A Detour in Awakening God
By : Fehize
To understand the scope of the Resistance Base's plight, all one really had to do was summarize their surroundings. It was something even a slight underhanded person could do while bored. Naturally, him, being of a type that was retrofitted and designed for just such actions - supervising, overseeing, and rationalizing - the over-use of this building, as well as its age, echoed in every step that he took. Placing one metal foot in front of the other, he turned his head every which way while following the four in front of him. The two main people - Dr. Ciel and Cerveau - were having a muted conversation with Rocinolle and Colbar, but seemed to be slightly hesitant on bringing him into it. No matter, he was still undergoing innermost thoughts.
The scenery seemed to echo his mode, if one could personify a building. Water dripped here and there from pipe works with obvious patches that have failed numerous times. Humans used to live here by the masses, he presumed, but now there seemed to only be one. Large cracks on the walls - the paint falling off, showing the tanned plaster base - appeared in more than one area. The ground had the feeling like as if it would forever have a fine layer of dust on it. Overall, a broken building that was not suited for an organized group of any kind.
However, at the same time, a new building would be sure to warrant more attention, thus being found faster. But he knew this building was old and shattered from age; not purposeful camouflage ideas. Still, it was placed in a worn down part of the city, where no one really suspected too much due to the fact that the entire area was labeled as dangerous and potentially hazard to Human-Health.
It seemed either Dr. Ciel ignored such warnings, or had enough insight to make a first base here.
Neither really mattered too much to him. While he was here, traveling through the dimly lit hallways of the Resistance Base, the Ex-Commander was still grappling his opinions. A sickening feeling was overwhelming him when he thought about Fefnir. Harpuia acted out of instinct, and had crossed the very threshold that he was ordered to find in others. His green eyes narrowed further down, but kept it out of the way. Honor! Honor! HONOR!
He had fought, lived, served, and talked using that code of ethics.
These recent events - Hell, THIS event - had added a stain on that, tarnishing the purity of that thought.
What was he to do? It was obvious that he could not just turn around and leave the Base to return to Neo Arcadia to beg for forgiveness and understanding. Not only was it not in him to kneel down and say such things to someone else, the option to do that was snatched away from him perhaps the moment that the bomb destroyed the Energy Factory. At the same time, could he honestly expect to work with, or FOR, such Mavericks before him after spending years upon years to bring them down?
Even if they were only Maverick in name?
How had Neo Arcadia become so paranoid? So eager to name others as scapegoats for the necessity of brining the Human population into a sense of 1oo percent calm and serenity? When did the Utopia become Flawed?
How did he - called Sage for wisdom, with the talent to see things around him with their true purpose - become so blind?
The sound of falling footsteps stopped for a moment as they all took a collective turn towards the right. The sections here were more close-fitting than earlier, making the green-marked Reploid wonder if this was some sort of more 'secure' area. With all these rocks and boulders and weak spots throughout the base, the best defended spot would be the one deepest into the rock, as well as with the narrowest corridors. When the woman had opened the door ahead, it confirmed his musing suspicion.
Dark grey, cement and steel walls, easily more than a foot thick, made for a spacious room, considering the Base. It was empty, but the marks and scuffs on the floor showcased that traffic came by this area often. A series of monitors and almost-archaic keyboards lined the wall - their networking cables and machinery not hidden underneath visual appealing panels. Coming from Neo Arcadia, this was almost laughable, but the look of pride in the other's faces meant it was something not to mock.
Dr. Ciel's spread her arms open wide, making an awkward gesture. "This is the nervous system of the entire Resistance Base! Our people make plans, jot down ideas, and do other such things from this location! If you ever want to help us out, you can come talk to me: I normally hang around here."
Harpuia could not keep silent. "You are showing me the most important room in the Base, knowing who I am, so SOON, without knowing that I am here to stay?" he added curtly. Clearly the Resistance could not be that stu-
"I believe in trust," added the scientist softly, making sure to put enough emphasis in that final word.
It was the first night.
He would have liked to be alone to muse amongst his self for a while, but that was not meant to be. While it was a general consensus that having the Base know of the Sage's presence was not a smart thing at the moment, he could not have a room to his own. After some comments added from Cerveau, they worked out a system that should entrust peace. Uneasy peace, but it was good enough. Colbar and the Ex-Guardian would room together [each room had bunk-beds and closet space for two] as they knew each other more than Harpuia knew, say, Cerveau.
It WAS his first night here, but Colbar was more than eager to speak his mind.
It had begun as a one-sided rant/talk/pester, explaining over his ideas, his love of books, and how he always had a fascination to lead groups of people. However, as time passed, Colbar tried to pry some information away from Harpuia. The Sage knew he was not exactly a person who was interested in these sort of talks, and thus, perhaps had an aura around him that was enough to keep the roommate from continuing...
Until around one in the morning.
"Aren't you tired?" Colbar finally asked with a half yawn, not entirely expecting an answer, but still trying to send out an olive branch.
The taller Reploid shuffled about in his sitting position on the bottom bunk, frowning a bit, but finally allowing to satisfy some of the other's curiosity. "I was not designed to feel the wide range of emotions that newer Reploid-Civilian Models have," he began. It was true. Reploids designed for war or necessary government jobs had some of the code that made Reploids mock Humans taken from them. Most of it was small amounts - feeling the need to sleep, eat, etc. - as to not interfere with battle potential.
"So... like, are your emotions taken, too?"
Harpuia arched an eye a bit, tilting his head. Despite his fowl mode, he had to smile a bit at that comment. Why did he find it funny? ... He had no clue. "No."
Colbar jumped down at that - his black hair bouncing around. "But-But! I thought War Reploids were, you know, scary fighting freaks with HUGE egos on the inside, and-and lack of emotions for MAXIMUM EFFICNECY!"
The Ex-Guardian had to blink a few times. He knew it was common - VERY common - for a pair of squad-mates to get close to one another [drinking buddies, shooting buddies, talking buddies; the list goes on] over the course of similar plight, but... Colbar was not in his situation. Yet, the younger Reploid was eager to talk; happy to bustle out. It was obvious he was looking for a new friend - fueled with happiness from the fact that he was now in the Resistance Base on top of that.
He just didn't expect it to be aimed at him. Tonight.
At Neo Arcadia he had no one to call as a 'friend' - short of, perhaps, Aztec Falcon. Master X was Master X, a beacon of perfection [who had somehow tumbled into a being whom Harpuia had no idea what to label as over the course of the past few days] and Savior of Humanity. Leviathan was always exclaiming how bored she was, annoying him at moments when she felt so with her tantrums. Phantom sped along like a good spy, both acknowledging that their relationship was that of a common goal for Humans, nothing more. Fefnir was... now too hard to place. He had thought annoying and fight-eager, but...
Then there was all of the underlings and sub-commanders to the various armies. Yes, Sage Harpuia had no 'friends', just people he knew and worked for - all with the underlying fervor that was to protect Humans and their lives. Almost a loner.
He answered Colbar, intrigued almost, a few silent moments later. "No."
Simple. Probably enforced the other's idea that he WAS 'emotionless', but to gain friendship with Harpuia, you needed to be on your toes. Think fast. See what others did not.
And that was if the Sage even WANTED a friend to begin with. Finding such things were not on his list at this moment. More crucial things were.
He had spent almost three days in that room, being silent, mostly.
It was on the forth day when Cerveau entered - Colbar gone for some leadership training that the Resistance Base seemed to have - through the sliding doors, surprising the Ex-Guardian. His green eyes met the visor, reflecting his image. Appearance wise, there was nothing to show that he was still in mental duress. It was important to keep such stuff inside, after all. It was a key point in listening to orders one was not attuned to; something that was still in him, even if he no longer had orders to listen to.
"I couldn't help but notice you were doing nothing," the man added. Not haughty or chastising: observant.
"I have been thinking," Harpuia added. Nothing? No, definitely not nothing.
"Thinking or not, nothing has been done. You are in the same spot you were earlier when you first entered. And while Ciel may be more accepting of this-"
"Is this a-?"
The tall scientist shook his head, frowning, as if trying to bring up better words. "I meant, while Ciel may be alright with housing a Guardian inside these walls, I think you should help us out. And hear me out, please, Sage Harpuia. You were labeled as a Terrorist like all of us, but you have a more dubious background to erase from the minds of us here. I know that many would not be pleased if you came out of nowhere. Perhaps Ciel is a little naive in hoping that spreading rumors about your... 'fall from Grace' would bubble a cushion of support among you here, or maybe I am a slight cynic, but I think that you mingling with the group right now would be in your favor."
"That is a hypocritical notion: to hide from them to prevent unrest in your own faction, yet talk amongst them to prevent future unrest."
Cerveau was a smart man. He sent out those kind of vibes most scientists did. They seemed to think they understood the majority of the world, as well as the people in it. In that sense, both the Resistance Base and Neo Arcadia had similarity, which was another awkward tack in his long mental list. So, as a smart man, he pointed out a thought Harpuia had a feeling he was thinking...
Only, he was hoping that it was not ever to be voice.
He assumed wrong.
"Considering the hell you have given us over the months, I know you can be quite a... spy. You can blend alright, and hide when need to."
The Ex-Guardian caught this man's drift. "You want me to play dress-up. To enter this group as someone not myself."
The black hair swayed to and fro as the body of Cerveau walked towards the closet that rested in the corner. It was something he saw Colbar mess around with, when he was dressing up in Resistance Green. The scientist's white gloved hands began ruffling through the clothing, as if trying to mentally...
He's checking to see if any of them can fit me, the Sage mused right before a green bundle was thrown at him, as well as the typical black under-armor.
"Now, I understand you still have a lot to think about. In this sense I agree with Ciel - you are going to have a harder time coming to terms with your label of 'Traitor' than the majority of us. However, if you could at least MINGLE with the people here, perhaps... Perhaps you can have the rest of your eyes open. We both know they are at least partly concealed, but squinting in the Light."
Harpuia hated proverbs. Phantom used them often while speaking, as if being eloquent in his speech made up for all the deeds he did to ensure peace for the Humans.
Cerveau continued, nodded slightly. "It would only be temporary. Just to see if the people can get used to the idea of who here while not 'REALLY' being here. You won't have to fight! If all goes well, you won't have to hide amongst your new allies."
"The Resistance Base is not-"
Ever since the beginning of this ordeal, people had a habit of breaking into his speech. Seems like it made no difference on who was talking, either. "We are. Ciel believes so. I believe so. Colbar believes so. Rocinolle even believes in what you'll eventually chose, and SHE'S Rocinolle!"
Harpuia's fingers gently traced the outline of the beret that seemed to be part of the standard uniform. A part of him was not comfortable at all with this set-up. It seemed that now that he was no longer Neo Arcadian, people have been trying to push him towards their own agendas. The Utopia he served now sees him as one thing, and the different people of the place he was currently taking shelter - out of necessity rather than choice, for now, he presumed - another. However, another part whispered silently that this could be a new way.
It was troubling. He had spent YEARS upon YEARS in the service of Neo Arcadia, and that whimper of a doubt was already formed. The Sage had only been gone for a few weeks!
Yet, his mind was still thinking. Still planning. He had been wrong. What difference did it make to his honor if he placed on a hat and paraded as a Resistance Base new member for a few days? If anything, it could give him intel that this was not the place for him either.
Or, we could make a new honor here, taunted the growing rebellious side of his mind.
Ex-Commander Sage Harpuia is pronounced Har-puh-ee-ah.
Harp is pronounced, well... harp.
To prevent too many lies and deceit within the Base, and to bring forth a sense of half-truth, Cerveau not-so-ceremoniously dubbed him Harp. After the instrument. A musical instrument. Why? Because, obviously, it was a gutted form of his name, minus the -uia. Never mind it changes the definition of the word. Never mind that Harp sounded stupid.
"-and finally, entering with Colbar is a new recruit, Harp. He was injured in the escape from Neo Arcadia, so please, be gentle. He's a bit socially awkward and shy, so try to help him fit in!" Dr. Ciel added with a smile - a semi-manipulative smile?
Never mind that the first impression the others in the Resistance Base was a man with a weak sounding name, instead of a feared - or at least respectable - one. A man who was brought in by injury meant he couldn't exactly take care of himself.
Which, unless the might of the Neo Arcadian Army was out to vanquish him, he could.
He had to give a kudos to the doctor running the entire Base, though, for pulling that comment. Those words of encouragement to spread the family aura of the Resistance to the new folks definitely sent forth a knitted community. It was almost similar to how the Neo Arcadians ran with their leaders, only... He frowned a bit as he stood there next to Colbar and a few other new members, pondering. Only in Neo Arcadia, Master X was almost God-like. Here, the Human leader had a much different air to her.
There were also less people in the group of Mavericks.
Everyone that could manage to squeeze into the main room was there to see. It seemed to be a right of passage for new members, Harpuia noticed, to be showcased in front of the already concrete members. Size them up? See if anyone was acting suspicious? That and more. Mavericks were...
Resistance Base members, he chastised himself.
Harpuia was still wearing green, though now it was in the tune of the normal Resistance Base outfits. He was taller and lanky than pretty much everyone else located inside, and thus, was given the tallest sized clothing. It's temporary, he added with a scowl. Cerveau had added a point in his words, even if his motives were obvious.
It was still nicer motives than what Neo Arcadia had in store for the green Ex-Guardian.
The only physical difference he had to do was take off his helmet to expose the chocolate hair underneath the beret and cover the green triangle marks upon his cheekbones. Truthfully, he had no idea WHY they existed upon him - or what his creator thought while planning them - as they served nothing but a facial quirk. Still, hiding them with some weird powder Cerveau snuck to him [and Harpuia was not going to ask] seemed almost like an affront on his own idea of self.
His feet, which wore the default brown shoes of the Resistance Base, clanked on the dull grey floor as he tried to pass around to a spot to see what else the Human was going to say. It was a general meeting, and she had let it be mentioned that while she was glad Harpuia gave the Base a chance, even if small, she didn't want him undergoing anything strenuous yet. They both knew he would not do such a thing.
Honor, the old ghosts, hoped that he would never fully join the group of anti-Neo Arcadians. Would never raise his hand again to destroy the Pantheons and Guardians and other such things.
Dr. Ciel coughed to arise attention once again. "Now that everyone has been greeted, we now will discuss this month's goals." With that, a holographic screen appeared, glowing - what else - green. On it sprayed apart a fountain of information that was automatically being picked up by all the Reploids in the room, and showcased on it was a few simple points. "First up, the rumors are stated to be correct. Harpuia has been labeled a Maverick by Neo Arcadia and has disappeared. We will want to see if we can converse with him, IF we can find him. Being out there, in the wasteland deserts, being hunted by the armies that used to be his own, must be a terrible fate I wish upon no one."
Yes, the doctor was playing dirty.
"Second! We have received reports that BECAUSE of the mass trying to find the MIA Guardian, now is the time to place a strategically attack on 'Recycling' Centers! I have been planning a few ideas, as well as Colbar, who is a tactical master…"
The rest continued on that vibe, making Harpuia feel uneasy. THIS is what she planned? Certainly, possible, but if anything went wrong, there would be Hell to pay. There was no intelligence on those areas, and it was it she was oblivious that the Centers were Phantom's domain. PHANTOM'S. Giving the fact the Base members were rather loud on their ideals, they still had no where near the fighting capacity of a Guardian.
It was beyond stupid. It was borderline insanity!
"Harp!" came a cry out as Colbar ran ahead, breaking his thoughts. He was snickering - bastard - at the name, and dragged next to him was a few people he didn't know. One was a tall man with long, almost female looking, black hair with black gloves studded with white fingers. The other was a woman with bright, flaming red hair all tied up in a braid. "This," he began, all too happy that the Sage was there, "is Hirondelle! He's the Resistance's scout! And THIS is Marie. She's a foot solider with a MEAN aim!"
Colbar was trying rather hard on this whole friendship-attempt thing.
Harpuia had to at least give him points on attempting.
All three gave him a look, as if trying to get more out of his impassive face. "Don't be discouraged by his Mr. Grumpy Looks, guys! Harp talks! When he feels like it! Did you know he and I are roomies?"
Marie tilted her head a bit, and Harpuia was conscious of the white energy gun attached to her side. It was old, outdated, like everything else inside the building. Everyone inside was armed, it seemed. Outside of their friendly appearances, they were killers of numerous Pantheons. Still, Pantheons are just programmed tools. Not one ounce of emotions to even place them in the category of Reploids.
Why did I just defend them?
"So, Doc Ciel claims you were injured, right? Don't look too hurt to me-"
"Marie, he could be hurt... On the inside," pointed out Hirondelle.
Colbar sweated a bit, butting in. "He's not a gunner or a foot solider like you, Marie. He's… ugh... he was a..."
"Civie?" frowned the red head.
Harpuia felt like he was drowning in a sea of chatter. Needless chatter. Was torture on the agenda for the Resistance Base? Of course, rationally, he knew this was not torture - nothing near it - but it was still taking him out of his comfort zone. Damn Cerveau for bringing this up, and damn himself for agreeing to go along.
His voice was silent; refined. "A seeker of Truth," was what he added, curtly.
"'Seeker of Truth'? Pfft!" screamed the woman as she laughed, raising her hands up. "How boring! A BEAU'CRAT! Colbar, how can you stand this boring stud?"
The Sage visibly frowned, but refrained to comment. The lack, though, made Colbar think that he should stand up for his... roommate. "Hey! Marie! That's no way to say hello!"
The tall scout - Harpuia made a note to keep a SPECIAL eye on this man. If this man was any good, he would be able to deduct Harpuia was no 'Harp' and solve it rather easily enough with too much lapses of information - rubbed his long hair a bit. "She's just joking. Only yesterday we had discussed that a government worker within the Resistance Base would allow us to understand more of Neo Arcadia's Red Tape as well as the policies and politics they undergo for situations that could possibly arise. I know it's my job to scout around, but some stuff is nearly impossible to find out without knowing what the background is." He offered his hand at the end of those words.
The Sage paused a few moments, before shaking the outstretched one.
Even though it was just pretend for the moment, even though it was hiding under the name of Harp under the 'guidance' of the scientists, even though this was a step further towards the level of the Resistance Mavericks/Reploids; it was somehow...
Good news, everyone! I did not loose something very close and important to me! Which I much so NEARLY did this past month n a half! I won't say what it was, but it was VERY crucial to my health, life, etc etc etc. Now with that worry out of the way, this fanfiction can no longer suffer the fate of 'neglect' among other things...
-coughs- For this chapter, it was character development, I presume! No fighting yet! I know fighting is fun, but in all seriousness, Harpuia is not exactly going to pick up arms... yet. Why would he right now? It's pretty much forced kidnapping he's undergoing, to his opinion!
Anyways, Marie the red-head IS in MMZ, but no name. So I gave her SUCH an ORIGINAL one! -sarcasm- As you can tell, we have the starting of a cast, which means hopefully we can push through -spoiler spoiler- and get to Zero one day!
By the way, Ciel's plans. Well, the base was under her lead, and while I love Ciel, I have a feeling she was no EXPERT on leading a Resistance straight off the bat. She had to learn somehow, and considering the numbers she had to be desperate enough to get Zero from a fortified area… Yeah… Bad stuff. -folds hands-
I'll try to add more chapters sooner so it's not all one chapter a month average. Which is TERRIBLE.