As the shock of awaking wore off, Lelouch felt the full impact of what was happening slam into him like a Knighmare's fist. He had acted confident towards Paellon, but at that point his mind had still been struggling with the situation, not fully believing it. He'd even played the arrogant genius, but he had now fully realized that this was not some strange nightmare, but terrifyingly real. He was trapped, being controlled by some mysterious being. His friends had been pulled into the situation as well, and now the world that had been perfect without him would be shattered, all for some sort of game. This thing has ruined everything… can I really do nothing about it?
He had run the situation through his head dozens of times as he walked towards the meeting hall, and every time he grew more frustrated and worried. He had thoroughly analyzed every scenario, but continuously hit a wall. There were three major problems with any plan he could make to thwart the mysterious entity that had imprisoned him in this universe.
He had no idea how he had arrived here, or even how he'd been brought back to life.
He had no idea where his enemy was located, or what it even was.
Any action he could take against the entity would result in the death of his friends.
Then there where the minor problems, such as the fact that he had to regain the trust of the black knights, learn more of this new galaxy, gain new allies, build an army, make a plan, educate himself on the entirely new tactics of space warfare, avoid upsetting the mysterious entity, and assuming they got that far, defeat his rival.
Lelouch stopped in the hallway and put his hands to his head, a violent migrane piercing his mind. I was better off dead… I should be dead! Maybe if I were to die again, this situation would… no. Whatever that thing is that's controlling me would probably just bring me back, and kill some of my people for the trouble. I need to remain calm and focused for the people trapped here. I must fight for their safety, so that they may return to their world of happiness.
Lelouch began walking again. Eventually he arrived at the holding cells, only to be informed that the Black Knights had, thankfully, been moved to a meeting hall already. This Paellon is definitely efficient. Lelouch continued walking through the halls, and began to get an idea for how truly vast the ship was. Eventually he reached the door to the meeting room, and after taking a moment to prepare himself, entered, noticing that the door opened upwards like doors stereotypically did in science fiction.
The area that he had just entered was officially referred to as the 'tactical operations briefing room', and was apparently used by the personnel of these 'Star Destroyers' to plan out missions and give the soldiers involved their directions and objectives. It was laid out with several long grey tables (ten to be exact) stretching from one end of the room to another, with enough chairs to accommodate over a thousand people. Lelouch marveled at the sheer size of the vessel he was on, as the number of chairs here was only enough for the ranking officers and personnel. From what he had read about the subject, one 'Imperial II class' Star Destroyer held over forty thousand crew members and soldiers. In front of the room there was a slightly raised platform, on top of which was set a grey, sharp edged podium. To its left and right there where large screens that Lelouch supposed where used to show simulations and tactical plans.
Filling the front few rows of the room where the assembled members of the Black Knights. It was everyone who had survived, and then some. Kallen, Tohdoh, Ohgi, Tamaki, Xingke, Gino, Anya, Rakshata, Lloyd, Cecile, Cornelia, Guilford, Villetta, Jeremiah, and even the four holy swords, three of which where supposed to be dead, which spoke more to the power of the thing, which Lelouch had decided to refer to as Shadow. All living and once dead Black Knights, with the notable absence of Dietard, where now available for his use… assuming he could get them to follow him.
They where currently under guard by more of the armored soldiers, or 'Storm Troopers', but the Knights where all embroiled in numerous conversations:
"Asahina, I still can't believe that you're back! So much has-"
"What? Some guy took over the world, and Zero killed him? Man I wish I-"
"I'm telling you, I saw him! Lelouch is in this place with-" The last one was Kallen, who noticed Lelouch as he discreetly walked to stand at the podium. "HE'S RIGHT OVER THERE!" She shouted. The noise lessened as people turned to look where Kallen was pointing.
Lelouch did not really know what to do in this situation. "Erm… greetings." He said calmly.
A moment later he was glad that there where guards preventing them from leaving their seats, because he would probably have been attacked by the majority of the people present.
"It's the Demon Emperor!
"But that bastard's supposed to be dead!"
"Suzaku was brought back to life too, and besides, he's a demon!"
Lelouch felt beads of sweat gathering on the back of his neck. This is not going well. "Attention, Black Knights!" Proclaimed confidently. "This is an emergency situation, and I believe you should all know what is going on before you decide to kill me."
"Shut up, monster!"
"We don't need to hear ANYTHING from you!"
"Yeah, let us go!"
Lelouch gazed out at the assembled crowd, their faces full of loathing, and almost despaired.
"Oh, must I do everything for you?" A familiar voice echoed through the room, its power silencing the crowd.
To either side of Lelouch, the screens came to life, showing an image of a man drenched in shadow. He sat imperiously on a dark throne, his only visible feature being his reflective black eyes.
"Attention, foolish peasents." The voice seeped through their minds with a coldness like the heart of a black hole. "Welcome to the Celestial Galaxy. I am the one who rules in the dark, the lord of all that is cold, the King of Shadow. You have the honor of being chosen to take part in the greatest strategic battle of all time, serving under your champion, Lelouch VI Brittania. You must fight and defeat the rival champion if you wish to return to your world. If your champion loses, IF YOU FAIL ME, you will all die. Direct all further questions to your champion."
Then it was gone, as suddenly as it had arrived, and the room was silent.
Lelouch took this opportunity to begin his speech. "As you can tell, everyone, we are in a bad situation. Black Knights and Brittanians, I ask only that you hear me out."
"W-we won't listen to you." Tamaki said shakily.
"No." Suzaku said. "Let him speak."
There was some grumbling among the assembly, but most people where still to shocked to respond. The power of the King of Shadow was undeniable.
"Thank you." Lelouch said. He paused for a moment to consider his strategy, and decided that the best way to regain their trust was to tell them the truth. "As this King of Shadows has said, we are indeed in another galaxy. In fact, we are currently in a spacecraft. I have begun relations with the owners of this craft, and have created a possible venue for creating the army we will most probably need for the times ahead of us. If anyone has any questions, I will take them now, and I promise to answer truthfully." This is going to be difficult.
"Lelouch…" Kallen began. "How are you still alive? We saw you die!"
Lelouch felt his face twist, matching the fury he felt. "That… thing… brought me back. I wanted no part in this."
"Yeah right!" Tamaki shouted. "The demon king didn't want to be brought back to life? Like anyone will believe that!"
Lelouch sighed, his body sagging against the podium. His headache was only getting worse. "That was not the plan."
"What are you talking about?" Xingke asked. "What plan."
Lelouch looked out across the assembled crowd, and inwardly groaned. I guess there's nothing for it. The plan was pretty much ruined anyway. "The plan for my death."
The crowd reacted with confusion and disbelief. Tamaki in particular was indignant. "What do you mean, the plan for you death?"
"I named it Zero Requiem. After Schneizel was defeated, I had no more objectives to accomplish but to destroy myself and free the world from tyranny."
Cornelia looked dumbfounded. "Y-you had yourself killed… to free the world from tyranny? But why not just rule benignly?"
Lelouch met their gaze with a determined stare. "The world needs someone to blame for their problems, a villain that could unite all peoples against him. Without that person, the world is a place of confusion and destruction, with no place to focus the fury of the human race. I chose to become that person, so that when I was killed, the world would become a kind and gentle one."
Every person in that room that had survived the ordeals of the reign of the Demon King thought of the good times that had come after his death, how the world had seemed and become a much more hopeful place.
"But why?" Kallen asked quietly. "Why did you do all of this?"
"For the people of the world, for my friends… but most of all so that…" Lelouch's voice faltered. I'd resigned myself to the truth, but should I really…"S-so that my sister could live in peace and happiness."
"What proof do we have that any of this is true?" Xingke asked.
"Everything he has said is true." Suzaku said. "I helped him with his plan. I was the one who killed him."
The heads of everyone in the room turned to stare at him. "You're Zero? But…"
"He is my succesor." Lelouch said dismally. "I was the original Zero. Kallen, Villetta, and Suzaku can confirm that."
The room descended into turmoil for a moment, allowing Lelouch to regain his composure. "Everyone, may I have your attention."
"Now that I have told you everything, I have one question for you: will you help me win, so that you can return to our world?"
Tohdoh, Suzaku, Ohgi, and Cornelia exchanged glances. "We must discuss this among ourselves." Cornelia proclaimed. "Please leave the room."
Lelouch walked awkwardly to the door, aware of every person's gaze as he left. He felt as if he had just fought a fierce battle. After so much time spent lying, it was difficult, even painful, to tell the whole truth. There was a part of him, though, that was glad to get it all off his chest, and wanted to be able to trust someone. Now all he could do was hope and wait.
Suddenly, the door opened, and two people came through.
"Oh! Lelouch, we have an urgent question for you." Lloyd said.
"Yes, as the duke of pudding says, we were wondering about that thing you had mentioned, about this being a spacecraft. You are sure?" Rakshata asked urgently.
Lelouch mentally smacked himself for not addressing that issue in the main room. "Yes, we are in a spacecraft, one that is roughly a kilometer long."
Lelouch stared, nonplussed, as the scientists froze. Their heads turned slowly to look at each other.
The hallway erupted with noise as the two hugged each other and practically squealed with glee.
Lelouch raised an eyebrow, but supposed it was only natural, them being some of the foremost scientists in the world. On our world, that is.
The door slid open again, this time emitting Suzaku and Cornelia. "Lelouch…" Suzaku trailed off, distracted by the two scientists. "What are they-"
"They're scientists and this is a spaceship." Lelouch explained. "Have you decided?"
"We have decided to give you a chance, as we have no other choice." Cornelia said, warily.
Lelouch felt a rush of relief, but did not let it show. "Very well. Everyone can head off to explore the ship, but I would like to confer with both of you, Tohdoh, Kallen, Villetta, Jeremiah, Guilford, Xingke, Ohgi, Lloyd and Rakshata after you settle in in order to reassure you all, establish a chain of command, and discuss our plan."
And so it begins.