[Saretha sits as she often does when addressing the Network. She looks prim. Proper. Subdued and yet fully attentive and with an expression that appears as if she is outright demanding respect, whether or not she gets it, without saying a word.
However. There is a difference.
The camera is pulled back. The shot is wider.
Standing behind her is... also Saretha. Both appear functionally identical, right down to the Kamui worn by them. The only difference is negligible, and yet stark - Saretha's face is impassive, unflinching, while with "Saretha"... she currently wears a decided smirk, with a look in her eyes that foretells a danger all too real and far different from whatever Saretha herself offers.
Saretha, sitting, the real one, is who begins to speak.]
Do not be alarmed. I am not be coerced by my "other" here, and if you know me even remotely you know such a thing would be laughable. I am in no danger from her, not at present.
[The doppelganger clears her throat, side-eyeing Saretha.] We really should make an attempt to distinguish ourselves at this point, my dearest Saretha. Satsuki will do, I think, yes?
[The doppelganger has a look of sick amusement in her eyes, while Saretha's jaw visibly clenches. She shoots a glare, and then continues on.]
She has given me an idea of how her and the other "doubles" have been standing in terms of perspective. Upon your inception, you knew not what you were. Nor did we. This led to a certain... level of misunderstanding about your intentions, I believe. Or yours about ours. Yet, between what they have experienced earlier in this month, and what Young said the other day... not to mention when I met her in January... and what Dr. Smith proposed to us before his Numbers stopped responding...
I was already reaching a state of clarity about what we are facing.
All... [Hn.] Satsuki here has done is verify that.
[The double smirks. Saretha gives her a look as if threatening to slit her throat.]
The initial monster, the snake, only woke upon the interference of the first alien. "Tiny." But... to what purpose? To what end? That alien obviously knew why. The way Young spoke before, these creatures are not things that were suddenly transplanted here. No, they have most assuredly been sleeping. Waiting.
The pink lights. The echo boundaries that result. The monsters, and their "offspring" - be it the snake's scales, our doubles, the Santas and Grinces... US. The way Young spoke of everything, of our souls, their souls, and everything that ties them together... All of us are connected, and not necessarily by way of the aliens.
Yet, Young seemed rather surprised we have not hunted down these doubles to kill them. Or perhaps she was disappointed that we instead stopped the Santas and Grinches in their goal to defrost whatever lay under Lapland.
Or maybe... both.
We know Benwick has been manipulating us. I know now why I trusted him where I trusted no one else in the world. It was very fortuitous that they set Young before us to speak, because that has opened my mind rather profoundly.
Tiny did not waken the snake to destroy us. Not then. No, the snake beneath Locke City, the shellfish in Las Vegas... those were never their weapons against us.
On the contrary, Young spoke very much - especially during the meeting with the Secretary of Defense, Lazarus, Shou, Benwick, and msyelf - as if they were beings to be destroyed. Aliens invading our planet, our Earth, that we know have been manipulating us. Manipulating the world, as is evident by Benwick's constant presence in the political limelight. Yet they... want us to destroy these creatures?
Tiny was no rebel.
Neither the monsters, nor their offspring, are our true opponents.
The aliens have been making us do their dirty work all along, setting us into a position where we would take out forces that could withstand untold damage. That could obliterate entire armies if roused.
We and our doubles share a common foe. And, I think, especially after everything that Young has said...
So do those monsters.