10. 'IF ONLY I CAN.. LIVE AGAIN... I'M SUFFERING...HELP ME GARIAN... GARIAN..'
No... you don't get saved from Bilan's possession, you just suffer horribly and you die!
All the victims of full Bilanic possession so far have been locally destroyed, yes. It is not necessarily for data in a Capture field to exist in a physical form, so Bilan destroys the body to be more efficient. However, it takes time, as the matter is entirely recycled, not wastefully destroyed. A victim rescued before that time can occasionally be saved, if an antidote to Bilanium-triggered cell degeneration can be found.
Are you saying you can rescue me? Like my brother was rescued? You... you had that stuff with you all along and you didn't tell me?
So, you remember that as well, now. You're starting to remember the ends of your timelines. Good. No, Garian, I don't have any neutralised Bilanium on me.
Then how are you possibly going to rescue me?
I'm going to keep you alive – no, in existence, the word 'alive' no longer makes sense – until the end of the process.
Do you remember yet, the reason that Bilan came to the Island? His true goal in this world?
He was looking for Bilanium, I think. So he could grow strong enough to change form. He turned into a larger Bilan, then spawned smaller clones of himself. Was he trying to make more Bilans? … Is he a she? Or was the thing created when Kay fell in the Bilanium...
No, Garian. Well, yes, he wanted to evolve and become something larger. Once he realised it was impossible for him personally, he used the last of his energy to create spawns of himself, so that they could have their own chance. But Bilan himself was only trying to achieve full metamorphosis. Transcendence. His own version of the 'way out'.
But he was never Carbon Frozen...
You forget, Carbon Freeze is also developed from the Capture technology that Bilan possesses naturally. This drive that grips people as they enter broader and deeper levels of Capture has always existed in Bilan.
I thought Bilan was created artificially as a weapon, anyway...
That wasn't the pure form of Bilan. The genetically engineered version, the super-weapon, was created from the naturally discovered Bilan. The first Bilan was discovered when a meteor crashed to Earth. Bilan is supposed to evolve in deep space.
It can survive in space and we've been trying to freeze it?
Oh, Bilan has been manipulating every single thing that has happened to anyone on either end of a Capture field or a Carbon Freeze machine. In their own environment, Bilanos have their own administrators, supervisors and directors who control the process. The reason Kurtliegen behaved particularly erratically, suddenly seeking order to a chaos he didn't even know was there, was because Bilan mistook him for a Bilano supervisor. Because the Carbon Freeze prisoners kept acting as though they were in charge of the enclosed world, Bilan later gave them full administrator access. They probably reminded him of himself. I imagine he tried to do the same thing to one of you.
What about yourself? You're practically a flying Capture machine.
I am not being manipulated. I am going along with what is happening. I have been aware of it for quite a while now, but I needed to make sure, and I needed to know I could get everyone into a position to properly initiate it. If I wait any longer, the entire loop will collapse and the events happening here will very rapidly eat into global quantum reality.
Does that mean the world will end?
Yes. Possibly more than just one world. For all I know, this thing can extend out into space. But I do know one thing: if Bilan fully evolves, if this series of events can reach its climax undisturbed, then it can finish and shut down.
And what will happen to us? Won't he just turn into something that can eat the world anyway?
Bilan is not seeking to become something that exists within the confines of space and time. That is why he has been producing artificial dimensions using his Capture field. He is providing himself with a dimensional force field so that he can withstand the forces acting on him when he breaks out of the global timeline. To Bilan, the entire Universe is a giant Capture field for confining him, just as Jailer's Island looks to you and I.
What the heck does he think is waiting for him on the outside of the whole Universe?
I wish I knew. But I know one thing: the way this loop is designed, it is unfinished. It has no ending. And not just because loops don't have endings – this doesn't even have the connectors of a loop. It is attached to something outside it, but not linked to the outside world. There is more to it.
I think I've heard of this story. Bilan's trying to reach Heaven, isn't he?
That's a good analogy. An endless loop of reincarnation, with absolute disaster if you fall off the bottom, and transcendence if you escape.
Kurt's grandfather built the Silver Clock Tower on the side of the mountain because he wanted to reach the Heavens. This has been going on for a lot longer than just my own lifetime, hasn't it?
For all I know, it's been going on for longer than mine. There was a time when Snakebirds didn't exist, you know.
So, what do I do now?
If you want to, you've earned your chance for at least a shot at Heaven. But I must warn you. When you wake up, you won't be safely on the boat, and there'll be a very powerful man trying to kill you. Oh, and Jack won't be there, so you'll be completely screwed if you lose.
What the hell is Jack trying to do?
Restart time, every time you reach that little disagreement with Tracy. He's running out of energy, by the way.
That man who's trying to kill me... it's going to be me, isn't it?
That's right. To him, you look like Bilan. He'll also be the only Garian left, from the perspective of the timeline. Carbon Garian was very thorough. He was just a bit early. Well, actually, the remaining Garian was a bit late.
What happened to Carbon Garian?
He's just about to be murdered by a Garian he didn't see coming... I'm going to try and train you up a bit, so that you won't be completely outmatched when you meet the other Garian. You haven't been through the rest of the trials and tribulations that the other Garian has. I'm going to replay some simulations of those battles. Simulations aren't as good as the real thing, but it'll have to do now that we're running out of time. And, if you get through them all without losing a battle, I'll show you something else that you never had a chance to see. Are you ready?
No time like the present.
Then let's get started. The first challenger is Musashi Morganson...