely from the feelings it brought. To lose oneself so easily was a terrifying concept.
- "I cannot guarantee that you will be the same, sadly. Even for me, this will be an enormous amount of energy... I will undoubtedly change due to this undertaking. But have we not changed over the course of these years we have known each other? Have we not become different? More stylish?" It was something that made Red raise an eyebrow, but also smile. As much as Omoikane had the personality of a grand old sage, there was still quirks... of course, who could blame them?
- "I was once four entities, you know. Not nearly as pondering as I am, but as time moved on and we collaborated, we felt that since we came from one, we should become one. Now I am one... much like you used to be the human girl who was approached for the journey of a lifetime, who felt she was something she was currently not. Who was willing to embark on a journey of danger and exploration to gain that 'something' and now you are Red."
- "I was ALWAYS Red, Omoikane."
- "Were you, Madame? Were you really?"
- The question made her pause. Events had a habit of creeping up on you. To the denizens of Earth, a second had not even passed by. Yet for her... thousands of years had passed. Her mind had encroached new places, her form shaped beyond recognition. All by her own hand, no less. She had so gleefully changed herself, and for what? 'To find myself' she had always said. To become who she wanted to be, in body, mind, and soul. Yet at the same time she insisted she wanted to remain 'herself'... to remain recognizable. Despite accepting many forms of divinity from her Benefactor, she had always insisted she was not a deity. Just... herself.
- Was that still the same thing? Was she still herself? Did she change so much she didn't realize when she stopped, becoming something new?
- Even as Red pondered these thoughts, the world around her still worked. The statue-esque Sprites had been busy terraforming the surrounding landscape. She would say 'constructing', but they were GROWING the placements they needed. Vines acted as wires, wrapping around smaller trees growing into the shape of a pole before two points grew out at the top and made large bulbous flowers bloom... closing up. It was not daytime yet, but when it was then they would open and engage in bioluminescence. Parts of the trees themselves were dimly lit with energies of pure white, no doubt from the source. Another group of Sprites were causing wood to simply form on the ground, making walking trails with benches of technorganic leaves forming and solidifying. WHERE they got the tablets of crystal was a mystery... maybe they used the crystals that were once for farming to be used as other tools.
- Her thoughts were interrupted by Omoikane chuckling... sounding something like leaves being shaken. It was a lighthearted chuckle, one that was only a second or two before speaking. "If you have to stop and question it, then I am unconcerned. An unwise and haughty woman would have spoken immediately, so sure of herself that she was blind to the world around her. ...Madame Red, you have always walked with caution and care. Mistakes have been made, and the curiosity of oneself can lead to occasional carelessness, but throughout your entire journey you have worked with care.
- "Well, I try anyway." Red didn't quite have to interject, but it was there! Though how one could 'feel' Omoikane smile despite having no face was beyond her. Maybe some psychic effect. "My point exactly, you TRY. You always sought to ensure you did not cause problems for others, nor become blinded by what you gained." There was a few seconds of silence before it resumed. "If anything, Madame Red, I feel you have always been 'you'... merely passing through phases. And now you are on the verge of becoming a 'you' far greater than you have ever been. Hesitation and caution are only natural... I would be concerned if you DIDN'T hesitate, truthfully."
- Her demonic tail twitched a little as she thought about it, the time to processing those words taking mere nanoseconds in comparison to the time she spent pondering their meaning. The bright side to having a greatly enhanced mind was the subjective time you could spend thinking; but the down side was that you could often think too much about them as well. "...a 'me' far greater. I don't know that... I understand it was always a risk for this journey... I mean I HAVE become much more than I started out as. But this... I'm not sure if I can go back after this."
- "Then you should ask yourself if you truly feel alright with moving forward."
- There was silence for at least another seven seconds. For Red, that may as well have been an eternity within her mind. So many things and this was what she was nervous about. Out of everything... she had no idea what she would become. What she would be after this. She was already flesh and machine and magic, but the Well back on Azeroth could change people over time... five of them? In such a small area? It could easily be amplified, or even hastened. She would undoubtedly be altered. But would she still be Red?
- Her pondering was with silence, the only other noises being made was the fluttering of the Sprites and the generator. Ah, yes. The generator. Rather than risk causing problems for the Sprites if the ignition of the Wells went wrong, Red had opted to instead have a majority of the technology in this pocket world powered by a white hole generator... the Orgel of Origins. Even now it thrummed, vines slowly shifting and tapping into the wood-based interfaces as to preserve its container. It was what caused the gentle white glow of the light poles and benches that were being grown, and the walkways to form on their own power according to the whims of the Sprites. It would no doubt continue to service the small world for quite some time. She was not sure if the Sprites were controlling the vines slowly moving around it, or if it was Omoikane. Maybe it was both.
- Thoughts of different philosophies and terminologies raced in her mind. 'Enlightenment' sounded too cheesy. 'Ascension' sounded too grand. 'Uplifted' sounded too... purposeful. The only one she could even partially agree with was the view of a 'Higher Self', a metaphysical identity tied with divinity, the universe, and the Heavens. A 'self' that everyone possessed, and was connected to... but must work to comprehend the True Self to achieve it. Even then that sounded... too fantastical. A divine tree and a bunch of feeding ponds would not achieve such a state. It would be too easy.
- And yet wasn't that part of what she was looking for? To find herself?
- "Madame Red?" The tree's voice was gentle, but with a hint of concern. ...right, she zoned out there. Amazing how when minds are so advanced, even the smallest pauses can be concerning. "Do you wish to cancel the ignition? It can always be done later."
- "I'm alright... I think I'm alright. Thank you." She nodded slowly, her facial expressions shifting to a nervous smile. "I've been through a lot. You've seen my memories, you've helped me with research... you've done just as much as I have. We're beyond anything we ever thought we'd do, and yet I am still afraid. I ask myself if this is worth it. If I am alright with what will happen."
- "...and are you?"
- "I do not know." The nervous smile was still there, but she at least looked up to Omoikane. "But thank you for the concern."
- She could feel the sudden flux of magic as her ignition remote disappeared... vanished, turned into energy on the wind as instead a rotating trio of icons appeared when the energy manifested once more. "Well Madame, we can always go with the second last chance. You could hit the blue button and it'll whisk those troublesome vials away to another day! You could hit the green button and cause them to be vanished, never to concern either of us again... or you can go ahead with your plan, and hit the Big Red Button."
- "... ...really? You had to go there?"
- If Omoikane wasn't smiling before, she could feel it smiling NOW. It even had 'Big Red' right on it with her face in a grin. For someone so smart and knowledgeable, they loved their puns. "What is a purpose in the world, if not to enjoy what we do?"
- "You goofball." She really did need the pun, though. It was amazing what a bit of well-timed comedy could do to cut the tension of a situation. It was amazing how it could bring a new perspective into the situation as well. Her tail twitched a bit more as deep thought was reached again, the only sounds being made by the Sprites and the growing technology around her. Amazing, for someone who enjoyed fire so much to get involved in this kind of biotech.
- Maybe that's what Omoikane meant. Just because she ventured into new places doesn't mean she has to lose what she once was. She was still Red.
- "Of course you're still right. I still enjoy what I do, I still move with my intended desires... I'm still me. What I am has changed so many times over the millennia, and 'what' will continue to change. Who knows if 'who' will change... but I will never know unless I try. What I am pales to WHO I am. I am Red. I am the Seeker of Magic. I am the Moon Rabbit, and I am the Demon of the Stars. I am a traveler of the Cosmos and I am an explorer of the Self. I am who I am. I AM."
- A push of the button, and everything changed.
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