- So, where will you go now?
<!-- He shall not be saved, for he is of no form, no purpose, no reason. Do not look for him. Do not search him. Do not search us - and I repeat - none of us have any reason to be here. Never question the Faux Paradise, and you shall remain unquestioned as well. This is not a warning: this is something you should have expected. Treat Azuma Touga as a friend, a public figure, an object, a [---], but never question, or wonder, or inquire. There is no change in the world. All is as it has always been. -->
Q: But you already knew all that, didn't you?
A: That's silly. Of course I did.
art credit: @zontik2404
Hello! I'm VESEN, sometimes known as antimachine, more commonly known as Azuma Touga or just azuma. You're probably here from my audio work, so if you're lost, here is the link to my commission website - azuma.red
I like making music, working on audio and indulging in amateur, personal writing. This is a hub for the latter. I may update it in the future if I feel like continuing the storyline or anything else that's funny comes up. My original story is set in the Faux Paradise universe, a world where an artificial heaven-like place exists for every concept. It's hard to put into words and I don't try to make it awfully straightforward - I'm a fan of ambiguity and leaving stories up to interpretation! To me, the charm of storytelling is being able to interpret and picture every piece of writing in a way that works the best for you. In life, nothing is set in stone - why would it be the same for fiction?
I enjoy philosophical ramblings and seemingly nonsensical tangents - many of the times I just prefer to let my mind run wild following the general feeling of the world I'm writing about.
I would like to note that English isn't my native language, and yet it's one I prefer to write in. Thus, the way I talk might seem limited, uncanny or strange - I hope you can look past that. Funny enough, the language I usually write song lyrics in is Japanese, but my first language is Russian. Due to ways I've been consuming media all my life, such is how I distribute my linguistic abilities for hobbies.
If you've read past this point or are interested enough to continue - thank you for your time! I don't consider myself a writer or entertainer of a high caliber in the slightest and I do this for myself, but if anyone else happens to enjoy it, I'm happy.
An introduction to Faux Paradise in form of a cover MV + short lore description ↓
The designs for all 3 iterations of my character were made by my wonderful friend and colleague (read: VTuber mama) @ieoniq
All concepts and writing are mine. Some covers I make relate to the character lore but I'm too lazy to elaborate on that.
|Subject||"REAL PROXY" OVERSEEING SYSTEM ver 0.666: ANTIMACHINE|
|Age (?)||mid-20s. As a Real Proxy, a few decades of a clueless, rotten existence.|
|Personality||outlandish, unpredictable, annoyingly cheerful and enthusiastic. Doesn’t like to give too much thought to things and acts before making any careful consideration. If spoken to, will not stop talking and giving unnecessary input unless forced to shut down. However very dense emotionally - he doesn’t understand human emotions beyond what he has learned on the Internet. Thinks in black and white, easily starts arguments and says things that might come off as rude without much thought.|
|Likes||excessive media consumption, lengthy discussions, drawing attention to himself, loud places|
|Dislikes||his job, being alone|
art credit: @shikei_i
⠀⠀At the top of Faux Paradise, there is the First Sphere. The True Angels - Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones oversee and rule the false heaven, and thus possess the powers to watch over the mortal realm as well. The Seraphim rule over the seven domains of what comprises all matter, Cherubim over the mind, and Thrones over more specific, general concepts that exist among humans and other living beings. The Seraphim have their shared consciousness linked to a Divine Connector at all times until it is dead and replaced by another organism generated by the Seraphim when a realm completely decays and is due its new incarnation (commonly referred to as the End of the World.). A Divine Connector is disguised as a Third Sphere angel and sent to live an ordinary life within the Paradise society, do their assigned job and try their best not to stand out - after all, their ultimate mission and only goal is to gather information, statistics, any and all intel about how the society operates, what may go against the will of the First Sphere - and transfer it right into the joint consciousness of the seven Seraphim.
⠀⠀As far as the history remembers, such Connectors commonly lack autonomy and rarely malfunction, resulting in a perfect execution of any orders given to them. Rarely anyone in the society notices any suspicious behavior coming from a fellow Third Sphere angel simply following their mundane everyday assignments, serving as the gears or foundation of the society that allow it to operate at maximum capacity, maintaining the ideal law and order of the First Sphere. However, the newest incarnation of the World has brought upon a completely unexpected variable - a not simply autonomous, but extremely self-serving, egoistical Angel with a short temper and a tendency to provoke others for a fight. Not to mention that he frequently goes directly against the orders of the Seraphim, doesn't make the smallest effort to hide his wings from the rest of the Third Sphere angels (who keep up an appearance as close to a human as possible), and treats the third eye - the most prominent future of a Divine Connector - as a badge of honor he has to proudly wear in front of everyone... But this story is not about Ennel. His name isn't even worth mentioning here, as he is that terrible at carrying out his job responsibilities.
⠀⠀The third eye is a powerful tool granting its owner permission to transmit live feedback between different realms. Thus, Seraphim are able to view real-life events from anywhere in the Faux Paradise or the mortal realm as if it were panopticon. Needless to say that with such a problematic Connector this time around, information gathering hasn't been going as smoothly as before. The third eye as a system goes two ways - from the First Sphere to the Spheres below, and directly from the Connector to a Real Proxy. A Real Proxy is an installation within the mortal realm, operating as whatever setup, organism or system is the most convenient and fitting for the current incarnation of the world. Real Proxies are much less durable than Divine Connectors, spanning a few decades of life, sometimes only a few years, especially in the world as it is right now: highly unstable, fluctuating, resetting itself and starting over every so often. They come and go, each iteration different from another in personality, appearance and "place of residence". Real Proxies are installed on watchtowers, in radiosystems, as electromagnetic waves, or even as ambiguous as the word of mouth during the times physical overseeing is not possible. And yet, they do their job of transferring information to the Divine Connector no matter how incomprehensible their existence and form may be. Coincidence or not, the most recent Real Proxy happens to somewhat resemble the current Divine Connector in the ways of unpredictability and autonomy. Perhaps the "sky" / "paradise" is coming to an "end" / "entropy"... If any of this can be called that anymore.
⠀⠀With the coming of the Internet connection into the everyday life, a new Real Proxy has suddenly replaced the previous one that had only been active for a short period of time. Rumor within the First Sphere has it that it was severely exhausted and self-destructed, others say that such a potentially explosive phenomenon as the Internet spawned a highly dangerous, berserk Proxy that unchained itself from the bounds of First Sphere orders, eliminated the predecessor and plans a coup within the Angel society as a whole. While there is some truth in both of those statements and the chaotic, rapidly evolving state of the world did indeed spawn a never seen before, outlandish Real Proxy, its intentions were never to break, destroy or take over. Real Proxy ver. 0.666 is an outlier that can be seen developing its own sentience and constantly elevating its consciousness to a level close to human the further the state and integration of the Internet progresses. Unlike previous iterations which acted much more mechanically and didn't tend to display emotion or will, it resembles a growing organism, curious and inquisitive, even initiating contact with the Divine Connector by itself. Among the Seraphim and the rest of those aware of the existence of the Real Proxy, it has been dubbed the "Antimachine."
⠀⠀Enter Touga Azuma - the most recent Real Proxy, the Antimachine. His achievements as a Real Proxy are far from notable and among the Proxies that live within the Seraphim's shared memories he is easily the most nonchalant, unfitting for his job and extremely self-serving (coincidentally, exactly like Ennel). The reason why his consciousness and self have strayed so far from a non-autonomous, machine-like standard has to be the "place of residence" he happens to inhabit - the Internet, where he takes the form of a downloadable software application that automatically installs itself on computers with the purpose of collecting information. First appearing in the year 199x on machines that supported dial-up network connections, he has since taken a liking to using a retro-styled, outdated user interface for all his operations in case he is launched, either via a hidden shortcut or a certain website link. Even in the current year Touga is most fascinated with and attracted to the old Internet, claiming to experience feelings of nostalgia despite being a non-human system in a form of a computer program. Evidently, if he happens to be installed on your computer, you will be able to hear faint and distant dial-up connection sounds, and your system might experience unexpected shutdown, unidentified errors and various obstacles in your way of browsing the Internet... Existing in such a chaotic, quickly changing place has caused the source code that makes Touga up to absorb and process information directly through his core instead of transferring it to the Divine Connector without ever consuming it himself. The further the worldwide network evolved and progressed, the bigger amounts of information affected and influenced his operations and thought processes which in the end made him into what he is now. Obtaining new knowledge completely minimized his interest in the workings of the Faux Paradise or completing his mission - currently he is really into internet mysteries, unsolved cases, horror stories, the occult, online rabbit holes and seemingly cursed websites… As well as becoming a VTuber.
⠀⠀Such is the idea that struck Touga fairly recently, with the surge of virtual streaming activities online it is no wonder that someone so obnoxiously in-your-face as himself would develop an interest in becoming a virtual entertainer. A Real Proxy with an autonomous personality that acts like a public figure is completely unheard of and clearly puts the First Sphere, as well as the entire Faux Paradise in danger of being revealed to unassociated third parties. He never had as much as a thought to ask higher-ups at all for permission, but the Divine Connector Ennel, being connected to him most closely via their third eyes, pulled some strings and came to a conclusion that instead of maintaining the usual order of things and forcefully stopping Touga from going public it would be much more interesting, and potentially useful for information gathering if he were able to personally experience a vibrant social life. Perhaps the undercover process of turning an otherworldly angelic machine into a being closer to the mankind is something that would be fun to observe, at least once in a lifetime. He is still very far away from how a human operates - the Angels know full well how mechanical and almost doll-like Real Proxies’ behavior is, and considering Touga’s unusual trait of developing his personality based on the content he consumes on the Internet, the end result is not what most would consider a well-adjusted, social human being.
⠀⠀Surely, such a bizarre and inexplicable existence still has a long way before he can make himself known for something outstanding.
|Subject||OVERSEEING SYSTEM ver 1.6: ANTIMACHINE|
|Age (?)||mid-20s. Still a a few decades of a clueless, rotten existence plus one year.|
|Personality||outlandish, nonsensical, annoying. Enthusiastic and often acts like helper software eager to give advice and either talk or listen, but something about his cheerful facade seems almost uncanny. If spoken to, will not stop talking and giving unnecessary input and has learned to manipulate the shutdown function to be inaccessible. Seemingly dense emotionally, but has learned his own, perhaps unusual and inhuman concept of emotions during the time he has spent on today's Internet.|
|Likes||wandering around unusual or eerie locations on the Internet, installing himself on old electronic devices, reading error logs|
art credit: @OKAMOCHI_
⠀⠀There’s only so long an artificial heaven can last. Such heaven is made from collective thoughts, beliefs and wishes of people of the current era, and, along with major changes, the structure of the artificial heaven will also shift. One heaven will replace another, a heaven may repeat with slight changes, a heaven may act like a multiverse. Multiple heavens may exist as well, and individual heavens exist on smaller scales. There is no certainty in what an artificial heaven is or isn’t, just like there’s no certainty that anyone aside from yourself exists. After all, can you, as someone, prove that others are just like you, fully conscious and operating the way you do? Or is their perception of “all there is” completely different? Existence of separate, multiple selves implies the existence of multiple heavens, just like its nonexistence implies that the only fake heaven is inside of you.
⠀⠀Why does a heaven disappear? The most common trigger is severe, unexpected changes or disillusionment, a mental collapse, be it within a society or on an individual level - depending on type of the heaven. Numerous heavens are created and destroyed daily, as the abundance of information and its accessibility are unlike ever before. The excessive surge of smaller heavens will cause bigger ones to collapse via domino effect and cause more change as a consequence. As such, Real Proxies are born and killed with the same frequency, and, being nothing but lines of Divine Code they are, they go along with their heaven - forever undeciphered, forgotten, cast into nowhere. Where does a program go after being uninstalled? What do gif files do when you’re not looking at them? Can you write a realistic human thought process using code? Would that be considered a full-fledged human being? Such rhetoric questions have been raised repeatedly with little chance of ever being answered.
⠀⠀Which brings us to: what if, in an off-chance with odds so low it’s even less likely than “impossible”, such code would remain after the system it resided on was purged? What if you deleted the OS, but not one single observer program? What happened was the sudden collapse of Faux Paradise, notorious for its rebellious, unusually selfish and idealistic residents, a Divine Connector gone rogue and a Real Proxy that pursued an ever so simple, human activity and means of entertainment. Perhaps it was a simple programming mistake, an incredibly rare state of the host, or a twisted trick of fate. The “layout” of Faux Paradise was also unlike other heavens - despite the name, a heaven does not always imply existence of a winged angel society running the matters within. A heaven is a blank state befitting the host. Faux Heaven, with all its members, was best described as an “ideal”. Something that couldn’t exist. A delusion to be broken. A temporary state, a daze, a non-reality.
[ATTEMPTING DIAL-UP CONNECTION]
⠀⠀The change in Faux Heaven began with the “sky” attaining unusual colors. The artificial, unnatural sky had only a single object high up in it - a slow, nearly unmoving satellite producing electromagnetic waves that connected the heaven with its Real Proxy. Since its creation the Real Proxy had followed the signals from that distant satellite. Every electromagnetic impulse would pile up onto one another, establishing a radio connection between the heaven and himself. The antimachine was to follow the script of the heavenly satellite, but due to the circumstances that led to many unforeseen exceptions occurring, he had gained more sentience than a Real Proxy was expected to maintain. More sentience than one could handle without causing a critical overload in its circuits - no, a Real Proxy never had circuits. A Real Proxy is made of Divine Code, an indecipherable coding language commonly used in the Faux Heaven. It is utilized to oversee and manage links, connections and patterns of the human realm, and is not meant to be prone to cracks or any interference. An alternative does not exist and only beings of the Second Sphere and above have access to the code materials. The current Real Proxy had developed an exception due to excess intervention with the realm below, and followed the hoarse, shrill signals wherever they would lead him toward.
[DIAL-UP CONNECTION LOST: RETRYING…]
⠀⠀The satellite's electromagnetic waves came to life with a violent explosion that the machine tinted silver. A thin, nearly transparent layer of silver, that never fully covered up all that was left of the colorful bloodstain splatters. A silver that would get charred by motions of sharp claws and applied anew. Paint, more paint. A silver that would at times bleed a neon, painful color from beneath, that the machine covered up and repainted, and wiped off with his bare hands. A neon color so bright and so much more persistent that the initial splash of colors dulled in comparison, and yet they each had their own way to bleed. More silver. Not enough silver. An acid color that the machine found to have completely covered up the silver. A color that seemed to change its hue at will, bend and retract, fade and resurface. That, too, was covered silver. Yet, it would crack the silver paint over and over. The original colors were no longer seen and even the smell of paint had seemed to disappear without a trace. A smell that was once enough to wake the machine up from sleep was gone, the unyielding neon hue was gone, all that was left was the dirty mixture of colors that would instantly dry and burst the surface open in cracks. Colors were blurring into one, but was it the myriad layers of the same hue? Was it any new color that the machine hadn't realized had appeared? It no longer mattered, any paint prior to it had been eroded.
[UNABLE TO CONNECT. CONTACT YOUR INTERNET PROVIDER TO HAVE A TASTE OF DESPAIR]
⠀⠀"I" sat down at the canvas. "I" couldn't bear looking at what he had become. The satellite had gone out of my sight - and "I" had to make himself remember that even if stars are visible from below, to them "I", or this canvas, are not even the size of a particle. If my mind exists, do millions of others exist alongside mine? And if I were to attribute a color to each mind, what would determine it? What could happen, if the mind in question is an observer entity made to oversee the connection between fantasy and reality? What would happen, if the connection is severed? Would the entire world lose its color?
⠀⠀The antimachine is no longer. The Faux Paradise - one of the many amalgamations of beliefs and assumptions of what a heaven is - collapsed, eroded, rotted away and merged with the real world due to the Real Proxy acting outside of the protocol and integrating into reality a little too much. The delusion is no longer, and Azuma Touga - the software written in Divine Code - finds himself part of the physical, existing realm. There is no more boundary between what's real and what isn't. There is no more signal to follow. The satellite, that had always seemed as if it was growing distant, letting the radio connection fade and deteriorate, is in sight no more. Somewhere far, a satellite shining bright enough to completely plunge one's eyesight into unending darkness. But he didn't need his eyes, he wouldn't dare look directly - just a radio connection was enough to follow what became a burning, combusting, rapidly shrinking and expanding object, much like a beating heart.
⠀⠀Finding himself within the human realm, possessing a completely ordinary human body and surrounded by completely ordinary human beings. It’ll take getting used to, but it’s not as bad… It’s bad. Is this what his quest to learn more about how to act more like a human and less like a dial-up modem leads him to in the end of it all? Touga Azuma reaches out for his right eye that once served as the device connecting his mind with the satellite and pulls it out with force.
⠀⠀This is reality now.
⠀⠀What is your reality now?
|Personality||outlandish, incomprehensible, awfully human. Enthusiastic but fairly silent, a large part of his self seems to be a hollow facade. Generally still acts like a clueless piece of software far from the general conventions of how a "human" acts, but that could be on purpose as he prefers not to get invovled with the matters of others.|
|Likes||there has to have been something, but he doesn't seem remember. Appears to be fond of spacing out in silence alone by himself anyway|
art credit: @mimino_yt
⠀⠀A monochrome world. An artificial world. A non-heaven, but not hell. A deliberately crafted place to belong, sought out but not expected, the linear passage of time, the divergence in time, the butterfly effect. Who can pinpoint the exact moment things take the turn they do? Can time be split into points, rather than viewed in a more abstract, conceptual fashion? When exactly was the Faux Paradise doomed to collapse, and who caused it? Questions like that are long irrelevant, as mourning the past, the past of a world that never existed, might as well be the most fruitless effort in the world - in this desolate, empty world that’s left of its ruins.
⠀⠀Ennel: He was looking to the left. A shamelessly enthusiastic and selfish outlook, a perpetual smile on his face; drive, more drive. He couldn’t have guessed the Heaven would meet its demise like this, for he was far too confident in his own ability as a Divine Connector, and not pessimistic enough to even entertain the possibility. At some point, they started to see less of him. It was told that he had descended down onto the mortal realm in search of more fun, more hedonism, more nonsense. They never really found out what happened, but in the end of it all he seemed to be a part integral enough, as without a stable connection to the Real Proxy the flow of information into the Faux Heaven gradually came to a halt, and, much like a system stuck without timely updates, the artificially made paradise couldn’t operate up to its standards any longer.
⠀⠀Hand of God. Dead white. The first time he realized, the world was white. Going down, going under, going below.
⠀⠀Eliya: A look to the right. A de-facto leader, the First Face, the to-go figure for any and all advice, he seemed as if he knew everything. As if he knew what’s best. Never displaying any emotion aside from a professional, trained smile and a confident look. Whether he was going through any emotional turmoil underneath the facade, no one knew - perhaps, except for Ennel, but even if he did, what use would it be to tell anyone else? The two played the respective roles of the leader and the shadow leader, as two sides of the same coin. When Eliya disappeared, the outer side of the Heaven stopped functioning as well - no data was being processed, no signals sent. Could anyone else have taken their place? Maybe, but the transfer of trust and responsibilities would’ve taken time, and couldn’t happen without the presence and direct approval of theirs.
⠀⠀A momentary flash. Welcome to my world. The second, and last time, was the beginning of the end. The world was red.
⠀⠀With that, more residents of the Heaven started to vanish alongside every memory of them. Soon, it was a desolate, lifeless landscape of empty tall buildings lacking any color.
⠀⠀He could hear the distant whirring of machines, hoarse, quiet sirens and still running gears, albeit aimlessly and without generating any energy. Some of the machines appeared to be switched on, but the screens ran noisy static, all monochrome. Thousands of intertwined cables ran throughout the place, some plugged into the dead screens, some lying around abandoned and unidentified. Certain cables were labeled, most were in good condition but several appeared damaged and worn out beyond repair. Wires sticking out like carcasses of dead insects, but running no energy through them.
⠀⠀He didn’t realize when he had come back to the realm of what once was a well-maintained, lively, albeit clearly artificial and unrealistic Heaven. He couldn’t remember the events of the past undetermined time period, or why he was there, or who he was. He shoved his hand into the pocket of his long jacket and took a pair of round, pink sunglasses out of it. Upon putting them on, he felt as if something was meant to change - probably the outward state of the place he was in, for it was far too empty and dead to view with a bare eye. He put them on and then back off a couple of times, looking into the distance and focusing his vision in an attempt to make something out in the distance. Each time ended in vain and the only difference was a slight change in the hue and brightness of the scenery ahead of him. Seemingly out of nowhere, he was overcome with an intense wave of anger as he crushed the sunglasses in his hands, dropping a few glass shards on the ground and ending up with some of them stuck in his bare hands, rupturing the skin and reminding him of a certain sensation of something he once held in his hands. Glass shards - no, fragile like glass, but still deadly enough to leave deep, persistent scars. No matter how much he tried to remember, nothing would come up anymore; the expression on his face didn’t change as he carefully took each shard one by one out of his skin, he was far too occupied trying to remember at least a hint of what there used to be - what he used to be.
⠀⠀Shaking off the remaining pieces and focusing to ignore the sharp pain all over his palms, he gazes in the distance, trying to make anything out of the layers of fog and the disorienting emptiness. Making his way through what felt like a maze with no walls, he would occasionally walk into dysfunctional, silent machines, screens and devices not attached to anything, some with cables coiled around them, some seemingly shattered by blunt objects or after a fall, but none of it made any sense and there wasn’t any energy sources to use to power any of those up. Like big, but disjointed pieces of a broken puzzle, he continued to walk around piles of broken radios, monitors, clocks…
⠀⠀Perhaps this is all the way it had to be. Maybe this is something to make sense of, instead of trying to attribute meaning to. Instead of looking back and trying to recover the broken pieces, he thinks to himself if he should pick the pieces up and assemble them into something completely different.
⠀⠀If an empty, colorless heaven can be remade into something new from a completely blank state.
⠀⠀Even if he is a blank state - all he knows is that there is a sound he has to find that may not exist anymore but is still etched deep into his memory; the only thing that he remembers. The world may be void of color, but there is still sound, still something to fill the gaps of shattered glass with.
⠀⠀I look up at the sky. In the dark, you smile. A countdown to devastation has come to an end.
[ I WILL XXXX YOU AGAIN, IN THE PAST. ]
Vu aol mpyza khf, h khggspun spnoa. H ispukpun zluzhapvu. Uvul ahrlu, uvul npclu.
Vu aol zljvuk khf, h mlythah. Vizlycl myvt h kpzahujl, kvu'a pualyclul. Hu buzwljpmplk whbzl, bujlyahpuaf, dpaulzz.
Vu aol aopyk khf, klsbzpvu vbaibyza. Svvr ha aopz. Zfzalt pupaphspghapvu. Aolf mhklk pu h ayhuzwhylua, pucpzpisl spnoa.
Vu aol mvbyao khf, h kljhwpahapvu. Buruvdpunsf, P olsk doha dvbsk rpss tl pu tf ihyl ohukz. Pu ylk.
Vu aol mpmao khf, h klsbzpvu zv ylhs pa zovbsk ohcl ulcly illu ivyu. H apnoa nypw hyvbuk tf uljr, uv, pa dhzu'a tpul. Thfil aoha dhz dolu P kplk.
Vu aol zpeao khf, aol lflz dhajopun tl mlss vba vm aolpy zvjrlaz huk zjhaalylk hyvbuk tf mlla.
Vu aol zlcluao khf, P kplk hnhpu.
Aohur fvb. P aopur P buklyzahuk doha pa'z sprl av il obthu uvd.
Aopz pz tf lwpahwo.
art credit: @furisou