Episode 037: Explanations! Mysteries Of The Lost Universe
Episode 037: Explanations! Mysteries Of The Lost Universe
Canal moved the Swordbreaker closer to Zelas' vessel. "Hey! Sorry for the lack of explanations," she sent out a transmission. "But we need to retreat in a hurry right now, so let's save the official introductions for later. Stay still and let me attach some cables to you. Power down your engines and allow me to pull you out of here."
Zelas didn't fully understand the thing about engines, but she opposed no resistance to the cables being attached to her vessel. She interpreted the part about powering down engines as meaning to relax and not resist the pull, so she did so. The next thing she knew, she was moving very fast, it was like traveling top speed through the astral side, but at the same time different. When it ended, she felt that she was in an entirely different location far away and the enemy was no where to be seen in the endless calm starry blackness. She was saved... by an ally of Vorfeed...
She was alive and had managed a retreat, albeit with more difficulties than planned. Yet somehow, after that fiasco of a battle, that could only be described more so as a struggle than a fight, all of this felt like defeat. Even so, Zelas held onto the hope that she did have some decent amount of power in her, the power that Darkstar wanted to himself. If he was that strong, he wouldn't need to go through all that trouble to increase his power, he wouldn't need to worry about opposition. She had to be powerful, even if she changed shape. The great power she commanded in her world couldn't have disappeared. It still had to exist in a different form; she just had to learn how to use it.
"Alright, we're safe now," Canal transmitted. "If it's okay, we'll board you for a closer examination."
'Board?' Zelas thought, she assumed they meant enter the vessel. "Fine..."
Zelas remained still as Swordbreak docked her vessel and Canal, followed by Kain and Millie headed towards the door. Canal reached for the violet surface adorned with golden details that gave the ship a regal look. "Can you open this for us?"
A moment passed and Zelas focused on the area, until she opened a small door, allowing the three to enter. Canal was in truth, contained in Swordbreaker's systems, but she could project a solid hologram of herself, which could interact with the physical world. Kain looked around the ship and observed the box that was on the captain's chair. "There's no one here, but I wonder what's in that box." It was wrapped with a sort of handkerchief with little pictures of wolves.
"Kain, don't touch anything!" Millie cautioned.
Canal waited for the AI of the system to appear, but she didn't seem to be showing up. She, because her voice had sounded female, but by the time a transmission was exchanged between them, Zelas' vessel was damaged and set to voice only, so they weren't sure what kind of image to expect. The image could be anything that the AI determined to be representative of herself. "Um... we're here. Let me introduce everyone officially. I'm Canal Vorfeed, the main computer of the ship Swordbreaker. This is Swordbreaker's captain, Kain Blueriver and first officer Millennium Nocturne, aka Millie."
"You are that ship?" Zelas' voice replied, "but you have a form beyond the vessel." She wondered if she could do that.
"Yes, you may also be equipped with the same solid hologram technology I have. Just a moment..." Canal approached the main control panel and sunk into it like a ghost. "Okay now, focus. You are the vessel but you can have another form and interact with the physical world as long as you are in range. There we go..." Canal returned from beyond the control panel, once again assuming a solid appearance.
Following her there was a woman with tan skin and long platinum hair with a silvery shine to it. Her eyes were silver with piercing long pupils and her ears were long and pointy. She wore a white greek-style dress with slits on the sides up to her thighs and golden jewelry, bracelets, hoop earrings and ankles above bare feet. Her finger nails and toenails with slightly pointy, with her finger nails being long, all painted silver with swirls of glittery gold. "I am Beast Master Zelas Metallium," she introduced herself. She thought that the ship itself should also have a name and, after a moment of thought decided to call it, "Great Beast, that is the name of my ship."
"So this is what a lost ship from another world looks like," Millie observed her with curiosity.
"She does have an exotic style to her," Kain admitted. "It's too bad she doesn't have a cape though."
Millie rolled her eyes, "you're the only one who's obsessed with capes!"
"Capes are rather common in my world," Zelas commented. This was an odd bunch she had run into. "Speaking of which, this world is quite different." She maintained a regal and composed attitude, showing no weakness even if her vessel was in shambles and Swordbreaker could easily kill her if Canal so decided it.
"From what Vorfeed had told me, it is," Canal agreed. She noticed that Zelas' interest increased at the mention of the name and the fact that she had been told about the other world. "I suppose explanations are in order. We might as well start the story from the very beginning, the origin of Darkstar. A long time ago there were two groups of people that fought each other for a long time. One of them created Darkstar, a program capable of preying on people's fear via their brain waves. That program was contained in the ship Dugradigdu."
Zelas listened to the explanation, taking in every detail. The whole situation made her feel oddly identified with Gourry and his eternal confusion. She deduced, rather than ask, that a program was perhaps similar to an astral being, thus making the relation between Darkstar and the vessel called Dugradigdu similar to Canal and Swordbreaker and to herself with her vessel. There was one thing however that she simply had to ask about. "What do you mean by two groups of people?"
"Two opposing halves of a civilization," Canal clarified, though the answer was so simple she had to conclude that she didn't understand the real question. "Their identities were lost in time."
That only made the situation more confusing for Zelas. "You're saying that the lord of darkness of this world was created by its own living creatures, rather than being there since the formation of the world itself?"
"The lord of darkness, as you called him, was in a sense here, in the shape of fear and negative emotions. Perhaps he was destined to be personified as Darkstar," Canal explained.
"I see," so the story of the over-world, albeit similar in some ways to the story of Zelas' own world, had some vital differences. Yet it all went down to the living creatures of the world being the main event in many ways. "That comes as a surprise... Do go on."
Canal was also curious to hear more about Zelas' world. "The ship Dugradigdu was occupied with the physical systems that contained Darkstar. The machines that spread fear across the galaxy and prayed on it were very large and Dugradigdu had little room for anything else. Because of that, his systems were mostly basic defenses and not strong in the offensive. To make up for it, five escort ships were created, the battle ships Gorun Nova, Galveira, Bodigar, Nezard and Ragudo Mezegis. Those ships used the mind as a power source trapping the people who captained them and subjecting them to terrible nightmares to extract their energy. They went out of control and destroyed their creators. Then they continued their destruction in other galaxies."
'The conflict really is inevitable,' Zelas mused. 'The people of this world took on the roles of light and dark upon themselves and even created them anew.'
"To defend themselves from Darkstar, another ship was build called Swordbreaker with its main system, Vorfeed, that drew strength from the power of hope." Canal revealed. "There was a great battle and both sides suffered vast damage, seemingly destroying each other. That was long ago and as time passed, those ships that participated in that war came to be known as lost ships. None of the ships that were constructed afterwards could match their advanced technology and prowess. Many years passed and the lost ship Dugradigdu along with its escorts were found by a human boy. Darkstar influenced his mind and cause him to become the leader of the mafia syndicate Nightmare. He created a copy of himself to be as his most trusted helper, however, that cloned human vessel was overtaken by Darkstar, becoming as an alternate vessel for him."
"Years passed and the sides of darkness and light did battle again." Canal's voice was becoming stressed with emotion at this point. "Swordbreaker had been reactivated as well, by a young woman called Alicia. She sacrificed herself to give her very life as power for Swordbreaker to stop Nightmare, albeit only temporarily. Years passed and Vorfeed..." The narration became more personal. "She was so heartbroken and guilty about Alicia," Kain was staring at the floor as Canal went on. "She stayed in the background and made a copy of herself to provide her usual functions to Swordbreaker; that was me, Canal Vorfeed. With Kain as my new captain and power source we fought Nightmare, but I sustained damage and..."
Canal went silent and Kain continued. "After Canal was nearly destroyed due to the damage to Swordbreaker, Vorfeed resurface. She and I went to challenge Darkstar a final time. That was when I learned how the dispute of Darkstar's creators began. Some suspected that the world was too still and that the natural disasters that had been happening in their home planet were due to a being from beyond the world itself plotting to destroy it and create it anew. The opposing group accused the first of somehow summoning that being, though they insisted it was a natural reaction to stagnation. Then a war began between them. A cult called Nightmare claimed that living a challenging life was the only way to live at all, but they took it to the extreme with harsh attacks. Ultimately, their planet was destroyed by Darkstar."
"Yet this world continues to exist," Zelas commented. So there was a planet around after all. The way Kain said their planet made her think there were actually more than one, perhaps many, though she wasn't sure what to expect of them. "It was true; I do believe the Lord of Nightmares would have destroyed the world and recreated it if it remained stagnant. It would be useless in a sense to keep it still, without evolution or growth." Kain tensed at Zelas' words, but she did not stop. "However," she clarified, "destruction is only another form of stagnation, of silence, stillness. Darkstar's mission was corrupted and turned into that, am I right?"
"Yes," Canal confirmed.
"A challenge is needed," Zelas ascertained, "but killing off all the participants of that challenge only means the end of the challenge. He should have followed my example and simply tortured the world eternally," she chuckled.
Kain let out a breath, yet ironically his uneasiness seemed to lessen. A villain bent on giving people a hard life he could handle, what he feared the most was total emptiness, absolute death. "You really are what they called monster lord in your world."
"Yes indeed," Zelas chuckled. "I am curious to know how you are aware of certain things from my world, but I want to hear the end of your story first. Darkstar did visit our world before and was apparently defeated, though obviously, that impression wasn't quite accurate. How does all of that fit in?"
"It was all a part of that last battle," Kain revealed. "Vorfeed was with me in the battered remains of the Swordbreaker, while Canal was just barely there, but unable to function. When Darkstar brought up the story about the end of the world, Vorfeed lost hope and thought it would be useless to keep fighting continually, because a victory for her would still be a defeat if the world became stagnant and was destroyed. She thought she wouldn't be able to establish a kind of peace that wouldn't weaken the living creatures of the galaxies by ending their evolution and eventually lessening their will to live. However, she still wanted to spare me. Darkstar granted her that much in exchange for her power. Even though it was clear he intended to betray her, Vorfeed was too distraught to think clearly. When their power united, it somehow sent out a wave of energy that restored Swordbreaker and Canal. Then the next thing I knew, Darkstar and Vorfeed were gone."
'That wave of energy, it must have been fusion magic, or this world's equivalent of it,' Zelas thought.
Canal continued the narration from there. "Not sure of what exactly happened; Kain and I regrouped with Millie and waited to try to find out what went on. Overall, there seemed to be peace, so we thought maybe Darkstar was destroyed when Vorfeed's core programming went into him, yet it couldn't have been that simple and we found no traces of them. Unknown to us at the time, there was a group of people from a far off planet, seeking to get rid of Darkstar by summoning him to a different world. We didn't even consider the existence of such a place before. After Gorun Nova, Galveira, Bodigar, Nezard and Ragudo Mezegis fell in that final struggle, those people took their remains and sent them to the other world in preparation to summon Darkstar there. However, something went wrong and the five were somehow sent back in time to the past of your world." Canal paused, wondering if Zelas believed all of that. It was true, but it could be hard to believe.
"Instances of time travel are extremely rare, but a few peculiar occasions have reached my knowledge." Thinking back on it, Zelas realized that they had been somehow linked to the weapons of light, such as that peculiar incident involving Rowdy Gabriev. "That would explain why Gorun Nova, that took the form of a sword of light in my world, was in the possession of the Gabriev family for generations before the events of the Darkstar prophecy. Everything fits so far, but what came after and how did you find out about all this?"
"After Darkstar was defeated in your world, he and Vorfeed were not killed, but rather sent back to this world where they were reborn in a sense." Canal's reasoning fit with the effects of fusion magic as it happened with Val. Albeit of course, there would be differences given the fact that Darkstar and Vorfeed were of a very different nature than Val. "However, they remained united as their programs inhabited the same vessel, Dugradigdu. As for Darkstar's alternate human vessel, it was destroyed, but his main vessel had always been Dugradigdu, so that didn't affect him. The escort ships, known in your world as the weapons of light, were returned to our world by the same group that plotted send Darkstar to yours. They intended to reprogram them and use them for good, but they ultimately rebelled and escaped."
"One's identity is the most important thing," Zelas acknowledged. "I wouldn't be surprised if they would rather be destroyed than brain washed." She assumed that brain washing was what reprogramming meant, or something similar.
Canal nodded in understanding. "As an AI I can understand their necessity to preserve themselves. I just wish they had the ability to change, to make their own choices based on the present rather than simply follow their initial instruction. Yet that awakening is something that few AIs can do. It is to become truly alive."
Zelas was reminded of some of the other monster in her world and how they had no desires beyond following what they mistakenly thought to be their purpose for existing. Actually, it happened with some dragons too and even humans in certain situations. She had to agree that such a life without choice wasn't truly being alive. Those who simply accepted duties because of an invisible rule that pushed them towards them were not really alive. They were very different from those who chose to accept their duties because their personal convictions.
"Darkstar remained dormant along with Vorfeed in the depths of space for some time and we didn't even know where they were," Canal continued. "Then something happened, a strange force, or rather a remnant fragment of a once powerful being, empowered Darkstar and he went on the attack. He wanted more power; he didn't want anyone to oppose him in his quest of destruction. Thus with Vorfeed as his prisoner, he set out to make the greatest powers of darkness of the other world his own. You know what comes next after that. As for my knowing all this, it's because I have a limited level of communication with Vorfeed, as we used to be originally the same being. I can't talk to her all the time, but now and then she tells me things."
"Well, now that you've heard the rundown of what's happened so far, I'm sure you won't mind telling us a little about your world," Millie requested with curiosity. "You can start by revealing the contents of that mysterious box that's on the captain's chair. My instinct as the best detective in the universe tells me that it has something important!"
"This?" Zelas picked up the box, surprised that it was even still there. "I was only projecting a portion of myself into the physical world, though I knew that when I was summoned here, retreating to the astral side would be useless anyway." Judging by their expressions, she would have to explain a little more about the details of the astral side. "I was holding on to this on the astral side and could thus pull it into the physical world at any time; it is an item of the physical world though. It is a..."
Kain, Millie and Canal stared at the mysterious box as Zelas removed the wolf printed handkerchief that covered it. "It is a what?" They chorused in suspense.
"It is a secret!" Zelas exclaimed and the other three fell back. Then she added, somewhat amused despite the situation surrounding the scene. "Actually, it's not really a secret, it's only a boxed lunch, see?" She opened the box to reveal her delicious cooking inside. "I'm surprised traveling between the worlds didn't harm it, or at least it looks alright."
"Some instinct, eh Millie?" Kain teased.
"Oh be quiet, I was right. I am the best chef in the universe after all. The opportunity to try cuisine of another world is important to me," Millie defended.
"You mean the best chef of this universe," Zelas corrected. "I dare you to try the cooking of the best chef of the other world!"
"I gladly rise to the challenge!" Millie tried the food, it had some kind of meat she had never seen before as the center piece. "This is amazing! It's completely out of this world and I don't just mean that literally. I must know the recipe!"
"Let me try it!" Kain insisted and took some of the food. "Wow! Do give Millie the recipe for this; I wouldn't mind having it every day!"
"Even if I give you the recipe, every chef has a special cooking style for a unique touch, so it wouldn't be the same." Zelas was amused by the odd bunch she had encountered. They kind of reminded her of Lina and her friends, so maybe she wasn't so bad off in their company after all. "If you're curious, it's dragon cuisine."
"You mean that's what it's called or actual dragons invented the original recipe?" Kain inquired. "Sorry if it's an odd question, but your world sounds so different that I wouldn't immediately disregard the existence of real dragons that can cook."
Zelas chuckled, "in my world dragons are real and they are capable of taking alternate human-like forms. They can cook too and they have their own recipes as do all cultures, but that's not what I meant. This is dragon meat. I brought it along to snack on while I waited for the inevitable summoning. I didn't need food, being astral, but I could enjoy it. Then I decided I would offer it to Milgazia, a dragon, to annoy him, but we were interrupted and time ran out."
Kain, Millie and Canal didn't even know what to say. Eating something capable of taking on a human-like form seemed wrong, even if the being in question was originally something else. That indicated that dragons were a civilized society. As a general rule, if a living creature is capable of being part of an organized civilization and has the ability of reasonable speech, even if it is foreign, then it should not be eaten. They also thought it was peculiar how anyone would want to annoy a dragon of all creatures. Yet to have taken the form of a lost ship in their world, Beast Master Zelas Metallium had to be powerful. This would be a very interesting alliance indeed.
To be Continued
The story of Lost Universe is based on the anime, information from the novels found at wikia and creative license to fill the blanks in ways that it fit with Try. The name of Zelas' ship is based on an alternate name of hers, Greater Beast, with a reference to Star Fox's Great Fox.