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"More the fools are they," Cas joked with a low wry chuckle, "Humans are viciously cruel and clever creatures. There's a reason the digital world prefers to claim mostly children and teens. Then again I suppose while one at heart I'm not exactly human anymore." She teased strapping her face mask on as she channeled her data into the gloves, thin claws of light as delicate as a scalpels blade springing from the tips of the fingers.
"Let us begin then," The Doctor spoke stepping towards the containment field as she carefully reached through the glowing barrier eyes narrowed to see the weft and weave of the data as she began to carefully sift through the various strands.
"Heh..." All Mikemon could do was give a smile, drawing that red crystal into his hand as they stepped on closer to the totem. Bravado aside, the two had quite the daunting task in front of them.
This was far more difficult than expunging the D-Reaper from Cloak's armor egg, or even retrieving the Wisemon's data from K herself. No, this stood at the edge of sanity, possible only with this inert patient. Cassandra called for the procedure to begin, and Mikemon gave a nod, focusing towards the totem.
"The outer layer holds very little that's critical to the egg's development. Let's start from the left side..."It was long, steady work, feeling through the totem's data - and to the outside observer, that was all that would be seen. Two diligent and focused doctors worked with their sole focus on the strands of data in front of them, the totem soon having an appearance more to a smashed VHS tape than a proper vessel, fractal code bundled out before them.
They spoke, communicated, and proceeded externally - but it was inevitable that the wizard's thoughts would seep out into their heads. At the surface, the thoughts still spoke of the Wisemon's maddened self, the masked sorcerer perusing books upon books, looking through the stories of his held captives.
"Ah, I see, I see..." Another scratch of his pen, another pin on a quite crowded board, overlaid over a map of the Digital World. "I can use this one to slip right into Luminas. Hm, but to actually get at the Tiger, I'm going to need a little bit more. The angels will probably take that snuff too seriously for me to slip in myself."
"And if I mark them all, it'll all trace back to me..." The sorcerer hummed. "Well, that's fine. Just need some money and some bored kids, then - let's see if I can find someone to finance this..."
Mikemon could hear himself wretch, even in his thoughts.
The Wisemon's memories and thoughts were as fascinating as they were horrifying. Yet as she felt Mikemon shudder beside her Cassandra was reminded not for the first time that perhaps some part of her was irrevocably broken that the most emotion she could wrench from the depths of her soul was a cold sort of anger and disdain that Wisemon had been allowed to get this far. Mentally Cas resolved to find a way to detect compulsions such as Wisemon's marks more easily to prevent future mad men from using such a tactic. For now though she carefully snipped away at the connections. Feeding her own data little by little into the severed ends.
Though perhaps it was simply the process of seeing such memories that made Mikemon ill, the Doctor forgetting all too often that such was not the normal way of things when it came to core surgery. Most surgeons didn't need to interact so directly with their subject as Cas herself had with Hunter and Sorcerimon. The digimon's memories burned into the depths of her mind feeding the archive of data that was her unstable core.
"There are face masks in the drawer to the right and a bottle of peppermint abstract and lavender in there. You can douse the mask with either of them and cover your nose. It helps with the gag reflex." Cas advised unable to do more then that though she made a note to get Mikemon a coke and some crackers when this was done to settle the worst of his stomach.
"Tch... I'll keep it in mind, but I'm not physically ill at this."
Mikemon grit his teeth, preparing himself for what was to come. Despite his own discomfort, the cat's advice remained sound, accurately guiding the Sorcermon's hands through the outer later. Eventually, that cloak and the outer shape would be completely spun away, the cat starting to use his free hand to keep the 'processed' bundle of excess code in a stable form. And as the surface peeled away, Wisemon's machinations on full display in their heads, they would press in one layer deeper.
To Wisemon's stored memory - those away from his active thoughts that he still kept as important. After what felt like a sea of static, they would press through to another one of Wisemon's clearer thoughts. And this one seemed a little more stable, more central, as three Wisemon huddled around a stone table. It was difficult to tell where in the Digital World this was - but it was also hard to tell which one of these was 'the' Wisemon.
They seemed equal - only about the power of ultimates - and the first one spoke up, continuing the conversation.
"So, that's it, then?"
"Yes. In about six hundred years' time, the Bloody Sea will erupt in a great catastrophe... and the visions of what happens if that is not to pass seem grimmer still."
"And the damage?"
"About 5% of the World as we know it will remain. When it is time for us to act, great rifts will start to appear across the Digital World..."
"Great rifts?" Mikemon blinked. "I... remember this, vaguely. Several years ago, there was a great deal about planes opening to 'random data' in the Digital World. Then there was a large storm centered around the Dark Area, but... nothing ever came of it." Did this 'great tragedy' actually happen - and it was stopped in the process?
The conversation proceeded. "...So we must make sure that we remain to guide the new world. I'll earn the trust with the Angels and direct their mettle."
"I'll rise to power with the commoners and assure policy is up to snuff to rebuild."
"And I'll direct the conflict of the world so that there's strength left to face the terror."
"... Tch... they're talking like the world's a track they can control..."
"That is what happens when one puts too much stock in prophecy. The future is ever changing and trying to plan for it beyond the short term will just drive you mad," Cas murmured carefully sifting over this new layer as she got a feel for the weft and weave of it and gently wove her own data in where they pruned. Feeling the signal gradually changing into something different, something new, little by little.
"Though I have to wonder what became of the other Wisemons? Are there two more of them still out there running around and we've only caught one of the lot or did something worse become of them?" She had to question trailing off in her thoughts she her claws caught onto a new thread of memory.
Was that it, though? Was it just this one goal that drove them mad?
"... I have a feeling that we're going to find out more about this as it goes on..." Mikemon bit his lip, but still led the process. Each motion spurred a new memory - and it was quickly proven that the 'third' Wisemon was the one comprising this totem. They would follow along in his footsteps, his trials, quickly becoming the second-in-command to whatever conflict he found himself in.
It was here that he started using the book, to great effect. He'd infiltrate through the enemy lines, steal someone of supposed importance, and use that tome to learn how to break their ranks. And he didn't seem to show an allegiance, either - whatever side that Wisemon deemed that he needed to win, would win, even if the context made no sense in the present war. Was his logic already starting to fray at this early stage? The events seemed few and far between - perhaps Wisemon had forgotten a lot about this era already.
But as they would press one layer deeper, they would suddenly find themselves on what the Wisemon considered to be a somber scene. There he was, on his knees next to the Sea of Blood, a dark stone palace crumbling to dust off in the distance. The tragedy was averted - and two keen data signals disappeared without a trace.
He fell to his knees, buried his hands to his unseen head...
... And then just started to laugh. A low chuckle built up to a boisterous one, followed by a long, heinous cackle.
"They're gone... they're all gone. These fools have doomed themselves and they don't even know it! A... aha!"
"There you are~" Cas purred seizing onto the madness drenched memory as she followed along the broken thread. Running her claws across the jagged edges of the Wisemon's shattered psyche like an artist gazing upon fractured panes of glass. This was one memory she did not severe. Not yet at least as she followed the thread down...down...down deeper into the layers of data following the fault in the weave that had knit itself back together like an ill-healed wound.
It could be said that Cassandra Cross was a master when it came to breaking. Breaking others, breaking fate, breaking herself. Countless times she'd shattered her own psyche to build herself anew from the ruins. Never quite sane at first, but sanity would come from wholeness and functional insanity had served her well. Break and heal, break and heal, break and heal all the stronger till her mind was the sturdiest steel and her wit mercurial in it's quickness.
"You," She breathed out softly eyes fierce and determined where she stared at the static data that had become the totem, "Are going to be a Masterpiece." Cas swore and set to work with an unbending will. Following the path of destruction the madness had wrought. Taking the time to solder some pieces together with her own data, discarding those that were not worth recovering, and carefully turning the shattered twisted scar of a trail into something more resembling stained glass then broken shards.
She could severe the memories, create the data annew into something, someone else, but she could not destroy them completely. The madness would always be there, lurking beneath the surface, but when it rose to the forefront. When this new digimon remembered their mind would be strong enough to resist it. Strong enough to repair itself. Spiteful enough to refuse to just drown in their own madness.
Following that string of madness would take both the doctor and a cat on a deep stroll through the far sides of the Wisemon's mind. One could say that this was the starting point of everything that made up the current sorcerer. Wracked with loss and guilt, the maddened mage soon found his obsession.
If the end was supposed to come, why not usher it in on his own?
It consumed his every thought, his every idea. He dove into his books, and started using the marks more actively, spreading his reach across the world, hunting for a weakness... when that perfect tool landed right into his lap. The D-Reaper: to him, a complete force of pure will that sought only the destruction of the masses, with no moral or evil fiber within him. All he had to do was find a way to set it amok, and remove the world's protection.
Any 'reasonable' person would simply see it as the end of days. Or so was the thought in the Wisemon's crazed mind. His grief grew to true madness, his thoughts starting to cross over themselves, various strains of obsession slipping into his head.
K as a loyal servant. Absolute pain inflicted on Luminas. And even just the thrill of making two dear friends fight each-other to the death.
As they slipped down that road, Mikemon found his teeth grit, sheer anger filling his frame, the cat forcing himself to keep his eyes right on the totem.
"Cross it a little more left... tch..."
Somehow, amidst all of this, the doctor kept his composure. He almost wish he hadn't.
Cas adjusted based on Mikemon's observations. The atrocities that played before her eyes ignored in favor of continuing her work. Their horrors registered, but not observed beyond simply being recorded in her memory for later perusal. Emotion couldn't distract her now. To freeze up at the wrong time, to cut the wrong thread, would mean unraveling the web she was carefully weaving. Risk tearing the delicate healing that had begun in her wake as she followed the path. The chink in the Wisemon's defenses allowing them much deeper then they would have been able to reach in such a short time.
Effecting the root of the problem would alter the data around it making it easier to sift through, more accepting of change. "Once I've finished altering and healing the damage I'll need to follow the path back and carefully severe the memory that caused it all. I can't complete remove the connections, but at least if they remember by then hopefully their data will be different enough that the effect won't be so devastating." Cas theorized slowly starting to feel the wear of the surgery and the steady stream of data she herself was having to pour into the totem.
The mental fatigue was starting to set in for Mikemon - both on the degree that he had to focus and on the atrocities that slipped into his head, the Wisemon's maddening sense gripping hard on his psyche. Honestly, Cassandra's words barely registered for him.
He couldn't spare any excess attention. He had to involve himself entirely with the task at hand, or he might have just lost it - and, slowly, the totem would be shred to long, flat ribbons of fractal code, making it almost seem like they were editing a stock ledger rather than poking through the lifeblood of a madman. Reduced to this, the Wisemon was little different in appearance than any other Digimon.
"We're close... don't lose focus..." Mikemon's voice was low, a small nod given to Cross' machinations. One more step...
Cassandra grasped onto their work with the tenacity of the damned as she severed, pruned, repaired, and edited the last bits of the broken code. Only pausing to look upon her work with a critical eye as she slowly pulled back following the healed threads once more to the source. Back to the one tortured memory. Clasping her claws around it she carefully clipped it's connection removing it from the data like a thorn from a lions paw where hopefully it would wither and fade to nothing more then a bundle of broken sensations and half-recalled thoughts. The pain it held reducing with time till it held nothing left that could hurt.
"All right. I'm going to begin to form the shell," Cas murmured sweat beading on her forehead as they carefully began to weave the shell, threading the protective layer of data around the nebulous newly forming being within. The data signal already changing, becoming something new, something different. An amalgamation of it's two 'parents' and yet unique to itself.
One pinch, one severed tie. Slowly, the visions in their head would start to fade, back to a white background as the maddening sense fell to the wayside. A sense of purity finally broke through, Mikemon finally able to loosen the tight clench of his fangs. Slowly, the data itself would begin to bundle back together into the shape of an egg, a tight, glowing white mass of energy held on the spot.
Cassandra gave her word, and Mikemon nodded, finally raising his own hand to help. A strand of code began to surround the border, slowly darkening as it formed around the data. A good ten minutes later, the code continuing to stitch around itself...
... Their efforts would be rewarded, a new, briefly-glowing Digi-egg now set where the totem once was. And Mikemon fell back, sitting as he leaned on his arms, that red crystal rolling away from him to the edge of the room.
Nearly boneless with exhaustion Cas shucked off the gloves, the metal gauntlets hitting the ground with a dull think as she reached out. Her fingers brushing over the eggshell as though it was made of spun glass instead of the hardened reinforced data she knew she had woven it of as she gently pulled the egg from the containment unit. Cradling it reverently against her front she let herself drop cross-legged to the floor in her exhaustion unable to wrench her eyes away from the softly gleaming shell.
It wasn't like K's egg. There were no prophetic depictions of past deeds upon it's slightly off-white-gey shell. No sense of awareness or intelligence, just the soft stirrings of the data within as the new being formed. The signal it exuded was strong if strange like it's 'parents' and despite the pain and horror Cas found herself staring down at it with a sense of wonder. The shell was smooth, and just slightly cool to the touch prompting Cas to hug it closer to her front, wrapping her cloak around them both to try to warm it as she traced meaningless patterns across it's surface. Leaving her to marvel at the egg, her egg, as emotions strangled the breath from her throat. Tears blurring her vision as she glanced up for the first time at Mikemon, the depth of her gratitude shining through her eyes.
"Thank you~" She whispered, the word echoing in the now silent lab. "Thank you." Cas repeated with each hitching breath as she held the egg to herself shoulders shaking as she cried.
It was done. Dr. Cross found herself in relative bliss, seeing the results of her work at her fingertips... but Mikemon?
Mikemon wasn't sure what to make of it at all. Seeing everything the Wisemon had done, and knowing everything that he had done to damage his family, it just couldn't sit right with him. Sure, he could piece together the logic in his head, tell himself that it was right, that Cassandra was doing her best to make sure that this horrible Digimon's past tendencies would never inflict harm on the world, but it didn't help much in that moment.
All he could bring himself to do now was idly look over at that crystal that rolled over to the far end of the room. And as Cassandra cried tears of joy, the cat did not even express words of relief, of thankfulness, of hope. Instead, he slipped up to his feet, and stepped out of that containment area, moving swiftly in the direction of the makeshift living area.
Cas expected this. She expected it, but that didn't change the knife like feeling twisting in her gut as Mikemon rose without a word and left. Though it likewise did nothing to dampen her gratitude. Instead exhausted she shifted to lean her back against a table leg, the egg wrapped carefully in her cloak and tucked close against her for warmth as she let her eyes slide closed. Taking a moment to breath as she concentrated on the slow rise and fall of her own chest. She'd worn her data thin. Given too much of herself and she'd pay for it over the next few days, but staring down at her egg she couldn't find it within her to regret it.
Silently she swore that even if it was the last thing she ever did she wouldn't fail. Not in this. The Wisemon that once was would never again exist. Their legacy not one of destruction and pain, but one of love and joy. The only remnant of their existence the egg they had donated the data from which she created it.
"You're Uncle will come around one day. Just give him time. We will show him that you are not the Mon he is afraid you will be." She whispered against it's shell as she tucked her chin, hat pulled low over her eyes and dozed.