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No title.
(2013-04-07 - 2013-04-08)
No description.
Emperor Mateus Emperor Mateus knows that there are lands from other worlds on the same continent as his homeland. He has simply not been afforded much time to explore beyond Guadosalam, at least until now.

His trip here is twofold, and neither have any pomp or circumstance accompanying it. First, Mateus could use a port relatively close to Palamecia once the Dreadnaught is once again at full operation. Secondly, it would behoove him to know how matters work here and if it will require a true take-over in the future. No need to attack if diplomacy will work better.

So, he is walking through the streets with two Palamecian soldiers walking a few steps behind his wake, the Emperor wearing what seems to be a business suit with his staff shrunk down to a walking cane and his hair combed down and pulled back to look less... striking. Not terribly out of place considering the likes of Balamb Garden and visitors from such places as Traverse Town, and this is a hub for airship activity. Most of the townsfolk don't even spare him or the two soldiers following him a second look.
CAPGRAS Except for one small lady.

She has been pacing the group for a while...

Why? Who knows, but she has. She was but a small thing, with a bunny rabbit doll in her hands...but to the trained eye she was always watching. It is not unlike how a tiger might stalk it's prey. Odd, given who he was, and the appearance of this little girl. Perhaps she a pick pocket?

There was no magical power, no excessive darkness...though a distinct lack of...SOMETHING that should be there. However, beyond that, the girl was normal...with a abnormal fascination on the Emperor.

Once more, as they cross another path, she was there, eyes staring from the crowd.

This time, she follows closer.

Does the hunt draw to it's conclusion?
Emperor Mateus Emperor Mateus would usually ignore such stares, since usually they are indeed pickpockets waiting for an opening, but when a single individual keeps popping up in his peripheral vision and continues to shift closer each time they cross paths... Well, this little cat-and-mouse game will not do at all.

Never mind the fact that his senses have already told him that there's something... /off/... about her. Something that you can almost tell just by looking in her eyes. Something missing? He cannot say for certain at a distance with just peripheral glimpses.

Mateus motions for his guards to flank him on each side as they walk, thus allowing the girl to follow him directly instead of being partially shielded by his own soldiers, but does not call her out just yet. No, it isn't until Mateus turns into a cleared alleyway between buildings and progresses to about midway that he stops and turns around to face his living 'ghost'.

He does not yet speak, but the shadows almost seem to roil under his feet for a moment. For the time being, he leans on his cane off to one side and simply waits to see what she will do. His expression lax almost to the point of boredom and his stance is sloppy, but his eyes are sharp and senses keen.
CAPGRAS The little girl follows...but...

Then the prey faces her directly. She was spotted? Perceptive, she considers, the Guards are with him, but they are considered vauge threats...more complications than actual trouble. Why? Because she was sure she could end them, but the problem was doing so quietly...and without attracting suspicion. The air between them is silent for a while...trying to calculate the best...

The shadows...

Then her form changes, instead of the little normal woman, a program stands before him. At least, what he THINKS is a program. The world in the machine, if he has heard of it, and no doubt seen some of the strange people from there around, though they are not frightfully common. She stands, but still...that something missing is there. There was...SOMETHING not there. She was just completely unnatural, it wasn't something you could was something that could only be felt.

"Impressive, this unit was not aware she was spotted until now." She says, metallically, the voice IS female, but devoid of warmth and empathy, not hateful...just cold. "It will do little, this unit would suggest not putting up resistance, sir. This unit only require a little, she will even allow your guards to live, assuming they do not do anything ill advised."

She stands awaiting his response.
Emperor Mateus Emperor Mateus is not familiar with Programs, perse, but he has seen LEXUS in passing. The concept of living digital beings is a difficult one to understand at times, but not entirely impossible.

To meet one face-to-face, and one not nessisarily friendly at that, is an entirely new experience.

His guards tense, hands resting on their weapons but not drawing yet, as the girl transforms into... something else entirely. The Emperor, however, steps forward just one step with his stance noticeably straightening as he peers as deep as he can into her eyes.

Yes... there is definitely something /missing/ there. But something so terribly /familiar/... and her voice all-but-confirms it.

A smile lifts his thin lips and he rests on his cane in front of him. "It would help if I understood what it is you want of me, lass." His voice, cool and fully in control, has a small measure of curiousity within it. "And whether you are aware of who I am, for that matter."
CAPGRAS The program considers her prey...likely a noble, which was the point.

She ponders for a moment, and then disreguards his words. "Inconsiquencial. This unit can find out once she has taken what is required." She takes a step forward. Her form shifts second time, becoming anything but human. A large metal circle appears on her back, her features distend, and become less human, and more maniquin like. She hovers now, points for legs digging into the ground as her arms extend out.

The singular eye focuses on Mateus, "The thing this unit requires," it continues in the same femine voice, "Is inside you...inside all sapient things...with one exception."

Her hands cross, as she then starts to hold them out, "Farther delay will cause singifigant trauma, you have recieved your last chance in solving this peacefully."

Her hands point right at his chest.

His heart.
Emperor Mateus Emperor Mateus just smiles. "There is more than one way to solve matters peacefully, my dear."

His heart. Of course... The more he hears, the more things snap into place. So utterly /familiar/ it is nearly scary. But there are no such things as coincidences, is there?

He looks up at CAPGRAS' singular eye for a moment, then he levitates off of the ground to meet her height squarely, eye to eyes. His staff extends in a burst of shadowy fire to a staff capped with what would almost appear to be a cat's-eye gem. His guards step back, one almost bowing over themselves in a hasty retreat while the other simply kneels in place with his head bowed.

As the Emperor's eyes narrow and his arms extend out towards the walls next to them, the shadows seem to deepen as pairs of golden eyes start to wink into existance. Glimmers of metal could almost be seen like shimmers upon obsidian, and the Emperor's chin lowers as his smile turns icy-cold.

"Lass, I do not wish for a confrontation." Despite his voice almost purring in dark malicious certainty, there is clear honesty there as well. "There are many things that already intrigue me about you. But you cannot sample the heart of Emperor Mateus of Palamecia. I would advise you to reconsider your ultimatum before you do something quite rash, and perhaps I would offer you a heart you could consume entirely instead of merely sampling its light."
CAPGRAS The woman stands, facing down the Emperor as he not only impressively rises to her height, but offers her a counter offer.

She is not used to this, usually by now, they are whimpering for mercy...or running. No, he is standing infront of her, offering her the heart of someone else. Given the power flowing around her, her programming is considering the offer. She does not immediately respond, nor does she attack.

It takes some time, but finally, she speaks again, "You would offer the heart of another, in lue of your own?" She asks, "Very well, this unit will accept your offer, as it seems this unit had underestimated your capasity to begin with."

She knows when she is wrong at least, and starts reverting back to a more personable tone. The image flashes, and once more the young woman is floating there, slowly floating back to the ground.

"This unit will also be farther open to conversation, as you expressed interest in this unit. However, understand that maintaining the form and current status of this unit is the primary directive, the secondary being the collection of heart-data."

"This is agreeable, yes?"
Emperor Mateus Emperor Mateus lowers himself back to the ground with her, and the darkness disappears immediately upon his feet touching terra-firma as if it was never there to begin with. He almost casually tosses his staff into the air, where it floats off to the side just out of his reach without touching anything. "So you walk amongst the unknowing and take what light you need?" He chuckles softly. "It is agreeable, indeed. I do not wish to endanger you nor your goals." Certainly not endanger a possible ally, if matters align as closely as he has started to believe.

He waves one hand, and his staff arcs behind himself to push one of his guards closer to them. CAPGRAS would note this would be the one who actually retreated, unlike his comrade who simply knelt. "I have no need for soldiers who would lose their bearing in the face of power, especially my own." He shifts back, placing the errant soldier between himself and CAPGRAS. "Evaluate him and take what you will if you find him suitable. If you find him wanting, I shall find you another."
CAPGRAS CAPGRAS looks over the soldier pushed towards her.

Her cold eyes look over him...

"For a complete heart, all emotions must be examined...even those of the weak and frail. Those who would abandoned their king, your motives must be determined...This unit is...curious." she says, and reaches for him.

Two small spikes extend from her arms, driving into the man's chest. It looks to be simple life drain at first...until it keeps going. Her eyes seem to be data lines run across the visible eye. she is litterally absorbing the man's essence...his memories...the things that make him a person, as she slowly starts to understand him. After a moment...

She drops armor. Nothing but particles of light remain as they slowly fade away into nothing as well.

Then the Soldier, reappears, but this time, CAPGRAS is missing.

"This form will do, for a time." she says, in his voice, "I imagine it will attract suspicion if I were to follow in my normal form, so I will accompany you as this man." now using a personal interesting.

"To answer your previous question, yes. It is my function, that of a TROJAN HORSE virus. Unlike normal Viri, I take from a host, and mimic as them, getting into places of importance, before spreading and destroying. However..." she indicates something, "I became alive. But still incomplete."

She pauses, "Interesting, he feared death." She looks at the other solider, "Do you not also fear it? Or you?" she asks Mateus.
Emperor Mateus Emperor Mateus watches with what could almost be mistaken as detatched interest as CAPGRAS assimilates his soldier, but his eyes glint coldly as he keenly watches and commits to memory every detail of what he sees.

How so very intriguing.

"Indeed. None shall notice anything different, and you could even find me in such a form in the future without arousing undue suspicion." He rubs his chin thoughtfully, evaluating CAPGRAS-Soldier. "So you find yourself with a body and mind of your own, but no heart? Thus why you seek the light of other hearts..."

He motions for his soldier to rise, though clearly the soldier is free to move on his own. The soldier settles back to at-attention, focusing on the one who now wears the face of his comrade. Though, strangely, he does not give any indication of fear or disgust at the sight. "I live for my Emperor. One cannot serve their lord if they fear that which stands in his way, or place the importance of their life above his." He bows his helm. "All die with time. How one dies does not matter, so long as their duties are fufilled."

Mateus nods slowly, quite satisfied with the honest reply. "To fear how one could die is a normal course of life, one conquered with enough training. To fear death itself is futile. It will come--whether through injury, illness, or old age." His staff returns to his fingertips, hovering just beyond his grasp, and he focuses solely on CAPGRAS-Soldier. "And you, then? Forgive any rudeness on my part, but can you feel emotion such as fear or joy?"
CAPGRAS CAPGRAS soldier listens, the thought that emotion could override function was foreign to her...even with the countless forms she has taken. Sometimes it starts to happen, but the core logical part of her squashes it...

The answers are analysed for a time, before she is asked for her input.

"It is not rudeness, a question for a question is proper. In a sense I do, but only when I ware the face and heart of my victims. Only through them, that I feel. However, it is not mine, but theirs." She says, there is..a tone of something, malice? Annoyance? Jealously.

"Exestential existance is the most important thing, without it, nothing else is meaningful. Are you saying that there is something beyond maintaining your form, your function?"
Emperor Mateus Emperor Mateus walks forwards to stand next to CAPGRAS-Soldier, his staff shrinking back down to a cane without fanfare. The note of /some/ sort of emotion in her voice upon her answer gets a mental notation, but he does not speak further on that point.

"There is, and it seems to me you have already begun." He smiles, not the cold one earlier but a little warmer--only just, mind. "Forgive me if I am wrong, but a digital being such as yourself appears to be created with an established purpose. Humans do not have such a luxury. We stumble upon what we are best at, if we discover it at all. Many spend their whole lives in the pursuit of their reason for living. And when it is found, it is natural to push the limits and beyond."

He inclines his head, planting his cane in front of himself and 'using' it for support. "To not only discover one's purpose, but to exceed at it--that is the key. To push the limits to attempt achieving the unachievable. Warriors of the sword seek to perfect their style. Mages seek to learn all kinds of magic and push themselves to discover the undiscovered. Most such people never do, but their lives are fufilled due to their experiences in the pursuit. And thus, their findings pass on to the next generation, who are similarly driven to achieve what their predecessors could not."
CAPGRAS CAPGRAS takes a moment to consider this.

"Hm. Very well." She says after a time, "I will note this in my memory banks for farther review." she says, seemingly a great deal reflective. She moves to take the old guard's position.

"To reach a state of perfection. Interesting. As per an earlier statement, not all programs are created with a purpose in mind. I am unsure of the details, but some have evolved naturally, I am not such a program, however." She states, "I can not say I am fortinate or unfortinate, it is the only way I have known how to live, but I can see your point on the matter."
Emperor Mateus Emperor Mateus turns to face his soldiers, still focused on CAPGRAS-Soldier in particular. "I see." He tilts his head faintly, looking briefly between the true soldier and CAPGRAS's facimile of one. There is very little that would tell them apart, except perhaps that niggling feeling of something... missing... from CAPGRAS. The same as before, really, only with a more familiar face.

He turns as if to head out of the alley, but pauses before he even takes a step. "Forgive me, but I fear throughout our exchange I have not yet caught your name."
CAPGRAS "I was designated CAPGRAS," she states simply, she falls in step, so when he doesn't move, she keeps her position.

"I appear to have violated manors in that reguard, so forgive my transgression. Human customs are still new to me, especially give the nature of the begining of our interaction."
Emperor Mateus Emperor Mateus sounds out the name quietly, as if getting the feel for the syllables. "CAPGRAS, hm...?" He chuckles, a soft 'fufufu' sound. "Due to extenuating circumstances, I believe the both of us could be forgiven for forgetting our manners." He spins his cane in one hand, then advances forward as if nothing had happened.

And indeed, to those walking past on the street, nothing did happen. There was no cause for alarm at all.

This scene contained 17 poses. The players who were present were: CAPGRAS, Emperor Mateus