Nothing Ever Truly Ends
Written by: Aaronmizuno
Star Ocean Till the End of Time and all characters within are the property of a bunch of people who are not me. I claim nothing in regards to these characters or the stories surrounding them. This piece is for entertainment purposes only and will not be used for profit.
This story is set near the end of the story aspect of the game and into the post game. Because of this there are many spoilers to be had by reading this fiction. This will be the only warning of it's like that I will post for the duration of this story.
"I created everything that you are."
Even as his head snapped back from Cliff Fitter's fist thrusting into his face, Luther Lansfeld had the awareness to catalogue every action happening around him. He saw the lithe form of Albel Nox, the Wicked Claw of the Black Brigade backing away from the residual heat wave his weapon created upon passing through the floor. He saw Mirage Koas, already recovering from a blow that would have incapacitated any player-made character several times over and resuming her earlier charge.
"Your worlds, your civilizations, the very air you breathe is a program that I designed."
He looked upon Maria Traydor, one of the worst anomalies to be spawned in his beautiful creation, helping one of the other 'symbologically altered' abominations, Sophia Esteed, to her feet. He took in the sight of Adray Lasbard, one of the few characters in this group he would have spared as to the wonderful side-quests his presence made on his favored planet in their galaxy, going through the motions of yet another symbological action against him. From the looks of it, the effect wouldn't manifest for another 3.87 seconds.
"I gave you the freedoms of thought, I allowed you the capacity of growth… So very difficult to put into code."
Behind him, the shadow of Nel Zelpher was all that was able to be registered to even to his advanced spatial senses, likely about to take advantage of his displaced inertia. Behind her, the worst of them all, the one that had, by his very presence, allowed the group to become as statistically superior as they were, Fayt Leingod, was running in to take further advantage of his unguarded flank. Luther's own body, now bent backwards fully from the force of Fitter's blow and into the twin blades of Zelpher, was being pulled backwards into what appears to be a throw… likely into whatever attack the Leingod boy had prepared.
"I created everything that you had potential to be."
Everything that occurs is taken in with absolute precision and unerring detail. The blades of Zelpher exiting his back, painfully raking the wounds open wider as momentum carries him away from her and into the burst of energy coalesced around the boot of Leingod. The impact jarring him and bending him nearly in two as it redirects his flight path towards his main control console. The impact is surprisingly light compared to the previous strikes of his opponents. A swift gesture to allow him access to his voice activated override system and a shout of, "ENOUGH!" canceled the spell that Lasbard had been invoking as well as making the rest of their lot hold still.
"I… MADE… YOU. You are data… do you hear me? DATA!" bellowed Luther, his face red from the past abuse and anger, "I see now… I was taking the easy way out… I should have known better." He turned swiftly, a field separating him from the rabble that would overthrow their God while he did his good work.
"What do you mean?" cried Blair, a now helpless onlooker to the events at hand.
"The infection has begun, I should have known better than to think that only a single galaxy was tainted… No dear sister, this goes much farther than their 'Milky Way'," came his curt reply.
Time was what he needed, time to figure out how to salvage the situation. His avatar granted him infinite awareness, that was no problem… His problem was in his humanity. He simply couldn't will his avatar to move fast enough to keep up with these beings who had by far exceeded the leveling curve. A quick look told him that his resources were running dangerously low, his apocalyptic demonstration of the Milky Way galaxy was draining even his private stores of the Eternal Sphere's RAM. Glitches were running rampant from having such overpowered beings dropped into a localized area without any time for the system to acknowledge their rise into power. He had hoped that the newest Convictor class would help minimalize his losses by cutting down on the sheer numbers required to level such technological superpowers, but in the end that brought a whole new series of glitches into the system. His own security protocols to eliminate hacking were working against him and now here he was being confronted in the safest place the entire Eternal Sphere Network had to offer… Without the spare resources to summon a decent guardian to aid him. Other galaxies were beginning to lose their own integrity, even faster than the Milky Way… All because he'd been sentimental enough to give them a chance to make peace with their oncoming doom through the Time Gate's warning.
"I see now… I can't simply destroy the Milky Way… no… the entire Eternal Sphere must be wiped clean!" came Luther's final decision. His hands were in motion, running through the countless security protocols through his avatar's private connection to the mainframe. His sister was complaining about something or other so a spare thought was given to eject her from the Eternal Sphere… better that she not be connected when the wipe takes place. Prime Administrator: Creator access player eject across the world… there'd be repercussions but nothing compared to the real complaints of people actually injured in the wipe. Pulling in all available resources to modify his personal avatar, an entire developing planet he had been working on in his spare time, destroyed to pull in experience points to warrant his avatar's growth in power… Can't have the system glitching from yet another superpowered entity being simply dumped into the system. The energy required for these simultaneous processes caused the field separating him from the group of "heroes" to shimmer out of existence… No more voice activated overrides either. Just he holding out against this group until the necessary protocols have run through and then the wipe will take place.
He summoned with the last of his personal editing resources his "Wings of Discontent" and grinned towards the fools who had come so far to lose so much. He hadn't had the chance to use his personal assault assistance mount since he'd promoted Solon and Dirna to administrator levels to commemorate their ascension to the top of the arena. "This ends now… The world as you know it is already over… And soon, not even you will exist. I have said you will cease to be… And therefore you shall," Luther roared as he spread his wings wide and beckoned to his enemy.
"Can't'cha get over yourself even for a minute?" came Cliff's brash retort, already moving in at full speed.
His exuberance was rewarded with an area effect explosion, conjured with a wave of Luther's weapon, the Wings of Discontent's tips glowing with anticipation. Mirage caught Cliff as he was flung away from the blast. Albel snarled and listened carefully as Fayt explained his on-the-spot plan to Nel and himself. Adray, already prepared for the battle released a ball of energy that curved up and over the Creator's avatar… Almost immediately shadowing the ground beneath him as the spell effect began to rain beams of light down at an astounding pace. Each and ever bolt of light dissolved against the Wings of Discontent as they protected their master.
Maria fired off shot after shot at the golden-haired god, each bolt of energy imbued with strength from Sophia's support castings. These beams too dissolved on the outstretched hand of Luther, seeming hard pressed to keep up the pace of the random selection of vital points the blue haired woman aimed for. The laser storm ended just in time for Cliff and Mirage, who had circled around behind Luther to slam in from above on his wings and push him away from his console. The Creator spun in place, letting his wings slam and then slice into the two martial artists before sending them spiraling away.
A few beams from the wing tips seared the ground where Maria had been standing and instead grazed Sophia's on her right side, sending her to the ground rolling in pain. Adray tended to her wounds as swiftly as he could while passing along the message Fayt had relayed to him via Nel. Fayt himself was moving towards Cliff who was just gaining his bearings from slamming into the wall, a deep cut torn into his midsection. Albel skirted and weaved among countless thin beams seeking his end as the Creator's attention focused on his movement towards Mirage. He was saved from further attack as Nel hurled a collapsible scythe from her satchel that extended as it flew. Luther took the time to counter it with his personal blade rather than risk further physical damage to the Wings of Discontent. They twitched faintly from the incredible impact of Cliff and Mirage pressing him forward.
"They're all just so fast," Luther reeled internally as he fired a bolt towards Adray who had nearly finished his healing invocation then turning back towards Nel before seeing if it struck. The Crimson Blade of Aquaria was easily one of the fastest of their group and as she came in with her blades shimmering with runological energy it was all Luther could do to parry the near endless strikes of what seemed to be a pre-planned combination. With his attention drawn in as such it was no surprise that when Albel flowed into the fray from behind, his Crimson Scourge gleamed hungrily as blow after blow cleaved into his armor from behind.
As Luther spread his wings back to crush Albel the Wicked between them, Mirage and Cliff made a repeat of their previous attack and slammed down onto the opened wings. The impact drove him to the ground and pinned his wings, apparently having been impaled by the two blond fighters. Adray and Sophia then seemed to complete an invocation that he had been certain would have taken far more time than what he'd given them since he last attacked them. Twin streams of electricity flowed from above down to the gravitic joints of his wings, the heat of their energy scorching his arms and upper body. Maria ran in close enough to fire a bolt of energy into the floor and run out of range as a magnetic field welled into existence underneath him. He was trapped.
Albel leaned in over the fallen God and smirked, "Fool… How are you going to destroy the universe if you can't handle a few lowly mortals?" The Wicked Claw raised his father's sword, the Crimson Scourge, and drove it into the body of Luther, pinning him in yet another manner just below the naval. Nel appeared almost immediately after Albel's snickering face moved out of the way and applied a similar technique with the Blades of Ryusen, one at each shoulder before pulling away, distaste at the task evident on her normally stoic face. A shout of rage at being so manhandled erupted from the Creator in a burst of force the flung Nox and Zelpher away as if they were rag dolls. The streams of electricity faded but the blades remained in his avatar. Mirage and Cliff once more had been flung violently from Luther's person and neither looked to be in any condition to attempt a third try.
The Creator tried to sit up but found his wings unresponsive and a foot on his chest adding to the elements holding him down. Fayt Leingod was crouching down on his chest, his eyes were fading into white as the symbological genetics within him flared again to life.
"It's over Luther," said Fayt, the floor beneath them becoming less of a magnetic field and more like a complex symbological circle.
The circle flared to life and hot white agony tore through Luther's being. His health values ceased to exist and his personal avatar's firewall was bypassed. The deletion sequence activated and the energy of his being began flowing out into the Eternal Sphere.
"HOW!? How… could this be?... Why… Why am I being… deleted?" cried out Luther, disbelieving how simply he had fallen.
"Nothing lasts forever", Fayt replied simply.
"Nothing ever truly ends…," warned the Dying God to anything that would hear him.
And with that, Luther's avatar burst into nonexistence with a force that flung Fayt away in death as it had the others in life.
It was over.
The Creator had won.
In that moment incalculable possibilities broke out as never before in the Eternal Sphere. Broke, spread and froze in time. Upgrades would be needed to handle these changes but the Sphere would be greater than ever. The time bought by his struggle gave the system time to free resources by consuming the apocalyptic forces sent to destroy the Eternal Sphere.
"This should give the Eternal Sphere far more opportunity to exist without endangering the people of the real world," said Luther as his connections to the system placed his consciousness back into his body.
Standing next to his connection table stood Blair looking far more irritated than harmed, "You didn't have to play at destroying them if it wasn't your intent, Luther."
"It was my every intent to destroy them Blair," Luther replied in a patronizing voice laden with frustration. "They represent a very real danger to the populace of the real world," he continued, "and I would have if I had set my standard statistics higher." Luther sighed deeply and went on, "Once the program I wrote while you were babbling on about my being in danger while being connected to the E.S. has finished running and we make the necessary hardware upgrades to handle my plans for it we'll boot it up again… But this… This impossibility of symbology in the real world? I want every aspect of this researched and taken care of as soon as possible."
"Boot it up?... Whatever are you talking about Luther?... The E.S. is still running," said Blair, her voice thick with apprehension.
Luther Lansfeld stopped moving for the first time since unhooking from the Eternal Sphere. He looked at Blair in near horror as she gestured towards a display showing events inside the system.
He watched as the force of the people's collective consciousness in the Eternal Sphere, now obviously more than the sum of their programming, was now enough to maintain its own existence and maintenance.
He watched as the Eternal Sphere completely ignored the pause setting it was supposed to be on. What was worse, he watched as his "Branching Reality" program, made in the moment with a spur of unparalleled genius to initiate once his avatar had expired, once the system had freed enough RAM to handle the tracking of countless branches of time's course from that moment onward, set into motion.
The system didn't crash. It should have, there should be nowhere near the amount of resources necessary to handle the simultaneous running of countless Eternal Spheres… but it was.
"Luther… What have you done?" asked Blair, her eyes growing wider by the moment as she realized what the monitor was showing her, a sense of wonder and delight filling her.
Luther, not so happy about the development glowered, "Something that we'll need to fix… After we handle those upgrades and research a little more how those people came through into our world. Something we'll need to fix indeed." He turned away from the monitor to begin what would likely be a long month's work.
End of the Beginning was pre-read by Reiko. Questions and/or comments are welcome. Next chapter will focus on Onward! Defrosted Tuna Team. AKA, Fayt and company.