Data was on his knees, bent over. Broken metal fingers knotted in the dead man's clothing. The green war machine had his forehead pressed into Carlisle’s chest. The only sound from him was the repetitive words “I'm sorry”. Reginald recognized this behavior as symptom of grief, sorrow and guilt. It pained him to watch his guardian go through such trauma but in this world it was inevitable. Reginald had noticed as Justina had laid the shell next to Data that he had not responded. In fact he had not reacted to her presence or her words at all. Reginald gave Data a few minutes before he floated over to him. He was no longer mumbling to himself, just sat there huddled over the lifeless form of Carlisle. Reginald hovered in front of Data, wondering what he could could possibly say. ”Data he will understand. It will be okay.” Orange Optics connected with Reginald's blue orb. “I was afraid. He told me, Rajendra told me. They all told me about that side of Carlisle. I acted out of fear and not compassion. I should have talked to him, I should have calmed him down. So what if he killed me, that's what you are for! I should have done better!” As Data spoke his voice began to rise. By the final word his voice roared through the stone prison. Suddenly he was on his feet and in a few short strides was at a table on the far wall. He gripped the table in his hands and tossed it aside. Valuable equipment, research, and inventions went scattering across the floor. Data raised a clenched hand and with a roar slammed his metal hand into the rock wall. He repeated the action over and over. He bellowed each time his knuckles clashed against the stone. Flakes of rock sprayed outwards as he chipped away at the stone. The sound of his rage and regret bouncing off the walls.
Above all else Data loved his work. For him to toss it aside in such a way spoke levels to how well he was handling this to Reginald. Which of course was not very well at all. Reginald floated up to him and tried to calm him, but Data was too far gone at this point and could no longer hear anything from the outside world. There was only one thing left to do. If Data continued this way it would be a long time before he calmed down and he might do something he regretted. Reginald floated back a short distance not sure of how Data would react to his words. ”Protocol Dreamshade. Keyholder Reginald. Activate.” With one last ring of metal Data's arms fell to his side. His body swayed back and forth before his knees gave out and he fell forward, smacking his head against the wall. With his forehead pressed against the wall he fell sideways, green paint streaking the stone as he fell. Data crashed to the ground and remained motionless. He would be that way for some time.
Orange optics fluttered to life. They roamed over the inky black room. Data lifted a green, metallic hand and studied the dents and scratches on the plating. One moment he had been viciously pounding against the stone wall. The next he was here in this place, wherever here was. The exo took in his surroundings. The room was black like the starless night. As Data looked at his feet it seemed as though he was standing on nothing. He crouched down and ran his hand across the floor. It was smooth and glassy like the calm water of an underground lake. This room, if it was a room, was strange. Despite it being black as night Data could see in complete clarity. It was almost as if the world glowed. Data racked his brain trying to figure out what had happened. The last thing he remembered was Reginald saying something, something about Dreamshade. The realization hit Data like a ton of bricks. Protocol Dreamshade. That's what had happened. It was an idea Data had while watching old science fiction movies of robots taking over the world. Realizing the danger of Data's programing being altered or manipulated he, along with Reginald, had set up a way to stop Data and purge any alien programing that might affect him negatively. For whatever reason Reginald must have initiated the protocol and sent Data's consciousness into a sort of rest mode while his body was purged of any foreign programing. However that didn't explain where he was or for that matter how he got here. The logical conclusion was that he was in some sort of lembo in his own mind. ”You over think things too much kid.” Data spun around, looking for the source of voice but found only darkness. ”To think I've been with you all this time, even back in the good old days, and you still can't see me. I'm hurt, Data, I really am.” Data searched for the source of the voice, but it seemed to come from all around him. Metal hands reached down for the pistol he knew to be at his side only to find his bare leg. ”We are in your head, kid. No guns, no clothing, no stone walls to beat up. I suppose I should reveal myself before you strip a screw.” Not five feet away red optics flared to life and a grey clad exo stepped out of the darkness. The exo wore no armor or clothing. His face plating looked a lot like Data's, but that was a common style. On the grey exo's forehead was a painted, white barcode and the number seven. Two horn-like devices wrapped over the top it’s head and protruded just above it's optics. It gave this particular exo a very demonic look. “Who the hell are you and how are you even here.” Data spoke with his best authoritative voice. The grey exo stared at Data curiously. ”Oh, how I love watching you play pretend soldier. You're just so terrible at it. As for who I am, well, we will get to that in a little bit. For now you can call me The God of Calamity! No, no, no that's too showy. How about Aries? Yes, stand up guy, call me that. For your second question, this is my home! That is why I'm here. I wish I could vacate the premises but unfortunately that's not possible.” As this Aries talked he walked around Data. Data got the sense that this exo was sizing him up. It only took a glance to see that this man was a fighter, a warrior. ”You see, Mr. Five, we exo are the product of our upbringing. You, for example, are childish, naive, idealistic, and intelligent. All that is due to that little rascal you just corkscrewed. Oh, how they age. Almost brings a tear to my eye to see what a savage killer he is. Couldn't be more proud. Enough about you though, let's talk about me. My first day of life I ripped a man's throat out. On my second day I shoved my arm through a man's face. Which, if I remember correctly, you remember.” Red optics looked towards Data as if to confirm his words. ”I miss the old days. The fighting, the blood- oh, how it made my circuit board tingle. I remember everything, every kill, every death, every memory wipe, every time we read that God awful book to Carlisle. God it felt good to finally shut his mouth for once. Every one hurts me, boohoo.” Aries spoke in a mocking tone that Data could only assume was meant to resemble a child. Data fought to maintain his composure and somehow managed to. “So, you're telling me you are me from the past? How is that even possible?” Data had never heard of such a thing and he racked his brain trying to figure out how it could even be possible. ”Ding ding, dumbass. Before I could only observe, but couldn't react or effect. When we were revived in this life for whatever reason I was brought back, too. Slowly I've been leaking my way out. Rather, you pull me out during fights. Thanks by the way. Always wanted to put Jax in his place. It seems I can come out on my own now so thanks for that.” Data's eyes narrowed as he assumed a defensive stance. There was no way he would let this exo take over. ”Oh, don't get your wires tangled. I don't want to take over your body. The only fun part of life is the fighting, otherwise I'm not interested. Plus you couldn't take me kid.” Data didn't for a moment believe him. The warlock knew he couldn't get out, not until his system was “purged”. He just had to stall just a little bit longer. “If you don't want to take over my body then what do you want?” Data wasn't sure, but for a second it seemed like the exo's red optics flared at his words. ”Oh, Kid, that's a good question. What I want is to make a deal with you. A deal I don't think you can resist.”
"The only difference between the legend you aspire to be and who you are, is choice. You've chosen mediocrity, you've chosen complacency. You've chosen to spend your life wishing instead of achieving. So make a choice now and twist your fate with your own hands."