Fractured Lens (Nathan)

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Fractured Lens (Nathan)
Date of Cutscene: 29 March 2015
Location: Terra Majora
Synopsis: Nathan suffers a betrayal and considers his options.
Thanks to: Psyber: He Ruined Everything
Cast of Characters: 168, 253, 92, 395, 331, 189, 192, 176, 40, 570, 134, Utsuho Reiuji, No. 9, George, Salty Gale, Unyielding Rampart, Kevin Graham
Tinyplot: New Blood

Nathan finds himself at an unfortunate precipice, at the edge, dangerously near it. At this time, he decides, he needs to re-assess his situation, to consider both the events of the past and the events of the present, this current betrayal.

Utsuho. The first, and arguably least consequential. She would tear Nathan's flesh from the bone in a fit of mad rage. A woman with harsh black wings, bearing a corrupting eye upon her chest, screaming and ranting about destruction. He thought she was a friend. Guessed not. No other options. Pulled the gun.

Nine. The second, and the one closest to him. A monster wrought in jagged metal, commanded by forces beyond his ken, twisted by the cruel influence of a brutal biohazard and forced into action by that eye lodged in his torso. He was going to kill Nathan because of it. No other options. Pulled the gun.

George Weissman. A man with two faces and two voices, full of lies and deceit. Scheming to pull apart the mind of his ally, Nathan, for the sake of "improving" the world. Nathan realized something was wrong then. George should have said "he". But he said "I". Another one. Another eye. No other options. Pulled the gun. Went to

Salty Gale. What did she feel for him, her ally? It was never quite clear, with her. What he recalls, more than her swinging blades, more than the hatred and affection in her eyes, was the sight he saw of the great singular eye in her anima, staring, while she tried to murder him. No other options. Pulled the gun.

Elliana Fairchild. Pulled that dark, cyclopean serpent into her soul after stabbing him, trying to sacrifice his friends. Repeatedly betrayed him, in person or in proxy. Humiliated him to his friends. Stealing their loyalty, isolating him to control him. Forced him to become this mess of magic and violence.

And then Psyber.

Options rapidly dwindling. Adhere to principles. Depend on one's friends. Nathan Hall tries to remind himself that he is not alone. Begin the search. Assess allies.

Fairchild Survivor group. First candidates. The logical group.

Psyber? No. Compromised. Actively amused by her humiliating taunting, complicit, tacit participant, major illogical critic, direct traitor outright. Proxy effect extends to Eleanor, Kimiko, Hastur. Was previously inattentive to emotions, only becomes engaged when they threaten Fairchild. Reliable in every context but this one. Untrustworthy. He is her tool to sow the dissent.

Amalthea? No. Immortal. Too little sympathy, too much apathy. Habits of distancing from this type of conflict. Unreliable. Inhuman. Untrustworthy.

Himei? No. Too quick to distrust him. Thought Nathan was a yamiko in the initial days of his growth to understand and embrace emotional openness. Insightful in her own way. He should have taken that as a warning. Never show anyone what you are thinking, and feeling. Makes them unreliable. Distrusting. Untrustworthy.

Rampart, George, Kevin? No. Inaccessible. Unreliable besides.

Other options are needed. Extend search. Broaden. Deepen. There has to be something.

Pegasus? Trustworthy. But no. Involving her is a non-option. Unacceptable shame. Vervi? Trustworthy. But no. Involving her is a non-option. Unacceptable shame. Hastur, Eleanor, Kimiko? Trustworthy. But no. Too close to Psyber. Non-option. Unacceptable shame besides. Nine? Extremely trustworthy. But no. Inaccessible. Hibernatory. Inviable option. Haruno? Extremely viable. Not trustworthy. Too unstable.

Options have rapidly dwindled. They continue to do so. Broaden the search. Deepen. There has to be something. Where he hopes to find something, he finds nothing. Options have dwindled to two. One is unacceptable. Unconscionable. An unbearable degree of pain. He is not strong enough to take it.

Nathan Hall only has one option left.

He will simply give up.

The gun, in this case, is one he simply is unable to pull. The option is too painful. For all his changes, he is still a pacifist. He is unable to bear the pain of taking that action against someone he once thought of as a friend. The thought of attempting to kill her sends sensations of grief and disgust into him. He's not strong enough to do something like that. And as such, the only thing left that he is able to do is abandon his principles and give up on stopping Elliana.

No emotional expression may be permitted past this point, Nathan thinks. Previous judgement that emotional openness at any level was acceptable was incorrect, and confidence in that regard was clearly completely false. There will be no objection to this course of action, as long as it does not harm Fairchild or otherwise distress her. The appearance of simple willing compliance with their demands will suffice. They care for nothing else. He will lie to them, he resolves, in the same way that he was lied to. But he simply can't bear to continue this. They would likely not accept a simple surrender, and so this will be enough. He was wrong to think that any level of emotional openness was ever right.

Each individual that he believed would otherwise side with him in an instance of severe distress and danger has become opposed to him or inaccessible to him because of the arrangement of Elliana's defenses. Where before, he believed that his own hatred needed to be contained in order to prevent damage to others, now Nathan finds he is unable to bear the damage it causes others to do to him. As such, the solution is elegant in its simplicity. He merely needs to acknowledge that it will not be possible to continue the optimal path, and therefore abandon it. And as such, he does. He can no longer bear to go on in that way.

These are the thoughts Nathan experiences in one crystallized moment of intense emotional activity and psychological volatility and brutal mental pain. Something about his magic gets a little difficult to control, for a moment. The energies within him become unstable. Diabolical, eldritch, solar, and divine magic clash for a moment as one part of Nathan's mind screams against another. It flares briefly out of one eye, damaging what's in front of it. There's a web of hairline cracks running through the right lens of Nathan Hall's glasses now, skewing his vision of the people he stares at through it. He does not notice the fracture in his vision. Nor does he acknowledge the damage that caused it.

He still has one good eye left to see through. He will make due.