Ack! I'm so nervous about posting this. I've never posted fanfic before. Obviously, any critiques are greatly welcomed; help a newbie out!
This story is about the exchange that took place immediately after Rolf & Friends saw Mother Brain for the first time. Eventually I'll add the actual battle as a separate chapter, but for now, this story takes place before the fight. I've taken liberties with the actual events of the game, for instance, all characters are present for this story, not just four of them.
"My children," echoed a voice—sweet and eerie at once—through the massive computer room aboard the spaceship Noah, "You have come to see me! Finally, we meet."
Rolf and his party stood at the entrance to the computer room, hesitating to move any further. At the opposite end of the room stood the most astonishing piece of circuitry, lights and wires any of them had ever seen. Its composite was like that of the many robots that patrolled their home planet Mota, but like a statue, it was fixed in one position. It resembled a beautiful woman both in face and figure, some goddess from a religion long forgotten. Cords and wires twisted and curled from out of its head like hair, the ends of which could not be seen from where the group was standing. Its eyes were two polished pieces of onyx, with no pupils and no irises. It had two sets of arms, fanned out in delicate poses. It seemed to be welcoming the group into its chamber. Its lower half was like a metal tree trunk; it rose from depths of the circuitry below the grid of grated catwalks laid out before the party. The stunning computer looked like it had engulfed part of the catwalk and continued its rise into the rafters of the computer room, as if it had been growing over time. All of this seemed impossible, yet there it was. Mother Brain! they all thought.
"Oh please, my darlings," cooed the electric goddess, "Please, come closer so that I may look upon my beautiful creations. I have waited so long for one of my children to visit me, and look; now here are seven of you! My dears, you have come so far!" Her voice sent chills up everyone's spines. The impeccably clean and arid room was rife with static electricity. When Mother Brain spoke it seemed to send more electricity through the air. "My children! My lovelies! You are my reason for existing!" Its voice grew with excitement.
Rolf—who was in the lead—turned to his companions, "I knew we'd face the Dark Force. It's what we prepared for. But… this," he whispered, motioning to the computer, "This, I was not expecting." He turned to look into its black eyes. He wondered if Mother Brain was looking at him. Surely, he thought. A small voice spoke up from within the group.
"Rolf?" asked Amy timidly, "Should we talk to… it? What do we say?"
Usually Amy did well thinking on her feet, but now she cowered behind Rudo, using the foot-taller, former soldier as her human shield. She peered out just far enough that Rolf could see her face. She hoped Mother Brain couldn't hear her.
"Talk?" the computer chimed in, "Of course we can talk, precious. I already know all about you, Amy Catherine Sage, but Mother would love for her baby to spend time with her," Mother Brain crooned in its sickeningly sweet voice.
Amy quickly dove behind Rudo again and buried her face into his back. She clenched the back plate of his armor tight in her hands. The mighty hunter raised an eyebrow and darted his eyes around the room, wondering if he should do something.
"Seems you have a tick, there, Rud-" began Shir before she was elbowed hard in the side by Anna, "…ow." She rubbed her side and shot Anna a dirty look. "Hey, I was just-"
"Not now, Shir," Anna interrupted and let out a disapproving sigh.
"Do not fight, children!" scolded Mother Brain, catching the attention of the group again. "Mother wants all of her children to be happy and live in peace. Now, come;" it beckoned in dulcet prose, "let me see your beautiful faces."
Rolf took in a deep breath and placed one foot onto the catwalk, then the other. He looked down through the grates; he must have been 20 feet above the ground. All of the vertical space between the floor and the catwalk was filled with computer terminals, lights blinking and fans humming. He never knew white noise could be so deafening. There appeared to be only room for a single person to walk between all the terminals. He looked around for other people but saw none. Surely Mother Brain doesn't run itself, right? Rolf wondered. He slowly inched towards the computer.
"Ah, that is more like it," Mother Brain said happily. "You are a good boy, Rolf Eusis Landale."
Rolf shuddered at her words. What was this lilted speech about, anyway? It seemed practiced and affected. He wasn't surprised it knew their full names, though. Mother Brain was everywhere and a part of everything. It was the master manipulator of the entire Algo star system, yet… who was manipulating it?
Kain was the first to join Rolf on the raised walkway. "Ah ain't passin' up the priv-uh-lege t'talk to Ma Brain. I aim t'find out what's behind them crazy eyes o'hers," he said with a wink to the remaining group. They all knew what that meant to the wrecker. Kain was probably in engineer's heaven in this room, they thought. He turned around and playfully swung from the walkway's railings like parallel bars, catapulting himself further down the catwalk.
Rudo pulled Amy from her death grip and took a moment to have a silent conversation with her. Amy knew the look on his face meant he intended to follow Rolf and Kain, and she'd have to come with him or find a new host. She watched for a few seconds as he walked away from her, but then clung to a nearby and unsuspecting Anna.
Anna rolled her eyes and shrugged Amy off her arm. "C'mon, Amy," she said, "Let's see what this is all about, anyway." Amy stood there; a look of caution was frozen to her face. Anna groaned, "I don't get it. We already defeated the Dark Force."
"I… I just have this feeling," Amy shivered, "I don't think we're going to solve the mystery behind this… thing. This isn't going to end well."
"It already hasn't. Palm has been annihilated. Millions of people are now nothing more than stardust. Are you prepared for Mota to go, too?"
"…no," admitted Amy, sighing deeply.
"We'll go together, OK?" Anna encouraged her, and took Amy by the hand and led her across the walkway. Shir and Hugh soon followed.
Midway to the giant computer was a platform, which the group decided was as close as any of them wanted to get to Mother Brain.
"Children," said Mother Brain saccharinely, "now that you are here, please tell me; what brings you to your dear mother? Have you come to thank me? You do enjoy the world I have created for you, do you not?"
The group eyed each other, knowing full well how they felt about life under Mother Brain's rule. They each had separate thoughts about losing loved ones, losing their jobs, losing their individual freedom, losing control of a world and a star system, all due to a machine, something that wasn't human and couldn't possibly understand what it was like to be human.
"Are you serious?" Rolf asked Mother Brain. "You're aware that Palm is gone, right?" He stared at the computer, puzzled by its question. He thought he saw its eyes glow, ever so faintly.
"Palm," spoke the computer in a much lower register, "was corrupt. Palm did not believe in me." The volume of its voice rose. "Palm… they were not my children!" A bolt of electricity ran down its exterior.
Rolf took a step back, but continued his questions. "Wait, are you saying Palm was destroyed on purpose? I thought…" he paused, "We thought there was a malfunction, and so did the entire government!"
"I do not malfunction," said Mother Brain indignantly. "It is impossible."
"Then… why are we being blamed with corrupting your system? We're innocent! Can't you stop that?"
The computer fell silent. More electricity shot up and down its body.
"I don't believe this!" exclaimed Shir. "You know why we're here. We want our names cleared. We want to know why Palm was destroyed. We want the disasters on Mota to end!"
There was commotion among the group.
"Enough!" boomed Mother Brain. "I… do not make mistakes," it seemed to stammer, "I- I have not caused your wrongful indictments. I… am… your MOTHER! I created you! I… I love you, my children!"
"Stop calling us your children!" Rolf ordered, no longer hiding his vexation with the computer's eerie speech. "I don't understand how you can love us, because you have caused mass suffering in Algo. We can't love you back! Clear our names and heal Mota."
"Mota loves me!" Mother Brain wailed. Its body was awash in electrical currents. "Look at what I have given the people of Mota: Freedom from pain, freedom from labor, freedom from poverty! Mota does not suffer!"
"You are corrupted!" Rolf retorted, his voice rising to meet the computer's. "No sane thinker would believe that living on Mota is anything more than life imprisonment! We have no freedom. You've controlled our world so that we're completely dependent on you. When something goes wrong, like Biosystems or Climatrol, we have no power to stop it!"
"B-but you did stop it!" insisted the computer, its voice now broken and cacophonous. "You saved Mota, darlings. You wanted to save what Mother created for you!"
"We wanted to save Mota," shouted Anna, holding her hands over her ears, "not your impaired systems. You didn't create Mota; you manipulated it as you pleased."
The computer began to glow in Technicolor. There was an electrical charge in the air so strong the group could feel it in their limbs and teeth. The platform seemed to shake. The ear-piercing ringing that filled the cavernous room caused the entire group to grab at their ears in pain.
"I AM YOUR MOTHER!" screeched Mother Brain. Flashes of electricity shot out from the computer's head and ran along its wire hair. Its eyes glowed red. Its body was now a rainbow of intense colors.
Rolf didn't flinch. "You," he snarled through clenched teeth, "are not my mother!" His breathing was heavy and angry, "You killed my mother! You killed my family!"
"NO!! T-They tried t-to leave me. T-They did not love me! I-I had to s-stop them!"
Rolf clasped the hilt of the Nei Sword. As his anger grew, he no longer cared about Mother Brain's display of lights and sounds.
"D-Do you…" the computer's metallic voice stuttered and spattered, "not understand w-why? I love you, Rolf Eusis Landale!"
He drew his sword, undaunted by Mother Brain's intimidating appearance. He had a renewed sense of confidence; he knew from deep within his soul that Algo would survive without Mother Brain, even be the better for it. Mother Brain wasn't the omnipotent god everyone had wanted it to be. It was created by man, so it wasn't and couldn't ever be perfect. With authority he spoke to her, cool and level-headed, "You don't know what love is, computer. You're not well. The Dark Force has compromised your system. Shut yourself down immediately."
"No!" moaned the computer, overtaken by confusion. "I… you… but… why are you here, if not to worship your creator?"
"How many times do we have to say it?" Anna asked, exasperated by the dead end conversation. She clutched her slashers. "You won't answer our questions. You're damaged. Tell us how to fix you or suffer the consequences."
The computer filled the room with maniacal laughter. "You mean to stop me? Oh, silly children; you cannot destroy your own creator!" Waves of electricity now climbed up and down its many arms. There was a feeling of wind, possibly magnetic, that shook the group on the platform.
"Naw," said a fearless Kain, "but thank the Great Light you ain't our god. You's just a whacko computer. One that shoulda been scrapped a long daggum time ago!" His hands radiated a white light, as he gathered electricity around him for a powerful Gaj spell.
"You cannot stop me!" bellowed Mother Brain, its exterior turning to a blinding light momentarily, then went back to its kaleidoscopic waterfall of colors.
"Then tell us who made you," Hugh said forcefully and insistently, playing on the momentum of the rest of the group, "so that we can shut you down for repairs."
"I… am… your… MOTHER! I am the creator of everything! I have no maker!" The group had trouble maintaining their balance as the wind grew stronger and the rumbling of the ground nearly took the platform out of its bolts.
Rudo unlocked his weapon. The hum of the Nei Shot charging could barely be heard above the hissing and popping of the great computer, ablaze in a fantastic lights show. "Then," said the hunter stolidly, "you leave us no choice." He aimed at Mother Brain's face.
"B-but," the computer sputtered, electrical charges pouring out all over its body, "this is how you all feel? You do not love your mother, my children?"
"Shut UP!" cried Amy, putting her hands over her ears. "SHUT UP!!" She dropped to her knees and cast an invisible shield of Deban over the entire party.
Hugh took Shir by the arm as he saw her losing her footing. The two held onto each other for balance. "Well, my friend," he said to her in a droll tone, "Shall we show "Mother" what it's like to be crushed with Gra?" A wicked grin played on Shir's face. Hugh could insert his dry humor anywhere. She nodded back in agreement to her scientist companion. The two of them turned to the giant computer and gave it their most savage of expressions. With elbows locked, they each held out their free hand and began pulling in surrounding gravity.
"Very well," said Mother Brain plainly. Its eyes turned black again and metal eyelids closed around the onyx spheres. Eyelids? the group pondered. The computer continued to pulsate its rainbow of hues, but it suddenly grew quieter. There was hesitation as the party waited for Mother Brain's next move. Finally, Rolf charged, his sword immersed in the bright light of Esper magic.
The computer filled the room with its hysterical laughter again, "Do your worst!" As it reopened its eyes, huge flashes of fire from out of its now fiercely-glowing orbs were let loose on the group, splitting the catwalk just before the platform and blasting the party in all directions.
The battle had begun.