(Mike and the 'bots are already seated. Bob walks
in and sits down.)
Bob: Yep. You guys sure missed it.
Crow: She came up with some poetry?
Bob: Yeah. She's good.
Crow: Wait a minute! We just had a chapter called "File Search"!
Reports were coming in from all over Mainframe.
Servo: Beanie Baby fever has hit McDonald's.
Bugs, so far only Scouts and occasional lost Worker, were appearing through out the system. They were no more than one or two in each instance.
Mike: Yeah, but if you see one, there's about a hundred more in your basement.
If cornered, they were attacking to protect themselves. Some binomes had been bit, but no life threatening injuries had happened so far.
Bob: The bugs just aren't trying anymore.
But each passing nanosecond brought closer the possibility of an all out infestation.
Crow: Better call the Orcan Man!
Ray and Mouse brought the tear to the Principle Office CPU garage.
Servo: What, is Phong restoring an old Harley in his spare time? Is this where the PO's forces keep their sleds in the summer?
Locked inside the metal web of beams, the Class 12 flickered in the steady glow of the overhead lights. Mouse's hands worked the console set up outside the tear.
Mike: So she stopped using her hair to do things. That's nice to know.
Phong and Ray stood on either side of the hacker as she ran up a list of
Bob: Kids who picked on her in school.
possible systems to search. AndrAIa and Hexadecimal entered the room. AndrAIa carried the corpse of the Bug in her arms.
Crow: (Elmer Fudd) I killed a cute widdle bug!
Attached to its head was a code extractor, gathering the Bug's last images to be recreated on another vidwindow set up next to Mouse.
Servo: Oh, this is how Lucas restored the Star
Mike: What, from people's memories?
Servo: Oh please. Tell me there's a Star Wars fan out there who doesn't have the whole thing memorized.
Frisket ran past them with Little Enzo trying to keep up. The game sprite and former virus realized Frisket chased a Bug.
Bob: He chased the bug about five milliseconds ago; they're just realizing it now.
"Get him Frisket!" Little Enzo cheered.
Frisket caught the Scout in his jaws and crushed it.
Crow: Oh, gross! You don't know where that's been!
He then returned carrying his prize to Little Enzo. He wagged his tail.
"Good boy!" he patted the dog.
Servo: (Enzo) Now let's go chew up Dot's shoes.
AndrAIa told the dog. "Put it in the trash Frisket."
Phong put the entry of the dead Bug in his system log.
Mike: (Phong) "Dear Diary. The dog killed a bug today. We laughed."
"That is now twenty-three Bugs.
Bob: What, he's counting them?
I do not like this. If we miss even one we could have an epidemic."
Crow: Oh, come on! One bug can't count as a whole epidemic!
"The CPUs are spraying and baiting traps all over," AndrAIa said. "I'm sure we can keep the PO from being infested.
Servo: Doodly doodly doop (AndrAIa) The PO's infested!
What's our status Mouse?"
"From the codes I have I've narrowed down the search tah one hundred fifty two possibilities.
Mike: (Mouse) But none of them have cable, and only three have indoor swimming pools.
If we go by parallel ports and active systems Mainframe or the old Twin City were linked to, I can get it down tah forty three."
Bob: (Mouse) And if I delete all these other entries, I can narrow it down to one.
"Excellent Mouse. AndrAIa has tapped the Bug's memory core. We can get some last images from it."
Crow: We can watch its home movies.
Little Enzo and Frisket returned from dumping the Bug as AndrAIa started to hook up the dead Bug to the console.
Servo: It's that new N64 memory add-on.
"What will we see?" the child asked.
Mike: Just a paid ad for Ronco.
"Only the last bits of its memory," explained AndrAIa. "It will play back. Sort of like a movie."
Bob: Only without any story or
Crow: Oh, so like Godzilla.
Ray said. "Maybe someone should have brought some chips."
Servo: So that we could be eating instead of making lame jokes.
AndrAIa began to download. A fuzzy image stated to appear.
Mike: (AndrAIa) This page gets a lot of traffic, so we may have to wait a while.
The eyes of the insect gave off a honeycomb of multiple images at a Bug's eye view. They moved so rapidly, the pictures were almost undecipherable.
Crow: Yeah, I hate those older games that were made for those 1980's computers.
"The images are stored," AndrAIa announced. "I'll have it enhanced and play it back at half speed."
Bob: Readers won't soon forget when AndrAIa enhanced the video and played it back!
After resetting the playback mode, the images repeated. They saw a street through a single fisheye-like lens of the Bug's vision.
Servo: A street! This bug must have come from
Bob: It's Quadra, actually.
Servo: Yeah, like it matters.
The bursts of a firefight erupted around the Bug. As another Bug died it front of it.
Mike: That sentence lost its independant clause in the war, I guess.
It could be seen ripping the wounded up for food.
Crow: (Bug) Hmm. . . yeah, I'm pretty sure he's dead.
"On second thought," Ray stated," I'm glad we don't have chips."
Bob: (Ray) They stick right to my thighs.
"That's gross!" Mouse said.
Mike: She flew her spaceship through Enzo's nose, but she's disgusted by one bug eating another one?
"Yeah," Little Enzo smiled. "Ain't it cool?!"
Servo: RoeBoot must be deeply in touch with the pre-adolescent male psyche to know that they enjoy things that are gross.
AndrAIa saw something that frightened her.
Crow: The WB!
She paused the image and rewound. "Look at the upper corner of the picture! That's Matrix!"
Bob: Boy, I'd be frightened too if I saw Matrix.
They watched as the blurred image of Matrix fired towards the Bug's position before he retreated. Bob was slung over his shoulder.
Mike: Wait a minute, Bob was injured after the fight with the bugs! Continuity!
"Oh no!" Hex screamed. "I hate it when I'm right!"
Servo: (Hexadecimal) Why can't I get something wrong for once? I'm such a failure!
Little Enzo panicked. "What's wrong AndrAIa? What's happened to Bob? What about Dot?!"
Crow: And what about Scarecrow's brain?
"Enzo," AndrAIa tried to be honest. "I'm sure Dot is fine.
Bob: Yeah, she tried to be honest, but it just didn't work.
Bob looks like he's injured but Matrix is with him.
Mike: (AndrAIa) It's weird that Bob always seems to get injured when he's alone with Matrix. All well. Not up to me to draw a connection.
They'll be all right."
"No!" Hex didn't compromise her feelings. "We have to hurry! Bob is going to die!"
Servo: She gleaned all that from five seconds of film?
"What?!" Little Enzo started crying. "No! Bob can't die!"
Crow: His contract is for a full season!
Mouse snarled. "You might not be a virus anymore! But you sure act like one! You've scared the kid!"
Bob: Actually, most viruses would put "scare the kid" pretty far down the list from "infect the core".
"I told the truth!" Hex snapped.
"One of the things I know how to do thanks to Bob!
Mike: (Hex) Like how to tie my shoes and how to laugh.
Now let us stop arguing and find that system so I can save his life!"
Servo: Yes, let's continue what we've been
doing for the last eight chapters for crying out loud!
Mike: Easy, Tom. . .
Because of there being so many patients for the doctors to handle,
Bob: Well, at least the doctors aren't
losing their patience!
Mike: Oh Bob, no. ..
Dot cared for Bob herself with some minor help from Hack and Slash.
Crow: Oh, they were her "supporting physicians".
Bob moaned as she cleaned out the wound
Bob: Are you sure hydrochloric acid cleans wounds? All well, you're the doctor. . .
to apply the file patch to the deep puncture in Bob's side. The area had swollen and turned the area of his exposed flesh a deep purple.
"At least it’s not bleeding," Dot said to them.
Servo: (Dot) And it's not raining. That's a good thing.
"It still looks pretty bad," Hack admitted.
Mike: But is it creepy?
"Part of it been fused. Bob was trying to repair the damage."
She dabbed the wound some more using a clean cloth.
Crow: Stop it! Now she's just playing with it!
Bob gasped and gripped the sides of the cot, trying to keep from lashing out. He had to maintain control.
Bob: My diet's been going so well, but one peanut butter cup could ruin the whole thing.
He refused to writhe despite the growing agony. Slash moved to the other side of Bob and touched the guardian's hand.
Servo: (Slash) Does this bug you?
Slash felt Bob grip one of his fingers extremely hard.
Mike: Yeah, they like grabbing things when they're that age.
"It hurts a lot Bob?" Slash asked.
"Of course it does!" Hack snapped.
Crow: (Bob) Hey, I can speak for myself!
"Hack..." warned Bob, "Don't...yell..."
Bob conceded. "You...don't...want to...know...what...this...feels like...
Servo: You're right. We don't. Shut up.
No…one...I wouldn't...even want...Mega...Mega...byte...to feel...this..."
Bob: Oh, I don't know about that. . .
"Don't talk about him!
Mike: (Dot) I'm sick of hearing about your old boyfriend!
I feel like he's laughing at us!" Dot said in anger.
Crow: (Bob) No one. . . can hear. . . you scream. . .
Servo: All they have are ABC sitcoms in the Web.
The shoulder gashes were less severe and needed less treatment. After patching them Dot sat on a tiny binome
Bob: Hey! That's not nice!
Nubus gave her and took a cloth dampened in clean data. She mopped Bob's forehead, face and neck to relieve the hotness of his skin.
Mike: Yeah, just use those water rations to clean your boyfriend's face. Mmm hmm.
Bob let out a weak sigh. His eyes closed.
Crow: (Dot) Is that you?
Bob flinched from a rush of pain then relaxed again. His breathing remained shallow and faint.
"Can you hear me?" Dot touched his forehead.
Servo: (Dot) Can you feel me near you?
Bob: Where. . . did you think. . . I was going to go?
An overworked disk doctor came over to her.
All: (singing) I told the disk doctor I was in love with you!. . .
"How is he?" he asked in a tired voice.
Mike: (Dot) Well, he's cute and everything, but he's thicker than a. . . oh, you mean his medical condition!
"His fever is very high and he's having problems breathing," she said. "And the pain is getting worse."
Crow: Yeah, tell us about it.
"The poison in the Soldier's stingers causes paralysis.
Servo: And certainly not death, as we were led to believe.
Because he's a sprite it would take more serum to disable his systems. The more he fights the shut down the more the symptoms worsen."
Bob: So if I just give in to it, I'll be perfectly fine. Okay. Whatever.
The doctor nudged Slash's hand away
Mike: (Doctor) Only daddy touch.
and took hold of Bob's wrist.
He shook his head.
Crow: (Doctor) No, I can't remember how to do this. Sorry.
"His pulse is extremely weak and rapid. I wish there were something better I can say.
Servo: Hey, if you can't say something nice, keep it to yourself!
The Soldiers killed all the sprites in Quadra.
Bob: (Dot) What am I? Fragmented data?
Even when we had toxin treatment. There is so little we could do except keep him comfortable and try to ease his pain. I'm sorry."
Mike: So. . . all they can do is just let the
Crow: 'Fraid so.
Mike: And they need a whole medical team to do that?
Crow: Try not to think about it, honey.
The doctor walked away.
Dot swallowed trying to keep the lump down.
Servo: (Dot) Oh, those chicken nuggets aren't sitting very well. . .
Hack put his hand on her shoulder.
Bob: Oh no, I smell a song. . .
"We're sorry too, Dot," he muttered.
"Could you two leave us alone for a few nanoseconds," she requested.
Mike: Four's a croud; take a hint.
"Sure, Dot. Come on Slash."
They slowly rolled away. Dot leaned closer to Bob
Crow: My, what big teeth you have, Grandma.
patting his face with the cloth.
"Great words of comfort huh?
Servo: (Bob) Yes. . . cheered me. . . right. . . up. . .
And this is a great way to spend my birthday."
Mike: (Dot) I've been looking forward to the day when I could sit by your death bed.
Bob: . . .Palindrome. . . I. . .
Crow: Bob sure knows how to show a girl a good time.
"I wanted it to be intimate.
Servo: (Dot) Unfortunately, BS'n'P got here first.
This isn't exactly what I imagined," she tried to joke.
Mike: People in this story just don't try hard enough.
She traced her fingers
Bob: And made a Thanksgiving turkey decoration.
around his guardian Glitch icon on his chest. "I took it for granted. With all the powers you have I thought you were indestructible.
Crow: Well, he's probably still under warranty.
With Mainframe safe I believed nothing would ever go wrong again.
Servo: (Dot) And then the fans started writing these stories.
We were together. That's all that mattered."
Bob trembled. "After...all...
Mike: (Bob) . . .It's just. . . another. . . brick in. . . the wall. . .
we've...been...through...it...would be...you...and....me...forever...That's what...I...said...right?"
(Suddenly, there's sniffles, like someone crying.
Bob: (half-crying) We were perfect for each other! How could something like this happen?
Crow: Uh oh. Poor sap's really getting into it.
Mike: (handing Bob a hanky) Here.
Bob: Thanks. (Bob blows his nose loudly.)
Bob's raspy breathing that sounded like torture to her.
Servo: (Dot) Quit breathing! It's getting on my nerves!
Bob gritted his teeth as another spasm rushed over him. His skin and body faded,
Crow: Hey, self-cleaning Guardian. Leaves nothing but the smell of cinnamon.
then become solid again.
He strained to talk. "I'm...so...tired..."
Bob: (starting to settle down) So why
am I wasting painful breathes to whine?
Mike: Feeling better, honey?
Bob: Yeah. . .
Dot's eyes teared
Servo: You mean tore.
again. "I'm scared."
Mike: (Bob) But you don't. . . see me. . . crying about it. . .
"Maybe sleeping will be better for you."
Crow: Sleeping cures feelings of exhaustion? What a medical breakthrough!
Servo: Got that right, ya vegetable.
Bob: I said. . . I'd. . . do the dishes. . . and I'll do 'em. . . if it kills me. . .
She carefully ran her finger on his hair. "I don't want to see you suffer Bob," she cried. "I'll...I'll let you go."
Mike: So she just dumps him?
Bob: (standing up, enraged) WHAT?! Why, you absolute --
(Suddenly, the screen is awash in static)
(Cut to a scene where Mike the TV is sitting behind a desk with the letters "BS'N'P" on the front.)
Mike the TV: We interrupt this file to bring you the following: The Broadcast Standards and Procedures Council have determined that the outburst you were about to see is unsuitable for young audiences. We will resume the file when it has ended.
Mike the TV: This may take a while.
(More silence. Mike checks his watch.)
Mike the TV: I guess you want me to do something. Okay, so this panda bear walks into a restaurant and orders a cheeseburger. When he's done, he takes out a machine gun, and --
(Back in the theater. Mike and the 'bots are gathered around Bob, who seems to be restrained to his seat, though he still thrashes a bit. A hole seems to have been torn in the screen.)
Crow: Is he all tied down?
Mike: Yeah, it took long enough. Now, I'll have no more outbursts like that, young man. Is that clear?
(Bob makes a muffled sound. Apparantly, he's been gagged.)
(Mike and the bots take their seats)
She bit her tongue.
Servo: (Dot) Oww! Why did I do that?
The look in Bob's eyes made her regret the words even more. "That was a cowardly thing for me to say. I'm sorry."
(Bob thrashes some more.)
"No...it was...the...bravest...thing...you've...ever...said...to me.
Crow: (Bob) It was. . . so brave of you. . . to abandon me. . . at the. . . first sign. . . of weakness. . .
Mike: The Guardian's skipping. Hit him.
Servo: (Bob) . . .that. . .you. . . quit. . .
"I don't understand."
Crow: Said everyone who's ever read this story.
"You...will..." He gritted his teeth, now too drained to cry out from the pain and finding even harder to talk.
Mike: Great. Now we don't have to listen to his whining.
Servo: (Bob) . . . get. . . me. . . some. . . more. . . chips. . .
Bob managed to reach his hand up to her face. Dot saw the intention in his eyes. "I...love...you..."
Crow: You know, 7th Heaven is starting
to look pretty good right now.
Mike: No, Crow! Fight it!
Servo: Dot just keeps copying everything. Doesn't she have any original ideas of her own?
She bent closer. They kissed.
Crow: Hmmm. Just not as powerful as the first time.
After a few nanoseconds Bob's hand slipped away. Dot didn't feel anything from Bob's lips. When she opened her eyes she saw Bob's eyes were closed.
Mike: (Dot) I didn't think the kiss was that bad. . .
"Bob?!" she sobbed.
Servo: Look, he's exhausted. He fell asleep. Get over it.
Nothing save for a faint breath on her face.
"You sleep now," she wept. "I'll be here waiting for you to come back."
Crow: (Dot) I want you back before midnight. Do you understand, young man?
Mike: Hey Bob. Do you promise to
(Bob makes an affirmative noise)
Mike: All right then. (Mike gets up and unties Bob.)
Bob: Sorry I blew up like that. It just makes me mad.
Mike: I know.
Matrix paced around the bunker like a caged animal.
Servo: Oddly enough, it was like a caged gerbil.
He wanted to go outside and kill as many Bugs as he found to get even. There was too much suffering here.
Crow: And they just had this hideous wallpaper.
How could he find relief when no one in the bunker had any? His mentor lay dying and all his strength was useless to save him. As he made what seemed his hundredth lap around the bunker he ran into Hack and Slash.
Servo: (car horn) Beep beep!
Mike: (Hack) Hey, watch where you're going, you maniac!
Bob: (Matrix) Stay off the road! Do you wanna get hit or something?
"How is Bob?" he had to ask.
"Worse," Hack admitted.
Crow: (Hack) He started calling me Elizibeth and asking for peanuts.
Slash put in. "And getting worser."
"There's no such word as worser!"
Servo: Oh dear God, please, no!
Mike: Bob's dying, but that's no reason why they can't have a witty exchange.
"Yes there is!"
"No there isn't!"
Bob: Tastes great!
Crow: Less filling!
"Yes there is!"
"WILL YOU TWO IDIOTS BE QUIET!" Matrix screamed at them.
Servo: You know, I'm starting to like this Matrix guy.
The bunker grew silent. Hack and Slash cowered away from him, holding each other, afraid Matrix was about to pull Gun out.
Mike: I bet they get that a lot. People telling them to shut up and then shooting them.
Seeing their fear he said. "Aw man! Guys I'm sorry. I must have sounded like Megabyte.
Bob: (Matrix) And anyone else who's had to sit through one of your dialogues.
I'm nothing but a big jerk. I'm-"
Crow: (Matrix) A super jerk, the kind you don't take home to mother.
They heard it. A soft sound of singing coming from the far end of the bunker.
Servo: Geez, even in the thick of a bug-infested system, there's no escaping Celine Dion.
Matrix walked past Hack and Slash, dazed by the memory of when he last heard it.
Mike: (Matrix) "String of Pearls"? Man, they never play this song!
Matrix's first birthday only felt like a vague dream to him. To Dot, it was far closer in her mind.
Bob: Well. Thanks for noting that. I feel better, how about you guys?
When he reached the cot he saw Dot cradling Bob and singing to him the same song she preformed for Enzo's surprise party.
Crow: 'Cause we couldn't think up a new one.
She struggled to keep her voice steady as she found the words between her sobs. Finally she gave up.
Servo: How did Dot ever survive Megabyte's infection if she quits so easily?
She let Bob slip back into the cot.
Dot felt a shadow fall over the bed.
Mike: Hey, stop right there! You are not bringing the Orioles into this!
She turned to see her bigger brother format.
Servo: You mean her bigger brother file.
"Dot. I'm here," Matrix knelt in front of her.
Dot clung to him and cried. "I won't do this again! I won't! I stopped believing in him before.
Bob: So now she doesn't think I'm real?
I won't believe he's leaving me again. Why did I tell him I'd let him go? Why?!"
Crow: You had an out-of-character experience. It happens a lot in shoddy fanfics.
Matrix gritted his teeth in anguish. "It's my fault, sis. Just like AndrAIa!
Mike: (Matrix) Stupid Plot Device Recycling Commission.
I left him unprotected! And now...now he's..." His voice faulted.
Servo: Then it double faulted and lost the match.
Matrix refused to cry. Dot remembered how he refused to weep again after the loss of Bob in the Web. No more tears.
Crow: From now on, Johnson's & Johnson's Baby Shampoo all the way.
And the journey though the games hardened it even more. Be tough. No room for crying.
Bob: But plenty of room for Jell-O.
"Tell me what happened," she asked.
"You don't want to hear it."
Mike: (Dot) Duh. . . So why did I ask?
"I do. Please, Enzo. Tell me what went wrong.
Servo: Please, Enzo. Rather than move on to
the next plot point, please restate what already happened for the fifteenth
Mike: Whoa. . . Calm down there, buddy. . .
It's the only way we can try again. We have to get out of here within the next cycle. Bob can't hold out."
Crow: Oh, so if he tells her what happened, Bob will recover and they can open a portal. I see. (Crow starts shaking violently) AAAAAAAAAAA!
He relented. He sat on the floor as Dot reset herself
Bob: Dot cleared her memory? But why?
on the stool next to Bob. She held Bob's hand as Matrix told her everything.
"If I had listened to him the Bugs wouldn't have gotten so close," Matrix finished.
Servo: Yeah, I can see why she needed to know that.
"But Bob said it was an ambush."
"It was like they were waiting for us.
Mike: Uh, yeah, that would be an ambush.
And Bob expended so much energy fighting them. If only I hadn't left him."
"Enzo. We've all made mistakes."
Crow: (Dot) Like wearing armor to a lunch date.
"My whole life is a mistake!"
"Enzo stop it!"
Bob: (Dot) You're scaring me!
She scolded him. "You had no choice.
Servo: (Dot) If you hadn't left Bob, we wouldn't have any plot to go on right now.
Bob and I are proud of you. We always will be. No matter what goes wrong. We're a team. We're a family."
Mike: You know, I feel warm all over. .
Crow: Yeah. . .
Mike: I think I'll tell Gypsy to turn down the heat in here. . .
Crow: Yeah. . .
Bob: (groaning) Must every one of these stories turn into an after-school special?
They looked at him. Dot took Matrix's hand and put in on Bob's.
Servo: Now shake hands and come out fighting.
"Enzo. Talk to him."
Matrix rubbed the back of his head thinking about it. "What do I say?"
Mike: (Dot) Just make sure he buys it.
I'll leave you two alone if you like."
"No It's okay. You can hear it too. Like you said we're a family."
Crow: (Dot) Darn. I should have just left while I had the chance.
Matrix spoke to him. "Bob? I know you told me you were proud of me when I felt like a failure. I wish you...I want you to tell me it that again.
Bob: Fine. . . I'm proud. . . Now can. . . I get some sleep?
I can't shake believing this is my fault.
Servo: Matrix has issues. Who's
Mike: Hey, you stole that one from, uh, whats-her-name.
Servo: Heh heh. Sorry.
You are my best friend Bob. But you'll always be my hero and my friend.
Crow: For as long as you li-- oops. . .
No matter how old I am. I need your guidance. Your advice.
Bob: Invest in oranges.
I've never felt so lonely and lost. Bob. Dot and I need you. So does Little Enzo. Who's going to teach him to be a guardian?
Mike: Who's going to make his costume for the school play? Who's going to feed his lima beans to the dog and pretend that he ate them?
I can't. Right now I don't even feel like a good renegade!"
Servo: (Matrix) I keep upholding order and obeying the rules! I need help!
He recomposed himself. "Prove Dos is wrong Bob! You've beaten the odds before. You can do it again.
Crow: (Matrix) You! Out there in the audience! You wanna see Bob pull through, don't you? If you do, clap your hands really hard! That's it! Throw in a few "Huggbees" for good measure!
You didn't come all the way from the Web to loose by being stung by a Bug! Please Bob!"
Matrix felt a tear come out his left eye.
Bob: Hey, a tear! We can use it to create a
Servo: No, a tear. Rhymes with beer, cheer, deer. . .
He quickly wiped it away. Dot put her arm around his shoulder.
They looked at Bob. His eyes were closed.
Hovering between dreams and delirium Bob mumbled. "Hap...py....birth...day..."
Crow: (Marlyn Monroe) Mr. President. . .
(Everyone clears their throats loudly)
Hexadecimal watched the tear, her hands clasped in front of her face as if praying.
Servo: (Hexadecimal) Please waffle. . . please get done. . .
AndrAIa saw how troubled she appeared. Hex's eyes barely blinked as if her face were once again only a mask.
AndrAIa spoke to her. "You're very worried about him."
Mike: (Hexadecimal, surprised) I am? I suppose you're right; I never even noticed.
"Yes. Go figure right?"
Bob: Go fish.
I understand. Bob saved your live. He saved mine when I got bit by a Web creature. You believe you owe him."
Crow: (AndrAIa) It's a common misconception. Legally, he owes you.
"I do owe him."
"Can you sense what is wrong with Bob?"
Servo: (AndrAIa) Besides the hair, I mean.
"He's been infected. His guardian protocol can't keep fighting it but his Glitch plug ins are helping him hold on."
"Something in Glitch's former programming is keeping him alive?"
Mike: (Hexadecimal) No, I was kidding. Ha! I can't believe you fell for that one!
"Bob isn't the same guardian anymore child.
Bob: Now I'm Walter Smith.
He has evolved beyond a boundary. Where it takes him is yet to be discovered.
Crow: My guess is it'll be somewhere near Michigan.
As a virus, I had power I barely learned to control. Since all of the viral part has been removed, I can only offer Bob an idea of what level he is heading for."
Servo: Why, someday he may actually get a clue!
AndrAIa comprehended. "No wonder he wanted you to stay alive after Mainframe crashed."
Mike: What, so he could ask her how to blow stuff up?
"It's more then that.
Bob: (Hex) There's also my brownie recipies.
More then you may ever learn dispute how smart as you are."
AndrAIa cocked her eyebrow. "I like a challenge."
Crow: And I like strawberry yogurt. (screaming) WHAT IS THIS? DO SOMETHING!
Her remark made Hex smile.
Mouse finished entering the codes. "We're ready."
Servo: (astonished) Is it. . . ? Can
it be. . . ?
Mike: Gentlemen, I'm pleased to report that the story is going somewhere!
(General celebratory commotion)
Phong told her. "Then let us begin."
Mouse's hands flew over the buttons.
Bob: (Mouse) Whoops, there they go again. Someone wanna catch those for me?
The tear stabilized, showing an unfamiliar system. Everything looked normal.
"Keep going Mouse," AndrAIa said.
The tear shifted. Another system came up, then another, then another all operating normally.
Crow: Geez, 57 systems and there's nothing on.
Mouse moved fast. A virus or a rogue guardian might pick up the open channel and try to hop through. On the fifteenth system, she paused.
Servo: And a virus and a rogue guardian hopped through.
The system had the deep gray sky of being on the verge of crashing.
Mike: Gray sky in the morning, a system's warning.
"That's it!" Hex and AndrAIa both said.
Bob: (Hex) It's perfect, we'll take it! Don't wrap it up, we'll wear it home.
Phong remembered. "It's Quadra. A small colony set up around the time the Twin City was destroyed. We lost contact with them some time ago."
Crow: (Phong) Their last transmission was something about being infested with bugs. Guess we should have followed up on that.
Ray summoned Surfboard and hopped on.
Servo: Then he went to Beach and swam in Ocean.
"I say we check it. AndrAIa? You comin'?"
"No. Take Hexadecimal. She's Bob's only chance."
Mike: See, now she's been reading ahead again!
Mouse frowned. Ever since the virus stopped her from saving Bob during the Web War, Mouse refused to trust her.
Servo: (muttering) Conflict.
Now she had to let Ray take Hexadecimal with him.
Bob: The man laughed. A cannon fired!
A winged Soldier Bug jumped out of the portal and landed on the console in front of Mouse. Mouse drew her sword as the Bug hissed at her.
Crow: Yeah, and I bet there was a snake growling nearby.
She sliced its head off causing it to reflexively sting the console. Sparks shot out as the link malfunctioned. The portal turned back into a tear but not before four more Bugs flew into the room.
Mike: Quick! Get the RAID!
They leaped like grasshoppers about the garage, picking out their prey.
AndrAIa drew her trident. "Get behind me Enzo!"
Servo: (AndrAIa) I was here first! No skipping!
The game sprite put herself between the child sprite and two very menacing Bugs. Frisket took position right beside her, snarling and barking.
Bob: See, he only attacks the little ones that don't sting. Big bully.
The two other Bugs stalked around Mouse, Phong and Ray. The hacker held her sword up, growling louder then Frisket.
Crow: Geez, keep her on a leash!
Ray stepped off Surfboard
Mike: And got into Car and drove to City where
he met Friend and went to see Show. Afterward, they went to Diner and had
Meal before returning to --
Servo: Okay Mike. Thank you.
and sent it flying behind one off the Bugs. As it whirled around to attack, Surfboard whacked it like a fly swatter. After a few hits, the Bug was crushed and deleted. The other Bug got quick revenge for its erased comrade.
Bob: (Bug) You gonna crush my comrade? Fine! I'll just do a few donuts on your lawn!
It sprung onto Surfboard and dug its stinger into it.
Ray screamed and fell over.
Crow: (Ray) My board! I spent all week on that thing, and you messed up the paint!
"NO!" roared Mouse.
She charged the Bug
Mike: She put it on her Visa.
and sheered off its abdomen at the stinger area before she stabbed it to finish it off. Phong wheeled over. Taking a towel from his belly drawer,
Servo: That's what I need. A junk drawer built right into my stomach.
he put it around the stinger and pulled it out. Phong heard Ray gasp as it came out.
AndrAIa aimed her trident, knowing she must drill the Bug on the first try. Frisket faced the fourth Bug. The Soldier danced forward and backward,
Bob: (singing) You put your whole self in, you put your whole self out. . .
waving its wings as a matador would use its cape, trying to get a bull to charge so it may stab the animal as it passed.
Little Enzo saw the ploy and ordered the dog. "Stay Frisket! Don't attack!"
Crow: (Enzo) He's out of your jurisdiction!
AndrAIa got an idea. "Frisket! Cross attack!"
Mike: (AndrAIa) Let's do that one thing we just made up! It'll be fun!
AndrAIa threw her trident at Bug
Servo: Wait, who's Bug? Is he a new guy?
accosting Frisket, then grabbed Enzo and rolled to one side. Her trident pinned the Bug to the floor. Then Frisket lunged at the other Bug as it went after AndrAIa and Little Enzo. He bit the Bug at its waste,
Bob: Oh, gross!
using his paws to keep the stinger and jaws away from his face. After a few nanoseconds the Bug died.
Crow: (Bug, dying) There's. . .an old hot dog. . . behind the. . . ugh. . .
To make sure Mouse came up and sliced the head off. Frisket jumped away as the hacker took out her rage by chopping the Bug to pieces.
Mike: Mouse has issues. Who's
Servo: Hey, now who doesn't have any original ideas?
"Mouse! Mouse! Stop!" shouted AndrAIa.
Teeth bared and shaking in fury,
Bob: She's turning into a werewolf! Run!
the sprite finally put away her sword and returned to Ray. A group of medics summoned by Phong entered the garage along with a clean up crew of CPUs to remove the dead Bugs.
Crow: I mourn the death of the plot point.
Mouse knelt next to Ray. The dazed search engine stared up at her as the venom began to torture his systems.
Mike: Wait, when was Ray stung by the
Bob: It was his surfboard. They're sort of connected or something.
Mike: So the venom shot out of the surfboard, flew through the air, and went into Ray?
Mouse brushed her head against his cheek. "You got stung, sugah. Does it hurt bad?"
Servo: (Ray) No, it. . . hurts good. . . What do you. . . think?
"Pain? I've had...worse pain...then this...
Crow: (Ray) Just yesterday. . . I saw that. . . new Land Before Time movie. . .
Can't...think of...any at...the...moment."
"You'll be alright honey."
Bob: (Mouse) Now let's get your shoes on; you're still going to school.
"Of course...I've faced...nastier...things...than this...Web Creatures...viruses...Matrix..."
Mike: (Ray) That guy I shared a stand with in Orchestra. . .
Ray's comment made Mouse smile.
Servo: (Mouse) You're right, Matrix is evil.
Phong gave commands to the med team. "Have him brought to Medical immediately!
Crow: Put him in Room and give him Treatment.
Start ad-ministering an IV of anti toxin right away!"
The binomes loaded Ray onto one stretcher and Surfboard on another. As they wheeled him away AndrAIa nudged Mouse.
Bob: (AndrAIa) You sure know how to pick 'em.
"I'll have to make repairs to the console before we can reopen the portal. You go and be with Ray."
(Everyone clears their throats)
Mouse grumbled. "Where's Hexadecimal? We coulda used her help!"
AndrAIa glanced around the garage.
Servo: (AndrAIa) Hmm, oil stains, old tires, that workbench that Phong never uses. . .
Mouse was right. Hex had disappeared.
"I don't understand this. She was here a nano ago."
Mike: (AndrAIa) And it's not like there's anywhere she could have gone.
Little Enzo tugged on one of AndrAIa's fins. "Uh AndrAIa? I saw her jump into the portal."
"What?" AndrAIa stared at the tear.
Crow: (AndrAIa) Sorry, I wasn't paying attention. It's just that this tear is so fascinating.
Mouse shook her head. "Crazy is as crazy does."
Bob: What's that supposed to mean?
Servo: It means that people will do anything to recycle a catch phrase.
"As crazy as she might still seem Mouse what she's done is very brave. And I hope she gets to Bob in time."
Mike: Because every ReBoot fanfic needs a chapter where they play Quake.
"Bob!" Dot screamed.
Dot stood in the field of flowers. Not one of them looked alive.
Crow: Okay, story, she's dreaming. You can stop now.
She called for Bob again but got no reply.
Servo: (Dot) C'mon, Bob, check your e-mail already!
As she stumbled around the grass crying, she found a patch of flowers struggling to live. Bob lay in the center of them, seemingly dead.
Bob: No, please, remind me about that. . .
As she wept, she felt a hand touch her shoulder.
Mike: Ah, thank you, Thing.
She whirled around to see Megabyte. She backed away. He hadn't been here before. She never expected to see him again.
Crow: Unfortunately, Mainframe Inc. realized how much their fan based depended on him, so they brought him back.
The virus laughed. "You see Dot! Even when I'm gone I still live to haunt you, striping you of everything! Let me put your love out of its misery!"
Servo: (Megabyte) Let me cure him of his life-threatening ailment! AHAHAHAHA!
He activated his fist claws, intending to use them to finish Bob. Dot fell across Bob's body and screamed.
Bob: Everyone steals that line from me.
Dot woke, breathing hard from fear.
Mike: (false surprise) Oh, you mean she was just dreaming? I never could have told!
But by waking up her nightmare only continued.
Crow: And Megabyte killed her. The End. Okay,
we're out of here.
Mike: (touching Crow's shoulder) Nice try.
Bob remained unconscious, breathing very shallow and faint.
Servo: Wow! This story just won't let up! One incredible surprise after another!
His body faded in and out, loosing more of its solid state. She kissed his cheek.
"Now I see what the dream means," she whispered.
Bob: (Dot) It means my addiction to my job is a direct result of the time that kid stole my bike when I was little.
"You came home so we could be together one more time. I'll be happy, Bob. I promise. I'll keep that promise. I'll never let go Bob. I'll never let go."
Crow: But you already did.
She started to cry once more,
Mike: Yeah, boo hoo. We got problems too!
trying to put the dream out of her mind. But something nudged at her. Something she couldn't quite understand.
Servo: Well, there's nothing too hard to understand about being nudged.
As she turned her head she saw Lieutenant Dos. Feeling a rush of anger, she got up and walked towards him.
Bob: (Dot) You're the character who's here to be unlikable and I instantly am angry at you!
"Lieutenant!" she snapped.
"Miss Matrix," he began.
"Is it true you wanted Bob to be left behind?!"
Crow: Yeah, this from Miss "If You're Dying I'll Let You Go".
"Miss Matrix. This is a war. I only have so many supplies-"
"Yes it's a war! I've been through two of them!
Mike: (Dos) Yeah, well my war can beat up your war!
One with the Web, the other with a virus!"
"So he wasn't lying," Dos shook his head. "I thought he was trying to scare my troops.
Servo: (Dos) There really is a ghost in the old house on the hill.
The guardian mentioned the Web."
Bob: (Dos) I don't know why; it just came up in conversation.
Why would you want to leave a person to die in the street?"
"To me it's not a person.
Crow: It's more like a Chia Pet.
It’s a guardian."
"Bob isn't like the others. His code is pure.
Mike: Look, he's heard it before. If he didn't believe it the first fifty times, one more isn't going to help.
His programming is still to mend and defend. He hopes to purge the collective of the virus infecting them."
Servo: (Dot) And to blow up your system because there's too many bugs.
"That looks like it will never happen."
Dot refused to agree.
Bob: Since Dos is the unlikable character, and to agree with anything he says would be a sin.
"Are you married to him Miss Matrix?"
A very personal question. Dot fumbled to respond.
Crow: She's at the 20, she's. . . oh, forget it. I'm too drained to make a football joke.
"I...I had hoped one day. No. We're not."
Mike: A simple yes or no.
"I had a wife. And two little girls. They're gone now."
Servo: (Dos) They moved to Vermont.
"If the guardians had only let us evacuate!"
"Lieutenant," she said. "I'm sorry may never be enough but it's all I can tell you.
Bob: (Dot) Now can we just drop it?
I lost my parents, an entire city, my brother and Bob were gone and I believed it was forever. Mainframe is my home. I can offer it to you.
Crow: (Dot) But I won't. Nyah nyah!
But we need to get your people to a tear and get a working portal generator so we can leave. Help me do it."
Mike: (Dos) No! Oh wait, I mean yes.
"I saw your guardian. I saw Bob do some pretty amazing stuff.
Servo: (Dos) He's pretty good with a yo-yo.
And you brother is a bit rough cut but he's some fighter."
"They learned to be survivors Dos. So have you."
Bob: No we don't! Ha ha, see, cause he asked
us if we miss Matrix.
Mike: We get it, Bob. That's very nice.
I watched most of my CPUs get cut down by Soldiers. A lot of them begged to die as they suffered with venom in they're systems. I hate myself for living while they all deleted.
Crow: Hey, is it just me, or is Dos slowly becoming a three-dimensional character here?
Too much of this turns you to stone."
"I know. But I had friends who wouldn't let me.
Servo: (Dot) Too bad you don't.
I wish they were here to help me again."
"It's a miracle he's still alive," Dos thumbed towards Bob. "I always believed guardians were made of something more then the rest of the Net.
Mike: (Dos) Like sugar and spice and everything nice.
I think he still has it."
Crow: You know, I'm starting to like this
Bob: You can't be serious.
Crow: No, I mean, I thought RoeBoot was just using him as a stereotype, but now she's starting to show that that's all just a rough exterior caused by all of the tragedy he's gone through.
Servo: Hey, you know you're right...
"I hope so."
They heard a rumbling noise. A moment later the ground under them started to shake.
Mike: The system got a flat tire!
"We've got a crash!" Dos yelled.
"I hope it’s not this sector!" Dot replied although she wouldn't be surprise by it.
Bob: (Dot) Now the sector's crashing. Fits right in with my second.
The roof above them started dropping chunks of stone. Dot turned to Bob.
Servo: (Dot) Hey, Bob, is it just me, or is this sector crashing?
A rock the size of his fist landed neck to the cot. Dot saw the crack in the ceiling grow worse.
"Why us?!" she shouted. "WHY US?!"
Crow: Because we like you!
She ran to Bob to shield him as more pieces came down. A small chunk hit her in the back as she clung to Bob. Dos rushed over and began to tug on the cot.
Mike: (Dos) I just realized; this thing's illegally parked.
"We have to move him," he shouted. "We need help here!"
Other binomes braved the falling debris to come over.
Bob: You know, all those other binomes. The ones that were there.
Together they aided Dot and Dos in pushing the cot but the crack kept following them like the fingers of a hand reaching to pound them. The fragments from the roof were now small boulders. Dot had one crash right behind her large enough to cause her erasure.
Servo: (Dot) Boy, it's lucky I'm a main character and would never be killed in a fluke accident like this one.
She coughed and screamed. "MATRIX!!!"
Her brother appeared through the cloud of dust. He grabbed Bob in his arms. Hack and Slash clasped Dot's hands to pull her away from the hail of rocks.
Crow: (Dos) Oh, no, don't help me or anything. I'm fine. It's okay.
The binomes ran for cover as the ceiling finished collapsing.
The quake then stopped.
Bob: This was a test of the Sector Crash System. Had this been an actual crash, the main characters would be dead and the story would be over.
Dot opened her eyes. Hack and Slash were covering her and Matrix. Matrix in turn had shielded Bob. Bob let out a light moan but remained unconscious.
Mike: (Bob, moaning) Oh, are we still in this story? What's taking so long?
Dot hugged her brother. "And you don't think you’re a hero?"
They heard Miles shouting. "Dos?! Dos!"
The binome pulled at a pile of rubble.
Servo: (Miles) No! My rubble collection! It's still in there!
"Oh no," Dot gasped. "Hack! Slash!"
The robots wheeled over and picked away the stones. They uncovered Dos, badly injured and erasing from the damage.
Crow: What the -- hey! RoeBoot just had Dos redeem himself at the last minute so that we'd feel bad when this happened! What a gyp!
The lieutenant wheezed and asked the robots. "Is...the guardian...alive?"
Matrix laid Bob on the floor and went to the lieutenant. As he kneeled beside him the binome said, "You...and...Dot are in...charge...
Bob: He's only figuring that out now?
Tell the...CPUs its...my...last...order."
"I thought you didn't trust me," Matrix said.
Mike: (Dos) Oh yeah, that's. . . right. What. .. was I thinking? . .. Cancel.. . that order. . .
"I was...wrong. In fact...I think...your more...a guardian...then the...ones on...the Net."
Servo: (Matrix) I do try to keep up on my guardianliness.
"Get...my people...out of here."
"I will. I promise."
Dos closed his eye and slipped away.
Crow: Oh no, he stepped right on the banana peel!
"What else can go wrong?"
Bob: (Matrix) Geez, first it starts raining, and now this.
Screams came from the front of the bunker. "Virus! Virus!"
Angry, Matrix stood up and unholstered Gun. "That's it! I've had it!"
Mike: (Matrix) We're ending this story even if I have to blow this place up myself!
Then her heard a familiar voice shrieking.
Servo: Oh, it's just an Alanis Morissette concert.
"Don't shoot me you fools! I'm not a virus anymore!"
Matrix and Dot looked at each other and said in unison. "Hexadecimal?!"
Crow: Okay, what is that thing supposed
Mike: I think it's an ASCII graphic of a bug. You see, the equals sign is the pincers, the colon is the eyes, the parentheses are the three body segments, and the less-than sign is the stinger.
Crow: So what are all the periods supposed to be?
Mike: Forget about it. The next chapter's starting.
Hexadecimal knew she stood on the brink of being erased. Every CPU in the area around the bunker entrance was pointing a gun at her ready to shoot.
Bob: You know, for a jumpy, trigger-happy group that shoots at shadows, they sure are giving Hex the benefit of the doubt.
She still possessed some energy shield capability as well as the cut and paste powers.
Servo: And she still had that cuisinart she got at the State Fair.
But if she had her full viral energy and her explosive rage she might evaporate the CPUs to get to Bob. She even had the idea to extend her nails.
Mike: But she decided the facelift would be enough.
I don't need to act like my brother right now, she thought.
"Please listen to me!" she pointed to her PID. "Does a virus wear this? I'm here to find Bob, Dot and Enzo!"
Crow: (Hex) I'm starving!
That made them think.
"She must be telling the truth," Epson said.
Bob: (Epson) After all, why would she lie about wanting to see Bob, Dot, and Enzo?
"If she's not a virus, I'm the Prime Guardian," jeered one of the CPUs.
Servo: Good one, nameless faceless nobody!
Matrix ran up to them. "Everyone stand down!
Mike: (Matrix) You're in my way and I can't see the movie!
I know her!"
"Where's Dos?" Nubus asked Matrix.
"I'm sorry. Dos was deleted when the ceiling gave way in the rear of the bunker. Dot and I are in charge now."
Crow: (Matrix) Sort of odd that before I wanted to kill him and now he's dead and I'm taking over. All well; I don't think you need to worry about it.
Shocked murmurs when through the gathered CPUs and the civilians. As they let the news spread, Matrix talked to Hexadecimal.
"How did you get here?"
Bob: (Hexadecimal) Cheap plot
Servo: (Matrix) Hey, me too!
"A portal, love, thanks to Mouse."
"You came alone?"
Mike: (Matrix) Did you bring the money? I got the microfilm.
"I expected company but Bugs came though the portal. They probably were forced to shut it down."
Crow: (Hexadecimal) Hmm. Hope the bugs didn't kill them. So, how are things here?
"How come you weren't attacked?"
"Bugs can't tell the difference between a purged or unpurged virus.
Servo: (Hex) Oddly enough, they can still tell the difference between regular Pringles and the kind with O'Lean.
Bugs and Virus share a certain relationship. A sort of family link."
"Of course! How basic of me! I ran into viruses that looked like Bugs while traveling the Net!"
Bob: (Matrix) I spent my entire life in the company of viruses and know everything about them, but for some reason I forgot that one thing!
"I came to help Bob. Where is he?"
Mike: Third star on the right, and straight
on till morning.
Crow: I thought it was "second star on the right".
Miles found Dot a spare blanket and a worn mat to make Bob comfortable.
Bob: Your ratty old mat's real comfortable. Thanks, guys.
Dot rested Bob's head in her lap. Using a fresh cloth, she cleaned the dust from the cave in off of Bob's face.
Servo: (Dot) Hex is coming over, and I want you to look nice for her.
His skin temperature had increased. Bob's lips moved as he spoke in feverish sparked dreams but not one word came out coherently.
Mike: (Bob) Candy canes. . . bunnies. . . pretty snakes. . .
Dot had to wrap her arms around him as his head tossed from side to side.
"Shhhh!" she whispered. "I'm here. I'm here."
Crow: Is it still creepy? I wish we'd get an update on that.
Hack and Slash were removing the rubble and helping some binomes recover possessions. Some of them had removed Dos to another area speaking of how they wished they could give him a proper burial.
Bob: A burial? What are they going to bury? He was deleted; he's gone.
To Dot, Dos had erased a hero
Servo: Specifically, he'd erased Superman.
even though he had been so cruel to Bob. She hoped to have the CPUs in Mainframe give him an honorary funeral.
Mike: She'd force them to mourn him.
Dot looked up when she heard the commotion of Hex walking towards her.
Crow: Hex causes a stir wherever she
(Suddenly, Bob bursts out laughing.)
Crow: Umm, Bob?
Bob: Stirring! (Bob dissolves into laughter.)
Crow: Umm. . . okay. . .
Many of the binomes were terrified. Dot realized for the first time how alienated Hex must feel living in Mainframe. Even she avoided Hex shortly after the system restarted. The viral Hex helped Megabyte willingly at the beginning of the Virus War.
Servo: Umm, is now really a good time to go into the back story?
She even came close to harming her if Mouse hadn't intervened. Of all the people she thought would come, Dot never once thought of Hexadecimal. Dot was ashamed of it.
Mike: (Dot) I've been rescued by a virus, and I'm ashamed.
"Hexadecimal," she confessed. "I hadn't expected to see you here."
"I had hoped you wouldn't need me," She looked at Bob. "Unfortunately I was wrong."
Crow: You know, this drawing disturbing parallels to the end of "No Time For Games".
Hex kneeled by Bob's right side as Dot said. "He's been like this for almost half the second. No one can figure out how he's holding on...but...but...he's-" Tears streamed down her face and she burst out crying.
Bob: She's sad that I'm holding on?
Hex patted her shoulder. "You poor girl. You both haven't deserved everything that has happened to you.
Servo: (Hexadecimal) All this getting shot into a bug-infested system -- it's too good for you!
I haven't deserved what Bob has done for me. But now I'm going to repay it."
Servo: (Hexadecimal) I'll make him pay for what he's done to me!
Dot cleared her throat to speak. "What...do you mean?"
"Did Bob tell you anything important? Anything you failed to understand?"
Mike: (Hexadecimal) Did he use large words that made your head hurt?
"Yes. He said the way was prepared for. That Glitch showed him. I don't know what it means."
Crow: (Hexadecimal) It means he's a rambling idiot.
"He's activated the programming protocol. He has to be ready."
Matrix stood at Bob's feet listening.
Bob: (Matrix) Oh, am I in this scene too?
"What are you talking about Hex?"
"Bob can purge the infection from his system."
Servo: Oh, he had the power to leave all this time!
"Why didn't he say so?"
"He requires a receptacle to transfer the toxin. Someone has to literally take the poison into them."
Mike: Wow! I hope they pick Rick
Hex taped her chest
Bob: To the refridgerator door for all to see.
where her PID was. "I'm the volunteer."
"Hexadecimal," Dot protested, "this is crazy! You can't do it! You could both be deleted!"
Servo: Yeah, here's this procedure Dot's never heard of, and she knows they could both be deleted in it.
"I'm the only one who can my dear. There is a small chance I will survive.
Crow: Okay, she saves Bob, she survives, everyone
goes home happy, the end. I'm outta here. (Crow scoots
Mike: Hey! Come back here!
Crow: (voice-over) Too late! I'm already gone!
Mike: (sighing) Let me just go take care of this. (Mike leaves.)
Viruses are immune from Bug stings."
"But you’re not a virus anymore!"
"That's still up for debate," Hex replied as if insulting herself.
Bob: Wow, she got hit pretty hard there. Not knowing if she's still a virus and all.
"I had enough arguing with Bob about this. We devised this plan in case the worse happened.
Servo: (Dot) How did you know Bob would get
stung by a bug in a foreign system?
Bob: (Hex) Lucky guess?
A infection by Daemon was a possibility. The Bug infection is no different. We have no choice left. Do you want him to live?"
Servo: (Dot) You mean I get to
Bob: Hey, watch it!
"I'm surprised there is a but."
"Hex," Matrix spoke, "most of Mainframe may not be willing to accept you but we will because Bob trusts you.
Servo: Matrix will accept Hexadecimal, but he won't accept American Express.
When I saw what Megabyte did to you, it sickened me.
Bob: Yeah? At least you didn't have to see how Emi rewrote it.
I wanted to help you but I didn't know how. I forgot everything bad you ever did when I saw the distress you were in."
Servo: Turning the system to stone, conspiring to shoot Bob into the Web, nearly blowing up the system. . . all's forgiven.
"So did Bob. I owe Bob more then I can give him back. I'd do anything for him."
Bob: (dying) Umm. . . you maybe wanna. .. hurry it up then?
Dot blurted out. "Because you love him."
Hex nodded. "You've felt threatened by it. I can only have his friendship Dot. You have his heart."
Servo: So now they're dividing up your donor
organs? That's sick!
Bob: No, it's a metaphor, it. . . oh, forget it.
(Mike comes back in with Crow)
Mike: (to Crow) And if you ever try that again, you're grounded for a month, you hear me?
Crow: (muttering) Yes master.
Mike: So. Did we miss much?
Bob: (letting his head fall back) I don't know.
"I wished the feelings you had for him during the Web War had been stronger. Then maybe you might have not given into Megabyte's plan."
Servo: (Dot) But, I guess that's Monday morning quarterbacking.
"What happened to Bob wasn't part of the original plan." Hex called, "Hack. Slash."
Mike: So what if she called Hack "Slash"? Lots
of people get them mixed up.
Crow: Umm, wait, if that wasn't part of the plan, why did Megabyte build that capsule into the hardware?
Bob: Lucky guess?
Dot looked up at them then back at Hex. Matrix dropped to one knee
Servo: Rise, Sir Matrix of Mainframe.
beside the virus as she started to recall the day in Silicon Tor.
"Megabyte had more then one plan. I complained to him which one he was going to use.
Mike: Matrix was in on Megabyte's plan? This
is a twist.
Crow: I'm pretty sure this is Hex's flashback. I'm guessing.
He had several in case one went wrong. He kept us guessing which he'd use down to the last millisecond before you and Mouse arrived. It was cruel."
"It was cruel to send Bob to the Web," Dot said.
"A far better plan then the original idea."
Servo: (Hex) Putting him on a satellite and
making him --
(Bob picks Servo up and throws him off-stage. Crashing sounds.)
Bob: Wow. He flies real good.
Mike: You're going to break him one of these times.
Bob: (dismissively) I know.
"Yeah I remember!" Hack said. "You wanted to know how nasty it was going to be!"
"And we wanted to know too," Slash recalled. "Megabyte got really mad when we nagged him."
Crow: (Slash) He told us to wait till Christmas like everyone else.
"And he shouted that if me and Slash didn't shut up we'd end up as deleted as Bob."
"Deleted?" Dot repeated in unbelief, always thinking Megabyte hadn't the nerve to actually do it.
Bob: Or that BS'n'P would allow it.
Hex went on. "I could see it in my mind. As Bob turned around on the platform to face Megabyte I thought I'd see Megabyte's claws sticking right through Bob's chest.
Mike: (Hexadecimal) It was a real let-down, let me tell you.
We wanted to do it. I taunted him about it being too easy. Bob wouldn't suffer. The Web option was a better choice.
Bob: (muttering) Oh yes. Much better.
In a wired way
Crow: You mean, after having six pots of
(Servo glides back in.)
I save his life but I became so enraged. I still saw you as the rival. That's why I went after you.
Servo: Look, sum up! Bob's dying, the bugs are closing in, and we don't care about any of this!
Mouse got you away in time. I became even more enraged. Suicidal. I wanted to destroy the Principle Office. If I could never have Bob, no one ever would."
Mike: You know, I think RoeBoot is reading
way too much into Hex's actions.
Bob: (Hexadecimal) And then I got zapped by a Game because I never did well in school and I became Megabyte's slave because I could never come to terms with my family's religious beliefs. Well, I eventually rebelled against him, clearly to strike out against society's suppression of women, and I became one of the good guys to symbolize a hope for lasting peace in Ireland.
"Then you kidnapped Bob. You wanted to keep him away from me."
"I began to think Megabyte was right. He should have died. And I was going to kill him.
Crow: Wow, she really does love you, doesn't she?
But Bob healed me. And I could let him go so you two would be happy. I want that for both of you. Will you let me?"
Servo: Geez, it takes so long to get a simple operation approved these days.
"Where is the entry wound?"
Mike: (Hexadecimal) I'm starving.
Matrix pushed away the blanket to show her the file patch on Bob's side. "Right there."
Hex peeled the patch away.
Crow: (singing) I'm stuck on my file patch, cause my file patch's stuck on me!
She then lifted her right hand extending her nails.
"This is going to hurt Matrix
Bob: Hey, go right ahead then. Don't let me stop you.
get ready to hold him down if necessary."
Matrix moved to Bob's left side and nodded to Hex. She thrust the nails into Bob's side, reopening the injury the Bug made. Bob let out a small gasp. His eyes snapped opened.
Servo: (Bob) Aaaaa, football practice! Huh?
"Bob?" Dot said.
Bob let out a strong scream as his body began to shake. Matrix caught hold of Bob's arms as he tried to sit up. He held him down as gently as he could. Bob's adrenaline was boosted by the rush of agony leaving his body.
Mike: You know, I think RoeBoot knew this wasn't going to be a very fun story.
Crying from the new of pain, Dot held Bob's face in her hands watching her lover's torment and wishing it would end.
Crow: (Dot) Please Bob, just die. Let the pain end.
Dot looked away when she heard Hex shrieking. For the first time she saw the sparkle of gold energy wrapping her.
Bob: Giving Hex a delicious honey crunch your whole family will love!
Hex's body began to fade as Bob's became more solid. Bob moaned loud enough to make Dot look down at him once more.
Servo: (Dot) What is it now, you big baby?
She felt as if he stared right into her the core of her processor.
His eyes were glazed and teared as he stammered. "I...did...didn't...want...her...to...die...for...me."
Mike: (Dot) Listen, I've had enough of your whining for one day!
He closed his eyes. His body relaxed. Matrix let go of his arms leaving them crossed over Bob's chest.
Crow: Wait! You didn't tell us what state Matrix left his hair in!
Hexadecimal collapsed on the floor next to Bob, gagging and suffering from tremors of pain in her body.
Servo: (Hex) I'm dying in a rush!
"Hex!" Dot carefully held Bob's head up to slide her legs out from under him and then crawled over to the former virus. Hack and Slash tried to help her but Hex slashed the air with her claws.
Bob: (Hex) Stupid air! I'm gonna hurt you, man! I'm not kidding! I'm going to mess you up!
Matrix had to yank Dot back.
"Hexadecimal?" Dot called to her. "Please stop! We need to help you."
Mike: (Hex) Oh. All right. Why didn't you say so?
Hex rolled herself into a tight fetal position to restrain herself. She asked, "How...is...he...?"
Crow: Turns out the biggest consequence of a bug sting is it makes you sound like Shatner.
Dot observed Bob.
Servo: You know, you can observe a lot just
by looking around.
Bob: You're really stretching.
Servo: Well, what? I can't help it! This story's just going on and on and nothing's happening and when is it ever going to end? (Servo breaks down into sobs)
His chest rose and fell normally. No sign of the choking, small breaths. She touched Bob's face. He didn't flinch. His fever had gone down. "He's better," she exclaimed.
Mike: Well, except for the internal bleeding and the brain damage.
"Hex it worked!"
"Good," she coughed. "Now...re...patch...his...wound...and…let him...sleep...I'm...going... to...take...a nap...and...try...to...stay...alive..."
Crow: Okay, you rest honey. We'll tell you when we get to Grandma's.
Hex closed her eyes.
"Hex?" Dot reached her hand to touch hers. "Thank you."
Servo: (Dot) Thanks for dying to save my boyfriend. I really appreciate it.
Dot spotted Miles standing among a small group who watched the entire procedure in awe. "Miles? Can you get some spare data? I have to take care of Hexadecimal now."
Bob: Geez, it's just a vicious circle!
"Sure," he whispered.
Nubus broke through the crowd. "Matrix. A tear opened outside the bunker!"
Mike: (Nubus) This could be the plot device we've been waiting for!
"How far way is it?"
"Less then a bit block."
"Have any Bugs arrived?"
Crow: (Whoever) The party was supposed to start half an hour ago.
"Not yet but they will."
Matrix stood up. "Take all the CPUs and any civilians willing to help and arm them.
Servo: Wait. . . Matrix left the ammunition
Bob: (Matrix) Arm them with water pistols!
We have to secure that tear before the Bugs do. We can hold them off and use the tear to make the portal we need to get out of here.
Mike: For those of you just joining us, they can use a tear to make a portal and escape.
Get explosives to set traps in the perimeter as well to keep the crawlers away. We also need snipers to watch for any winged Soldiers. All other binomes are to pack what they can carry to be ready to evacuate."
Crow: Nice plan, but while he was yaking away, the Bugs just walked up and took the tear.
Nubus saluted him.
Servo: (Nubus) Listen to him say "Yes sir". He's a darned good man.
"Let's do it people!"
The binomes broke off.
Bob: They used the cheap superglue instead of the good stuff.
Matrix asked Dot. "Do you think I missed anything?"
"No. Sounded like you were a guardian to me."
Servo: (Dot) Making others do your dirty work while you sit in the safety of wherever we are. . . yep, you're a guardian.
They heard a weak familiar voice say. "Me...too..."
Mike: (putting his face in his hands) Oh no, she's going to bring Megabyte into this one, I just know it. . .
They gazed over to Bob. He managed to smile. "I'm back...Did you...miss me?"
Crow: Umm, you were right here the whole time.
"Oh Bob! You’re awake!" Dot crawled up next to him and bent down to kiss his cheek.
Servo: (Dot) Bob's not sleeping! That's a reason to kiss!
"Dot...I'm sorry I passed out...I was too...weak...so much pain...I couldn't..."
Mike: I think it's an injustice that that's the only Nirvana album that people remember.
it. Everything going to be fine now."
Bob: Doodly doodly doop. . . (Dot) Something's wrong!
"But...Hexadecimal...She's...dying...we...have to...save her..."
Crow: (Dot) We just need to kill some more time first.
But you need to rest."
"Matrix?" Bob said
He kneeled by him. "Yes Bob."
"Good plan...You’re acting...like a...real Matrix..."
Servo: You mean he's storing rows and columns of numbers within himself and performing simple algebraic calculations?
"He's deleted. I was left in charge."
Bob: Gee, he's really shaken up, isn't he?
Bob nodded sadly. "Keep up...the good...work..."He drifted off to sleep.
Crow: Oh, you mean like when Bob and Matrix
figured that the mysterious portal would take them to the same system that
Dot had been taken to?
Servo: Or when the Mainframers assumed that they'd all gone to the same system?
Bob: Or when they assumed that we'd all gone to a system full of bugs just because they happened to be getting some bugs?
Crow: Or when AndrAIa and Mouse figured that Quadra was the system they'd been taken to just because it looked like it might be crashing?
Mike: It's all those things and more!
AndrAIa's finest quality was her amount of patience.
Servo: Well, it sure isn't her personality,
her intelligence, her taste in men, her --
Mike: Okay, thanks Tom.
She practiced it in the long suffering search for Mainframe standing strong by Matrix's side as he despaired about giving up.
Bob: Behind every great man is a strong
Crow: Incidentally, there's a strong woman behind Matrix, too.
She always had a reassuring word or a confident smile to rescue him. But as the milliseconds passed the frustration of being separated from the man she loved and the knowledge of Bob's life on the line, her patient nature crumbled.
Servo: What? Okay, so for years she was able to live without a home, never knowing whether she'd live to see the next day, and now she's breaking down after a few hours? Yep, real strong character, this AndrAIa.
She slammed her fist on the console and said several words that had Little Enzo surprised.
Mike: (Enzo) You mean, there is no such thing as Santa?
Even Frisket pricked up his ears in shock.
"AndrAIa!" he exclaimed.
Bob: (freaking out) The dog's talking,
Mike! Tell me you hear the dog talking too!
Mike: (putting his head in his hands) Oh merciful forces which govern the Universe, when will this story end?
Forces: You have reached the Supreme Forces which govern the Universe. Your call is very important to us. However, due to the unusually large volume of calls, we will have to put you on hold. All calls will be answered in the order they were received. Thank you for using the Supreme Forces for all of your Universe governing needs.
Mike: Okay, thanks.
Crow: Umm, Mike?
Crow: Uh, forget it; I don't want to know.
She covered her mouth. "Sorry Enzo. This equipment is almost useless! It's taking too long!
Servo: (AndrAIa) If we don't get an ISDN line soon, I'm gonna snap!
The Bug sting has serverly offlined it!"
"Can't you fix it?"
Bob: (AndrAIa) What a good idea! I wish I'd thought of that seconds ago!
"Not like I want to," her mind thinking of plunging her trident right though the console.
Crow: Mike, if I ever get damaged, remind me
not to let AndrAIa try to repair me. You know, if that should ever
Mike: I'll keep it in mind.
Mouse and Phong walked into the CPU garage. She turned to them. "How is Ray?"
Servo: (Phong) Dead, same as last time you asked.
"He's stable. He's goin' tah be fine," Mouse said looking very relieved.
"It's much better then the equipment. I've bypassed or replaced most of the damage but so far I can guarantee only a five nanosecond stable portal."
Bob: What a slow, primitive system that
(Everyone turns to Bob.)
Bob: (Phong, mockingly) This isn't the Supercomputer, Bob. (Normal) No kidding. It was barely a Commodore 64!
Servo: Umm, honey? Are you okay?
Bob: It really says something about a system when the people think a hard drive is a novelty.
Crow: Bob! Come back to us!
Bob: (waking from a trance.) Hmm? What? Oh, sorry; it just bugs me, that's all.
"That's not enough time to bring them though, even if it opened right on top of them."
AndrAIa thought. "But it is enough time for someone to go though from this end to them."
Mike: Umm, or we could just finish the repairs and make a more stable portal.
"Hold on honey. I see that look in your eye.
Servo: (Mouse) You're lookin' for some bitmap tah kick.
Yah can't go alone."
"You have to stay here. Ray needs you
Crow: (AndrAIa) You have to be there to cry and carry on so that we can pad out this story.
and you can finish the repairs. I can't wait here another nanosecond!"
Phong suggested. "If you are determined to make this journey child, let me provide you with more adequate protection."
Bob: (Phong) And you are not going out without a coat and a scarf, young lady!
"Thank you Phong. Will you operate the portal Mouse?"
"Sure sweetie. I'd tell yah tah be careful but a smart girl like you know how tah be."
"You'll fine them AndrAIa," Little Enzo encouraged.
Mike: (Enzo) You'll make them pay for their loitering and illegal parking!
"Don't you worry Enzo. I bring them all home."
Servo: (AndrAIa) And I fry them in a pan, and I never make you feel like you aren't a man.
Crow: You know, maybe it wasn't just David Smith.
Bob opened his eyes and lifted his head to look around. The noise of binomes packing to leave filled the bunker, making further sleep impossible.
Bob: Geez, can't they evacuate some other time? I'm trying to sleep here!
A smell of food caused his stomach to growl louder then Frisket. His throat was dry from dehydration.
Mike: His foot was numb from sitting on it too long.
The dull pain in his side reminded him of the Bug attack. All in all he felt pretty miserable.
He had to smile.
Servo: Life was good.
He was living. He turned his head.
Hexadecimal lay on the floor, her body fluctuating from the infection she now had inside her.
The internal purging worked but she was paying for it.
Crow: If you're going to binge, you have to
Mike: Please don't finish that.
"Aww Hex. How did you talk me into doing this?" he said softly.
Servo: Well, you were kind of unconscious.
Bob turned his head to see the sprite he loved. Dot had fallen asleep, propped up against the wall holding his head in her lap.
Bob: Wait, where's the rest of me? NOOOOOOO!
One of Dot's hands rested on Bob's shoulder. Bob moved his hand to hers, taking hold of the fingers. He brought them to his lips and kissed them.
Crow: (impatiently) Yes, we get it, he loves her already. Please move on.
"Dot?" he said quietly.
Dot moaned and her eyes fluttered open. "Bob?"
He kissed her hand again. "Hi baby."
Mike: His teeth were found five miles away.
She grinned. "Are you still calling me that?"
Servo: (Bob) No, Baby. Why would I call you Baby, Baby?
"Until I think of something better.
Crow: Seventy-two years later. . .
You don't look too comfortable."
"I've gotten used to it. How do you feel?"
"Tired. Hungry. Thirsty.
Bob: Sneezy. Bashful. Doc.
That's the short list."
Dot reached for a small cup of data. She tipped Bob's head up to help him drink it. He drained the container in a few swallows.
Mike: Thrill as Bob drinks from a Dixie
Servo: For an encore, I hear he eats a peanut butter cup.
"Miles synthesized some energy soup," she said putting the cup down. "The doctor told me you need lots of fluids."
Crow: (Dot) I got as many caustic acids as I could find.
"Sounds good to me. Smells good too."
"Taste is another thing."
"I have to eat something.
Bob: All together now!
All: (Bob) I'm starving!
Help me sit up," As he Bob
Servo: Thanks for clearing that up. I thought "he" referred to Dot.
winced, holding his side. "Ouch!"
Bob pulled away the blanket to examine the file patch. "I'm sore. Its will hurt for a while but it's nothing compared to having the Soldier poison in my system.
Mike: Oh, see, RoeBoot's foreshadowing
Bob: I think she's just padding out the scene.
How is Hexadecimal doing?"
Dot failed to answer.
Crow: So they took away her license.
He turned to see her sobbing.
"Oh, Dot. Don't. It's okay," Bob gathered her in his arms
Servo: What is she, a bundle of wood?
and held her tight as she shivered from the weeping.
She stammered. "I...I...almost lost you.
Mike: (Dot) I left you on the counter and forgot where I put you.
You were dying. I saw it in your eyes."
"I thought I lost you too Dot. When I found the flower petal I thought the worst had happened."
Bob: You didn't see me cry about it.
"I lost hope all over again! Why do I keep letting it happen? I was ready to live without you."
"You're a survivor Dot.
Crow: (pronouncing the word) Yawn! We've heard it!
The most horrible situations make you even stronger so you can live past it. That's why when Matrix and I came home we found you alive."
"All it was...was surviving," she confessed.
Servo: Still, that's got to be worth something.
"I wasn't the same anymore. You were both gone. I'd lost everything I loved. I...I..."
Bob kissed her forehead.
Mike: (Bob) This oughtta shut 'er up.
"Let it go. We're together and Hexadecimal is the one we have to thank for it."
"Bob. She admitted to me how much she...still loves you and how she used to love you."
Bob: Well, what does that prove? She's not blind, is she? Heh heh. . .
Bob frowned. "The love she had for me gave me jaggies.
Crow: Yuck! I only get those when I eat dairy products.
I was so disgusted and frightened by it. When she kidnapped me, all I wanted to do was escape but she wouldn't let me.
Servo: Basic hostage situation. Mmm hmm.
Then I realized the only way to save everyone and myself was to help her first. Giving her sanity removed her jealous rage. The rage she possessed might have driven her to kill you."
Mike: But anyway, getting back to the bug story. . .
Dot looked at him. "She told me so. That day Megabyte shot you into the Web I was so grieved I wasn't watching for danger.
Bob: Hold on, didn't we already relive this scene in this story?
As I held Glitch in my hands staring at it, I never saw Hex coming. Mouse got in between us.
Crow: You think we never saw that one or something? Get back to your own story, RoeBoot!
Hex believed more than I did that you would come back. In her madness she became determined to make sure you had nothing to come back to."
Servo: (Dot) She smashed all of your Star Trek commemorative plates.
Bob sighed. "I'm sorry she came between us Dot."
Mike: Umm, what?
"Friends can get in the way of relationships."
Mike: Did I miss something? Was RoeBoot watching
the same show as the rest of us?
Crow: I'm guessing this love triangle thing was mentioned in "The Quick and the Fed"; it's the only one I haven't seen.
Bob: We were never friends. Where did you get that from?
"I'm ready to forgive and forget. Like you have."
"There is something I want to give Hex to thank her when we get back, if you'll let me."
Crow: What? What is your problem?
Mike: (somewhat confused) Wow. Sorry, it's just. . . something compelled me.
He whispered in her ear. She smiled coyly. "Okay. As long as it’s only once. I don't like to share you anymore."
Servo: We're getting into a whole weird area
Crow: Hey, that's my line! I called it!
Servo: Well I haven't had any lines for the past page! Can I please have that one?
Crow: Well. . .
They were about to kiss each other on the lips
Bob: Oh, how indecent of us!
when a huge sigh interrupted them. They both looked up. Hack and Slash were staring at them with lovesick eyes.
Mike: Oh. . . my. . .
"Please! Don't mind us!" Hack said.
Servo: Oh yuck. . .
Crow: So Hack and Slash were. . . they were. . .
Bob: Did anyone else just get the overwhelming feeling like nothing will ever be right in the universe ever again?
"Yeah we were happy you were feeling better!"
"I'm happy too," giggled Dot.
Mike: (Dot) I like it when people spy on my while I kiss.
"Where's Matrix?" Bob asked.
As if on cue Matrix's voice thundered from up the bunker. "I want wounded ready to move out first!
Servo: (Matrix) They're our first line of defense!
While the bugs are busy eating them, we can. . .
Bob: Please. No. You're not helping.
I want all women and children after them in shifts of twelve! We have to make sure they're guarded against attack!"
Bob grinned. "He sounds pretty busy."
Crow: (Bob) His futile attempts to organize this war amuse me so.
Matrix came into view, talking to Epson. "I want every CPU to only fire if Soldier Bugs get too close.
Mike: (Matrix) If they're eating you, then they're too close.
Try to avoid shooting Workers or Scouts. A bite from them isn't deadly. Use hand to hand combat if they get to close."
"The troops won't like it, Matrix."
Servo: Okay, so no one minds that the rogue Guardian that they don't trust is taking over, but they're going to riot over having to follow his reasonable strategy.
"We can't use up all our firepower. It's at critical levels as is. I feel partly to blame."
Bob: (Matrix) I can't help but feel at least partially responsible for my direct actions.
"Like you told Dos. You were carrying something more important."
Crow: (Matrix) Oh, throw that one up at me.
Matrix saw Bob sitting up. Her brother's broad smile cheered Dot even more. Matrix walked up to them and knelt down.
"I'm glad to see you're better," Matrix said.
Mike: (Matrix) And I'm glad to see that Hex was reduced to a simpering heap.
"I'm happy to see and hear you doing a good job."
Servo: (Bob) Now if only I could smell, touch, and taste it.
"You think so? I hate having to tell the troops to save ammo."
"You're doing fine. And thanks for saving my life."
Bob: I'll buy you lunch sometime.
"Bob. I wish I had seen that Bug coming. I still feel responsible."
"Matrix. I already said it’s not your fault.
Crow: (Bob) But obviously the talking just isn't good enough. You and me, right now. Let's dance!
Forget it. What I have to do now is build enough strength to get the portal open to Mainframe."
Mike: (Bob) You have your little war there. Let me know how it turns out.
Dot looked concerned. "Are you sure you have to do this? We've been trying to rig up a portal generator for almost a cycle."
Servo: Okay, so what is a cycle in
comparison to, say, a second?
Bob: Umm. . . it's less?
"I can do it. Don't worry."
"Too late. I've been doing that all day."
All: He's our man! If he can't do it, I guess we're dead!
Nubus approached the sprites with a stranger. The unknown sprite wore a heavy suit of fatigue green body armor and carried a spray gun with a long hose attached to a backpack holding two fire extinguisher size tanks.
Crow: Dave? Is that you?
The sprite labored to breathe through an uncomfortable looking helmet covering the occupant's entire face. Worse, the sprite's voice came out distorted.
"Am I glad to see you," the bizarre sprite said.
Mike: I don't know; are you happy to see him?
"Who are you?" asked Matrix standing up.
Servo: I'm Batman!
The sprite unbuckled the straps holding the helmet on. As it came off, green hair cascaded over her face. AndrAIa brushed it away and smiled.
Bob: So AndrAIa's standing next to the strange sprite? And Matrix didn't notice?
"Somebody who loves you," she answered.
Crow: Gee, I wonder what tipped him off, for crying out loud!
Matrix snapped her up in his arms and spun her around. Hearing her laugh added to his elation. They kissed before he put her down.
Mike: (Matrix) Sorry we can't demonstrate our love some more; I've got this war to get back to.
"You’re a lot heavier now!" he chuckled.
Servo: Always happens during the holidays.
It's all this equipment Phong made me wear. He wanted to make sure I was ready for Bug fighting. Bob! How are you?"
Bob: Bored and restless. Thanks.
"Functioning thanks to Hex."
AndrAIa looked at the former virus. "She's infected now. She took the poison from you."
Crow: Yes! Please! Tell us about it!
I MEAN, YOU'D KNOW MORE THAN WE WOULD AFTER ALL WE WERE THERE AND JUST WHERE
Mike: (touching Crow's shoulder) Crow. Settle down. We're going to make it.
Crow: It's too hard, Mike! I'm never going to make it!
Mike: Look, there's the bottom of the page. We'll get out of here and make you a nice cheese sandwich on toast. How's that sound?
Crow: Thanks Mike. . . Do you think. . . you could just. . .?
Mike: Sure. Come here, honey.
(Crow climbs up on Mike's lap. Mike starts rocking him gently.)
"Yes. How did you get here?"
AndrAIa quickly explained everything to them.
Servo: You know, I think I'm starting to see where that whole "Brevity is the soul of wit" thing comes from.
"Don't worry about Ray. He's is going to be fine."
"Thank the Net," Dot said relieved.
Matrix quipped. "I'm getting tired of all these Bugs!"
Bob: Ha ha ha ha ha what a little jokester ha ha ha ha ha.
"That's why I'm here, " AndrAIa pointed out. "Just call me the exterminator!"
"Then let's get outside and do some demolition work!
Mike: Yep, just throw those metaphors together at random.
Dot? I could use Hack and Slash's help outside."
"Take Slash. I'll need to keep Hack here," Dot said.
Servo: (Dot) He was throwing spitballs in class, so he doesn't get to go out for recess.
Matrix didn't question the request. "Okay sis. Let's do it."
Matrix lead AndrAIa and Slash away. Hack glanced at Dot before he rolled off in the opposite direction appearing dejected and mortified.
Bob: (Hack) I don't get to die in battle today. I'm so humiliated!
Bob asked. "What's going on Dot?"
"Hack is terrified of Bugs. During the fight in the Principle Office he froze up. Then he panicked before outside the bunker when a small Bug crawled on him. In his state he'd cause more harm then good."
Mike: Of course, he'd do that even if he wasn't afraid of bugs, but. . .
"I see. Maybe I should talk to him."
"You need to eat first."
Servo: (Dot) No playing Sigmund Freud until you finish your peas.
"Yes, dear," he teased.
"On second thought," she laughed, "maybe you should call me baby."
Mike: (Dot) Since you just have this big huge problem with my real name.
Bob: Wow. Did you ever think an ASCII graphic
would look so beautiful?
Crow: Are we going now? Can we go?
Mike: Yes honey. There there.
(We're on the SOL. Bob takes his place behind the desk.)
Bob: And we're back! Our final guest tonight is the author of the "Idle Shadows" trilogy and maintainer of the ReHaCo. . . the ReAcTo. . . that one funny ReBoot page. Please welcome Jerry the Cow!
(Hexfield irises open to the tune of "Ding dong, the witch is dead". Jerry the Cow is sitting in a background of static.)
Bob: Greetings, Mr. The Cow! Are you getting enough oxygen?
(Jerry lifts his head to the screen, and puts the fic he was reading down)
Jerry: Oh, hey! It's the guys that were at my page a while back. I'm doing great, and.. uh.. just "Jerry" will do fine.
(Jerry raises an eyebrow)
Jerry: But... you guys look kinda different than I remember. New haircuts? Ties? Girdles?
Bob: (looks down, sounds weary) It's a long, bitter, painful story of. .
Crow: (interupting) Just what are you implying? I do not wear a girdle! This rugged physique is the result of years of almost religiously taking my body to its very limits every single day in order to achieve its peak performance!
Servo: Well, that and you're a robot.
Crow: Shut up.
Bob: (to Jerry) So, to answer your question, no. Now, say something funny so we won't have to.
Jerry: Microsoft Works.
(Bob stares blankly at Jerry for a moment.)
Bob: (somewhat forced) Ha ha ha ha ha. Oh, this guy is such a card!
Crow: (to Bob) You don't get it, do you?
Bob: Sure I do! It's the name of a Microsoft application, so that makes it funny. See, if you guys had a more refined sense of humor, you'd. . .
Jerry: It's a talent... well... actually I stole that from "User Friendly" but... Hmm... Yeah, stealing other people's material is a talent.
Crow: Hey, Jerry? Whatcha reading there?
Jerry: Oh, I'm glad you asked. See, ever since I ran into you guys, I've been looking to make my own robots to help me survive all the garbage on T.V. these days. So I'm reading this helpful little book here called "Artificial Intelligence For Dummies"... Kinda redundant if you ask me. Anyway, if I understand these instructions... I should be able to sit through thirty minutes of "Montel" or "Teletubbies" with great ease!
Bob: That sounds like a great idea! Could you build us some? The ones we've got up here are getting so. . . old, and they don't go very well with the furniture.
Jerry: Um... Well I suppose I could try! But I'm still new at this, so no promises. OK... I'm gonna try switching this one on, and testing it out. Be right with you.
(Jerry disappears from view. Rummaging is heard.)
Bob: Jerry?. . . Jerry? (suddenly becomes worried) Jerry's gone! Mike, do something, quick!
Mike: Like what?
Bob: (panicked) I don't know! Use that control panel!
Mike: I don't know how this thing works!
Bob: How hard can it be? There's just that one lever.
Mike: How am I supposed to know what it does?
Bob: Just pull it! You're wasting time!
(Jerry pops up with a controller that looks a lot like it should have the word Tyco on it, and probably did until he removed the sticker.)
Jerry: Okay... here we go!
(A silver robot wheels into view. He is whirring noisily, shooting sparks, and his familiar-shaped beak is spinning around along with the rest of his head.)
Mike: Wait, he's back on.
Bob: I don't care! Pull it!
Jerry: Umm... OK... (shields face from sparks) Guys, meet Pidgeon. Pidgeon, say hello to the nice men in the space ship...
(Mike pulls the lever. The Hexfield lights up in an explosion. There's a moment of silence on the ship.)
Crow: Mike! You just blew up Jerry the Cow!
Mike: I'm sorry! It was an accident!
Bob: Go to a commercial!
Servo: What are you talking about? This is a web page! There aren't any commercials!
Bob: I don't care! Commercial, now!
(We take you now to a field somewhere on Earth where a guy dressed up as Bob is standing, holding a small pony on a leash. There's a graphic in the lower right-hand corner that reads "Coming in March")
"Bob": Smell that good country air. Oh yeah.
(Back on the SOL. The Hexfield is showing static.)
Crow: I mean, do you have to destroy every single life form we come into contact with, or what?
Mike: (defensively) I didn't blow up the other guests.
Bob: We're back, and we're talking with funnyman Jerry the Cow.
Servo: Umm, Bob?
Bob: (ignoring him) So Jerry, how long have you been a cow?
Bob: That long, huh?
Servo: Oh dear God.
Crow: Bob. Come back to us.
Bob: What have you been working on recently?
Mike: This is too weird, guys.
Bob: I mentioned "Idle Shadows" before. What, exactly, is the deal with part three? I heard you wrote it but you're not releasing it.
Crow: Listen, let's just go back in the theater and hope this all blows over.
Servo: Never thought I'd be glad to go back in the theater.
Bob: Uh huh. So, is this your first time in outer space? (A brief pause) Ah ha ha ha ha!
(Mike and the 'bots slowly leave.)
Bob: So, I see we're almost out of time. Any words of wisdom you'd like to share with our readers?
Bob: Well, thanks for joining us tonight, Jerry. Have a safe trip back to Earth.
(Lights and sirens)
Bob: And I've got Movie Sign!
(Bob flies off.)