Part I : Creation
Luther sighed tiredly as he leaned back on his chair and ran slim fingers through his saffron-colored hair. Again. It happened again. The system for the Eternal Sphere had crashed for the third time that day. There was too much information being created in a limited amount of drive space; thus, none of the memory was being recycled and errors multiplied.
''Luther, are you all right?" asked Blair as she stepped into her brother's Workspace. She set a cup of tea and sandwiches on a small glass table away from the computers before approaching him. "What a stupid question. You haven't stopped working for three days!"
''Blair," he smiled, extracting himself from the computers and grabbing a sandwich. "I can't stop now. If I do, I don't know how far the problem can spread. It's like a runaway virus which keeps on mutating because so many files are left unprotected. No anti-virus program in existence can possibly handle a task such as this one."
Ruffling Luther's hair, Blair smiled affectionately. She should have known that despite what she said, nothing could stop a determined Luther. "Perhaps that's because you haven't tried creating one yet."
He shook his head in reply. "We currently only have the Alteration system. We are going to need a much stronger Destruction system to accomplish that task. Although I may be able to do that, I can't remove myself from the Eternal Sphere data system right now. No one else knows the system as well as I do."
''Except me, you silly little boy!" interjected his sister, mock-offended that Luther would think so lightly of her ability. "I have been there since the original input of the Eternal Sphere program and I know it enough—if not just as well—as you. The only thing is that I don't have the genius in creating original programs that you do. I supplement. I am incapable of formulating the proper patterns and codes to create a program as complicated as that."
Luther almost blushed in embarrassment. He of all people knew of Blair's immaculately responsible nature. The Eternal Sphere would be infinitely more chaotic without the stability of the Firewall Blair had implemented. Little was known about the truth that although Luther was considered the "Owner" of Sphere 211, the real backbone of the operation was his sister. "But the old Destruction system is still ineffective as of--"
A secretive smile caused an upward turning of the edges of Blair's lips. Her brother was too narrow-minded sometimes. "I may not be able to create systems, but there is no system I cannot hack into. There is also no outdated system I cannot upgrade." She carefully took out a disk from her pocket and placed it on Luther's hand.
''This is the Destruction program?" asked Luther, studying the disk as its surface broke the light into a spectrum of colors. "How did you--"
Blair winked as she started out of the Workspace. "I can't tell you all my secrets. However, that program is far from complete. I could only patch up the framework of the codex to make it useable. You have to build the entire thing from scratch, so don't expect an easy job."
Luther smiled and stood up to return to his computers. "It never is."
''I will give you the upgrade for the Administrator's character in a couple of days. It was quite a challenge to improve the existing data, but I managed."
''Thank you, Blair."
Raising a hand in farewell, Blair sent one last message. "Be careful of what you create, Luther. Be careful about making a program you will not be able to control. And log off. I need to be able to log in as the Administrator from my own system."
''And if I don't?"
''Then I'll be forced to hack into your system indefinitely."
Sweat trickled down Luther's pale face as he typed the last few lines of the program. He had been working on the program for almost a year, hypothesizing, implementing, testing, and revising each version. Despite being a prodigy with an extensive knowledge of programming, Luther had gone through hundreds of versions, each slightly better or slightly worse than the one before.
But none of them were perfect. None before this one.
''It's finished," whispered Luther as he took his hands off of the keyboard. "It's finally finished."
He stared in awe of his creation: the long outline of opening and closing tags and orders which took all of his ability to construct. A long year of sleepless nights and endless days. Of frustration and dying hope. Over. Creation begets Destruction. "Such a strong program, perfect in every way but the input ability."
Luther bit the nail of his thumb, eyebrows furrowing in deep thought. The program was complete, but it lacked hardware. It was too massive to fit into a single disk and the outline of the framework did not allow for a breaking point to separate the program in two. It required one anchor, one Manifestation of Destruction to fit in the revolving circles of the Eternal Sphere's mainframe.
''That shouldn't be too difficult, but..." Luther glanced at the revolving mirrors of data surrounding his Workspace and frowned. "It needs a voice-command operating system inscribed with my voice. But it has to be aesthetically pleasing enough to merge with the Eternal Sphere. Blair is a stickler for detail. She will have my head if I just anchor the program on anything. But then what?"
For days, Luther paced across his Workspace. The drafts containing outlines and mere ideas began to pile up next to the computers with the perfect disk in the center, unmoved, untouched since the day it was set down.
A glimmer of light upon a blue-green mirror caught the Owner's attention. Looking up, he saw his reflection staring back at him. The surface of the mirror darkened the color of his blonde hair a deep blue and his light, cyan eyes a darker green. "STOP!"
The Eternal Sphere program ceased its movements at the command of its creator. Luther gestured for the mirror to come towards him and laid a hand on its surface, fascinated by the creature who appeared to be trapped inside. The green eyes looked at him with the same loneliness he felt.
Luther's breath caught as his throat. "Program title."
Blair's programmed voice resounded through the Workspace. "Manifestation." The surface of the mirror shifted and blue-green light began to pour out of it.
''I. S. R. A. F. E. L. "
The edges of Luther's lips lifted into a satisfied smile as he retrieved two disks from his desk. He returned before the mirror and gazed upon his blue-haired reflection. Then, he took the two disks and placed them on two slots on the side of the mirror. "Manifestation, apply Israfel on the image on your current screen. Exploit parameters to stay at 19. Encode with AI program disk and Destruction program disk."
''Code name of Destruction program?"
''A. Z. R. A. E. L."
''Fully active. Eternal Sphere and Workspace confines."
''Voice encoding and transmission?"
Luther's smile softened as he looked at the figure quickly forming in the Manifestation program. "Luther."
He watched the manifestation of his program with awestruck eyes. Although he has used the program many times before, this one was different. This one was modeled after his own self with all of his powers.
This was the other half of Creation.
The process of formation took over a month and Luther barely left the mirror despite Blair's insistence on rest and sustenance. She had to drug him at least five times during the month to get him to rest. Although she abhorred the methods she used, she couldn't help but feel a small thread of satisfaction and relief when Luther drifted to involuntary unconsciousness.
But Luther kept vigil, losing track of time as he waited for the process to finish. His wait was not in vain.
''Finally!" raspily whispered Luther as he rushed to the mirror. "Manifestation, progress?"
He could barely stifle a cry of relief as he plunged a gloved hand straight through the surface of the mirror. Hissing as the mirror shattered, Luther almost pulled back his hand as the glass shards sliced through cloth and skin. Luther averted his eyes to protect them from the flying glass, but once the deadly hail ended, he opened them to view the sleeping figure amidst the shattered mirror fragments.
''Destruction..." He approached the figure, in awe of how similar yet so different the other looked like. Skin even paler than his and dark sapphire hair. Luther stood before the figure and raised a hand, causing the platform to rise to his waist-level. He brushed the dark strands back and gazed down at a face structure similar to his own. But he knew just how different they were. Should the figure open its eyes, Luther knew that rather than a cool cyan, a brilliant leaf-green color would be revealed.
Just like the ones looking up at him serenely. ''Who are you?"
Luther was startled by the voice. He shouldn't have expected the voice to be similar to his with an AI program installed. He brushed his wounded hand across the smooth expanse of the other's cheek, wondering at the softness of it. "Luther."
The green eyes softened with affection at hearing the voice. It was the one voice he knew and the one name in all of his memory. Everything revolved around that name and that voice. "My Owner."
A warm feeling spread throughout Luther's body with those two words. The program—no, the boy before him was more than he could have ever expected. All of his knowledge and all of his life was imprinted in the white marks on this figure. If nothing else belonged to him, this green-eyed boy does. Luther did not recognize the beginnings of obsession, but he knew that he never needed anything else.
But the angel was yet incomplete. Something was missing.
Like an epiphany, it struck Luther. That which would both brand the boy to him and make him his equal. From the confines of his robes, Luther took out an NC disk, long forgotten. Within a moment, he summoned a navy-blue mirror and placed the boy on it. He then inserted the disk into one of the side slots like before.
A different voice addressed him. ''Program title?"
''Z. A. D. I. E. L."
''Juxtaposition of programs?"
''Negative. Mergence of NC disk internal program with external program Destruction."
''NC disk Internal Program code name?"
''Administrator character aspect: E. T. H. E. R. E. A. L."
Not a moment had passed before a pained scream had been torn from the boy's lips. Luther rushed to his side but immediately stopped as the deathly screams ceased. "Alteration, damage report on Destruction?" Luther was almost catatonic with fear.
''None. AI program incites a reaction similar to the holder of the voice signature. Voice signature of Destruction: Luther."
The boy opened his eyes and smiled up at Luther. "My Owner."
Luther's face had grown even paler with worry. "Are you all right?"
''The AI Program as well as all Destruction capabilities are intact. Ethereal component has been merged successfully," he smiled.
Wings whiter than anything Luther had ever seen extended from Destruction's back all the way down to the floor. The blue of Destruction's hair tinted the white wings with a sheen of blue and gave them an otherworldly glow.
''I created an angel," breathed Luther, carefully running his uninjured hand through the feathers. "Was it my destiny to create the Angel of Destruction after my own likeness? Is it narcissistic of me to love something I created in my own image? Something not quite real?"
Destruction simply smiled and got off the mirror, liberating the mirror of Alteration. He approached the region beyond the Workspace and stood upon the platform overlooking the data mirrors of the Eternal Sphere.
''What are you doing?" asked Luther, wondering what his creation was doing all the way up there. Although he did not realize it then, the loss of contact with his greatest creation was causing him to feel insecure.
But the other just continued smiling as his wings extended and lifted him up. "The purpose Owner had inscribed on me." Strong waves of static electricity emanated from his figure and encompassed the entirety of the Eternal Sphere system. The waves were aimed towards the great amount of erroneous screens, quickly eliminating all viruses and incomplete, flawed codes within moments.
Luther could only gaze in awe of the being before him. The being which belonged to him. He allowed Destruction to serve his purpose for a few more moments before the task was completed. The Eternal Sphere program was once again clean. "Enough! Don't exert your power."
''Affirmative," replied Destruction as he ceased the waves and returned to the Workspace. Upon reaching his Owner's reach, he was pulled into a tight embrace, something which he was not expecting from Luther at all. "My Owner? Is something wrong?"
''Nothing," whispered Luther as he drew back to look down at the other. Without realizing it, his loneliness from before, the same loneliness that had been reflected by the eyes which now gazed up at him, had dissipated. He was no longer alone.
Destruction returned Luther's gaze before speaking. "My Owner, I do not yet have a code name. If I am to serve your purpose efficiently, I will need one as soon as possible."
Luther blinked. A code name. Ah yes, for input in the data system. Something simple yet meaningful. Something profound yet explicitly Luther's. He smiled as he bent down, Creation sharing the same warm breath as Destruction. Creation marked Destruction as his with a fervent kiss, drowning in the artificial semblance of unadulterated passion reality can no longer supply him.
''F. A. T. E."
My creation. My destruction. My image. My angel.
Part I : Creation
-Star Ocean: Till the End of Time does not belong to me. It and all other titles and characters belong to Square Enix.
-This is actually a back story about Luther and Fayt in Vermilion; however, it is a two-part story which can also stand on its own. I actually prefer for it to be a stand-alone. I usually write Alfei, but I couldn't resist writing a LutherxFayt fic if only this one. Hopefully not just one...
-Le Ciel is French for "the sky" and is a song by the J-rock group Malice Mizer. I was listening to this song as I was writing this and the mood appeared to be so fitting to me. It was a great write. So please tell me if this was a pleasant read.
-First Albel x Fayt... First Luther x Fayt... egads, what am I doing?! I'm just passing poor Fayt around!