My friend's playing P3P, and that made me think of the Anti-Shadow Emergency Control Weapons and this theory I had about what happened with the mist after P4's normal ending (the bunny was the quest to hit the reset button so the MC could go for the true ending and undo all the damage).
This doesn't take place in the universe of P 3-4, although I'm borrowing a lot from them and 1-2's mythos. I like the Protogenoi, so I'll be using Greek myth a lot if I do more of this, although not exactly the same version that P3 did.
I'm posting this because I think that it can probably stand alone, but it's really more of a pilot episode for/prequel to a larger fic/ficverse. I want to write it, but I won't be able to get started on it anytime soon.
Temptation is charm ailment, FYI. Charm ailment makes the enemies on your side. Or vice versa (freaking Yukari…).
Disclaimer: I own neither Persona nor Rockman/Megaman. No infringement intended nor money made.
One day the mist came. No one knew why, either, although many tried to claim it was because the world was sinful and that all people had to do was join some religion and the killing would stop, the world would be saved.
They wanted to believe that, but it simply wasn't true.
It wasn't that easy.
Awareness of the shadows spread through the world, and people tried to come up with solutions.
Sometimes bullets worked, but not always. Sometimes knives. Sometimes flamethrowers.
Sometimes people were saved. Except once the person had repudiated their other self, something in them died. It was called Apathy Syndrome, and before long there'd be nothing looking out of their eyes.
Most of the time, the shadow killed them and escaped, and then had to be hunted down.
Sometimes liquid nitrogen worked. Sometimes bombs.
Sometimes angels appeared.
"Thou art I; I art thou."
Everyone put it down to childhood innocence. Adults got yellow-eyed demons, children got unicorns and fairies, vampires and nymphs, big dogs and knights-errant. Creatures out of folklore, that came when they called, when they were needed. When a crazed cultist was about to haul them away, when a shadow went after their mother.
Sometimes they could kill the shadows.
But if it was her shadow, then their mother would still die. Killing someone's shadow broke something within them, and soon there would be nothing left of them but a drooling, empty shell.
At first people thought it was a fluke, when some people claimed their shadows had turned into personae. That they'd been able to accept them instead of denying them and running and hadn't been killed for it.
Eventually one of those incidents got caught on tape and there was proof it worked.
For the rare, superhuman people who could handle what shadows revealed about themselves, anyway.
Once the cults self-destructed (for they enforced repression, after all), there was no more war. There was a threat, and trying to find a solution while fighting them off and keeping everyone fed took priority. Money was put into robotics research, because shadows didn't attack robots (only higher life forms with nervous systems) and robots didn't take what was soon dubbed 'sanity damage' from having to deal with the nightmarish forms of shadows and their skill at messing with people's heads.
Soldiers who got too stressed out either got nervous breakdowns when they couldn't keep it in anymore or shadows. The nervous breakdowns and crying jags were preferable.
They all knew that they were going to have to start training child soldiers soon.
Then Drs. Light and Williamson were successful in creating the first robot master, a machine capable of true problem-solving. That was a huge breakthrough: it meant that robots could go into shadow-infested areas to scout, for one thing. That factories and power plants could be staffed entirely with robots so they didn't get trashed when human personnel manifested shadows.
But that wasn't all.
He scowled. "It's so frustrating, isn't it. That inferior mind always gets all the credit for everything. All those ignorant fools care about is who wrote the AI. He's the big hero, and everyone ignores that that I'm the one that built Blues, and I'm the one who has to keep Thomas from fucking everything up."
"He is the one who wrote the AI, he deserves the credit?" There was an emergency button on the wall. Hopefully he could stall long enough, hold back the words and then, well, it would just be a matter of seeing how much he could get done before he couldn't think anymore.
"And he's the one that wiped Blues' proto-personalities, what? Twenty times? The instant anything happened that didn't fit his theories. I'm the only reason this project ever got to the point of needing a robot body, and I'm the only one great enough to create a masterpiece like Blues. Thomas would have burned out years ago without me. The idiot couldn't tie his shoes or remember what day it was. Who wrote the grant proposal? Who always gets second place?"
"I get second place because I always build whatever I like. Winning the World Engineer Silver Medal with something as 'frivolous' as a model gundam is a victory. Everything peer reviewed is a popularity contest anyway."
"Frivolous small-minded fools. They're all the same. They can't face the fact that there's someone smarter than they are. I thought I'd escaped that when I came to college, but it's even worse here. They think they're so great, and then I point out a problem in a test question or prove that smartphone technology is ultimately doomed due to the wireless signal proliferation cap. This is supposed to be science. It's supposed to seek out the truth. To embrace evidence that defies the status quo, to break away from stale ideologies. But you can't submit a paper without writing it in jargon gibberish and bad grammar in order to prove that you're 'one of them.' Now, Thomas, he's a suck-up and doesn't mind. He publishes right away instead of waiting until billions of dollars of investments have been wasted before biting the bullet and letting the world know they'd better start finding an alternative to the iPhone, and then they just can't handle the truth and they're so desperate to avoid it there are all these junk studies, and fools assaulting my reputation, and those fools are going to deserve it when Blues kills them all."
"…What?" He'd read the psychology textbooks, both for Blues' sake and because self-psychoanalysis was a survival skill nowadays. Dealing with Thomas and all the pressure they were under was stressful, after all.
He'd half-expected his shadow to bring up his string of second-place victories. He did have to admit that it got very annoying when he did something amazingly novel that he'd spent months on and Thomas won by doing something conventional that their small minds understood, even though they'd both known that was going to happen and it was really unfair to make Thomas do the boring projects so they got funding.
He'd definitely been expecting his shadow to say that it wanted to beat Thomas' head in or something. The early mornings, the way he'd been treating Blues when, really, Blues deserved more credit for this than Albert did? Maybe facing up to the fact that yes, he was quietly furious and yes, he would be acting violently if it weren't for the fact that would be wrong had worked.
Albert had expected attacks on himself or Thomas, but goddammit, he was sick of people insulting Blues! All the news stations making the same terminator jokes, Thomas reassuring them by saying he wasn't that independent, as though that was a good thing instead of a horrible one and obviously wrong besides?
"He'll start with Thomas, of course. It will be self defense: I won't have to get my hands dirty. Then they'll all come after him, won't they? He'll need my help: he could build and manage a robot army on his own already, I've made sure he knows design, but he doesn't know anything about the world. Unlike them, he's not small-minded. He knows genius when he sees it. He'll do it all, they'll see what a genius I am, and I'll be the hero, not Thomas. I'll be the one he looks up to. I'll be the real ruler of the world, the reason our robot overlords are sparing humanity. And Blues thinks that I'm doing it all for him. He's such a sweet, kind, innocent, gullible child. That's why I want to help him." The shadow bared its teeth in a nightmarish grin. "Help me."
All he could do was grimace, sucking in breath through his teeth, trying to fight back the deadly words, almost snarling as the damn thing smirked at him.
"Thomas is right: he's the perfect slave. So eager to please. That's what he was built for, and if someone is going to take advantage of him, why not me? I'm the one who deserves that power. And when he can't handle what he's done, to protect himself and the others I'll make sure he builds? Well, someone will have to rule the world. He'll die thinking that I was his only friend. How pathetic."
"You…!" he almost screamed, cutting the words back in time and settling for a death glare, arm already pulled back to punch the bastard's face in.
His nose. The shadow's. Not his own.
He'd called it, "You," instead of a piece of himself. He'd thought of that as its face instead of his own.
Albert might not have said all of the fatal words, 'You're not me,' but he'd said enough. He knew it, and, from that smirk, from the way shadows gathered around it as it started to abandon human form now that it was an independent existence, the shadow knew it.
Back against the wall, he was too transfixed by the sight of it changing into even more of a sick, twisted horror to look away, even when the door was pushed open hard enough to bang against the other wall. It wasn't like it was a reprieve. Either way, he was already dead.
"Ini_Orpheus!" Albert recognized the shattering sound persona summons made.
"Thou art I, and I am thou. From the sea of thy soul I come forth. I am Orpheus, Master of Strings."
Albert didn't recognize that voice. But he knew the one that had said that name. It was the same voice that spoke next: "Exec_Temptation."
An unearthly melody filled the air. Literally.
"Blues?" Albert turned and stared, surprised. He didn't know if he was happy Blues was here or wanted to order him away so that Blues wouldn't see 'him' like this, but he was a scientist. Curiosity won.
"Oh? You think it's that easy?" the behemoth gloated, raising one of its chainsaw-arms and starting toward him. It had wings, but they were clearly those of some bird, not an angel.
"Exec_Analyze," Blues said, as calm as this was another day in the lab, directing a mettool with a welder as the room became shrouded in mist. "Exec_Futility." His face showed no reaction when Orpheus dodged and the behemoth fell over, slipping on fallen papers from the desk it had swatted out of the way. "Exec_Temptation. Please stop fighting and return to human form." That last wasn't addressed to his persona.
Despite his height, Blues' heavy materials meant he was rather massive, which was why he wasn't knocked back at all when Albert's shadow, reverted to mad scientist form instead of chainsaw-armed monster, did something that could really only be described as a glomp. "Aww, who's the cutest little robot?"
Blues ignored that, and the ensuing attempt at a noogie. "Are you alright, Dr. Williamson?"
"I'm fine, but… how long have you had a persona?"
"Since just now." He frowned, disappointed in himself. "That was sloppy coding. I shouldn't need to use verbal commands and I should definitely use Analyze first next time." Blues started standing perfectly still in that way that meant he was too busy analyzing something to focus on trying to appear human (humans never stood perfectly still, so Blues had to move a little in order to not fall into the uncanny valley). Then he remembered something and tabled persona tactical analysis for later. "Did I forget something?"
"That was a very impressive rescue."
"No, I meant why aren't you accepting it?" That was what had to happen for Dr. Williamson to be ok, and Blues knew he knew that, so there had to be a reason why he wasn't doing the logical thing.
Because he couldn't. How could he, especially with Blues here? He didn't want to hurt him like that, not when he was almost the only person who saw Blues as a person. It might break his heart. How could he do that to him? How could he say that those terrible things were true?
Not making eye contact meant avoiding something, Blues knew, trying to figure it out.
"He doesn't want to admit that he just wanted to use you like everyone else."
"Really?" Blues looked up at the Shadow.
"Really." It smirked. "At least I'm honest." Like me best?
"That's… You really don't want to use me? But everyone wants to use me." That's what he was for. "Does that mean he doesn't want me?" Blues had learned that widening his eyes made him look sad and pitiful, which was entirely accurate at the moment. "No, that's not what that should mean." He reviewed the security footage he'd hacked into when the alarm went off, using the first law as justification… obeying the first law that said he should definitely make sure that Albert was ok. "You did a really good job on my construction, and sometimes people are illogical." He didn't see why Albert would have a problem with that. "No, wait, what shadows say isn't true, but it's not the opposite, either." He tried to decrypt all of that. "So… You want to look after me?" Really?
"Of course, Blues." He'd said that he would.
"You want to look after me, and you think I'm useful but you don't want to just use me, and you want to make sure that no one gets hurt," Blues included, "and… I'm very happy." He knew it was inadequate communication to just say things like that, but he didn't know how to say it without saying it yet. "About what this means. So I hope you're not rejecting it because I might reject you." That was a reason a lot of humans refused the truths shadows held.
"I suppose it all turned out for the best, then." He sighed. "It's not that I want to rule the world. There would be too much paperwork." Joking aside. "Of course I wish that I could just force everyone to be sensible, and I know that Blues is primed to end up a victim." Goddamn second law, that idiot Thomas. He was going to have to say it this time, wasn't he. Admit it. "You're certainly part of me."
There was that shattering sound again, and the speech, which was the same as Orpheus' except for, "Talos, Master of Inspiration."
He should probably look that up, as soon as he dealt with all the people looking through the doors and gawking.
I really do think that Ar Tonelico's hymnos is the most badass magical/musical programming language out there. All dialects of it. (Replekia...) That's why the Exec_Spell stuff. Technically, it should be Exec_Hymme_Spell, but Blues decided that took too long to say. Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro's HAL Arc has a good thing on why AIs in fiction would feel compelled to explain things. It makes so many contrived things in other stories Fridge Brilliance. Anyway, Blues is 'calling his attacks' out loud since you do have to call up a program to use it and he doesn't have the option of going into Orpheus' head the way he normally does with robots and doing it there.
Orpheus does know what Blues wants him to do without Blues saying it, the way all personae know what their summoners want due to the mental link thing, but while Blues knows mental links they're an entirely different sort and he's edging on the side of caution since he doesn't want Albert to get sliced open.
Aww, I love the adorable lil robots in this fandom.
As you can see, I gave Blues Analyze (because it's what he does), and a few bonus boss techniques from another game. Futility removes all resistances, nulls, repels and drains. Temptation is Charm with a 100 percent success rate unless blocked. It worked with the whole controlling things aspect of robot masterness and it's just that damn scary.
If you're going wait, wait, that's just utterly broken for a freaking starter persona, yes. Yes it is. And he's got five more skill slots. Then there's the level issue.
I have plot reasons for wanting him to be terrifying, although if you read my stuff you already know what's going to happen to him soon because of that. And you can think of it as A Taste Of Power too, because Rock would have a more traditional experience.
It also has to do with some of the persona series mythology, and why there's no Velvet Room in this universe, and why Zero's persona will be Nyarlathotep, but that's another story…