Imaginary Space

[>> Second Home - Yoka.]

A transfer pad in the middle of the vast NAXA network lit up as it received a single incoming program; a glowing humanoid shape formed rapidly before its light receded, and Terra dropped onto the pad. The landing seemed slightly delayed, and her movement felt somewhat floaty, thanks to the simulated reduced gravity. She opened her eyes, and took in the scenery of the glittering stars around her.

"Wow..." Carbide's voice echoed inside of her head. Having been left behind on Terra's previous excursion to the NAXA network, her first sight of the area captivated her, and Terra was happy to entertain her charge's wonder at the spectacle. Scoping the surrounding area, they seemed to be on a small moon of sorts, with various gleaming pathways extending out to other areas.

Choosing one at random, Terra started to follow alongside it. The sound of her boots clanking along on the metal path was the sole source of noise that she heard for a while, as Carbide seemed to be staying surprisingly quiet for the moment. Eventually, however, she broke the silence with a question. "Hey, Terra, how do you process all these data signals coming in all the time?" her voice asked in her mind.

"...? What do you mean?" Terra tilted her head at the unexpected query.

"All this pretty stuff all around is a lot to take in already, but then you're also taking in everything from under you... There's so much of it. It's way more than I can sense on my own. It's really cool, seeing it all go by, but like... all the time like this, it's kind of unnerving in a way. Like I already feel kind of small next to you, but all this data makes me feel like a tiny speck."

Closing her eyes, Terra continued walking, relying solely on the senses that imbued her with strength from beneath her feet. Within her mind, the metal pathway she was walking on turned into a gleaming river of a vast bundle of multi-colored data streams, and she herself as a bright mote of green light skating along its top. Around herself, she saw a smaller bluish orb orbiting her.

She let out a small chuckle as both of them traveled along the "river", most likely looking quite strange with her eyes closed. "All that data moving along is made up of lots of little data packets, and each and every packet of data has its own purpose. Something it needs to do as it travels the world at lightspeed. It could be the tiniest packet, carrying the most important data in the world, and nobody would ever know. All I do is watch it go by, and pick up one or two at a time, just to ask what it knows. There's a lot you can find out sometimes."

The data "river" then split up before her, with the main line going further forward, and a smaller line filtering off into the side into small, fragmented layers, descending down like stairs. On a whim, she took the smaller path, hopping along the layers like a game of hopscotch with her body slowly floating down with the reduced gravity.

"Hmmm... I guess that's one way to see it," said Carbide. "It's a lot different from what I can sense, so it's pretty cool to like, swap perspective like this."

"I'm glad," replied Terra, as she continued to descend down through the steps that she could "see" through her closed eyes.

"Your steps feel really light here, too... Everything's floaty." Carbide's mental comment trailed off towards the end. Suddenly, Terra felt her body's control shift again, and her hands suddenly lurched towards herself.

"Even these! Hahaha!"

"!!" Terra's eyes opened again, seeing that her hands had abruptly started to fondle her own chest, which had been lightened from the network's gravity. Beyond them, she saw what she had been walking on this entire time. A fragmented asteroid field spread out beneath her boots, spiraling downwards like a precariously high pathway. At its end, a large rock with a deep hole floated by itself in the middle of the deep space background. The hole pulsed with a bright golden light. Her hands froze momentarily, and Terra felt her control restored once more, which she took to remove her hands from her chest.

"W-Whoa, we're pretty high up..." said Carbide. "Wonder what's that rock have that's glowing so brightly?"

"... Hm, let's go and see," said Terra. From her senses, the datastreams fragmented more the closer they got to the lone asteroid. It wasn't difficult to land on, though, given the reduced gravity, and so Terra jumped off the last asteroid fragment closest to the surface. As soon as she landed, however, a sudden wave of energy radiated rapidly up through her body up from the ground, its intensity like a solid punch to the chest.

"Ah!"
"Ugh!"

Both Terra and Carbide recoiled from the sudden radiation, and Terra's legs shook slightly from the impact. She felt a cold sweat as she read the immense amount of energy coming from the ground as well, and looked quickly around the area to see what was exerting it. The massive hole in the asteroid spread out before her, emitting the energy in huge, periodic waves.

"What... what was that?" asked Carbide, her tone slightly shaking.

[Terra.EXE: 170 HP. Wood/Ground: Preserver/Tectonic Shift. Equipped: FloatShoes.]
[Cybeast Riccio Battle - Ready.]
Moving along the flowing river of data streams, listening only to her other senses, Terra's journey followed narrower channels as the stream split and split again. The sounds of deep space filtered through to her from all around, though each distant noise was marked only by the yawning silence that surrounded it on all sides. Feeling Carbide's fresh wonderment at the expanse might have been a small comfort unlooked for, but either way, it wasn't until the young one's curiosity took hold and drew Terra to opening her eyes properly that she saw anything more of where she had wandered.

The space was far from any recognisable structure; a scattered asteroid field drifting in space, with only a single large, gas giant planetoid, in the distance, to break up the expanse of space beyond. Further of, sprays of colour made beautiful patterns, but Terra would know enough to be aware that those distant nebula were truly distant beyond comprehension. Here, there were only the rocks, drifting, and a faint sense of something pulling in the now thoroughly fragmented data streams that had made their way to this forgotten space and found unintended terminus.

The streams, once scattered and diffused, converged slowly but surely towards the single, largest space rock in the spread of asteroids. It looked like it may have once been an independent moon, cast off from its home and shattered apart into the hazardous chaos of rocks that surrounded the central mass. The glow of light from its core drew the pair to inspect, but as Terra touched down, the answering pulse of energy that met her was nearly overwhelming.

It swelled, like a slow heart beat, and ripples of light filtered out from the depths of the hole, shining between the cracks in the strange asteroid. It was broad and misshapen, scattered with space junk and broken technology. Sections of metal, or sparking magnetic panelling dotted the rocky surface, and there, standing out in its odd juxtaposition, the burned remains of a single tall tree. As the ancient rock drifted and rotated, and the rays of a far-distant sun crept over the edge of its surface, however, Terra's main focus was drawn inevitably to the pit in the centre of the rock.

The pulse of energy that spread through the ground was mirrored by a deep glow in the darkness, waxing and waning with each beat. The sound of something breathing... large and heavy, just barely reached her ears. The pulse quickened, a fresh rippled spreading out through the rock faster than before, and the ground beneath Terra's feet rumbled. One heavy impact, followed by another; the sound of something shifting in the depths. From here, all she could see was the glow of light... but there was definitely something massive down there, alive and waking up.
"Wait, wait, come on, you're not going in there, come oooooon, Terra, nooooo, c'moooon!"

As if a moth drawn to a flame, Terra found herself walking ever so slowly towards the crater. Undeterred either by the deformed, machine-studded terrain of the asteroid, nor by the secondary resident in her mind calling her to turn back, she listened to the faint breath that she could both hear and sense. Waves charged with energy radiating from the source of the breathing, she felt herself tense up, hair on end, as she stepped forward. Her exploratory step was met with a heavy impact that shook her footing, and the two hearts that shared her body started beating ever more quickly. With any amount of good sense, she should be retreating at this moment, and waiting for her operator's support.

Yet something within her bubbled in excitement, thrill, and a somewhat mysterious sense of desire to consume. To consume what was currently shaking the entire ancient rock beneath her feet, and conquer it. Her eyes glowed brightly with life, though one might have assumed that she had gone quite mad as she forged onwards, closer to the crater in front of her to see what awaited her inside. Then, her body suddenly halted, in a sense that she had felt before; Carbide was now sharing control over her body, after all.

"Carbide."

"C'mon! Can't we go exploring somewhere that doesn't feel like it's going to defibrillate everything in a mile radius?!" her mental roommate screamed out, as her body started making backwards tracks.

"Carbide, please put up your shield."

Internally, Terra heard a defeated whimper as she regained control of her body, and a familiar-looking tower shield of grey rock manifested itself on her right hand as she had requested. "It's just gonna be a... a puppy or something... A big, electric puppy, yeah, that's what it's gonna be..." the little voice said to itself, as Terra resumed walking forward, her boots scraping against the dusty terrain.
As Terra moved forward, dragging the worried Carbide along wit her, the ground descended in an ever-steepening inclined towards the pit. Step by step, her footfalls began to fall into sync with the beating electric pulse. Every few steps, another ground-shaking impact shuddered through the rock.

The glow led Terra further down, until she almost had to slide the last ten feet into the centre of the massive asteroid. The sensation of data filtering inwards, being drawn from errant lost streams and wild fall-off energy of the net continues, flowing around her and inwards. The landscape down here was similar to the exterior of the rock; solid stone and earth, but riddled with broken pieces of technology, ranging from satellite parts or whole sections of metal panelling that came from who knew where. Further on still, Terra found it at last.

The heart of the glow, and the centre of the energy pulse shifted with heavy, sluggish steps as it came into view ahead of her. At first the details were hard to make out, between the dazzling brilliance of its light, but before long she could see its shape, and pick out its details. The first feature was its size: the beast, whatever it was, was large enough to almost entirely fill the tunnel ahead of Terra – a tunnel that easily reached thirty or forty feet across its rounded diameter.

A short, low snout faced her, peering out from a low-slung body that seemed made of metallic parts; clawed fore-feet gouged at the ground as it stomped forward. The rest of its body was covered completely in a dense forest of bristles and spines, each crackling with electricity and emitting a portion of the beasts blinding light show.

It next thundering step brought it to within thirty feet of Terra, and it paused to peer at her for a drawn out, stolen moment. Something wasn't right about this. It was hard to tell where the thought came from exactly, but it drifted up in amongst Terra's other thoughts. Further flashes of memories surfaced, unbidden and unasked for. Memories of other image she'd seen in her mind, in a different place, where a storm of lightning danced amongst city spires. Something was wrong.

Seeing the creature before her, Terra might be able to recognise it based just on looks alone – reports of a terrible and great cyber beast that had tormented and endangered the NAXA networks, responsible for the deletions of countless navigators. Reports also spoke of a daring group of navigators that had finally challenged the creature, and reportedly destroyed it, yet here it was, or something like it. The Riccio of the stories was grand and terrifying, and this creature certainly was as well, but its body looked... pieced together.

Its claws were long spines of twisted metal, clearly from some other prior purpose. Its limbs contained metal gantries, piping, twisted arcs of steel and whole sections of complicated-looking machinery, broken apart and put back tougher and forced to work as electricity bound it all together. The spines on its back were a mass of constructed parts – lighting rods, electrodes, bolt generators and spark plugs, all bristling with erratic charge that skittered in wild bolts between the creature and the metal plating scattered across the walls and floors of its home. In every gap between the mangled and reassembled parts of its body, traces of glitched, buggy mass made up the darkness between the lightning. When the beast breathed out, it sounded... tired.

She could feel the creature's presence like a pressure in the air around her; the sense of it might well be overwhelming for some navigators, just by proximity alone. Sparks jumped and streaked between different parks of the creature and its cave while its electric glow swelled and throbbed. The brief stillness of the stand-off broke as the electricity pulsed again, and the massive beast before her stamped both of its fore-claws on the ground, then bellowed a roar that shook the whole asteroid, sending bolts of electricity searing out in random directions, to bounce and reflect off the electrical equipment embedded in the walls and ceiling. One bolt blasted Terra's shield clear off her arm and drove her feet back hard against the ground. The beast didn't want any visitors, it seemed.

-=Deep-Space Terraformer=-

Terra.Exe: 170Hp [Normal]

-=Lightning-Spined Menace=-

Riccio: 5000Hp [Metal]

-=Lost Asteroid=-
30% Metal
  • Cannot be Broken or Cracked except with Geddon/PanelShot, cannot be Burrowed into.
  • Elec attacks: +100% Source Damage.
  • 100 Damage Aqua attacks: Change terrain hit to Cracked.
  • 100 Damage Fire attacks: Change terrain hit to Furnace.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Elec + Break.

20% Magnet
  • Non-Elec Elementals get -30% Evasion, and 50% (+/- 25% RP) chance to fail movement off the panel.
  • Only Elec Elementals can burrow.
  • Wood attacks: Change terrain hit to Normal.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Elec + Seeking.

20% Cracked
  • Changes to Broken when stepped on, chance to fall in when triggered.
  • Burrow: Change terrain to Broken, Null 50 to burrower.
  • Panel Crack attacks, >100 Damage Break/Impact/Drop attacks: Change terrain hit to Broken.
  • PanelShot: Splash1.

30% Normal
  • No effects.


Area is a pseudo-subterranean cave system within a massive asteroid. The tunnels are very wide and broad, but divert in different directions and odd angles, with the potential to become somewhat maze-like if chased blindly. Most of the rocky ground is solid, but it is riddled with metal paneling in random places, as well as scattered sections of broken technology.

-=Battle, Start!=-
As the waves of electric charge radiated out from the core of the asteroid, Terra's footsteps followed it further in, cautiously holding the tower shield in front of her. While the shield did mitigate the more noticeable effects of the electricity, each wave still made the shield waver slightly, though not entirely due to the electricity itself. Her boots brushed against more and more bits of technological detritus along the way, enough that she was a bit more aware of them to not step on any errant screws.

Eventually, the pulsing glow shifted into a blinding light, forcing Terra's eyes nearly shut. Her tectonic senses weren't much help either, overwhelmed by the radiant energy that came with it. The only thing that was clear was the lurching steps that thumped closer every few seconds. Her steps stopped, and her hand gripped the shield she was holding so tightly, she could feel it dig into her palm past her glove.

As the beast revealed itself bit by bit, Terra's sight adjusted slowly to the bright light, to a point where she was able to make out the form of the creature that they were facing. Its breaths sounded labored; something felt wrong about the encounter. Before she could inspect it further, however, it turned to her with a gaze that seemed to freeze her in place.

An image of a dark storm-wracked city entered her mind, with arcs of lightning illuminating the tips of spire-like skyscrapers. Déjà vu assaulted her senses, along with a feeling of mesmerization; the scenery was eerily familiar to her, but for some reason she wasn't able to exactly recall any time when she had visited any such place. It felt like she could get lost in the mysterious city before her...

"Terra! Hey! Snap out of it!"
"..!"

Thankfully, a voice yanked her out of her momentary reverie, and she was once more face-to-face with the massive Cybeast. Uncountable variants of twisted metal riddled its body, so much that it was difficult to make out even what kind of beast it was meant to be. Once she stopped focusing on the forest of steel on its back, she was able to see that it somewhat resembled a hedgehog. She started to step forward, trying to approach it.

Suddenly, the beast slammed down its massive metal claws and let out a roar that shook the area so strongly that she nearly lost her footing. Thunderbolts blasted out in all directions, their illumination robbing her of her sight. One of them arced in her direction and immediately tore her tower shield from her arm, blowing her backwards from the sheer impact energy. Before she could even properly dig her heels in from the blowback, she felt her body suddenly lighten, and her body turned away to flee away from the Cybeast, unbidden.

"Carbide! Hold on!" she spoke out.

In her head, the response she received was immediate, its tone very panicked. "No! Hold on my ass, this time I can drag us both out and there's no way I'm not doing it!!"

"What about before?"

"That one didn't fire out lightning as a greeting!!"

While she watched the tunnel around her speed by her against her will, chunks of rock and metal began to cluster towards her from the loose ground around her, swirling about her forearms. The bits of matter began to diffuse into a mist of grey, which began to spark against the waves of pulsing energy coming from the Cybeast. Right before she was about to turn a corner, she turned her head to take a glance at it from behind her, and clenched her fists.

Terra then assumed direct control, suddenly digging her heels into the ground, which flashed brightly under her. Suddenly, the metallic paneling around the area had all vanished, and gathered underneath her. Her front foot stomped onto the freshly formed paneling, and the tower shield formed itself once more, this time of her own will. The rocky spires on her back rapidly spread over her upper body, and a dim yellow sphere of light covered her entire form.

"Wha..."

The grey mist that had been around her forearms then suddenly solidified into a massive grey cylinder, which seemed to be shaped like a log cut from a giant tree trunk, with all manner of twists and knots on its surface. Floating in the air briefly in front of her, Terra took a sharp breath before delivering a palm strike to its bottom end. The strike made a deep thump as the log was immediately launched towards the Cybeast like a missile, aiming to skewer it with its massive kinetic energy.

// Summary
[Te.1] Sig: Terraskill (Archiver): Vigilance of Will: Haste 2 + Dodge (Haste2: Evasion+20%)
[Te.2] Act: Run away from Riccio: Movement
[Te.3] Act: Buster Charge
[Te.*] Sub: Tectonic Shift @ Normal/Metal
[Te.4] Sig: Terraskill (Archiver): Persistence of Will: 30HP Planar Barrier + 30HP Planar Casing + 1-Hit Planar Shield (Metal: Elec)
[Te.5] Act: Buster Charge
[Te.6] Act: Charged Buster: Wood 600 @ Riccio
The moment of shock and confusion spurred Carbide's presence to get them away from the massive monstrosity as quickly as possible. The broad tunnel curved away to one side and sloped downward – somehow they had ended up not running back the way they had come, but instead chased deeper into the asteroid, metal and magnet, rock and soil gliding by beneath Terra's feet in a blur.

Behind them, the glow of light dimmed, at least as far as its reflection on the errant pieces of metal plating and machinery they ran past, but a crackling, grinding sound grew from the static background into a rumbling roar that swiftly caught up to the fleeing pair. A last moment glance behind was just enough warning for Terra to throw herself out of the way as the entirety of the beasts form tore down the tunnel. It filled the space as it rolled out, broken spines and twisted electrodes shrieking with sparks and grinding against the metallic elements of the walls. It crashed into one side of the wall with enough force to bring chunks of metal sheeting and broken satellite parts crashing don from the ceiling of the tunnel. Terra's burst of speed let her avoid the beast itself and weave between the falling debris, though one jagged edge still managed to clip her as she split away down a diverting tunnel branch.

Looking back, the beast that had once been Riccio uncurled and roared again, heavy, static breath rasping before and after while it shook itself off. It turned on her, spines bristling with lightning as it focused its gaze. The sense of wrongness flickered again from somewhere within Terra. The beast had presence and pressure, and a destructive majesty to it, but it definitely didn't feel the same, or even on the same level as her last encounter. As energy shifted around her, Terra's own abilities shifted and changed the tunnels around her, drawing the metallic elements to the surface beneath her feet, and away from the enraged creature a scarce twenty feet from her.

Electricity raked between the twisted forest of spines on its back and the creature flexed; its glow swelled as it lifted and slammed its fore legs in the tunnel, sending more vibrations through the asteroid. The dark, glitchy mass between the metal parts of its body sunk into the ground and from it, tracing out in erratic angles, electronic circuitry began to race outward across the hard rock, consuming another patch of it; it crept up the walls and across the ceiling above the beast as well; a large piece of some kind of space-monitoring structure dislodged as the rock holding it was converted, but the dark matter caught it in the same process and the circuitry rapidly consumed and assimilated the foreign technology.

The glow swelled and burst a moment later, accompanied by another violent roar; lightning arced and exploded out from the creature, dancing off the fallen structures in the tunnel and skittering from one chunk of metal or circuitry to the next until the tunnel resembled a deadly, reflective laser grid of lightning all around them both. Barely in time, Terra raised her own defences against the assault; one wild bolt of electricity tore her shield away for a second time, but she managed to avoid the rest of it, for now.

Across from her, as the lightning faded, the creature breathed, a crackling draw and push that made its whole body move. The creeping dark had receded into the cracks within its body again, almost as though the bursts of lightning kept it inside. The creature shifted its feet, bracing itself and taking afresh stance in the place where the tunnel split. It heaved and thrust one shoulder of its body forward at her, causing a massive column of metal gantry-work around a thick shaft of jagged steel, to tear free of its body and lance towards her.

The 'needle' was easily twice the with of Terra's form, but she answered with a skewering spike of her own in the same moment. The two projectiles met in the space between, and Terra's wooden ram shattered through the beast's metal spine almost without effort; broken and twisted shards of rent metal scattered across the tunnel as the grey shaft shot through without slowing, to pierce into the creature with a tearing impact. It staggered, slammed back out of its stance as the log tore into its body, ripping through pieced together machine parts metal plating alike, to leave a deep rend in its left side. Just an echo. Once more, the subtle thought drifted up in Terra's mind, unbidden and unasked for. Once destroyed, now discarded, unwilling to let go.

The great beast rumbled and growled as it righted itself, scraping at the ground and the ceiling with the uneven spines protruding from its body and sending showers of sparks skittering in every direction as it prepared to assault her again.

-=Deep-Space Terraformer=-

Terra.Exe: 160Hp [Metal][Planar Barrier (30)][Planar Casing (30)]

-=Lightning-Spined Menace=-

Riccio: 4400Hp [Magnet]

-=Lost Asteroid=-
30% Metal
  • Cannot be Broken or Cracked except with Geddon/PanelShot, cannot be Burrowed into.
  • Elec attacks: +100% Source Damage.
  • 100 Damage Aqua attacks: Change terrain hit to Cracked.
  • 100 Damage Fire attacks: Change terrain hit to Furnace.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Elec + Break.
[Directly around Terra]
60% Magnet
  • Non-Elec Elementals get -30% Evasion, and 50% (+/- 25% RP) chance to fail movement off the panel.
  • Only Elec Elementals can burrow.
  • Wood attacks: Change terrain hit to Normal.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Elec + Seeking.
[Directly around Riccio]
10% Normal
  • No effects.


Area is a pseudo-subterranean cave system within a massive asteroid. The tunnels are very wide and broad, but divert in different directions and odd angles, with the potential to become somewhat maze-like if chased blindly. Most of the rocky ground is solid, but it is riddled with metal panelling in random places, as well as scattered sections of broken technology.