5742/MDCC: Gallery

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MDCC: Gallery
Date of Scene: 26 March 2018
Location: The System - Gallery
Synopsis: Social scene set in the Sapphire City of Art, Gallery, featuring the resident Drive Core Controller-- Artifex.
Cast of Characters: Lexicon, 1137, 1103, 1149, Arthur Lowell, 953, 1143

Lexicon has posed:
    Lexicon taps away, eyes half-lidded as she writes out another paragraph on her latest project. A little smile crosses her face, satisfied, when she finishes it. A smile that disappears when her IM window flashes.

    Ping... Ping... Ping...

    Eyebrows forming a line, she tabs to the window and accepts.


    The video feed opens, showing the glasses-clad, blue-haired, unmistakable face of the Sapphire DCC. Lexicon opens her mouth to tell the woman off for interrupting her when her rival's expression shifts to...well, pathetic, "Th-thank you for picking up, Lexicon..! I really could use your help on something-- please don't hang up--!" She reaches, hands obstructing Lexicon's mouse pointer when it goes for the 'End Call' button.

    "What is it," Lexicon closes her eyes with a sigh, "You want my contact list, too?"

    "Eh?" Artifex straightens, blinking in confusion, "How did you know?"

    Lexicon's eyes wander to the other color-coded names in her list, "Call it a hunch."

    Welcome to Gallery, the Sapphire City of Art.

    The System Bus deposits visitors on a concrete platform as part of a rustic train station, though the System Bus itself retains its highly sleek, digital futurist monorail aesthetic. Unlike previous Drives, the Bus terminal isn't located immediately inside the Drive's local city, but rather, about a block's worth of distance from it. The city itself, from out here, resembles a great castle with various parts of the outer wall in equally varying stages of construction. Exposed digital wireframe can be seen here or there, and blocks half-finished in placement appear as wireframes with textures not quite 'loaded in', leaving visible gaps in their surfaces. The buildings towering over the wall resemble skyscrapers, just with the same old school medieval feel to them, with only a small number of actual circular castle towers.

    Immediately noticeable, however, is the countryside. Because it's quite lush and natural here, a scrubby forest edgeland sort of place with intermittent trees and growth. Forestland in the distance, and even mountains can be identified. Though it seems like the further one looks, the worse the colors get. In the far, far distance, patches of black smoke with glowing crimson outlines ebb and seethe, consuming colors around them until the landscape is a dull gray. And the further from the city one gets, the more prevalent this corruption.

    The blue-haired DCC isn't present. But someone has shown up to greet visitors. Or perhaps it's serendipity-- because a small brown-skinned fairy rests prone on a closed mystic tome, balanced on the lid of a public trash can. As people start arriving, Graphice blinks bleary eyes open, rubbing at one with the back of one hand.

Asterios (1137) has posed:
There is a minotaur.

Can anyone even doubt where he shows up, specifically?

A pair of giant hands pick up the mystic tome from underneath. A pair of crimson eyes peer down... judgmentally!? What could this little fairy have done that would earn the ire of Asterios, friend to all children!?!?

"...Graphice," Asterios begins. "Have you... Made up with Charta, yet?"


That's what.

"Sisters. Must be good to each other. Yes?"

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Locus, two hours before now

    "A-are you sure? I mean..." comes Arcana's voice, almost swallowed up by a chemical reaction making a loud POP in the DCC's workshop. "Of course I'm sure. You are just as much respresentative of the Drive as I am." replies Theurgus, looking around as she sets a pair of flasks on a worktop... both of them sending a different colour plume into the air, framing the bluenette.

    "W-Well... alright. I'll keep in touch." replies Arcana, wringing her hands nervously, before turning to leave. Theurgus sighs softly, returning to her experiments. "She'll loosen up eventually... Source knows I was pretty tightly wound when I was still Candidate..." The DCC winces at that memory, but continues her work.


    Stepping off the System Bus is a dark haired, green eyed girl in dark, punkish clothing. Her hair offset by a bright hairclip set over her left temple. Her hands are hidden inside the lace pouffes of her sleeves, but she idly wrings them together nervously as she steps out. She spies Asterios, then blinks a little at Graphice. "U-Ummm...." she begins, but the words die in her throat and she just kind of melts back a little, covering half her face with one hand, clawlike.

Krusty (1149) has posed:
    Krusty is surprised once more by this world as he steps off the System Bus. The castle theme is a little familiar to him, though the strange use of it for skyscrapers is a new one. Still, Krusty takes a few moments to examine the interesting style, as well as look over the more natural landscape around them. The colour corruption is a little concerning... But then for all he knows, that's normal.

    As Krusty continues to make his way from the terminal, he notices the commotion ahead, recognizing the minotaur. He briefly wonders what that is all about, but then he spots the green eyed girl looking a little off-put. He pauses for a moment, before slowly walking up to her and offering a friendly smile, "Is everything alright, miss?"

Arthur Lowell has posed:
    ARTHUR LOWELL, once again here to cause a huge fucking scene and be a nuisance to everyone, wanders on through Gallery out of the Bus. Damn, this place has a hell of a TRON look to it, even more than the rest! He feels at home, as a native of videogames himself. The visual corruption gives him a pause, but not too much of one. The fairy of the tome catches Arthur's attention. "Yoooooooo! What's those HAPS, HOMIE! GRAPHICE, huh? Got that THEMEING huh?"

    "Heard there's some BIZ around HERE TOO. Like, another thing to HUNT? Shit, homie, I got ZEROS on COVERAGE, but I heard there was some CORRUPTION. Didn't know you were going FULL JAY-PEG up in that COUNTRYSIDE." He approaches the tome in Asterios' hands hand and immediately attempts to assail the fairy's hand with a dynamically size-adjusted version of his usual pounds and low-fives and other suchlike, using fingertips instead.

    He also notices Arcana again. He remembers her, remembers her flusteredness, and closes in immediately to assail her anew. Because as long as he's flustering someone, he's not, himself, being flustered. "Yoooooo, how's STUFF been over DIAMOND-WISE since I was last HANGIN' OUT, homie?" He says, approaching her and intending to give that same greeting again. Oh nooooo.

Kutsuuko Shiratori (953) has posed:
    Getting off the bus/train, Kutsuuko is too busy rolling her stiff shoulders and stretching her arms to avoid saying "Maaan, it's been /forever/ since I've been here." before noticing it's a completely different place. Having heard the place referred to as a 'Drive', she'd expected more of the kind of obviously digital structure and aesthetic as the Tower had been, but when she ends up staring at a lush medieval countryside and a castle that is only clearly artificially produced for the few sections of half-finished wireframe wall, she mostly responds with a lame "oh" before dropping her arms.

    "Okay, that's a little different than I expected." she says, rubbing the side of her face. "What the hell is going on way over there as well? I've never seen anything like that." There's no point in looking overtly concerned or aggressive about it, barely armed as she is. She has a fairy of her own present though --a tiny, sleek white figure with an odd series of concentric pink halos, who immediately flits over her shoulder and gets right up in the darker fairy's face. "Hello! Who might you be? I've never been here before, so it's nice to make your acquaintance!" says Shiro, holding out her hand.

    "Oh hey, the loud- . . . Arthur, right?" Shiro's owner says to Arthur instead, clearly vaguely recognizing him. She then jerks her thumb over her shoulder, sortakinda keeping her voice down. "You have any idea who the rest of these guys are?"

Touta Konoe (1143) has posed:
Touta is out on another Multiverse exploration! He had been meaning to check out the grid for so long, and finally found the time to make it. He didn't know much about Gallery, but with such a nice name he figured it was definitely safer than Lodestone was! Thankfully, this place doesn't look like it'll be prone to accidental magical nuclear explosions happening. At least it looks that way for the most part with this place's techno design going on.

As the young man gets off the bus he can't help but feel like the best way to describe this place was if someone was trying to make a medieval video game that was still being developed.

Though what he really appreciates is the countryside. It sorta reminds him of his hometown back in the boonies. Except for that corruption farther in the background, that's pretty ominous!Though that's not important at the moment. What is important is that a Minotaur picks up a book holding a fairy...No this isn't the punchline to a joke, he's actually watching it happen. Was that a common occurrence here? I mean, medieval landscape having mystical creatures didn't seem so out of place.

Frankly speaking, Touta was probably one of the people here looking out of touch with the setting. He's dressed in pretty casual attire, lugging a katana on his shoulder. Still now that he was here though he might as well document his time. He pulled out his phone and just starts taking pictures. It's mostly wide shots of the scenery but he may or may not be getting some of the other tourists caught in them as well. Like Arthur trying to fistbump the fairy ontop of the book being held by the minotaur, there's even a shot of Kutsuuko popping into frame just as he takes the picture, or the man in the armor and glasses talking up the dark-haired, green-eye girl who looked sorta touristy to the place too.

"Wait...Haven't I heard that voice before?" He starts putting his phone to his side as his eyes look towards Arcana and Krusty's way. Who he's staring at though is hard to tell from the angle.

Lexicon has posed:
    When her book is lifted, Graphice pushes herself up, squinting at Asterios. After a moment, those eyes widen, "Huh, nope." Closing them, she grins, "Haven't even had a chance to leave Gallery since the re-launch. If Charta wants to make up than she'll have to come here." She floats up, and her book opens and flips through several pages until she settles back down on it.

    "Whoa, dude!" Graphice's reaction to Arthur is considerably different from Struo's-- She completely owns it, and in the process of matching the Space Jerk's handshake. At the conclusion, fully energized, she accentuates with a floating twirl and snaps both hands into finger-guns his way, "Finally, a pretty cool tourist!"

    When accosted by Shiro's similar size and proportion, though, Graphice leans back, teeth bared in an uncomfortable grimace, "--Whoa, hold on--" as her hand is shaken.

    At some point during all of this, a professional woman in a black suit (and skulls for some reason) has exited the castle, moving in an obvious hurry while trying not to look like she's in a hurry. Immediately, Touta's more modern garb doesn't seem so out of place, as the only strange thing about the woman's appearance would be the horn-like headpiece she wears.

    "Man," Graphice floats away from Shiro, rubbing the back of her head, "The name's Graphice, I'm the Oracle around here." Stretching, she peers, "Was that the Diamond candidate I saw just now?"

    That woman comes to a stop right by the train platform, pausing to catch her breath, eyes closed. Seeming to steel herself for some arduous task, she ascends the steps to the train platform itself, coming up right near Krusty and Arcana-- and freezes. Deer-in-headlights stare right at Asterios, who she'd apparently somehow not noticed during her approach.

    After a moment, the bluenette folds her hands together, closing her eyes, "A-ah...Welcome, everyone, to my Drive. I'm sorry I'm late in meeting you all. I know that there's no excuse, um. Since it was my invitation." Eyes opening, she bows at the waist, "I am Artifex, the Sapphire Drive Core Controller, recently re-established."

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Arcana looks over at Krusty approaching. "I-I'm fine. Really." she says, offering a smile, from behind that claw-like hand covering her face... those green eyes look a bit different... having a little bit of orange along the lower curve of the iris.

    This effect ends as Arcana is accosted by Arthur again. Bright green irises, wide eyes and a look of 'oh Source Code, not again' as Mister Loud comes at her.

Krusty (1149) has posed:
    "Alright then, if you're sure." Krusty smiles at her.

    At that point, Krusty turns to watch as Arthur comes over to give the poor Arcana one of his usual greetings. To which Krusty simply nods and says, "A pleasure to see you again, Arthur." Is he lieing? It's hard to tell. If he is, he's really good at it.

    It's at this point that Artifex arrives and introduces herself. Krusty walks up to meet the woman, admiring the interesting choice in clothing style. Krusty proceeds with his usual introduction, placing his hand to his chest as he bows and says, "Krusty, Guild Leader and representative for the Round Table Alliance." He flashes Artifex one of his charming smiles, "Thank you for the invitation."

Arthur Lowell has posed:
    "YOOOOO! How's it hangin' there EPIC MEAL TIME?" Arthur says, greeting Kutsuuko Shiratori. The hassling in this case goes for a series of fistbumps and pounds that include heavy integration of sliding low-fives that twirl and tap the inhibitor bracelet dynamically. Does he come up with these on the spot? Yes, somehow, his geometric genius extends to that. "Over there's the TOP DOG around here, name's ARTIFEX, she's a DCC. Dunno what a DCC is, but it seems kinda like a PRESIDENT?" He gives a big shrug.

    "SMALL VOLUME there is ARCANA, we met when I fought a TROJAN with a GHOST. There's BIG AND TALL HORNS EMPORIUM, that's ASTERIOS, he's a cool MAGIC GHOST. QUARTERBACK SPECS over there is KRUSTY, he's one of the TOP DUDES on some ROUND TABLE thing I heard, some kinda ADVENTURE COALITION. And there's THAT GUY, I dunno him." He gestures to Touta and waves vaguely.

    "Yo! DOUBLE C, what's GOOD in the GALL, dog? I'm ARTHUR LOWELL, INTERGALACTIC HOOLIGAN, ROCKET-POWERED JERK, PROFESSIONAL ENTHUSIAST. Looking like there's some SHIT GOING DOWN over on the FAR END, wanted to CHECK IN and SEE WHAT'S UP. Something about LEVIATHAN? I got ZEROS on COVERAGE up in this biz, looking to get some DATA up in this motherfucker." Arthur says, approaching and attempting to do yet another of those greetings.

    Not one single human alive -- least of all Arthur Lowell himself -- would blame Krusty for lying about it being a pleasure to have Arthur around, but Arthur delivers a paired fingerguns of greeting. "Always a PLEASURE to BE AROUND, Big K, good havin' ya!"

Asterios (1137) has posed:
    "You must be. More proactive!" Asterios lectures, having apparently picked up some kind of Teaching Position habit somewhere. It's probably something to do with hanging out with certain members of the platoon a little too much, or something. "Family is. Important. More important than work! Hrmp." Unfortunately, ARTHUR INTERRUPTS HIS LECTURE with his hip cool hand jivin' style and bad boy image. But that's okay, because Asterios has... another target.

His eyes move to fix on...


True to her luck, Asterios' eyes meet hers RIGHT AS SHE LOOKS HIS WAY. Artifex would feel that dread grow in her gut. The shadow of terror looms large over her and--

Oh wait no, that's just Asterios patting her head.

"Hello. Again. Are you also... behaving?"

At least it wasn't a hug.

(She might not survive a hug)

Kutsuuko Shiratori (953) has posed:
    Regardless of whether Graphice is uncomfortable, Shiro is all over that. "Nice to meet you Graphice! I'm Shiro! That's a really cool handshake! Are you two best friends?" she asks, indicating Arthur. Kutsuuko is a little more reserved, though, narrowing her eyes to watch the girl in black running down the pathway and trying to make sense of her on approach.

    "Diamond candidate?" she asks, though practically rhetorically unless Graphice feels like being extra helpful. "Hey, no problem. You're only a few minutes off. It's no big." she says, trying to wave Artifex down a little bit. "Re-established? Is that what's going on here? Everything's being rebuilt?" She gestures around at the distant black corruption. "So I'm hoping you're going to tell me 'that stuff' is in the process of being pushed back and recovered, right? Not closing in to delete this place off the map, right?"

    She is suddenly accosted by an Arthur handshake. The fact that he seems to have meticulously calculated to work around the heavy red armoured bracelet on her right wrist is suspicious, but also impressive. "Whenever something ends with CC it's basically always something control or controller. I'm guessing the D is for Drive." she hazards. "So, she owns a company?" she then says in total earnestness, being the first, if not only, use of the word 'president' she is familiar with.

Touta Konoe (1143) has posed:
Oh, so that was Krusty. Yeah, he remembers that name. It's the one Yuuki talked about before. The guy she fought at the Shrine of Adversity. Oh and Asterios, that was one of the people who got taken during the Emblem City abductions. He never met him face to face, but he could remember his voice over the radio chatting to Caster every now and again. Especially since when he did she ended up blowing up her radio in annoyance. Good times.

"Oh, I'm Konoe Touta. Also I didn't get an invitation or anything like that. I heard about this place a while back and just wanted to check it out was all." He sorta feels out of place now. Should he have not been on that bus? Well one way or another he was, and now he's hearing all this stuff about some sort of corruption in more detail, so with that being said...

"Hey Miss Artifex, I know you didn't invite me or anything but if you need some help I don't mind being a last minute volunteer." He doesn't even know if anything's actualy wrong yet but he's sticking his nose in regardless apparently.

Lexicon has posed:
    Arthur gets a bit too close to Artifex with his loudness for comfort, and she looks visibly nervous when he descends upon Arcana with his Coolkid handshake. She pointedly folds her own arm behind her back, in an effort to not only look professional but to spare herself from a similar fate. When she glances back forward, her field of view is ENTIRELY Minotaur. Her mouth opens in a terrified squeak, and a flinch, until he just...pats her on the head.

    Artifex seems somewhat listless for a moment, with a distant stare, as a result.

    "Man," Graphice closes her eyes, rubbing the back of her neck again, "You gotta stop spookin' her, Supersize. Nobody here's done anythin' bad since the Drive came back up, okay? Jeez."

    Distantly, Artifex responds to Krusty's greeting with a lilting, "Nice to meet you.." while holding her hand out and shaking an imaginary hand, still staring into the distance. It takes a minute for her to return to herself, with a wince and a step backwards, "Ah... S-sorry, again." She really is pretty skittish, isn't she?

    Questions from Kutsuuko and Arthur seem, at least, to drag her back to reality, and Artifex takes a minute to straighten herself as she latches on to those questions to answer them.

    "Ah, yes and no," She gestures, "Gallery is one of the System's oldest Drives, but crashed a long time ago. Only recently was the viral contamination brought under control enough to decompress and re-launch. Thanks to the help of a few brave warriors, including mister Asterios here." Placing that same hand to her chest, she changes topics, "I am a Drive Core Controller. A DCC is something like a patron goddess of their respective Drive. I lead the society here, ensure things run smoothly, and protect it when the need arises." After a pause, she closes her eyes with a small smile for Kutsuuko, "Y-yes, like a company president, I suppose. That's not a bad comparison, miss."

    "As for all that junk," Graphice picks at an ear with her pinkie, eyes closed, "The corrupted data was only recovered enough to re-launch the Drive. There's still a crapload of corrupted data to repair. Even parts of the city are still messed up. S'why we've been so busy." An eye opens towards Arthur, then, "Oh, yeah, that jerk. Yeah we've got viruses around here. And that black code left by Caerbannog supercharges them. Leviathan used to be a Sky Whale virus and now its one bad dude."

    To Touta, in particular, Artifex nods, "Oh yes, it doesn't matter to me if you came of your own choice or were invited. By all means, I'll accept all the help I can get." With a nervous laugh, she adds, "It's been something of an uphill battle getting this far, the data corruption is pretty severe."

    Well, that's what happens with a supervirus uses your soul to attack the land you're inextricably linked to.

    "While we wait for Leviathan to enter an area it can be engaged...um, 'relatively' safely, shall I show you all around?"

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Arcana extracts herself from Arthur's superCoolKid aura, scooting over towards Artifex and giving the older DCC a polite bow. "Lady Sapphire Soul... Big Sister sent me as a liason between our Drives... If you could use my help with this virus, I will be more than happy to render it." she says, her voice growing just a little more confident, but still keeping the nervous undertone, much like the Sapphire DCC herself.

Krusty (1149) has posed:
    As the corruption is explained, Krusty hmms quietly as he looks out at the damaged nature in the distance, "Is there anything that can be done to speed up the process?" He's not an expert with computer systems himself, but he knows some people who might have more knowledge in the area.

    Of course, the mention of the virus in particular is the main reason they're here. That and seeing the city. He smiles, "A tour would be appreciated, yes."

Kutsuuko Shiratori (953) has posed:
    Kutsuuko seems to relax, from a position of imperceptible tension that wasn't quite obvious until she let go of it. "Alright. That makes things a lot better than they could be." She wasn't exactly looking forward to the proposition of having to defend this odd half de-rezzed city from something gobbling the entire countryside. "Good work then. I can't imagine it was easy, right?" She's fought the viruses here before, so she has a good idea of how big and difficult to handle they can get.

    "So what happens when we take out this Leviathan? Do things just go back to normal? Or is it basically one less threat to deal with. And what about that Caerbannog guy? Is that resolved or . . . ?" There's a bit of catching up to do. Shiro flits back over, bowing daintily to Artifex from her aerial position over Kutsuuko's shoulder. "We'd love to look around!" Kutsuuko follows. "Besides, it'd be more difficult to fight if we didn't know what was around here."

Asterios (1137) has posed:
Asterios is indeed that very same minotaur that got banished to the SHADOW REAL-- er, the world of Emblem City. He seems to have made it back in one piece, though.

Artifex's headpattage lasts for exactly three pats before the minotaur relents. "Good... to hear. Was worried. Might still have... lingering corruption."

It does seem to be the case, however. The buildings in that not-so-distant city certainly don't seem entirely whole and hale. And it does seem like part of the problem is that too much data was just... ruined beyond repair. Asterios frowns at that.

"Black code?" He asks, canting his head slightly. "Mmn, well. Can probably help with the buildings. I am... Pretty good? At cities?"

Lexicon has posed:
    "Black code," Graphice gestures, "You can see that crap from here, can't you?" She must be referring to the seething pockets of black code, rimmed with unhealthy red glow, visible at various places in the distance, "Viruses suck that junk up and get big, and become a hub point for corruption in their area. Delete the virus, delete the corrupted code, heal the Drive. Simple, right?" Closing her eyes, the bookfairy shrugs, "Though I guess there's so many that even with help it'll take forever. And who knows what we'll do if we find code that just can't be repaired."

    When the invitation of a tour is accepted, Artifex bows slightly, "Ah, then please this way." She steps down and leads the way to the castle city itself, talking along the way in response to various questions. From Krusty, she shakes her head, "As far as I know, the only way to accelerate it would be to destroy more viruses, but destroying the larger, stronger ones seems to have more of an effect overall."

    To Kutsuuko, Artifex shakes her head again, "Heavens no, Caerbannog's destruction is the reason you are able to talk to me now. It was an ancient virus with a ... long story to it. But it's gone, now. For good, I hope." Talking about it makes her even more nervous than usual, and she quickly changes subjects, "When we destroy Leviathan, it destroys the corruption Leviathan's absorbed. So it should heal a portion of the Drive, as Graphice says. That's how we've managed so far."

    To Asterios, Artifex hums, "The city's repair is proceeding...It's just some corrupted districts that need attention. Rebuilding isn't the problem, it's clearing out the damaged data first. I appreciate the thought, though." Closing her eyes, she nods once, "I'll be keeping an eye out for whichever Virus is keeping that area locked down."

    To Arcana, Artifex raises her hands, "Ah... Please, you can call me Artifex. Graphice called you the Diamond candidate? So you're with the Magician, then..." After some thought, she nods once, "I appreciate you and your sister's consideration, thank you for coming to assist."

    The walk leads through the castle's great gate. Inside the walls, it's a mix of technological and rustic, with glowing blue lines running along the streets and up the sides of buildings that appear to be made of stone and wood. Programs of mostly human description wander the streets, with a few having set up easels to paint with various digital tools. Portraits, landscapes. One's going very abstract, until he turns around and has a face that matches the amusingly mixed up features he's painting. A face that Artifex seems to treat as ordinary, "Your latest is looking great, Painterly!"

    "Noh noh~!" the program responds, before turning back to his work.

    "In Gallery," the DCC explains, "Our core data archetype is visual. Artwork, photographs, animations... I created many of the residents here myself, in my heyday, and they have gone on to become widely successful even when Gallery itself crashed, by moving to other Drives." With her eyes closed, she adds, "Visualizer works in Cadenza. Sprite 2D creates new work in Arcade. Even Illustrator found work in Britannica after my demise... I'm ultimately happy for them, though their refusal to come home stings a little."

Krusty (1149) has posed:
    Krusty walks along with the group, glancing around at the sights as they pass them. The blue lines are a nice touch, even if not wholey appropriate for a castle theme. But then it's not like the entire city is like that, the more modern looking buildings providing a strange contrast to the ancient designs.

    As they pass the artists at work, Krusty only takes some quick glances. While he appreciates certain types of art, most of it isn't of much interest to him. Though he does often admire the dedication artists put into their creations.

    The mention of some of the programs choosing not to return does get Krusty's attention though, "Any specific reason why they don't want to come back? Or is it just a matter of they're happier where they are now?"

Kutsuuko Shiratori (953) has posed:
    Kutsuuko sighs surprisingly heavily at the mention of code cleanup, though not out of apparent frustration or disappointment. If anything, it's some kind of form of melancholy relief. "I wish it could always be that easy." she says, in an oddly wistful tone. "Even if it takes a lot of work, it'll only get easier as it gets done, won't it? So it's better to roll up your sleeves and get on with it. Eventually, you'll see it completed one day. Then people can talk about all of this as distant history."

    She doesn't even try to keep her nosey inspection (within the bounds of the tour group) on the downlow, though Shiro is much more overt about it by flying around to check out the paintings and illustrations on display, mostly quietly oohing and aahing at them. There isn't exactly a ton of art hanging around at home. People don't have the time, and largely lack the expertise, for it. "I'm happy for them. Not everyone finds a good home after escaping someone like this. After a while, that place becomes your new home, and it can be hard to give up what you've come to know. Don't take it personally. I'm sure they'll come to check it out once this place looks a little nicer, right?"

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Arcana blinks a little. "Ah, we have one of your programs in Locus. They help with our magitechnology research and development. Pictoporium I believe is her name. Helps us with virtualizing designs to see how they fit together before we build a prototype." Arcana seems to have perked up, as she relates this, her entire demeanor lighting up like a floodlamp powering on.

Asterios (1137) has posed:
Asterios cranes his head to stare at the offensive voids in creation. Like infected wounds, blighting the city. He frowns a little more emphatically than one might expect from someone like him. It seems there's something a little /too/ familiar about that blight. "So. Viruses spread more of the corruption. I see."

Asterios glances to Artifex, then shrugs. "I will stay. For a bit. Am good at hunting too." Even better than 'cities' in fact. He IS the Minotaur of the Labyrinth, after all. "If we can stop more from getting too strong, feeding on their own corruption, then we can solve the problem. Faster."

If they leave a virus to its own devices, then more code might end up corrupted irreparably. More corrupt code means more for the viruses to feed on. It's a self-fuelling, dreadfully efficient feedback loop.

The minotaur goes silent for a short time. They soon find their way to a community of artists-- as only makes sense in a place like this. "Mmn. I understand. Can be hard, to be... Not rejected, but to know. The world was moving, while you were... not."

Arthur Lowell has posed:
    Arthur follows closely along with the tour, taking in the sights with a cool, energized sort of enthusiasm that is meant to carefully mask a much more academic interest in the ongoing events and in the close history of the place. "Fucked up how the DRIVE CRASH winds up doing THIS STUFF. Is this kind of an ABSTRACTION of that DATA FORENSICS kinda stuff? Damn homie, your REALITY gets me THINKIN'."

    He gives a grin and a sort of barking laugh to Krusty. "If your HARD DRIVE got CRASHED, would you put some MAD CRUCIAL DATA up in that motherfucker right after it CAME BACK ONLINE? I can't give 'em a BLAME, just gotta make sure we dish out that HELP up in this." And then he pounds one fist into its opposite palm. "And CLEANUP'S never been HELLA SATISFYING as it is when you do it by FIGHTING MONSTERS, yo."

    "The hell's worth the SURVIVING if it's not some ART, yo? Can't imagine what the point of LIVING was if it wasn't some GOOD VIDYA. But eh, point of ART is to SPREAD IT AROUND, so maybe it's one'a those situations." Arthur says, aside to Shiro, as he moves on mentally into the matter of Leviathan itself.

    "So how fuckin' HUGE is this LEVIATHAN thing? Gonna be a big chunk of CLEANUP once you lay down the PAIN on it, right? With a NAME LIKE THAT, shit sounds CRAZY GORGED, I heard it was some BIG SOURCE on the CORRUPTION up in this motherfucker so I got the MAD HOPES." Arthur says, eyes wide with a more bloodlusting energy. He seems quite intent on this upcoming effort.

Lexicon has posed:
    "Ah? Pictoporium?" Artifex closes her eyes, head bobbing in thought, "Pictoporium... Wait, she moved to Locus?" Artifex glances back towards Arcana, "That's a relief. When I hadn't seen her, I was concerned. She always was a creative sort. I'm glad she's found a place to be happy." Looking forward again, she closes her eyes, arms folding, "It's not...rejection, I think. I do care about them, so I'm happy they've found a way to make a new and successful life after Gallery could no longer support them. It's bittersweet, is all." With a wry laugh, she admits, "I'm just a relic from the past, trying to create a future. But I won't just find a candidate to pass the torch along."

    Surprisingly firm, Artifex straightens her posture, "This is my Drive, and these are my people. It's my duty to them, I can't just run away because it got difficult. That's not what made me a Drive Core Controller."

    Seems like Asterios and Kutsuuko found their own ways to answer Krusty's question before Artifex could, "As they said, sir Krusty. These programs found a way to move on and created a new life. And they're happy where they are. I won't force them to return if they don't want to."

    The Sapphire DCC hums thoughtfully, "I do appreciate the help. I've done some terrible things." Looking down again, she cradles her chin in thought, "Even if I wasn't in control of myself... It means a lot that you'd come to help me, mister Asterios. Though these others didn't see..that part of me, and hopefully never will." Viral Artifex must have been a bad time.

    "Ah," She glances up when Arthur relays what's on his mind, "It's not really the result of the Drive crashing, but how it crashed. This was due to a virus. That earlier named Caerbannog infected the very core of Gallery." Lifting a hand, she rests it over her chest, "My core. My Kernal, specifically. That is how I died. And how Gallery began to rot from the inside out. Why the System quarantined it and the Drive crashed." She gestures to the Minotaur, "Mister Asterios, Lexicon, Theurgus, and many others were instrumental in my repair...and following the destruction of Caerbannog, and the end of my infection, Gallery became repairable again. It's deep-seated and malicious because of .. Well," She glances down, "Because of my carelessness."

    With Artifex getting all mopey, Graphice steps up to Arthur's other question: "You think anything called a Sky Whale would be small, dude?" Holding out her hands, she gestures. A holographic screen appears above her, projected from her tome's pages, depicting a sixable sky blue and yellow whale-like creature floating next to a person. It looks about the size of a medium-sized sedan in comparison. "After sucking up all that crap, it's huge now. And all nasty and mutated." The picture slides aside to a second shot, showing a much smaller human shape next to a similarly shaped black silhouette with tentacles and claws sticking off it--and part of it might be melting, by the look of it.

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Arcana nods to Artifex solemnly, "Big Sister was very pleased when she came home after that... She was very happy that she managed to help save you, and the Sapphire Drive." she relates, before looking around at the sights, a faint little smile on her lips.

    Then Graphice brings up the holograms of Leviathan, the smile fades, and a frowning determination enters her face. Her hand lifts again, hooking into a claw-like shape as she covers her left eye. "If there is a Virus, I will delete it. If there is corruption, I will delete that too." Her entire countenance becoming rather intense. Focussed.

Kutsuuko Shiratori (953) has posed:
    Artifex talking about not being in control of herself, and about things being her responsibility, causes Kutsuuko to look (up) at Asterios rather meaningfully. Not that he seems the type to be highly eloquent, but it's an unmistakably questioning stare. She doesn't want to be so blunt as to pry it out of Artifex herself (or even Graphice) considering it was clearly something traumatic. Answer forthcoming or no, her gaze eventually wanders back to her right hand, gloved up to the bracelet in carbon weave, which quietly creaks as she slowly squeezes and releases a fist.

    "No use dwelling on it when we have so much work to do." she says suddenly, just as Shiro opens her mouth, and thus is cut off. "If it's a flying target, we'll need anti-air, but if it's that big, it'll be difficult to miss. Do you have an advisory on static positions, with as much height as possible, at least temporarily defensible from the air? Clear firing lines, with no chance of collateral on the castle itself in case of a miss due to evasive action."

Krusty (1149) has posed:
    "Hmmm, I see." That is all that Krusty says to the response he gets to his question. Though he does silently agree with Arthur's sentiments about the best way to clean up.

    But of course, Krusty becomes focused as their foe is visualized before them. Krusty has never had a problem fighting large monsters... It's sort of a staple of boss design. Krusty turns his head to listen as Kutsuuko asks some important questions, somewhat impressed by her tactical skill.

    Turning back to Artifex, Krusty asks, "Additionally, any information about the virus's capabilities, attack methods, potential weaknesses?"

Asterios (1137) has posed:
Asterios' gaze tracks Artifex first. Then Arcana. The minotaur is silent for a moment longer, and then...

...Double...... Headpat!?

"You," Asterios says, "Are both. Too focused. Artifex. Wasn't your fault that you were taken over. You fought to save more than yourself. We saw the memory. Be proud. Arcana..."

"If you push yourself too hard," he cautions, "You will... make a similar mistake. Someday. Be more careful. No need to get so... Focused. Rely on us, please?"

Arthur Lowell has posed:
    "OOF. Went full FISHER KING up in that motherfucker, huh? HARSH shit. Least some son of a bitch could do if they wanna make a place CRASH is get that HONORABLE kinda FIGHTING. POSSESSION is like TAKING A HOSTAGE and then also STEALING A BUNCH OF SHIT all at the same time. Worst shit ever!" Arthur says, frowning and getting very energetic about the topic. What's /that/ about?! "Sometimes, wish I'da gone into MIND ASPECT or HEART ASPECT. Kinda NERDY SHIT but then maybe I could actually DO ANYTHING with that."

    "Good hearing this homie's ULTRA SIZE. Sounds like we'll take out a HELLA CHUNK on 'em, but hmm. They eat it 'cause it makes 'em STRONGER, don't they. Sounds like it'll be TOUGH too. This motherfucker's lookin' like I'm 'boutta get back into SHMUP GAMEPLAY MODE." He says, looking quite eager to get back into his flying shooter shenanigans. "Might need some BIOHAZARD GEAR or something though. SHIT, dog, that looks NASTY."

    "Lookin' to FORCE 'EM DOWN, though... Huh. I can jam some HARDCORE POWER up in some BIG ARTILLERY-TIER SHOTS, make it a little too DANGEROUS to go TOO HIGH on this. EASY. And YEAH, hit me with any WEAKPOINTS you know on this guy. I'mma SMASH 'EM HARD, can't go EASY on something with all that CORRUPTION."

Asterios (1137) has posed:
"Besides," Asterios huffs. "We are... Less vulnerable to viruses. Yes? Can't infect what is made... Of things that are not-data. So if we run into more viral code... Let us take. Point." The minotaur releases the two girls then-- and nods. "That way, I can fight... Without worrying about making Theurgus sad."

Lexicon has posed:
    Palmed by massive Minotaur hand, Artifex squeaks again, reaching up to push the meaty ham off her face. When he at last does relent, she fusses, fixing her glasses and headpiece while admitting, "Dwelling on the past will get me nowhere, you're right. Even if I'm a relic from that same past, it's time to focus on the future. Not just for myself, but for the Drive that I love." With a little smile, she adds, "And remembering that I have friends I can rely on, now."

    She glances back at Graphice, then turns fully and spreads her hands, "I have a plan. I just came up with it, but hopefully that won't be a problem." Hands shift, and she folds her arms, "We force it down outside the city. Once it's grounded, if we can keep it from taking flight again, it'll be mostly immobile. Then we expose its infected kernal and destroy it."

    "Leviathan's a real piece of work," Graphice clarifies for Krusty, dismissing her picture, "It horks up acid like it's going out of style, and most of the tentacles are like stingers or something. Poisonous." Closing her eyes, the mocha bookfair sighs, "I mean, I don't envy you guys fighting it. It's pretty raid boss tier." An eye opens, "Though most of you seem to be prepared for that already, huh? And you'll have Artifex. If she can nullify the poison with her ability, it'll go a lot easier."

    At the mention of her ability, Artifex holds out a hand. A sword appears, in a wooden scabbard. The straight blade, handle, and puff on the end combined with the unusual shape of the scabbard makes it look every bit like a giant paint brush, "Between Tornado and Deluge, I can handle the venom. The trouble is if I'm doing that, I can't spare the ink to hold it down with Ribbon Dance."

Kutsuuko Shiratori (953) has posed:
    "Easy." Kutsuuko says, remarkably confident after seeing that picture and hearing those details. "Obviously I'll be bringing Scarlet Symphony. I can provide heavy fire support from the ground to cripple whatever that thing uses to fly, or if nothing else, immobilize it so it faills from the air. We can prepare a killzone ahead of time and drop it into a prepared arena for the big guys here to chop it up. How much time would you estimate we have?"

Arthur Lowell has posed:
    "HELL YEAH, sounds like a GOOD SCHEME. We put this motherfucker in the DIRT, then we CLOSE HARD. For the VENOM... Hmmm... Yo, I got some HEAVY FORCE on the GRAVITY, dog, you don't gotta WORRY. Keep the VENOM DOWN since I ZERO on POISON DEF, I'll keep WHALE OF A TALE over there in the ground with some HARDCORE NEWTONS." Arthur says, and then snaps his fingers and emits a little puff of black gravity energies. "I'll make it so the motherfucker CAN'T STAND, dog." He sounds extremely confident, but he's not actually sure how much gravity at how much intensity he can spread out over an area the probable size of this creature...

Krusty (1149) has posed:
    Krusty simply smiles at the mention of being prepared for raid bosses.

    As for the issue of the poison, Krusty suggests helpfully, "I have something for that." He reaches into his coat, pulling out a bottle with a liquid in it. He shows it to everyone, "Antidote potion. I can hand them out before the fight and if any of you get poisoned during it, drink it. It'll deal with the poison." Krusty looks at Artifex, "That'll free you up to focus on restraining it, no?"

    At Arthur's suggestion of using gravity to keep it down, Krusty hmms, "Would that not interfere with our ability to get in close to assault it?"

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Arcana squeaks as Asterios clamps down on her head. She fusses and pushes at the hand, then gets her hairclip and hair back just so, before heaving out a little sigh. "Alright, alright...." the DCC-C recovers her eye again, then slowly draws the hand down her face, before summoning her own weapon. "I can keep it pinned down. First Sylph and Fourth Ixion should suffice. Bloody Illusion: Fatal Attraction should also work to reduce its resistance..." the sword is a pretty standard longsword, but is accompanied by a deck of cards. These are on her waist band, but are obviously part of the weapon.

Asterios (1137) has posed:
Asterios bobs his head at the apparent recognition of the wisdome in his words. "Good. Yes. But, hm. Poison is... A problem." The minotaur rubs at his chin ever so slightly. "Mmmmmm... But if it is large... And in the sky......"



"There is a place," Asterios says, "That has weapons designed... to shoot down dragons. Maybe I will go... borrow one?"

Touta Konoe (1143) has posed:
Touta just can't help but smile as he hears everyone taking interest in taking down this leviathan. Maybe that's weird? He's been staying silent for the most part, partially cause he wasn't sure it was his place to be making plans, but also cause...He was having fun. He loved watching the art in Gallery from its people. He liked hearing Artifex's joy and desire to rebuild. Everything in this place seemed just really nice. It's at this point though that he sort of jumps into the middle of the group.

It's too late to say how he likes her attitude about reconstruction. Or encourage her with words that he's known plenty of people who have been evil who have turned it all around. It feels kinda late even to say that the fact Artifex's able to encourage those who continue to live in Gallery but strangers to help with her cause speaks volumes of the type of leader she is. So all he does is smile as he starts speaking.

"Hey, if it's cool with you guys mind letting me get up close to try downing this Leviathan thing first? Despite how I look I can take a few hits, so if it has something besides that poison I'll probably be able to handle it. Actually, I don't think that the poison would mess with me too much either. Plus, if this guy wants to use his gravity stuff he can use it while I'm on it without worrying. My sword kinda does the same thing so if I use it along with his gravity magic...It'd be like stacking the effects or something, right? Only issue I'd probably have is flying up to reach this guy."

It probably sounds snobbish for this kid to ask this of everyone. To jump head first into the monster's face. Besides the sword he just looks like an average kid for the most part. Compared to everyone else there he probably seemed the least ... Elite of the Elites. But at the very least when he talks his face looks reassured, there's not a doubt in his mind that he can do what he says he'll do and apparently he's willing to do it.