ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:16 pm

How do the Baylor Corps factor into the breakdown? I forgot what the breakdown entailed and why we threw in THE LAST BRAGULAN there...
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:24 pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:16 pm
How do the Baylor Corps factor into the breakdown? I forgot what the breakdown entailed and why we threw in THE LAST BRAGULAN there...
At this point, not quite yet. The really metafictional stuff comes out to the protagonists (and the readers) at the endgame of the hypothetical plot.

Fortunately, the endgame of the hypothetical plot is what I've fleshed out the most, so it should take only several more effortposts to get there. :lol:

Also, given the entirely convenient nature of the alliance between Schroedinger and the Filipino political clans carrying water for him, I speculate if all those important politicians' children at the Deutschlandland academy are actually some kind of surety or hostage. I honestly don't know if I'm reflecting on the real-world state of international education and elite brain drain in the Phils here.
"This explanation posits that external observation leads to the collapse of the quantum wave function. This is another expression of reactionary idealism, and it's indeed the most brazen expression."
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REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 1 - Rey Quirino Versus the Dark Heart of the Philippines
"...a literary atrocity against the senses..." - Ford

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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Fri Jun 08, 2018 3:35 pm

I. Remission / Rapid Fading wrote:“Telegnostic matrix stabilized. The pilot has direct control.”

The reactor breathed. In his skin trembled the bones of titans.

“Schroedinger horizon established. Primary Goetic array operational. Test scan completed. Guard radius set.”

Impressions descended like lightning. The amniotic murk gave way to light.

“Final grounding tether detached. The Erlengel unit is ready for launch.”

Through his mind, bubbles burst. He remembered drowning. He remembered gushing blood beneath a shattering sky.

“Focus, Leutnant! This is not a simulation! Remember your duty and carry out the mission!”

“Yes, Major.” He found his voice and the strength behind it. “Mission objectives confirmed. Transition coordinates confirmed. Another routine mission, right?”

“It’s not your first, Leutnant.”

He grinned a little. “Another routine mission, HQ. Engel-1, launching!”
Now, on to the fighty aspects of the plot.

It is a bit obvious that MANGS (the Manila Association of Neighborhood GuardianS), with its scratch strength of four mecha, three of which are nominally functional, is not a well-honed fighting force. It's fortunate that after the first giant demon attack, there was a gap of months for the Neo-Manilans to assemble said force before the subsequent attacks really ramped up.

To briefly recap, the mecha complement is formally Deutschlandland's Erlengel, the Technotheocracy's Zephyr, Trask Industries' Maverick and Rey Quirino's Super Kidlat. They are listed in the rough order of their readiness. The Erlengel has obviously been there since the very beginning and this is what secures the Germanians' primacy of place in MANGS. It obtained victory before anything else could stand against the monstrous new threat, and its pilot correspondingly became the new rising Hero of the Philippines. True to the Technotheocracy's super-scientific prowess even by the standards of the Comix! setting, the Zephyr and its AI pilot is rushed to deployment at Neo-Manila with remarkable speed and support. Even before the first two machines have a chance to coordinate, I suppose the Zephyr proves its worth at the second giant demon attack by providing useful support/distraction for the Erlengel.

The American Maverick arrives late (and in fact, Carissa Lancaster spends a lot of time waiting for it to arrive at Neo-Manila by ship since her arrival in Chapter 1) because I wanted to do the episode in Evangelion where the Angel attempted to intercept Unit-02 on the way. By now it's a bit meaningless to decide to make it some grand stylistic homage to how the aquatic assailant sinks like half the escorting US Pacific fleet as collateral damage because Captain Capitalism happened to have bought a whole fleet of vintage battleships (like how one of the now-billionaire founding members of Hero Labs bought up the retiring B-52 bomber fleet for kicks), just so said old battlewagons could sacrifice themselves semi-comedically parallel to what Shroom planned to do in Rey Quirino vs. the Rising Sun.

But more likely, the main challenge would be asserting MANGS's embryonic clout against the machinery of national government so Carissa can fly out to the Philippine Sea where the attacked convoy is and get into the Maverick, whereupon it just sits up and blows the shit out of the demon. This gives Carissa the mistaken impression that her job might be easy after all. That probably a more suitable pathos than the angst of getting outperformed at every turn by Kai because unlike Asuka, Carissa has had mere weeks of crash training here, far less formal experience than Kai.

The Super Kidlat...doesn't factor much into the plot at this point. I mean, given the nonexistent state of the Philippines' native giant robot industry it's a miracle Rey Quirino managed to get anything built at all, but on the other hand it has major problems even activating without collapsing into a pile of power leaks and critical software crashes, and Rey just seethes in his primary-colored pilot suit but is too proud to just get out of the cockpit/ready bay and contribute to the battle personally. Some of the robot's early public appearances are just cheating by having the machinery be possessed and animated by what's left of the magic jeepney from ADVENT REY 1. And even when Rey's team manage to get the machine to as good a condition as it gets, the Super Kidlat is still too barebones a fighting mecha to be much more effective than Rey's own fists.*

The first time all four mecha manage to operate together is just for a training exercise, where they promptly trip over each other. (You can imagine Major Seydlitz facepalming here.) At this occasion we are also introduced to Uehara Isshin and Gomiya Hajime, the two carryall pilots seconded from the Manilan Hero Labs mission (still busy operating the fusion-powered purification plants that are slowly turning Manila Bay back from blood into water). The two are consummate professionals with plenty of experience with danger close operations as they're from the kaiju hotspot of Okinawa and have seen plenty of shit from their time in Anthony Andrews' private Thunderbirds team; but what they actually offer is invaluable aerial mecha transport across Neo-Manila because seriously, Neo-Manila isn't a purpose-designed bunker city like Tokyo-3 from Evangelion and I can barely imagine the devastation if something with the Maverick's tonnage tried to cross the city by walking.

The main problem with *that* is they have one carryall to spare in total, which just makes rapid response to demon incursions even more of a crapshoot and places some tough choices on MANGS operational command. Thanks to advanced antigrav technology and general lightness of build the Zephyr can fly itself so it can always arrive first, but that just exacerbates its fragility. Meanwhile, MANGS can either drop the Erlengel or the Maverick in second, which is technically a tactical choice depending on the nature of the foe, but is complicated by how just like the Angels in Evangelion, demons can sudden unveil abilities like splitting into two or will eat your soul if you touch them.

We also can't forget the fact that practical authority in the MANGS command center is split between Lucine Seydlitz and the Socialist Hawk, the former developing ever-closer emotional bonds with the Erlengel's pilot who is also her foster son, and the latter who only took the job to keep the Maverick's pilot alive. This is further complicated by the fact both Kai and Carissa want to prove themselves.

*I assume that some of the Filipino military's infamous hardware inadequacies has been ameliorated by the Comix-ness of the Comixverse, that the country has benefitted from background technological advancements, and that it can't be embezzling all the funding from the pan-Pacific anti-kaiju treaty organization, so the Super Kidlat does have built-in conventional guns and missiles and stuff, and its pair of deployable forearm blades are actually quite cool. But it just pales next to the well-integrated (or at least far more robust) superscience that the other machines are packed with.
"This explanation posits that external observation leads to the collapse of the quantum wave function. This is another expression of reactionary idealism, and it's indeed the most brazen expression."
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REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 1 - Rey Quirino Versus the Dark Heart of the Philippines
"...a literary atrocity against the senses..." - Ford

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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:40 pm

I... can't even remember what caused the demon incursions!
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:01 pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:40 pm
I... can't even remember what caused the demon incursions!
Well, several ideas were floated.

It's probably useful to recap the background behind the Angel attacks in neon Genesis Evangelion (or my understanding thereof without doing wiki a refresher course first): Adam, the First Angel and progenitor of its own whole branch of life, was dug up from Antarctica and grown into the crucified giant down in the basement of the NERV headquarters, and all the Angels were attacking Tokyo-3 so that they can make contact and merge with Adam (Adamite life not being big on the whole "reproduce and divide" thing like humans). Meanwhile, NERV's backers (and Gendo Ikari, for his own reasons) aren't paying for the giant robots and the weaponized cityblocks just so to repel the Angels indefinitely; they want to merge shit into Adam *on their own terms*, with humanity-ending consequences whoever does it first. This is what ADVENT REY 2 must justify.

It boiled down to two ideas: either Lord Stygius of Stygia* (from Darkness' own backstory) wants Darkness back and is sending demons to get him, and Ludwig needs to hold them off while he enacts his ritual of INFINITE GERMANITY; or the whole thing is being orchestrated by Ludwig and the attacking demons are the embodied possibilities that Ludwig wants to prune away in order to leave behind INFINITE GERMANITY, taking the form of Advent Rey echoed again and again because it's the occult path of least resistance. Looking back, I favor the latter, and indeed the latter is what more groundwork has been laid for.

*One of those names Kamin really liked.

Either way, it is necessary to crucify Darkness in a lake of his own balut-juices because he opened the way to cosmos-altering shenanigans in Advent Rey 1**, making himself metaphysically significant in a way that can be exploited by Ludwig. The wizard originally summoned him to Comixverse and presumably still has some unique hold over him.

**And that he was reduced to pure, exploitable potentiality, simultaneously himself and a balut of himself, by his subsequent defeat and purification by Rey Quirino.

However, it would be against Evangelion's original point if Ludwig had too much control over the plot. MANGS wouldn't have needed to be run so ragged if Ludwig could actually summon the demon attacks at his leisure, because there were going to be some genuine close calls where Deutschlandland stood to lose as much as the other MANGS members. Of course, Ludwig could also be playing an extra balancing game in order to damage his rivals more, but I would also need to account for a lot more once that deception blows up. Ultimately, like Gendo Ikari, I don't think Ludwig Schroedinger should be in that much actual control.

What Ludwig definitely does though is anticipate the demon attacks via his occult divinations, and informs MANGS as a whole through Seydlitz in order to establish her credibility. This also lets him set the codename for each attacking demon, which is always a Major Arcana + a mythological creature, so they're all called HERMIT WENDIGO, HIEROPHANT PHOENIX, DEATH DRAGON and so forth. You can imagine Ludwig actually playing the tarot cards very symbolically and everything.
"This explanation posits that external observation leads to the collapse of the quantum wave function. This is another expression of reactionary idealism, and it's indeed the most brazen expression."
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REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 1 - Rey Quirino Versus the Dark Heart of the Philippines
"...a literary atrocity against the senses..." - Ford

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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:39 pm

I can't say I have planned out any specific chapters or episodes for the first half of the plot, but I can catalogue the progression of several major narrative threads:

There is a kind of see-saw tension between the strength and confidence of MANGS and the looming menace of the demon threat. The demons come out of nowhere* and there is no question of trying to take them out at the source - except Seydlitz's vague assurances that it would be over one day. They also get smarter and more formidable, finding novel vectors of attack that MANGS must scramble to cover and eventually just becoming nasty enough to take all of MANGS's strength head on like Zeruel (that would be the one called DEATH DRAGON, in my mind). But the last bit is for the late plot.

MANGS is also in many respects far more constrained than NERV. They absolutely cannot mobilize the resources of their host city. They are not backed by most of the UN's budget, all the conventional military assets they can requisition, or even municipal laws. Through John Baylor's connections MANGS has on retainer a small platoon of Saints, mercenary cyborgs from Saintly Services who are asskickers of Fordian verve and can go through any equivalent force in Neo-Manila like a hot knife - but their services are so ludicrously expensive that there's only enough room in MANGS's annual budget to buy about half an hour of their active operation time, so mostly they just sit around. Even though it is within MANGS's remit to deal with civil disturbances that are caused by the demon attacks, they are barely part of the plot until shit hits the fan.

Neo-Manila is something MANGS has to trust to take care of itself, despite MANGS's actual mission. It's partly in the Ankh-Morpork sense that the city itself will eat lesser threats alive, partly in the sense that nothing can suppress its unnatural vigor anyway, property damage will vanish in a month and casualties will be replaced by yet more immigrants, and kaiju-scale throwdowns are just another of the dozen things holding up the morning commute. This would be a nice continuation of the themes of its prequel.

But still, MANGS slowly gets its shit together. Tactical coordination improves as the pilots get used to each other (an important skill for Kai) and learn to trust the chain of command, namely the German lady with no discernible military experience and the laid-back socialist activist guy. Engagements end less with one or more mecha semi-totaled as the pilots sort out their tactics for cracking whatever the demons' equivalent of a core is, quite possibly with Ludwig grudgingly allowing the other mecha teams to develop their own supplements to the Erlengel's indispensable Schroedinger horizon. Maintenance and repair procedures are streamlined in operation, and maybe Rey Quirino and whatever political allies he has put more money on the line. The mobile command skyship finally comes online, allowing for direct battlefield oversight rather than have the combatants try to push 4K feeds through the occult static onto the Corregidor HQ's expensive imported wall-screens while being knocked around.

*Relatively locally, as a bit of an explanation as to why the rest of Comix Earth doesn't get involved, and I suppose it remains perceived as a regional subset of the escalating pan-pacific kaiju threat of the Comix+5 timeline. MANGS just doesn't stand out in the context of the fortification of many more first-rate coastal metropoli, or even amid the general unreality of Neo-Manila.

Then, there is the Silberengel. A lot of the characters would also react with "wait, Deutschlandland had a whole second mecha?!" but we need an analogue to Eva-00, after all. If the Erlengel is the prototype, the Silberengel was the testbed for giant robot/demon hybridization technology, never designed to be deployed in combat at all. Nevertheless, there is always the temptation to put it into the field to carry the extra mecha-sized gun, or just to put an extra body in the demon's path. It helps(?) that unlike the Erlengel's painfully exclusive link to Kai and Kai alone, anyone can hop into the Silberengel's cockpit and make it move. (Looking at you, want-to-save-your-new-friend Stalag Luft V.) Unfortunately, the Silberengel is also not the protagonist machineunable to pull the performance highs that the Erlengel can, synchronized as it is with Kai. Both are clones of the original Darkness, and both are in a sense an indispensable part of each other.

Kai is not initially aware of how special he is. He is in fact the Key of Nebuchadnezzar (apologies to Ford), a vital component both physical and metaphysical to Ludwig's plan to immanertize the eschaton. He does not suspect this at first, briefed only on his indefinite demon-fighting mission and too daunted by Ludwig's patriarchal forbiddence to ask. But Seydlitz grows soft over time (and living together is not long-term conducive to OpSec) and the experience of living helps Kai develop his natural curiosity and so on, but the most telling development that not even Ludwig cannot ignore is Darkness' memories - and powers - bleeding through to Kai.

It's a dangerous form of self-assertion, your pilot slowing becoming an inhumanly strong, darkfire-slinging terror outside the cockpit. Starting to emphasize with the giant demon you have crucified in your basement is even worse. To Kai, it's the usual puberty metaphor plus a sign of his assertiveness, affording him the leverage (along with his growing fame and success) to start asking uncomfortable questions. And maybe here is where Ludwig snaps (and Dr. Theo wryly affirms) that Kai is replaceable, or where Kai digs through his own files (he knows he was grown in a lab, but nevertheless) and finds that he has a Major Arcana designation himself. To Ludwig, these symptoms add an additional dimension of urgency to his master plan - he's not only racing against demon attacks that might grow too much for MANGS to handle, but also the ultimate rebellion of the Key itself.
"This explanation posits that external observation leads to the collapse of the quantum wave function. This is another expression of reactionary idealism, and it's indeed the most brazen expression."
-
REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 1 - Rey Quirino Versus the Dark Heart of the Philippines
"...a literary atrocity against the senses..." - Ford

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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:20 pm

Something I *have* specifically planned out is what I call the TRIPLE DARKNESS Arc, where the monsters of the week in question don't immediately gun for their primogenitor in Castle Neusternberg's basement, but actually wait until three of them have manifested before planning and springing a joint attack. Three cooperating demons would already be a huge step up for MANGS to deal with, used to enjoying tactical superiority as they are. But the demons' ability to individually blend into the crowds of Neo-Manila to strike from anonymity is something the short-handed MANGS is utterly unequipped to deal with.* Of course, MANGS has also been upping its game in response to every new demon attack, so this arc is intended to serve as the big test for their competence, the point after which the ground will shift beneath everyone and the whole we've-beaten-the-monster-of-the-week-let's-go-back-to-base-for-debriefing status quo is no more.

*Admittedly at this point the plot has probably covered the requisite "demon which is a computer virus**" Evangelion pastiche, so MANGS already has some taste of the unconventional attack vectors the demons can have, but this is on another level entirely.

**This one was probably settled by digitizing the OK Kid and she beating it to death with a (digital) baseball bat.

Thematically, having three whole Darkness clones re-enact their father's eschaton is also an even more accurate Final Fantasy: Advent Children pastiche than ADVENT REY 1 was, so it sort of shows that things have scaled up so much that a threat on the scale of Advent Rey is now just one-arc material for the good guys.

Not that the good guys have a good time of it. The Socialist Hawk and the OK Kid spar in the shadows with Jose Rival as usual, continuing to dig into the fishiness of the Germanian conspiracy that they've already noticed at this point in the plot, helped along by cryptic hints from John Baylor and Jose Rival himself, who has always been a double agent passing along his own hints via performative katana fights. But here, all of them must work together in the face of a dark force rising from the fabric of Neo-Manila itself.

What the Darkness clones were doing while laying low were fomenting Darkness cults - people who do want the devil-messiah to cleanse everything away. Maybe the root causes are that Neo-Manila is genuinely a shitty place for lots of people and its whole dizzying unreality is just asking for the mother of all future-shock backlashes. Maybe it never came up until now because the devastation of the tokusatsu fights pushed it over the edge, or because the clones have nigh-arbitrary powers of charm and domination as Darkness himself did, or maybe Darkness-cults have always been there but they just never stood out from all the other cultists and sewer morlocks and the city's general weirdness level. Or maybe, when I mentioned how people used the remnants of the fallen Tree of Anti-Life from Advent Rey as firewood for years, this means that the ash and soot of Darkness' power has in fact permeated every square inch of Neo-Manila since the very beginning, only waiting for his heirs to stir up.

Such stirrings were not unnoticeable. The cyborg ninjas (yeah, that's what I'm calling the characters capable of being covert agents now - which does include Carissa Lancaster, come to think of it, but it's not like her uncle would willingly bring her along.) have an abortive fight with one of their cells or something, do some digging and discover too late that it's much bigger and connected than they thought, because by that point other cells are striking across the city, attempting assassinations on MANGS's backers and summoning the now-familiar shadow demons to cause general chaos. (This includes wrecking the previously mentioned Hero Labs water purification operation.)

Apart from causing a general confidence crisis in public security, the general assault is just a smokescreen for the true objective - the three Darkness clones personally kidnapping Kai, possibly demonstrating the extensive shapeshifting powers that let them stay undetectable until now. The apparent human-ness of the three demons disorients Kai enough to start the dialogue in the first place, though it's possible that it's also Kai himself who leaves behind enough clues, or gets in contact with Seydlitz enough to finally inform MANGS what they should be looking out for.

They know Kai, not them, is the true key to triggering the Ascension process, and if Kai only has suspicions of this at this point they're now thoroughly confirmed. And if Kai wasn't sure if he was a Superboy-style clone of both Darkness and Rey Quirino at this point, the three demons very helpfully explain everything to him, in order to convince him to willingly sacrifice himself to end the world, or something? The demons are obviously not very good at persuasion, and Kai is too metaphysically powerful for them to mind-whammy, so they mostly just keep him incapacitated as they transport him to the second Tree of Anti-Life that they have raised in the middle of Manila Bay, where the Ritual of Ascension will be enacted anew.

I suppose what really plants doubt in Kai's mind is not the demons' exhortations which is the most melodramatic villain monologue nonsense you can imagine, but rather the feeling that Ludwig Schroedinger let it happen...

Meanwhile, MANGS in their splendidly isolated headquarters under Corregidor, on the other side of Manila Bay from the city, is slowly establishing control over the situation. Lines of communication with the international enclaves are re-established, civic defences are coordinated with help from judicious (and totally illegal) bombardment via the Fort Drum railgun, the Saints deploy and earn their keep for once by safeguarding someone really political, and I suppose a lot of the delay comes from rousing Rey Quirino's massive fanclub enough to sweep all before them in a tide of tri-color shirts. Not that the good citizens of Neo-Manila need a *lot* of help, because this hardened lot is not nearly as helpless before the rampaging shadow demons as they were in Advent Rey 1. And in any case, the appearance of the replica Tree of Anti-Life suddenly makes the tactical objective very clear.

Seydlitz orders the Silberengel launched to compensate for the missing Kai, but for everyone who has built bonds with Kai through the story it's pretty personal this time. Two of the demons leave the Tree and assume their giant demon forms to engage and delay the MANGS mecha force, preferably while declaring things like "I AM THE GHOST OF DARKNESS PAST" for maximum annoyance. The third stays with Kai, and this is where it gets really messed up because the third demon's human form looks just like Kai from the future.

Well, he's probably not literally Kai from the future, here to erase his own mistakes or as a double agent from the other side to empower Kai with the truth earlier on - that idea came fully from the "Ludwig is mining possibility from actual alternate never-weres" version of the backing metaphysics that I never settled on, and which I never reconciled with the other possible ideas I had (such as the more moderate, "the elimination of the demons is a trial symbolizing the ritual pruning of possibilities Ludwig doesn't want" idea that I would favor now.) But Future Kai is definitely a version of Kai, maybe an echo of what Kai could have been, and the greatest sign so far that Kai *needs* to break out of his fate. They proceed to have a talk that the third demon wouldn't even let the other two demons overhear. To be sure, some kind of Mobian conspiracy twist happens here, right under the visual (but audioless) feed of the MANGS command skyship, which means Ludwig himself is definitely monitoring the situation, fingers steepled.

In the end the third demon locks Kai inside a giant egg, as MANGS is slowly wearing through the other two demons. The sky is twisting in a familiar way and they don't know how much time they have left. Carissa Lancaster does something self-sacrificing. Rey Quirino, more pissed than usual because even he really wants to save the kid, jumps out of his own semi-functional mecha and throws it at an enemy or something, then proceeds to scramble up the Tree like he did 5 years ago. But he doesn't get there first - surprising everyone, even Seydlitz herself, the Silberengel gets to the top of the Tree and gently cracks the egg open, rescuing Kai before he gets too balut-Tetsuo.

And Kai, the last shreds of his consciousness being torn away by the trauma, manages to catch a glimpse of the white-haired girl in the Silberengel's open cockpit whom he has never seen before, but nevertheless seems to find familiar.
"This explanation posits that external observation leads to the collapse of the quantum wave function. This is another expression of reactionary idealism, and it's indeed the most brazen expression."
-
REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 1 - Rey Quirino Versus the Dark Heart of the Philippines
"...a literary atrocity against the senses..." - Ford

REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 2 - Advent Rey Returns: REVERGELTUNG
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:46 pm

Oh yeah, the Erlengel's name was originally the Erzengel ("Archangel"), but I changed it to match what Ludwig Schroedinger called Darkness prime in the epilogue of Advent Rey - his Erlkönig.

The Silberengel is, correspondingly, a more prosaic reference to the Silbervogel, probably Nazi Germany's most out there amerikabomber design.
"This explanation posits that external observation leads to the collapse of the quantum wave function. This is another expression of reactionary idealism, and it's indeed the most brazen expression."
-
REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 1 - Rey Quirino Versus the Dark Heart of the Philippines
"...a literary atrocity against the senses..." - Ford

REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 2 - Advent Rey Returns: REVERGELTUNG
Coming NEVER

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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:42 pm

Let's take a short interlude to talk about John Baylor's role as the plot progresses.

Baylor is not really analogous to his character equivalent in Evangelion in a variety of ways. He's doesn't have a history with the Deutschlandland crew, he doesn't serve as a surrogate father figure to a protagonist whose real father is absent from his life (Kai has at least three dads already). He *is* kind of a guy with ambiguous motivations as presented in the story, dealing in weapons and logistics and suddenly missing red tape, making things easier not just for the various factions of MANGS who were not previously in the giant robot-fielding biz, but also for the Germanians - including the more nefarious parts of them. In a sense, making sure MANGS functions smoothly and keeping the giant demons beaten in itself furthers Schroedinger's goals.

On the other hand, hypothetical O1 readers who are familiar with the multiversal archetype that is John Baylor knows he is generally a doof on the side of the angels - which is to say, nothing like how he is portrayed here. The metafictional tension is definitely intentional, to be maintained throughout the plot.

I explained what happened to him in the 5 years between Advent Reys 1 and 2 earlier on in this thread, but I'm not sure in what form it would come out in Advent Rey 2 itself. The facts would be known to all sorts of parties represented at the Chapter 1 party - from the predictably well-informed like Lucine Seydlitz to Rey Quirino himself, who is at best incurious by nature but still has compelling reasons for having kept in contact with his old boss-fight buddy. Even Kai picks up on a bit of his life-story, I suppose, and it contributes to the general sense that all the adults around him seem to belong to the same pit of impenetrable machinations.

I realize the key point would be how much Ludwig Schroedinger himself knows. Regarding the metaphysical nature of Darkness and his ties to the Philippines' Heart of Darkness, Ludwig understands better than anyone; it would be a fair bet that he inferred the events of the climax of Advent Rey 1, if he didn't simply interrogate it out of Darkness' own memories while his balut-form was under Ludwig's tender mercies.* It wouldn't be beyond him to also infer the similar processes that underlaid the destruction of Mustafa Crimson and note Baylor's involvement in that, and then take appropriate precautions.

*Now here's an idea: Ludwig can't do this directly, but realizes soon enough that the flashes of aberrant impression that Kai is having are essentially Darkness' distorted memories, and has to find a way to tease them out (which also means letting Kai grow steadily more Darkness-like and uncontrollable) without sticking him under magical torture or something. Cue Dr. Elbing complaining "I'm a theozoologist, not a psychiatrist!"

THAT said, Baylor has never been open about what exactly happened when he faced down Africa's own Heart of Darkness, and I suppose he keeps enough of his old obfuscating charm to give any overt hint that he knows what Ludwig knows about him. The two dance, taking advantage of each other, perhaps with a bit more worry demonstrated by Ludwig because he's not sure what Baylor is getting out of furthering his DARK MILLENNIUM PLAN, because on the other hand Baylor seems quite aware of what Ludwig is doing.

Okay, I'm not that sure either. MANGS is obviously a solution to mitigate Deutschlandland's leverage wrt the giant demon attack situation, as well as to counter-program Kai out from under Ludwig's thumb. The latter is probably the main objective, assuming Baylor already knows all about the Key of Nebuchadnezzar business and like with Shinji, the fate of the world is going to come down to the guy in the Erlengel's cockpit making a choice.

In response, there's really less reason Ludwig can offer to dissuade Kai from just having a chat with Baylor from time to time, unlike with Rey Quirino (false idol, squanderer of godhood, obviously an asshole etc). Kai's daily routine is under total control as it already is, but neither MANGS' organizational structure nor Seydlitz's personal clout can prevent Baylor from taking a few minutes with Kai while the latter is in the ready bay waiting for the technicians to fix the power surge in the launch rails, or sitting in on operation debriefings and making cryptic remarks, or just taking advantage of all the little gaps and lapses of life that are the natural consequence of Kai not being locked in Castle Neusternberg 24/7.

What does Kai himself think about Baylor? As mentioned earlier, he already has three dads to deal with: the one locked in the basement whose shadow nevertheless hangs over his every active moment; the distant one who set the framework of his life and the purpose of his existence; and his other genetic parent, the one he was taught to hate and usurp but never quite managed to, even if their mutual pseudo-metaphysical empathetic link wasn't also a thing. Compared to that, Baylor's like the weird uncle.

On the other hand, if Baylor is also one of the conspiracy of adults keeping Kai in the dark about everything, then maybe it's because Baylor himself can't trust Kai to handle it yet, or to keep it secret from Ludwig. He waits until Kai is obviously discontent and increasingly self-actualized before jumping in with plot exposition, which is genuinely a bit sketch now that I think about it.

It helps that unlike Kaji, Baylor isn't going to get silenced by Ludwig sending zombie nazi minions after him because he's still John Baylor. On the individual level, he's perfectly capable of coming to the rescue of other characters and overcoming difficulties of that scale. But on the giant robot fight scale, he's a spectator like the others, and ultimately must pin his hopes onto Kai like everybody else.
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:03 pm

Hmm... the surface level would be I guess he wants to make a quick buck, which is why he ended up in all these places so coincidentally... (I forgot how he ended up in Advent Rey 1!)... I guess seeing two Heart of Darknesses occur and his pivotal yet not-central role in both - assisting Rey in the PH and either Simango or some other local hero (SHEBA?) in Shaka Abeeku - has clued him in on how being lured into these kinds of situations leads to even worser things.

Maybe FIDEL V. RAMOS is clueing him in too...

And it would be hilarious if EDGE and CHAOS reappear but this time as Baylor's hired help. They're like "why the hell are we here again?!" and I guess they end up helping out awkwardly with a reformed PYTHON UNIT in sweeping whatever demon-remnant growth hell-remoras crawl out of slain kaijus.

(And I want it so that Akinwale Mango is some African superspy type who was actually undercover and posed as Baylor's "bodyguard" to travel the world and get a good picture of the underworld arms trade and techno-mystic scene... for his own purposes, whether Baylor is aware of this or not!)

Maybe DEADLIGHT HOLLOWS is also informing Baylor of his divinations as to what Ludwig's up to... in between his new career as TRANS SUPERMODEL and LGBTQIA+ globe trotting fashionista icon Jojo Protagonist!

Like, Baylor is unsubtle so he's the main front but a whole bunch of the surviving protagonists from the first Advent Rey figure out that It's Not Over Yet and are figuring out what's next and what they can do to fix things, and Baylor's their front. Heck, even the O.K. Kid and BOLO are in on it - covertly working as like janitors or engineers or whatever staff in Deutchslandland to gather more info. The O.K. Kid could still exist, continuing in the slums right across Deutchslandland's walls!
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:21 pm

Lots of good ideas here, if I were to actually write this thing. Some of the characters you mentioned I already would be using: The O.K. Kid has been working as Rey Quirino's official sidekick, the newfound fame and adulation from the common people makes her more powerful than ever before, and her trash warrens do extend throughout Neo-Manila.

Out of all the non-foreign characters she probably has the most idea what's going on, being an urban diwata with her finger on the occult pulse of the city (which has additionally been rebuilt around her) and all that. She would be the one who facilitates the tactical sneaking missions of Baylor and the Socialist Hawk and maybe even Kai himself with entrances to her personal otherworld wherever there is junk and clutter. Even in Deutschlandland, where the order and occult wards don't have 100% coverage.

Fidel Ramos I intend a well-deserved retirement for. I assume he and Baylor could have talked some more at some point after Advent Rey 1 - but Ramos doesn't need to be an ongoing presence in the plot, it being busy enough with the Marcos and the Aquinos and whatever else.

I assume Akinwale Mango stayed behind to deal with the fallout of CRIMSONFALL, and setting up his own refuge for rehabilitating DEMON BALROG ELEPHANTS is probably his lifelong dream anyway (he's not that old, come to think of it, and Crimson's depredations are his childhood memories), but yeah, maybe his own secrets are another reason for his estrangement with Baylor. Just as well, considering what happened to the African heroes Baylor sidekicked with...

Man, Deadlight Hollow is a bit of a pickle. His role in Advent Rey 1 was purely that of a passing meddler, and I do hope that in the spirit of the Comix+5 timeline's dynamism he's in a better place by the time of Advent Rey 2, or has at least gone in some other direction. I mean, he's literally I in the LGBTQIA+ and he can go in a lot of directions with that.

You're right that if I sketched out Baylor's influence network, it would include a lot of his old ADVENT REY buddies. It would include the more worried members of Rey Quirino's own staff; less savory elements of the New World East Tsinoys/Hongkongers; the inexplicably hyper-devolved residents of FALLEN MANILA; and Butch Baylor - his own brother! - whom I forgot actually runs a Filipino smuggling network. Man, he can be the one who takes Carissa to rendezvous with her mecha in the Philippine Sea.*

*Now, after re-reading Siege's Arcadian Expanse stuff, I kind of want the Maverick to be transported on a decommissioned US supercarrier now, tarped to the deck dramatically like in Evangelion. Maybe old carriers are just hot possessions for eccentric billionaires like Trask. Maybe there are just a lot more of them floating around because the RUNAWAY DEFENSE BUDGET obsoleted whole extra generations of US naval vessels. Maybe robust and re-militarizable cargo ships are actually in vogue because of escalating kaiju attacks across the Pacific.

Also I think Shroom talked me into EDGE and CHAOS coming back for the sequel - as long as they were back in the Phils for their HONEYMOON. Yes, subtlety is dead in TYOL 2017, and after the 5-year timeskip they finally decided to tie the knot. Why they decide to spend their honeymoon at the location of one of their worst mercenary clusterfucks may be attributed to yet another all-night bender, or maybe it's even something heartwarming involving their formative bonding experience during and after the events of Advent Rey 1.

Actually, their whole Kamin mercenary squad is coming with them, and they're all strictly on holiday mode. Which is all the more fun when MANGS runs out of budget and Wolf needs professional goons on a dime!
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:07 pm

I love that Edge and Chaos are <3... and in my head the merc network should be called the Killer Assassin Mercenary International Network! :lol:
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Mon Aug 06, 2018 5:23 pm

Last time on ADVENT REY 2...
Invictus wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:20 pm
And Kai, the last shreds of his consciousness being torn away by the trauma, manages to catch a glimpse of the white-haired girl in the Silberengel's open cockpit whom he has never seen before, but nevertheless seems to find familiar.
Theresa Neusternberg is basically the Kaworu figure. With hair so blonde that it's practically blinding, pale skin that never tans under the Filipino sun, and appearing apparently fully-formed in Ludwig Schroedinger's confidence one day, similar to Kai in almost every way but better. She shares a surname with him! She has all the clearances around Castle Neusternberg that not even Kai has! She pilots the upgraded Silberengel effortlessly! She'd be an awful rival to a teenage pilot's ego if she didn't seem to come just as the plot strips away most of Kai's social support network. Instead, I'd be remiss not to characterize it as an enormous crush.

Theresa Sternberg is also another frequent Kamin character idea whose mentions are scattered across the forum, most relevant to the Comixverse as the steel-winged, plate-armor'd, kiloton-tanking (but modestly not much more!) anthropomorphic personification of Germany, because having superpowered avatars reflecting the actual countries of Comix! Earth running around on top of everything else didn't open another can of worms. But here, I would have had a purpose for her.

Theresa is the one who is beside Kai as he wakes up from being reconstituted from balutoid grotesquification in Dr. Elbing's labs, only partly because Dr. Elbing himself has terrible bedside manner and Kai never liked him. As Kai slowly convalesces while confined to the bowels of Castle Neusternberg on Ludwig's orders, isolated from his high school friends and even Lucine Seydlitz whose apartment he usually shares (while, conveniently, there are no further giant demon attacks), Theresa keeps him company, sharing his interest in whatever thematic musical instrument he practices - which I don't see any reason to change from the piano, come to think of it. So when Kai returns to his abrogated daily routine with a combination of reluctance and anticipation, he's overjoyed that Theresa also drops into his academy class as a transfer student with no questions asked. Their relationship becomes normalized.

This relationship grows in parallel with Kai's reclaiming of his autonomy. In better days, before the previous arc, Kai was in good enough of a place that Seydlitz and Ludwig lets him go into the city as publicity and reward. Now Kai would go on trips into Neo-Manila with Theresa, showing her around what he knows as a bit of showing-off, and this is one area where he does have the better of her. Or maybe she just humors him very well. I'm not sure if it would be clear in the plot at this point, or whether Kai would ever grow perceptive enough to tell. I suppose what Theresa doesn't have is the raw combat prowess of Kai's manifested Darkness-powers, which by this point is enough to handle whatever physical threat the rough town can throw at them, but I suppose logically this is also how he understands first-hand the traumas that his demon dad inflicted on the city.

Good thing Theresa helps absolve him of his guilt. Even if Kai learns to fear and loathe the very source of his power and worth, even if he is growing to resent the duty thrust upon him by an unreasonable father figure, he has still grown attached to enough ordinary people in this city to want to protect them, and this means getting back into the robot. And when Kai gingerly enters the cockpit of the Erlengel for the first time in a while, Theresa is true to her promise to bear the duty with him and is right there alongside him in the Silberengel's cockpit. With Carissa at best still recovering in the hospital and the Super Kidlat more totaled than usual due to the TRIPLE DARKNESS ARC, they might even enjoy the experience of fighting in tandem. Whatever her agenda is, it definitely aims towards the continued course of things so Ludwig's Schattenjahrtausendplan* can proceed to its completion. She just uses a softer touch.

*I should have explained earlier that the "Dark Millennium Plan" comes from yet another quite suitable Kamin idea that again, never quite made it past idea stage. Ironically appropriate, I suppose, for something that's about a reality that never comes to be.
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:59 pm

The end of this fragile bit of status quo is also the endgame of the story, and gee do I feel like I have been putting off the next few posts to make way for the devastating twists and cataclysmic conclusion of the long plot, except also increasingly worried that it would just sound like a whimper when I finally lay it out here.

For spoilers to a twenty year-old series and its current pastiche, Theresa Neusternberg is Kaworu Nagisa and ends up like Kaworu Nagisa.

The gist of what she seems to be doing is propping Kai's morale back up and getting him back on mission - after his extended rehabilitation from the fallout of the Triple Darkness Arc, both in terms of physical injury and existential doubt. Is Kai destined to repeat Darkness' fate, his Telos, and be discarded as an instrument once Ludwig Schroedinger's plan to get his real family back is complete? Just as he runs out of reasons to do it for his shitty dad, he can now at least do it for her. Though the fundamental question remains unanswered - now that Kai knows it's going to be the end of the world, whether his self-actualization will involve helping anyone accomplish it.

Theresa is also providing vital giant robot piloting backup to Kai and MANGS as a whole, decimated after taking on three Giant Codenamed Demons at once. I remember slating an enormous proportion of the supporting characters to be taken out: the Hero Labs carryall pilots, hotzone professionals who do expect the possibility of buying it at some point, but still represents the loss of a steadying presence among the rookie pilots; The O.K. Kid, who burns herself out possessing and empowering Rey Quirino's mech, which was completely underpowered for anti-demon combat this late into the story even if it was functional, and is definitely also totaled after this fight; and Carissa Lancaster in the Maverick, who paid the price for sticking her neck out (sorry Heretic) and while she absolutely performed heroically and beyond the call of duty, her sacrifice* did the most to tear MANGS apart. Specifically between the overall head of MANGS, Wolfe "The Socialist Hawk" Torovsky, who only took the job to keep Carissa alive, and its tactical commander Lucine Seydlitz, who went for broke to get her foster son** back, and now they're recriminating each other over their wards, and Wolfe no longer has a reason to stick around. Morale is low among the console bunnies caught between the shouting.

*Admittedly, I never settled on whether she really dies or not. There are definitely really badass ways of ending her fight that she wouldn't survive, like if she has the Maverick grab her opponent, jetpack a couple kilometers up and detonate the fusion reactor. Except, even as I'm writing this, I think the peculiar genius of Sam Trask could have anticipated and provided mechanisms for the pilot to survive such self-destruct tactics. (Cue Captain Capitalism, a la Scrooge McDuck, going "Do you really think I'd let my favorite unsalaried dogsbody get killed that easily?")

**By the Triple Darkness Arc, which is the penultimate chapter of the plot, I think's it's safe to posit that Lucine has developed genuine parental affection for Kai, as inept a mom as she may be. This is fine, because looking after Kai's wellbeing entirely dovetails with her original job of helping Ludwig immanertize the eschaton. It's also an excellent opportunity for Wolfe, who knows a bit of this thanks to his contacts with Jose Rival but doesn't know enough, to openly accuse Seydlitz's fierce protectiveness as being a cover for some nefarious Germanian agenda. This really tears the masquerade of cooperation between Neo-Manila's rival powers and further accelerates the deterioration of Ludwig's conspiracy - which is going to make him rash.

In any case, the Maverick is probably totaled as well, so MANGS is left with Kai's Erzengel, Theresa in the Silberengel, and whatever the Technotheocracy has left after this much resource attrition. The Neo-Manila Metropolitate is not the richest nor the most well-established of its branches, remember, and I bet Nexarch Balbinus is really considering cutting their losses in this ill-considered venture. Maybe they even do. Ludwig is definitely okay with this outcome, since being the remaining standing force means that the last stages of his plan will entirely be in Germanian hands, as he originally intended. Just as well as things are starting to catch up with him.

But hints will be sown throughout that Theresa is also not very helpful in other ways. Does she have to conspicuously walk out from fiercely intimate debates with Ludwig Schroedinger where Kai can see, challenging an authority that he can't and would never dare to? Isn't she very free with answers to obtuse metaphysical questions that Kai's own creator Doktor Elbing would never make interesting enough for Kai to listen? Is she treating Kai's Darkness powers (and the nature of Darkness in general) sympathetically enough to prop up his self-esteem, emphasizing that whatever end it all comes to, it will be Kai who makes the decision instead of his nature? On the other hand, can Kai's suspicions overpower his infatuation, because Theresa seems just like another member of the all-knowing conspirators around him ?
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:34 pm

Then a lot of things happen at once.

Jose Rival probably buys it at this point, because cyborg ninja characters are not allowed to survive. Oh, and I just remembered: because this story was originally based on G Gundam, Jose Rival is also in fact Rey Quirino's long-lost brother*. Yes, that's right.

More properly speaking, 'Jose Rival' is an identity taken up by succession of anti-authoritarian vigilantes, only some of which are cyborg ninjas/ super-soldier experimental subjects. Others were probably more on the Rorschach end of the scale, and the Rizaliplane, named after a species of flying lizard discovered by the actual Jose Rizal, is the kind of gadget left behind by a previous holder of the name because the current Jose Rival is too cool to be caught alive in something like that. President Aquino had the plane in his basement because his family was tight with the series of Jose Rivals who fought against the Marcos regime (as darkly hinted by Imelda in the Advent Rey 1 epilogue!), and who represented a bygone era of merely hard-boiled mystery men; the current Jose Rival is a grimdark super-commando created by the Ramos military clique as a black ops asset, cut loose as part of a truce with the then-President Aquinos. Now he's a rogue agent with a heart full of discontent against most of the political establishment! Hence the choice to ally with the Germanians.

In all, it's actually pretty dark that the proud line of Jose Rivals eventually became pawns of the country's various clan-cliques, who can then blame grisly murders of their political enemies on an urban legend slash vengeful revolutionary ghost. But it probably isn't as bad as RL Philippines though, which is the Batman Beyond of Filipino superhero timelines.

Nevertheless, on some level I'm glad that the JOSE RIVAL MYTHOS replaced the standing idea as of the writing of Advent Rey 1, where Jose Rival was a joke and also actually ex-President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, so we could add a Nite Owl-like mid-life crisis and general performance anxiety to his complex about his dead parents. He could still have been the teenage sidekick though. :P

I don't remember if I ever arranged for Rey Quirino to find out about this, but it seems a waste not to. Does he save Rey from last-ditch demon assassination attempt? Does he attempt to take on a giant demon by himself? Does Ludwig Bigwig turn on him preemptively or vice versa but the demon-summoning wizard with a base full of nazi vampires just has the edge? Does Rival escape by the skin of his unnatural cyborg resilience and die delivering important intel to Reyworld? There were plenty of cliched dramatic opportunities here.

*The existence of siblings was actually mentioned in his profile!

---

Another twist that arrives at around this point is Imelda Marcos' defection from the Germanian apocalypse cult faction. Again, I don't remember what event precipitated this, but like Jose Rival said in the Advent Rey 1 epilogue, the Marcos clan represents a merely human sort of evil, and eventually it would be in their interest to help save the Philippines because it's where they keep their stuff.

I think there must be a point where Imelda can no longer deny the reality of Ludwig Schroedinger's plans. Thinking about it, the Marcos' don't really directly benefit from the giant demon apocalypse march except as an economic investment and money laundering - once Neo-Manila's economy starts falling apart from the collateral damage, once Deutschlandland catches some horrible public relations disaster, or once Ludwig's increasing volatility starts personally putting off Imelda, because I can totally see her as one of those decorum above all types - then the Marcos' will start to reconsider, then a plot-frazzled Ludwig will catch wind of this and overreact because he's only about half the suave nobleman he presents himself as, then Seydlitz as PR head could have stepped in to smooth things out but she herself has fallen out of favor for caring too much about Kai or something, and really, it's all a story about Ludwig Schroedinger's hedgehog dilemma.

Anyway, vampire demon nazi assassins drive Imelda into the Rey camp soon enough. As a show of faith, she gifts Rey a secret weapon from her First Lady days, some hyper-advanced technology that can upgrade the Super Kidlat into a first-class combatant - The V-CHIP. Just in time for the final battle, too.

This is totally a reference to when Shroom told me about Ferdinand Marcos banning mecha anime like Voltes V, which contributed to his unpopularity. I remind readers that the series' full Japanese name is "Super Electromagnetic Machine Voltes V" so the theme totally fits the energies of pinoydom finally unshackled to battle the foreign apocalyptic invader threat. Unlike the early ramshackle attempts at engineering or cheats like having diwatas and spirits possess it to make it work, the native Filipino-built giant robot is finally the genuine article. I guess the generally triumphalist slide of this point of ADVENT REY 2 means that Rey Quirino's life doesn't have to be a continuous conga line of humiliation.
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:35 pm

Invictus wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:34 pm
I don't remember if I ever arranged for Rey Quirino to find out about this, but it seems a waste not to. Does he save Rey from last-ditch demon assassination attempt? Does he attempt to take on a giant demon by himself? Does Ludwig Bigwig turn on him preemptively or vice versa but the demon-summoning wizard with a base full of nazi vampires just has the edge? Does Rival escape by the skin of his unnatural cyborg resilience and die delivering important intel to Reyworld? There were plenty of cliched dramatic opportunities here.
Life-saving assistance and some revelations as he holds up some demon-mecha's footstomp, straining his cyberservos as he tells Rey that they're not tools of the government, until he's finally stomped. Just like GRAY FOX!

...the V-Chip reminds me of V-Cut an actual popular snack here...
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:54 pm

And you know what? I don't want Imelda to have some wishy washy face-turn "oh for the country I'll finally do one right thing" since they are real-life shitpieces. Rival already stolen the V-CHIP ahead of time and secretly handed it to Rey (so secretly Rey never knew he had it ALL ALONG for some time), telling him so before he croaks. So when Imelda decides to hand Rey the V-CHIP, turns out the one she had was fake all along, and we can have the hilarious scene of Rey flippantly telling her that and say her act is for nothing and so there's nothing to make up for her being a terrible worthless person. This might not be because of Rey's own morals or sense of justice but because he's just petty.

And like it can be so that Imelda meant this as one final act of goodness, because in crossing Ludwig she's cut off from some Germanian alchemical elixir vitae and she's decomposing. Her face is of shock as she realizes her gesture of goodness was for nothing. And then she melts into a puddle of flesh.
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:46 pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:54 pm
And you know what? I don't want Imelda to have some wishy washy face-turn "oh for the country I'll finally do one right thing" since they are real-life shitpieces. Rival already stolen the V-CHIP ahead of time and secretly handed it to Rey (so secretly Rey never knew he had it ALL ALONG for some time), telling him so before he croaks. So when Imelda decides to hand Rey the V-CHIP, turns out the one she had was fake all along, and we can have the hilarious scene of Rey flippantly telling her that and say her act is for nothing and so there's nothing to make up for her being a terrible worthless person. This might not be because of Rey's own morals or sense of justice but because he's just petty.

And like it can be so that Imelda meant this as one final act of goodness, because in crossing Ludwig she's cut off from some Germanian alchemical elixir vitae and she's decomposing. Her face is of shock as she realizes her gesture of goodness was for nothing. And then she melts into a puddle of flesh.
That's a super fair appraisal of an idea from the heady days of 2014. I suppose I could have implemented the scene so she really comes crawling to Rey - a legitimate representative of literal people power as any - as they rendezvous under the shadow of the kinetic sculpture made of the millions of knives Rey dickstabbed Darkness with; or that Imelda still blusters and tries to make a deal with no leverage and this just makes her look really bad; but you don't make it sound appropriate either.

I *will* maintain that if the V-CHIP gets stolen beforehand it would be John Baylor who does it though. At this stage of the plot he can still benefit from pulling off something as unlikely as this.

Re: retributive occult death, I'm perfectly willing to make it that Imelda actually caught a case of the Theostigma from being shown MASSIVE DARKNESS in the castle basement, but another idea comes to me: there was that previous idea that Deutschlandland was growing clones of Filipino political elites for replacement organs, and some of these clones (including Imelda's own teenage clone, Immaculada) were actually attending Kai's academy under cover identities. There was going to be a sideplot where Kai's personal lobbying efforts actually got the clones to be treated as people.

Given Deutschlandland's biotech prowess, I think its dirtbag politician backers have some inkling that the clones may be held as insurance against them. They don't realize that Ludwig Schroedinger's real insurance policy is to use the clones as black magic foci for his curses, so if he goes down, a significant proportion of the richest political families of the Philippines are just going to drop dead as well. As Ludwig's project unravels and he gets more vindictive than sane, armed stormtroopers may or may not storm the academy to seize the said clones. Of course, them being Kai's classmates, I don't think he would let that happen.

So maybe Imelda just goes for a spate of retail therapy after the final snub from Rey, except the mall gets smashed and she gets crushed by a giant falling display shoe or something.
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:01 pm

Invictus wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:46 pm
I *will* maintain that if the V-CHIP gets stolen beforehand it would be John Baylor who does it though. At this stage of the plot he can still benefit from pulling off something as unlikely as this.
But Rival is a cyborg-ninja who actually loathes the Marcoses and was definitely planning to eventually overcome them whereas Baylor's not the stealthiest type?

Heck, Rival might've reached out to Baylor since EVERYONE reaches out to him as a seemingly-neutral actually-competent oaf.

What if the theostigma afflicting Imelda is due to not only the Darkness exposure but also like, the fact is people like her are probably living conduits of the national negativity embodied by the balut Darkness was seeking? Her and hers most especially, moreso than the average dynasty of douchebags. I mean if "the condensed ails of the country in one gross-looking duck egg+embryo" was a catalyst of this whole shebang, this could revisit it.

AND maybe Ludwig's occult knowledge of Darkness and what he did is why he's sought after by the local elites, maybe there's actually a LOT of theostigma going around - not only among those exposed to the fallen Darkness Tree roots but also the corrupt people who are living embodiment of the balut. And this ail is probably something that other methods, from advanced Hero Labs, Vagrant and even Theozoological sources can't remedy. Which contributes to how Ludwig got such influence!

HA-HA!

Anyway as shit gets real and things destabilize, we might not need any specific incident just the gradual grotesquetification of the more corrupt elites, with Imelda getting it really bad because of what she is. Going from Harkonnen leprosy to some really Cronenbergian stuff. Then she like literally melts. Others like Enrile and Ramos with sins start getting it really bad too. Even Noynoy! Perhaps in the case of Noynoy on one hand his dad and mom did help the nation end a dictatorship but they're still a corrupt dynasty so the theostigma only affects HALF HIS FACE so he goes around town wearing a Phantom of the Opera mask... and people take it in stride.
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Thu Mar 28, 2019 5:17 pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:01 pm
But Rival is a cyborg-ninja who actually loathes the Marcoses and was definitely planning to eventually overcome them whereas Baylor's not the stealthiest type?

Heck, Rival might've reached out to Baylor since EVERYONE reaches out to him as a seemingly-neutral actually-competent oaf.

What if the theostigma afflicting Imelda is due to not only the Darkness exposure but also like, the fact is people like her are probably living conduits of the national negativity embodied by the balut Darkness was seeking? Her and hers most especially, moreso than the average dynasty of douchebags. I mean if "the condensed ails of the country in one gross-looking duck egg+embryo" was a catalyst of this whole shebang, this could revisit it.

AND maybe Ludwig's occult knowledge of Darkness and what he did is why he's sought after by the local elites, maybe there's actually a LOT of theostigma going around - not only among those exposed to the fallen Darkness Tree roots but also the corrupt people who are living embodiment of the balut. And this ail is probably something that other methods, from advanced Hero Labs, Vagrant and even Theozoological sources can't remedy. Which contributes to how Ludwig got such influence!

HA-HA!

Anyway as shit gets real and things destabilize, we might not need any specific incident just the gradual grotesquetification of the more corrupt elites, with Imelda getting it really bad because of what she is. Going from Harkonnen leprosy to some really Cronenbergian stuff. Then she like literally melts. Others like Enrile and Ramos with sins start getting it really bad too. Even Noynoy! Perhaps in the case of Noynoy on one hand his dad and mom did help the nation end a dictatorship but they're still a corrupt dynasty so the theostigma only affects HALF HIS FACE so he goes around town wearing a Phantom of the Opera mask... and people take it in stride.
I actually now remember this as one of the plot implications of Advent Rey 1's resolution that somehow didn't make it into the denouement. Like as described in the John Baylor post, the defeat of the embodiment of Dark Heart of the Philippines was going to (temporarily) exorcising the ills from the country's collective soul. It would come back, as humans continued to act on their human nature, but for a few months after the Manila Ascension Crisis everyone in the Phils acted a bit nicer.

Of course, I then came up with Neo-Manila and Advent Rey 2 and the idea went off the rails.

In-fiction, this also makes sense: not long after Darkness/the Heart was reduced back into a quiescent balut and flew off into the horizon, Ludwig Schroedinger managed to track it down by dint of some mystic connection as Darkness' original summoner to this mortal plane. Worse still, with further foul sorceries he forced it to grow so he can harvest enough material off it to build the Engels and leave the rest crucified in his castle dungeons, like an open metaphysical wound. Instead of restarting a natural cycle of corruption, the influence of the Dark Heart resumed in full force, centered on the rebuilt city.

Indeed, my description of Neo-Manila did suggest that its irrepressible character was a bit unnatural. The city breathes but doesn't quite know why, its energies damned up by an interrupted conclusion.

Chatting with Shroom again provides new and cool ideas to make Imelda Marcos melt. Back in Advent Rey 2, Deutschlandland based its public reputation on advanced biotech, and secured the support of the country's corrupt elites with...more personal services. The clone organ-farming, like I already mentioned. But maybe also youth and health serums - billed as 'artificial placental extracts' or something, but actually DARKNESS CELLS extracted from the basement demon or its weeping LCL egg-juice. If the general metaphysical interregnum doesn't seem enough to make the Worst People in the Philippines break out into degenerative theostigma, then maybe bodily partaking of the LUNATIC SACRAMENT will. People who willingly make deals with Ludwig Schroedinger definitely have no excuse.

If you've watched G Gundam, then you also know that DARKNESS CELLS can also hijack the wills of their hosts (and turn them into cyberzombies). Unsurprisingly, Shroom really likes the idea that our heroes would have to cut their way through inexplicably armed nabobs and grandees like in Hot Fuzz. In fact, this could have already happened during the Triple Darkness arc, where the Darkness clones leveraged their greater occult authority to preemptively activate the sleeper agent network that Ludwig was building (and didn't tell anyone he was building) to cause a citywide insurrection.

What ended up as a hard-fought triumph for MANGS was in fact a huge setback for Ludwig's own plans, and the nature of the Darkness cults was going to make a lot of people very suspicious, which puts Ludwig on a very short clock. And hopefully the next post will show why the very act of sending out Theresa Neusternberg in the Silberengel to rescue Kai was an even more tremendous concession to the circumstances...
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REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 1 - Rey Quirino Versus the Dark Heart of the Philippines
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Sun Mar 31, 2019 3:52 pm

One last sideplot post I swear :v

Going back to G Gundam again, Rey Quirino's actually closer to Master Asia than I initially realized - kind of grizzled compared to the protagonist and with a mutual connection that exists before the beginning of the story? Check. Famous as all hell but sick inside? Check. And of course, can take on giant robots with his bare hands? Arguably.

The idea of Kai learning kung fu from Rey is more of an ask, and I must say the very notion of Rey next to the words "kung fu" is kind of amusing. More seriously, the vast physical disparities between the two don't leave much room for mentorship. And skill-wise, I'm sure like even a vat-grown clone who's about a year old like Kai has had better training on that front and Rey wouldn't have had much time improving on his abysmal state in Advent Rey 1, given all the commercial empire-building.

Except...Kai's dark heritage is awakening, giving him a host of newfound power that he doesn't understand. And when he finds out that it's because his Darkness side is metaphysically bleeding through, he can also only think of one man in Neo-Manila who has faced down Darkness at full power and won. It's less for the physical training and more for the emotional resolution.

And okay, it's also because Rey is an indestructible training doll, but I'm sure Rey would enjoy beating the shit out of a Darkness clone as well.

The main problem would be for Kai to actually approach Rey, which is fraught with personal and practical difficulties. For the former, it would be a matter of going against Ludwig's poisonous blandishments and a measure of his own pride. It would be admitting that he needs the help, as well as being able to trust someone outside his own circle. For the latter, I'm sure Ludwig would bend his considerable resources to ensure that the two never make unsupervised contact for a variety of reasons, so that's another way to give the ninja characters a workout.

On Rey's part, it would be an invitation to move beyond the pure narcissistic dickishness that is is non-Rebuild of Comix characterization, and like specifically, to test his character as a parent for a kid he has responsibilities to, regardless of whether he wanted to or not. The strategic advantages of turning/befriending Kai are apparent as Deutschlandland's sinister designs coalesce, and it would be perfectly reasonable for him to have a hanker to finish what he started five years ago. But it would certainly rankle him to realize that what he has to finish is not the defeat of Darkness, but the redemption.

Ultimately, I'm not sure what would come of this side arc because I've never considered it in depth, as amusing as it would be for Kai to break out a patented Rey Move during the final battle.
"This explanation posits that external observation leads to the collapse of the quantum wave function. This is another expression of reactionary idealism, and it's indeed the most brazen expression."
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REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 1 - Rey Quirino Versus the Dark Heart of the Philippines
"...a literary atrocity against the senses..." - Ford

REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 2 - Advent Rey Returns: REVERGELTUNG
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Fri Apr 05, 2019 6:54 pm

The endgame is kicked off by Theresa tipping her hand.

As far as Kai knows, she just seemed particularly upset one day after the usual veiled argument with Ludwig Schroedinger, and then suddenly the alarms are screaming because the demon readings are coming from inside the castle, and Ludwig is personally ordering Kai to stop Theresa, who has hijacked the Silberengel and is heading unchecked into the bowels of the base.

I've ran the point that she's the narrative equivalent of Kaworu from Evangelion into the ground, but doyalistically her exact nature is more interesting. Of the two main metaphysical origins of the giant attacking demons she only fits the second one - where they're all living shadows of potential realities, some fulfilling the exact purpose Ludwig anticipated that they'll materialize doing, others more dangerously independent. The adversaries of the TRIPLE DARKNESS ARC definitely fall into the latter category, being on some level alternate versions of Darkness that, if the Comixverse of Neo-Manila is one timeline among many, they would be from improbably similar ones out of the infinitudes drawn to Ludwig's summons. This was definitely the kind of threat that Ludwig didn't plan for - entities similar enough to Darkness that they can reflexively carry out the original's ascension plan without needing Ludwig's magics. However, Theresa Neusternberg is something purer than that.

My ultimate influence came from Warren Ellis' Planetary, where when a supercomputer cycles through countless simulations of alternate realities, one of the simulations figures out what's happening before it is terminated and and, out of basic survival imperative, finds a way to send their superheroes out of the simulation to fight the supercomputer's creators. Here, Theresa comes into existence smart enough to persuade Ludwig to make her a collaborator, or at least bluff so, instead of being tossed into the Erlengel ritual battle blender. Maybe what persuades Ludwig is some inkling of familiarity - after all, some versions of Theresa are in fact Ludwig's daughter - and Ludwig on some level is doing this to bring back his dead family. (This is now also exactly the Into the Spider-verse plot?) Or maybe Theresa's very nature is enough of a curiosity: with angelic steel wings in her true form, beautiful and articulate enough to be suggestive of some truly utopian parallel if she was allowed to set off the apocalypse.

I also had to think about Theresa and Ludwig's win condition here, outside of letting Kai continue to beat up demons. I called Kai the key; and if that's what he is, then Darkness - the original Darkness now locked in Castle Neusternberg - is an open door, a gate that now leads nowhere after his ascension attempt was aborted at the last moment. Assimilating the Dark Heart of the Philippines was only one step in Darkness' ultimate plan to grow metaphysically beefy enough to basically unmake the Comixverse and unbind his own poorly-conceived self; Ludwig's plan is to hijack this unrealized potential so he can rewrite the Comixverse with Infinite Germanity instead. As to why Kai and the Erlengel is needed...maybe the Erlengel is the lock, the vehicle required to connect the key to the door. As with in Evangelion, maybe only a giant clone of Darkness can complete and reactivate Darkness-as-gate while protecting its pilot, who gets to make the decisions. In this case, a thoroughly indoctrinated Kai would implement Ludwig's goals without Ludwig himself risking his neck.

If any of the summoned major arcana demons make contact with basement-Darkness, I assume they get to make the wish instead.

Theresa knows the difficulties of doing so, so she has to look for another way - maybe she convinced herself that in exchange for her mech-piloting assistance, Ludwig would let her piggyback onto his master plan. Ludwig also knows Theresa knows, and that giving her access to Castle Neusternberg and an Engel is nevertheless an immense risk because he can't trust Theresa not to make a go for it. Both of them are probably looking to backstab the other first.

Compared to Ludwig and Kai, it's another kind of toxic dysfunctional relationship. It's never quite clear through her appearances whether Theresa is just a squishy humanoid and therefore vulnerable to Ludwig's surfeit of demon/zombie/nazi goons, but she's definitely dependent on Ludwig's good graces for continued access to Kai and Deutschlandland. For all her serene facade, she dances a delicate dance in Ludwig's orbit, performing for trust and favor from the terrible patriarch without compromising her own true objectives. It's a dance that is wobbling and losing balance from the very start, with Kai catching only the tail ends of arguments and the rare unguarded moment, growing frustrated without understanding the reasons behind his confidante's alternating deference and defiance. Ludwig is just that toxic an individual, I suppose.

Of course, if she succeeds in entering the gate herself via Engel or by spoofing it with Darkness DNA obtained from Kai or something, thus reshaping the Comixverse into her shade of Infinite Germanity, there's no assurance that Kai would be part of the new reality either.

Eventually, Theresa determines that the situation is untenable and she would have no place in Ludwig's vision after all. Or maybe it's because the culmination of Ludwig's plan would mean the end of Kai, and Ludwig's calculus to make the two bond (as Kai's welfare is also key to his plan) fails. She cryptically kisses Kai goodbye, burns her backdoor access to the Silberengel, and goes loud. It turns out that she has been holding back a lot of personal prowess from Ludwig, and she plans to exploit the surprise.

Between Theresa's unveiled powers, her familiarity with the base and the Silberengel's raw might, Castle Neusternberg's internal defenses are bypassed or brushed aside. Kai in the Erlgengel perhaps could have stopped her, but for whatever reason my plotting diverges from Evangelion here and he never does this. Maybe *someone* locked down the unit with the MISTELTEINN system out of an abundance of paranoia? Maybe Theresa made sure Kai couldn't interfere or make any motion of complicity at all? In any case, Kai also heads for the same destination, not even sure if he will try to talk her down or what.

By the time they've all arrived at the lowest level of Castle Neusternberg, at the occult installation where an obscene giant hangs crucified and bleeding into a boiling lake of balut-juices, Theresa finds out the same thing Kaworu did - that the hanging figure isn't the real Darkness. Then, because unlike Gendo Ikari he is an actual supervillain, Ludwig personally shows up to inform her that he had prepared for this very eventuality and relocated Darkness to a much more secure location. He then makes the Evangelion-compliant reveal that he had shrunk Darkness back down to balut size and implanted it into his own hand, except here there are far more terrible implications in doing so. Ludwig also makes sure to go all "And this is your final mistake, Theresa...or should I say, Demon Designation: JUDGEMENT HYDRA" where Kai can hear, because at this point Ludwig is also too broken to do anything other than lash out and break other people with hard truths.

And then, because apparently I've subconsciously slotted Ludwig as memetic Gendo Ikari sort of like how End of Evangelion shows what it would be like if Shinji was memetic Shinji, he demonstrates beyond doubt that he's been playing both sides all along by manually unsummoning Theresa from existence.
Last edited by Invictus on Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"This explanation posits that external observation leads to the collapse of the quantum wave function. This is another expression of reactionary idealism, and it's indeed the most brazen expression."
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REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 1 - Rey Quirino Versus the Dark Heart of the Philippines
"...a literary atrocity against the senses..." - Ford

REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 2 - Advent Rey Returns: REVERGELTUNG
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:35 pm

What the sweet ever loving hell is Theresa?
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Sat Apr 06, 2019 1:53 pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:35 pm
What the sweet ever loving hell is Theresa?
Thematically, the hope for something better that Ludwig Schroedinger had no ability to accept.

In-universalistically, a potentiality summoned into real existence by Ludwig/Darkness ritual magic and compressed into a human form. This ought to result in a giant fuckoff monster because Ludwig's conception of the whole ritual is thoroughly adversarial, but whatever Theresa represented managed to sneak into the process anyway. This should have been the sort of God-given hint to Ludwig that he was on the path to destruction.

Hearkening back to the bit about Planetary and doomed alternate universes, remember that the original concept for Lucine Seydlitz was a human refugee plucked from one such ephemeral reality, explaining her loyalty. Theresa, true to her metafictional origins as Literal Avatar of Germany, would have been a champion of her reality, concentrating all of its content and significance into herself so she's hella powerful. You can even think of her as exactly *that* kind of anthropomorphic personification as in the link, but just of a better Germanity than what Ludwig can conceive of.

But again, if Ludwig was the sort of person who could move on from his losses and build himself a new family, Advent Rey 2 wouldn't have happened to begin with.
"This explanation posits that external observation leads to the collapse of the quantum wave function. This is another expression of reactionary idealism, and it's indeed the most brazen expression."
-
REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 1 - Rey Quirino Versus the Dark Heart of the Philippines
"...a literary atrocity against the senses..." - Ford

REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 2 - Advent Rey Returns: REVERGELTUNG
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:11 pm

Absent Eva-01, it may be the Darkness-husk that suddenly lurches off its crucifix to grab Theresa.

Theresa, whose plan is now thoroughly kaput, wistfully turns to Kai and lets spill a bit of the truth - her nature, her choices - but mostly apologizes, because I don't know how long Ludwig would let her talk. Maybe Ludwig hesitates too, because even he understands that the more important goal is to convince Kai to listen to him instead, and crushing Theresa in front of him would be counter-productive.

Nevertheless, the conclusion is ordained, inexorably driven by nature of the characters involved. Ludwig genuinely cannot name a motivation that would be Kai's own, because he never treated Kai as anything beyond a tool for furthering his own desires. So he has to kill Theresa to prevent any possibility of her getting through to Kai, so Kai wouldn't realize that he and the Erlengel are enough to set off the Third Impact, and the ultimate fact is that Ludwig needs Kai, not the other way round.

Anyway, Ludwig can conceivably grow another blank-slate Kai if the current one fails him, or maybe the merger with the Darkness-embryo changes his calculus, or maybe everything has gone to his head and he just wants to eliminate the most immediate source of defiance.

Or maybe it just takes time for Ludwig to chant the full spell of contingency unbinding, rendering Theresa physically vulnerable to be crushed into a paste right after she urges Kai to make his own choice.

However, Theresa also has her own final contingency - a spell that unbinds Ludwig's control over all his demonological minions. In writing these posts I've considered upgrading this to permanently destroying Ludwig's original magical talents, so he couldn't even bring everything back under control even if he had the time to. I would be amused to write this undoing via same method Rey hacked the Tree of Anti-Life with his own blood to perform the Final Omnidickstab, reaching through the magical bindings on the Darkness-husk to mutilate Ludwig's soul.

I also reconsidered this sacrifice of a century's worth of magical prowess as a backlash of Ludwig brute-force destroying one of his own summons, so he probably walked into it knowing the cost. At the final stage of his final plan, and with the newfound power of Darkness implanted into him, maybe he even weighed the cost acceptable. This plot option would rob the spite from Theresa's moral victory, but I suppose it would fit the "Ludwig as actual mastermind" theme that I seemed to have walked into.

Anyway, Theresa's dead, Ludwig's writhing on the ground from the physical backlash, and a freshly traumatized Kai just bolts, heading blindly into the upper reaches of Castle Neusternberg.

Which is in chaos, by the way. The panic over Theresa's path of destruction is nothing compared to most of its security force running wild and killing everyone. The Century, the Company of the Dead, and whatever else Ludwig has cooked up since then are all unleashing decades' worth of suppressed demonic discontent. Hapless staff are getting murdered. Hastily armed Otto Skorzeny clones are having firefights with skeleton tankers. Kai barely notices all this as he runs through blood-stained corridors, until he runs straight into Otto von Klausenberg, Ludwig's own right-hand man and unfortunately also an extra-potent demonhost.

Now, Kai already has three dads and several kooky uncles, but throughout the story Otto can maybe be described as the fair one. Decades of fighting the demon inside him with willpower alone has left him a shell of a person, and he would be a far cry from the once-competent lieutenant who once smoothed over Ludwig's interactions with his lessers, but at least Kai could count him being a diffident disciplinarian, which couldn't be said for a lot of his authority figures. Otto probably taught Kai everything he knew about CQC as well.

But that Otto is definitely gone, and what comes at Kai is a blood-soaked monster with dual chainaxes whirling. And Kai, very suddenly, has to decide to live and affirm where his path has led him. Imagine me describing a very kinetic and bloody shounen fight here, where despite calling up the full measure of his Darkness-nature and the acceptance of the Anime Evil Self inside him, he barely puts down his ex-mentor and is heavily wounded in the process, losing an arm.

As his consciousness fades away, his allies finally catch up with him, and he wakes up in Dr. Elbing's lab with a new misshapen arm after a spate of emergency surgery.

And it's a very unlikely gang of allies. There's Dr. Theophil Elbing, the Theozoologist clone, whose personal lab of course relied on its own defenses and is thus an oasis of calm, and who seems to have made the very Desty Nova-like choice that Kai would be the more interesting one to go on observing. There's Lucine Seydlitz, whose whereabouts need accounting for anyway and whose presence signals that the state of affairs have well and truly broken down if she's attending to Kai here instead of coordinating the castle's defenses, and because she's Misato and Misato always ends up picking up Shinji personally. There's maybe even Future Darkness - one of the demons who kidnapped Kai last arc and whose death was unaccounted for - and who now donates his arm to replace Kai's because they're compatible enough and because I wanted to have a Fate Stay/Night reference back then for whatever reason. And there's John Baylor, who somehow found his way into the castle just in time.

Baylor is obviously the one welding the disparate characters together - insisting that Kai must be patched up, claiming that Ludwig doesn't know what he's doing, and generally providing all the answers in the chaos. But he's pretty past being subtle at this point, and *finally* someone blows through his charm and just straight up asks how Baylor knows all this stuff, and who he really is. Because some ex-gunrunner, even with his impressive portfolio, shouldn't be able to do or know all this.

And John Baylor sighs, reaches down to his neck and pulls his face off.
"This explanation posits that external observation leads to the collapse of the quantum wave function. This is another expression of reactionary idealism, and it's indeed the most brazen expression."
-
REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 1 - Rey Quirino Versus the Dark Heart of the Philippines
"...a literary atrocity against the senses..." - Ford

REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 2 - Advent Rey Returns: REVERGELTUNG
Coming NEVER

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