Chapter 25:

Final Spark

Red-Black Course

As Zain turned around, a familiar, but strange face appeared before his eyes. With his memories returned, there was no way that he would mistake that face with anyone else, for it was the face of the person that made him who he was. However, even if the face before him was the same, the features and especially the attitude of its owner couldn’t be more different.

His eyes were good enough to not need any glasses. His grin was filled with arrogance and narcissism. But most importantly, his hair was not a pure shade of black. Instead, like the twisted person before him, his hair was equally as unnatural, with a straight line dividing its color into two – half black, half white.

“Ah, I guess I should introduce myself,” seeing Zain’s tense yet confused look struck a sadistic nerve within the strange young man. “Title Musuhito, name Ryuuhan. I am who you would know as Chief Commander of the Infinite Prison.”

“… Chief Commander?” Zain repeated, instinctively taking a step back. He only had the man’s words to confirm his validity, but the sheer pressure that his opponent exuded was enough for Zain to believe every word was true. The fear within Zain was nothing like when he faced Bruce, Jack, or even Rose and Love.

“That’s right, Chief Commander. And I’m sure you’ve known about our project. You have been looking at that monitor for an awfully long time, after all.”

“… Where’s Rex?” Zain had to focus all of his mental fortitude to ask a single question.

“Rex?” The commander pondered for a moment, before resuming his grin. “Oh, right. That thing. If you want to meet it that badly, then here you go.”

With a snap of Ryuuhan’s fingers, the walls behind Zain flipped over, revealing a giant tube filled with an unknown liquid. Inside the tube was indeed Rex in a comatose state, but without his face, no one would have been able to realize that the subject inside the tube was a human at all, let alone the one Zain had been looking for.

Rex’s body was only half left, with everything from his stomach and below being a disintegrated mess of metal and spark. The same applied to his arms and legs, all of which were mercilessly shredded into pieces, with bits of metal still floating about in the strange liquid.

“… Rex?” Zain, not believing his eyes, uttered.

“You wouldn’t be wrong to call it ‘Rex’,” answered Ryuuhan. “But that thing wasn’t supposed to have a name in the first place.”

“What do you mean?”

“Have you skipped the log files, my boy? What you called ‘Rex’ was just a nanobot shell covering the core of our quantum computer’s processor. Unfortunately, it developed a separate personality after excess analysis of your old memories, even taking the project’s name as its own. Ridiculous, am I right?”

“Don’t fuck with me!” Zain screamed in anger. “Rex is real! He’s been playing through your stupid games with me this entire time!”

“Real? What on Earth are you talking about? Of course, it’s real. It’s our quantum computer that we’ve spent years building.”

“He’s a real human!”

“No matter how good a machine can replicate humanity, it can never truly be a human,” Ryuuhan snickered. “You’ve been exposed to our healthcare AI for a while now, surely you of all people have to know this.”

“Return him to normal!”

“It is normal right now.”

It was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. Zain’s eyes only saw red as he charged towards the commander. Never before in his life had Zain’s bloodlust been this noticeable, but even the most innocent child could easily imagine that the young man would physically break his opponent in half if he was given the chance.

However, before he could even touch a hair on Ryuuhan’s head, a blast of electricity ran through Zain’s entire nerve system, striking down the young inmate like lightning from the heavens.

It was the worst shock Zain had ever experienced, enough that even turning his head around required a tremendous effort. And if that wasn’t enough, the sight of the assailants behind him brought his sanity to an even lower point than before.

“Rose… Jack… you scum…” gritting his teeth through the pain and anger, Zain grunted.

“What part of us is ‘scum’ to you?” Jack gritted his teeth in response, who had already equipped himself with a taser gun. “Everything we told you earlier today was true: we were never happy with our demotion, nor did we agree with the Commander’s decisions. You won and should be freed. But sometimes life just doesn’t go what you wanted, all right?”

“No matter how painful the decision is, no matter how much it hurts us, we will always be on the side of justice,” added Rose, whose whip had already entangled itself to Zain’s ankles, locking the young man from any other movement. “For that is the duty of us police officers.”

“Justice… You call this ‘justice’?! Don’t fuck with me!”

“It’s in the logs, little lion,” From behind Rose and Jack emerged Love and Bruce, the former snickered at Zain’s fruitless struggle. “The one you made contact with seven years ago is a threat to humanity. Everything we’ve been doing in order to stop him is on the side of justice.”

“He didn’t even do anything!”

“You don’t get it, do you?” Sounded Ryuuhan with another gun pointing straight at Zain’s head. “By merely existing here, he is already a threat enough to disrupt the balance of this world.”

“You have two choices, Zain,” continued the commander. “Either willingly join us on the final phase of this project, or forced to join us on the final phase. And I believe that the choice should be obvious.”

“Yeah, obvious alright…” the young man, gun to his head, still hadn’t given up on his smile. “Obvious that I’d rather die than join your little delusions of grandeur.”

“I see. Force it is.”

As the words left Ryuuhan’s mouth, the gun in his hand was fired. However, instead of aiming at Zain, the bullet flew towards the ceiling, hitting a hidden button above with just enough force to trigger a switch. From the walls, mechanical claws spawned and quickly made their way to Zain, locking away his movements before pinning him onto an awaiting empty tube.

As soon as Zain was inside, the tube closed itself, and from the bottom, the same strange liquid that was inside Rex’s tube slowly but gradually filled up.

“Don’t worry,” seeing the inmate panicked and struggled to escape his newly found prison, Ryuuhan only let out a snicker. “That liquid is safe to breathe in. Its oxygen content can be absorbed directly through your skin, while the rest of the minerals that made it all have healing properties. Of course, you’ll still lose your consciousness for a while, but it’s not really le-”

His gloating words were cut short as a sudden halt to the process ensued and the liquid stopped at only half of the tube’s height – barely enough for Zain to float in, but nowhere near passing his head.

“What the… Superintendents, check the program!” Furious at the strange stop, Ryuuhan turned to his subordinates.

“Sir! It’s a forced stop command! But… I can’t figure out who the culprit is!” Answered Love, frantically typing on the main system’s keyboard. “They’ve even stopped all of us from gaining access!”

“Impossible! No ordinary human can hack this system! Unless…”

There could only be one reason that could explain the sequence of events. And unfortunately for the commander, it was indeed the reason he’d feared the most.

“Really, you guys?” A familiar voice sounded from inside the main monitor. “You hooked a quantum computer into your system? I have to say, Commander, I’m disappointed.”

In Rex’s tube, his body had completely dissipated, leaving behind only a swarm of nanobots flying about, along with a single blue core in the center. Meanwhile, on the monitor, Rex’s face appeared with a confident grin on his face.

“Rex!” Zain shouted as the liquid in his tube escaped the tube.

“Quite a predicament we’re in, eh buddy?” The boy let out an awkward laugh as he scratched his head behind the digital screen.

“If you’ve hacked the system, then…”

“Nope,” not letting his partner finish his request, Rex shook his head. “I’m not doing that.”

“But I haven’t…”

“You’re suggesting that we escape from this facility, right?”

“Of course! What else…”

“And that’s why I’m refusing. If I’m still around, they can always hunt us down, or worst-case scenario, make another version of me. This is the only way to stop their plan once and for all. And besides… I don’t belong in the outside world. Heck, I shouldn’t even be born,” with a bitter laugh, Rex answered.

“What do you mean? You’re the one who desires freedom the most!”

“No, Zain. You’re the one who desires freedom the most. I’m just you, after all. Another version of you, made from your childhood memories.”

“Don’t listen to those creeps! You’re you, and I’m me! We’re not one and the same!”

“Remember how we could understand each other without even saying a single word in the second game?” Rex’s smile turned a tad more serene as the boy gazed onto the corner of the screen, seemingly reminiscing their past together. “At first, I really thought that it showed our bonds, but when I was able to hack the third game with admin rights, I’d had my doubts. And lo and behold, here we are.”

“I refuse to accept that! Just get your ass back together and…”

“Let it go, Zain,” the boy shook his head once more. “Let me, no, your past self go.”


“Even if you’re by yourself, you won’t be alone. Not anymore.”


“It’s a bit narcissistic, but you got yourself as a friend, right?” A playful grin formed on the monitor again. “If you can put up with even yourself, then you can make any friend you want!”

“Well, I guess that’s enough from me,” before Zain can say another word, Rex had already waved at the screen in the most cheerful face he could make. “I’m glad, though. To have you as my last, and best, friend… Hehe, now I’m the narcissistic one. But hey, we’re one and the same, so it’s only natural, am I right?”

“Rex, wait…”

“Farewell, Zain. Oh, and I hope you like the gift I saved for you.”

As Rex’s image glitched out of the avatar, the blue core in his tube shone a blinding blue light. Meanwhile, the nanobots all swarmed outside, breaking through both Rex’s and Zain’s glass container with ease. The mechanical arms finally dropped their hold on the latter’s arms and legs just in time for the nanobots to gather around his body akin to the data storm in the virtual world.

When the bots formed an armor bearing a strange resemblance to their fused avatar around Zain’s body, the core exploded, engulfing the entire area in a searing white flame.
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