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The Secrets of Esper
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June 2007
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Reeve Tuesti [userpic]

Who: Demyx and Reeve
When: Last weekend
Where: Ultima, specifically Demyx's apartment
What: Crucial archaeological discoveries punctuated with some flirting.
Warning: None
Status: Completed!

Reeve stepped off the train, shaking his head mildly. They really had to complete construction on the Meteor-Ultima line; having to transfer through Omni just to get from one city to the other was ridiculous. He paused, stretching and looked around the city. It had been ages since he'd gotten out of Meteor, and (as gorgeous as the city was) the change of location was fun. After soaking up the sunshine, he stretched once more and set off in search of Professor Allegro.

It didn't take long to notice the enthusiastic young man flailing happily as a greeting. He dodged a few people and heaps of luggage then stopped in front of Reeve and beamed at him.

"Welcome in Ultima City, Mr. Tuesti! It's a pleasure to see you again. I hope I can be of assistance to you."

Reeve grinned, spotting the other man, and waved back. "Thank you." he smiled. "It's nice to see you again. How have you been?"

"Oh, just fine. Well, My life had taken interesting turns-" He blushed just a little bit and scratched his head with an embarrassed smile, "but that's nothing to do with my job. I finished the documentation of the finds of that tomb and I managed to find out a few things about the man who was buried there. But, let's move, a taxi is waiting for us. This way." He led Reeve out of the station.

"And, what about you? I've heard about these strange occurrences around the railway sites, and I suppose, because of the approaching rains, the work will be hold off for a while."

Reeve raised an eyebrow, but he didn't press for details -- after all, the didn't know each other that well. He followed Demyx to the move to the taxi, stowing his small bag carefully.

"Yes," he responded to Demyx's comment on the 'strange occurrences,' sighing deeply. "We were hoping to be much farther than we are by this point... it's very disappointing, but..." he shrugged. The work would get done, but he wouldn't endanger any of the workers' lives.

"I wonder when is SOLDIER going to act," Demyx nodded and settled down on the backseat. He told the driver to take them back, then turned to Reeve. "How long will you stay? Just today?"

Reeve shrugged. "I have to be back at work on Monday. I was going to fly home, though, and stop by the construction sight for the Meteor-Ultima line, and see what I can do...”

"I wonder what will they say if you show up," the blond youth chuckled. "Though, I have an acquaintance at Gear Squad, I might ask him to help out if you have difficulties."

Gear Squad? Well... they were nominally SOLDIER, that was valid, right? He knew why SOLDIER hadn't been out to examine the sight; it was a matter of salary. There was already pressure on him to complete the project regardless of the rising risk. ShinRa wanted that line completed. "I can't say his help wouldn't be welcome." Reeve admitted, smiling. "What would your colleagues say if they knew how much you were helping us, though?"

Demyx leaned closer "They don't have to know." He laughed a bit. "Besides, My work is blissfully overlooked except the clear results. Most of the Board probably forgets about my very existence time after time aside maybe my uncle. And Zexion. Well, and Axel. And the railways must be completed, and I doubt the work will get quicker even if you go out to take a look."

Reeve looked wry, shrugging. "Unfortunately, I expect you're right. Still, you can't really blame the workers, can you?" Not when the company made it so obviously clear that they cared nothing for the lives of their grunts.

"Of course not. Esper is sometimes rather hostile and who knows what creatures are out in the jungle." Demyx looked sort of compassionate. "Soon, the rains will come and continuing the work will be impossible, won't it? Perhaps the animals will go away when they won't find anybody at the sites."

"Perhaps." Reeve smiled. "That would certainly be the most peaceful resolution to this problem. We may be able to build sections of track off-site, however... hold them ready until they can be installed. Maybe not fall too far behind." Reeve shrugged, moving on. "What about for you... does the rainy season shut down your research? Or damage the open sights?"

"The latter had been exposed to the local weather for quite some time, so it's not really concerning me..." Demyx smiled. "The rain of course does erode the buildings a bit but all the ruins are still in a very good condition. There will be a setback, naturally, as most ruin-hunters return to the cities during the rains- Oh, that reminds me..." the blond youth rubbed his chin, seemingly a bit worried, "I need to talk to Saix... He's a native living not too far from the city, he's a valuable contact. I don't want anything to happen to him. Though my worry is most probably misplaced, he spent his entire life out there anyway. But as for me, some relaxation won't do bad, and when it doesn't rain, traveling isn't impossible. I might try to meet some natives and talk to them about their customs, legends, everyday life. I find it immensely interesting."

Reeve raised an eyebrow, shaking his head. "You're... quite brave," he commented. "The natives don't generally take kindly to us..." unable to help himself, Reeve leaned forward, fascinated. "Have you ever spoken to any before?"

"There are a few villages not too far, which became used to our presence and they're willing to trade, goods as well as information," Demyx nodded. "Though they indeed get jumpy when one asks about the Cetran remains. Then, there is Saix, who promised me to take me to other villages. He's quite an interesting case. And, after all, my housekeeper is a young native woman, too." He smiled. "Her name is Terra. And in fact, Board member Axel Haineau is of native origin as well."

Reeve blinked, considering. He had absolutely no knowledge of OrgXIII besides what his superiors considered "necessary" information. "That's incredible..." he didn't have to add that they wouldn't talk to him or anyone else from ShinRa; that was common knowledge. "That's fascinating... it's amazing they're willing to talk to you, they're usually such private people..."

"It's not quite like that," Demyx shook his head. "They're just wary. From the city, slave hunters com and big machines, the former taking their prettiest, the latter destroying the forest and driving away the animals. It's not a wonder they don't like us. And the ruin robbers defile the sacred ruins, the places where their ancestors dwelt. Their anger is quite rightful."

Reeve held up his hands in defense. "No, it is entirely justified." he said. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply otherwise." Reeve's father had been loyal ShinRa to the core, but his mother had taught him to respect everyone's lives and cultures. He believed in the company's mission, but had lost his idealism long ago, and he knew the lengths they'd go to to accomplish their goals.

"I wasn't accusing you, not even the company," the archaeologist shook his head. "You seem to be much nicer than that, you helped me immediately as I asked for it."

The cab slowed down and stopped in front of a nice building. "Oh, we're here," Demyx announced. "Come in!" He got out and payed to the driver, then gestured toward the entrance. "This way."

Reeve blinked when the other man paid, but shook it off -- he'd buy them lunch later to make up for it. With a smile, he hopped out after the other man, following him into the building, looking around curiously.

The house was very neat, elegant in its simplicity, though it showed that it was meant for those who had a nice payment. Judging from the outer measurements, and Reeve had a good eye for that, the flats were quite big and most probably very luxurious. The elevator took them to the third floor, and Demyx stopped before a light door on which, his name stood. The lock clicked softly as the card opened it, and the young professor let his guest step in first. "Welcome in my home, Mr. Tuesti. I'm safe to say it's kept in order though it should be thanked to my dear housekeeper. Terra! Oh, where's this girl...? A moment, I'll just check the kitchen."

On the fridge door, a note was waiting hot the young man announcing that Terra had left for shopping.

Reeve smiled. "Thank you... this really wasn't all necessary, you know." In truth, he was very touched by how kind and outgoing Demyx had been about this entire meeting.

"What wasn't necessary?" Demyx called and a moment later, he appeared in the door. "I haven't offered you anything. Though I think I have some snacks, and I make quite a decent tea. Coffee, well, it's drinkable, but nothing beats Terra's...! So, you'd like anything?"

Reeve smiled, glancing up. "Oh... coffee is fine, I'm not picky." He smiled and shrugged softly. "All of this... you've been so nice..."

"It's just common courtesy," Demyx shrugged with a bright smile. "And I'm happy that somebody else is interested in the Cetras. I love to talk about them. Honestly, I miss teaching. Come in for a while, I'll make the coffee then I'll get you the papers. Is there some super-sekrit project you need them for?"

Reeve laughed, shaking his head. "No, not at all... just curiosity on my own part.... Their city plans must have been brilliant... I believe we could learn a lot from them..."

"Well, the cities weren't big but the plans are indeed interesting. I'm not an expert but I assume, they were planned to not look planned. There is a pattern but nobody had figured it out yet." The archaeologist put up the water and prepared the other ingredients.

"Exactly." Reeve said, shaking his head. "And yet they were remarkably functional...they're not at all random..." he shrugged. "And they worked with the landscape around them. It's quite remarkable. Can I help at all?"

"It wouldn't be nice of me to let the guest work," Demyx smiled. "And besides, it's not much to do." He fetched some various bags of snacks, sweet and salty alike and poured their contents into two bowls. "There." He grabbed a handful of chips for himself. "The Cetras lived in a perfect harmony with nature. I'm glad those who planned Ultima followed similar ideas. It would be so gray and cold without the many parks and trees all around."
Reeve chuckled. "If you insist," he agreed, and smiled. "Yes... the parks are gorgeous, but the they obstruct the flow of traffic, cause congestion... the Cetrans avoided that."

"Umm, the Cetras didn't really had traffic," Demyx pointed out. All we ever found were carriages, and Chocobo bones. Though it's true, they didn't have to hurry."

"Carriages, chocobos, even pedestrians... it's all traffic," Reeve shrugged. "And the slower they're moving, the more likely congestion becomes. It's a problem no matter how you're moving around." Reeve shrugged. "Smaller populations answer some of that, of course, but that still doesn't account for the seeming... randomness."

"Oh, I see." The blond youth's eyes grew wider as he listened to the engineer. "I suppose, the 'randomness', is because religious reasons... or, at least, it's tied to some spiritual reason. As far as I know... the materias have an inner pattern as well. Maybe, the cities reflect some other pattern. Or the settlements together form a bigger picture."

Reeve nodded. "Whatever it is... it's sheer brilliance from an urban development standpoint." He smiled sheepishly, shrugging. "That's why I wanted to see the plans... if maybe somehow there's... something in there that shows how they did it..."

The coffee started to pour from the machine, so the archaeologist got up to fetch the cups. "Cream, sugar?"

"Straight black," Reeve said sheepishly, smiling. "I'm usually in too much of a rush to worry about the finer points. But thank you, very much."

Demyx waved it off. "No problem. Here." He handed out the cup. The younger man applied sugar and cream to his, then sat back. "I'll try to find all of the city plans. If we place them on a larger map, perhaps they'll tell us more."

Reeve nodded, smiling. "That sounds like a great place to start." He smiled, clearing room on the table carefully. "How can I help?"

"We'll do it together," Demyx claimed. "I suppose we'll use up the whole floor- You need to check for the right distances. Each plan has the exact coordinates so we shouldn't have any difficulties with placing them correctly."

Reeve smiled. "Sounds like a plan... Where are the files? I've got a scale rule..."

"I'll get them. We'll have enough floor in the living room."

25 minutes later, Reeve stood at the edge of the living room, looking down at the map they'd laid out above them. From above, it looked like the Esper they knew, with large craters of floor peeking through where the major cities were now.

Demyx was crouching in the middle, and one could almost hear the gears turning in his head. He was staring at the papers littering the floor and the engineer alternately, blue eyes a clear cerulean from the excitement. "A spiral... It's a spiral pattern they cities were built in! And the other remains just complete the pattern! This is fantastic!"

Reeve smiled. "I can't believe no one ever thought of doing this before..." he commented, shaking his head. "Look. The cities are the same spirals, only smaller... it's subtle, but it's there. Like wagon wheels."

"Mr. Tuesti, _I'm_ the one who should have thought about it..." Demyx mumbled, too occupied with the discovery. "I'm the best Cetra specialist on the whole planet. It would have been obvious from orbit... but the cameras can't get through the mako. Why... Why did they do this...? I remember... the latest Gaian remains had this symbol as well, but there, we only found a few settlements, they didn't add up..."

Reeve smiled. "We all have off days. This is incredible." He shook his head, eying their minimap. "We need to document this..." Not for the first time, Reeve cursed the way cameras wouldn't work on Esper. "Do we have graph paper?"

"Maybe... I need to check..." The blond youth shook himself and straightened. "I'll be back in a sec, I'll check my room. I think I have a few sheets of that."

Reeve nodded. "Great... otherwise, I can go get some..." he smiled, looking it over. "This is impressive... Really..."

The blond indeed found the graph paper and handed it out to Reeve, then slipped off to prepare another coffee. When he came back, he set the cups on the coffee table which was pushed away and collapsed next to it. "Why spirals??" he wailed. "What is there in spiral pattern? What does it mean? The stars? Did anybody check the stars...?"

Reeve shook his head. "I have no idea... from an urban planning standpoint, spirals are a nightmare..."

Demyx threw his head back and laughed. "Really? Why?"

Reeve grinned. "Remember what I said about congestion? One single, twisty road? no thank you." He chuckled, shrugging. "I'd assume that's why the wagon spokes roads, not even the Cetras were miracle workers...'

"If only we could ask them...!" Demyx sighed dreamily, "About how this all worked and why did they do it...! I'd give years of my life just to speak with a real Cetra."

Reeve nodded in agreement, sketching carefully, lips pursed in thought. "They must have been fantastic people..."

Demyx fixed his eyes on the engineer. So deep in thought... He was really handsome. His hair seemed so soft and his small beard was so neat. Really, a rather good-looking fellow. The archaeologist grinned a bit and blushed just slightly, as his imagination carried him away for a few moments.

Reeve looked up distractedly, feeling the other man's gaze but completely missed the significance of it. "Mmm? he asked, blinking mildly.

"Oh! I just... Sorry, I was spacing," Demyx smiled, running his hand through his hair. "Please, don't be offended but I was thinking that you're quite a good-looking man. But the ladies probably told you so before."

Reeve blinked, flushing and looking down. "I -- oh." Ahh yes, the quickest way to reduce Reeve to the level of a four year old boy. He stayed beet red for several minutes, feeling very sheepish. "Uh... thank you..."

D'aww, he was so cute. Demyx chuckled. "You shouldn't take this so hard... "

Reeve blushed, shaking his head. "I'm sorry. It's just not something I'm used to hearing."

Demyx blinked then his eyes lit up with understanding. "ooh, you don't go out either, right? Working late, neglecting private life?"

Reeve laughed softly. "You caught me." he admitted. "I really never do go out..."

"I was much the same until recently," Demyx nodded seriously. "Then, I had to face with the fact that I won't get any younger, and I should enjoy life while it lasts."

Reeve grinned. "I'm sure I'll figure that out eventually." he said, chuckling. "For now, I'm still trying to save the world..."

"Well, that's a good thing," the archaeologist smiled. Wow, not all people at Shinra were idiots. That certainly made Esper look like an even better place.