(Mike and the bots are already in the theater when Bob walks in.)
Bob: I think that went pretty well.

Megabyte's Legacy <))):=

Binomes scurried about the bunker gathering together in small groups,

Servo: You know, the Binome social structure is a lot like that of ants.

preparing to evacuate their home. Miles supervised the preparations

Mike: He made sure the donuts got eaten.

via Dot's directions. She gave more orders as she assisted Bob in a brief walk around the bunker after they shared a quick meal of soup and rations. They talked about Dot's dreams and fears.

(Everyone chuckles)
Crow: Yeah, perfect time to tell him about how you want to add a new bedroom to your house, how you're worried about how much it's going to cost to send Enzo to college. . .

It eased her anxieties to speak about them. Bob had his arm around Dot's neck

(Servo makes choking noises.)

while she had hers around his waist. Bob stepped gingerly, favoring his right leg. Every time he took a bad step a hot white shot of pain

Bob: Ah, that's nothing compared to the yellow ones. Those are the worst.

on his right side made him wince. Dot hated seeing him hurt. She tried to keep her eyes dry as she walked by his side.

Mike: She always resented the protective moisture that her tear ducts provided.

"How do you feel?"

Crow: (Bob) I'm starving!
Servo: I think we've just about beaten that one to death.
Crow: Yeah, sorry. . .

"Compared to what?" he complained then said. "I must sound grouchy. Sorry."

Bob: This whole mortal injury thing is just really bringing me down.

"Considering how close you came to-" She halted her words

Mike: Don't mention how he almost died. He's still a little touchy about it.

saying instead. "It's nothing."

"No Dot. I really am sorry. I never wanted you to go through something like this again."

Crow: (Bob) I never should have let us get involved in this story.

"It'll only make me stronger."

"That's sounds like my Dot."

Servo: Said Yakko Warner.

They found Hack in a corner, resting his head against the wall.

Mike: (Hack) Saigon. I can't believe I'm still in Saigon.

"He is definitely depressed," observed Bob.

Bob: "This story is definitely just looking for excuses to not end," observed Bob.

"Hack?"

Crow: Or unleaded?

Hack turned to see him. "Bob. Should you be up?"

"The doctor said I could. I wanted to talk to you."

Servo: (Bob) It's about your ACTs. I'm afraid you won't get into Harvard.

Dot released her hold on Bob.

Mike: And he fell to the ground.
Bob: Gee, thanks a lot, Dot. Really know how to make an injured guy feel better.

The guardian hobbled up to Hack. The robot put up out his arm to offer some support.

"I hear you're scared."

Crow: (Bob) Are you going to cry, baby? Want your pacifier?

"Who me? Scared? I'm not scared!"

"Hack," pried Bob. "Tell me the truth."

Servo: And now, Wonder Woman's Golden Lasso of Truth.
Mike: (Hack, reluctantly) Red. . . isn't. . . my natural color.
(Servo hums the Superfriends theme.)

"Okay! Okay! I'm terrified! I feel like I'm letting you and Dot down!"

"Hack. Everybody gets scared.

Bob: For example, you get scared. A lot. By everything.

You saw what happened to me. I've never been so frightened. The Web wasn't as bad as what I just went through.

Crow: (Bob) Except for when I spent a few days at Foxfire Studios. Man, am I glad to be out of there.

I meant what I said about not wanting Megabyte to even feel the pain."

"I think your wrong!" Hack said bitterly.

"It's all his fault! He locked me in a room with them! I hate him!"

Servo: Umm, is Dot saying this?
Mike: RoeBoot's literary technique: Leave credits for quotations as an exercise for the reader.

"He had Bugs at the Tor?"

"Yeah."

"What happened to them?"

Bob: Jack Perkins hosts a very special "Where Are They Now?"
Mike: (Jack Perkins) When the Bugs broke up, they went their separate ways. Joey went on to cut solo albums for a California studio and lives in Los Angeles with his wife Bertha. Percy, the teen idol, pursued a modeling career that ended in tragedy. Howard, the youngest of the Bugs, became a walnut farmer in Ohio, where he still lives to this day.

"I don't know. I think they died."

"No! They're here! They're all around us!"

Crow: Wrong answer! You die now!

Bob turned to Dot. "You dream Dot! Remember the part with Megabyte?"

Servo: (Dot, flat sarcasm) No, I forgot already.

Dot nodded.

"Somehow I saw this coming. Megabyte must have wanted to use the Bugs in Mainframe. But they escaped and must have attached themselves to a file sent to Quadra!"

Bob: Is there a law that every single character must be mentioned in a fanfic, even if they're no longer in the series?
Mike: 'Fraid so.

"And now they're trying to get back!"

"How do we stop them?"

Crow: With a giant roach motel!

"Once I open the portal the Queen will try to transfer herself. If we destroy her, there will be a chance we can stop this," Bob said to red robot.

Servo: Hey, he's talking to me!
Mike: Aren't you lucky.

"I know your scared Hack. So are we. But we have to overcome it and pull together. Can you do it?"

Bob: Can you win us this ball game?

"I...I'll try."

"Good. Come on. I have a job for you."

Line of Defense <))):=

Crow: We'll draw a line down the middle of the system and tell the Bugs to stay on their side of the line! It has to work!

The CPUs had the Class Ten tear locked down. They had dug a trench around it, placing heavy weapons and rocket launchers in position.

Servo: This was one game of Axis and Allies that they were going to win!

In the distance and on both sides of the street, dozens of Ö glowing eyes watched the tear. Every so often a Scout or two came closer to investigate. The creatures were scared off by a thrown rock or a loud yell.

Mike: You know, RoeBoot really oversold these guys in the introduction.
Bob: The deadly but incredibly timid killer bugs!

Matrix, AndrAIa, Nubus and Slash moved beyond the battle line to observe the Bugs.

Crow: "That was a stupid thing for us to do," Matrix said as he was eaten alive.

Matrix asked AndrAIa, "What exactly does that thing do?"

"It sprays a chemical the Bugs will find very nasty."

Servo: Hai Karate.

"Then start spraying!"

"Better get back."

Mike: To where you once belonged.

AndrAIa took a few steps away. She slipped her helmet on her head. Taking aim, she sent out a long stream of lavender liquid. The pungent smell caused minor irritation to the binome's odor detectors.

Crow: Umm. . . Bob? Any help?
Bob: Oh, it's because binomes don't have noses.
Crow: Oh. . . So they have. . . odor detectors. And those are like. . . what? What are they? How do they work?
Bob: Umm, I think it's in their feet. I dunno. I learned all that stuff back in BASIC training and I forgot most of it.

Matrix waved his hand in front of his nose. The Workers and Scouts started to run away. A couple of Bugs developed convulsions and fell over on their backs. Their legs flayed a moment before they laid still.

Servo: Look, we all know where this is going. Spare us the fifty thousand ways that they're going to kill the bugs, cue the happy ending, and let's go.

"Turn about is fair play," summarized AndrAIa as she took a few more steps towards the Bugs. Matrix grabbed her arm. "What's wrong?" she asked.

Mike: (Matrix) We haven't had a plot summary in a while. We should really do a few more of those before we finish up.

Matrix stared at the ground, his eye seeing below the surface. "I see you this time! Slash! Get ready!"

Crow: (Matrix) We're goin' to Grandma's!

Matrix pointed his gun and squeezed. He blew a hole in the street, deleting the Soldier Bug hiding underneath. Other Soldiers began digging their way out.

Bob: It's the Masked Magician's most death-defying trick ever!

"Open fire!" he directed.

Blasts from CPUs and Slash tore open the earth. Chunks a street and Bug were flying all over. AndrAIa sprayed more of the poison.

Servo: (bored) Hundreds of bugs blow up. Horrible twisty carnage. Hooray. Fun.

The Soldiers were staggering but not erasing like their smaller brothers.

"Matrix! This stuff isn't strong enough to kill the Soldiers."

Mike: The narrator repeated.

"It figures! We don't live in the Super Computer! Nubus! Get to Bob and Dot and tell them its time to get out of here!"

Crow: And they didn't leave before because. . . No! I can't take it! There's no good reason for any of this to be happening! Why won't it end? (Crow starts sobbing)
Mike: There there. We'll make it.

***

Bob kneeled by Hexadecimal. Her breathing sounded like a terrible gargling and she coughed every few nanoseconds.

Bob: You know, if there's one thing this story does well, it's portraying sickness.
Servo: And inducing it.
Bob: Yeah, that too.

However she remained unconscious. Bob put his hand on her forehead. She had no way to sweat so her metal skin was growing dangerously hot. Bob had to withdraw it.

Mike: But the bank charged him extra for early withdrawl.

"And you thought I was burning up," he said to Dot. "The systems may go critical anytime."

"How do we move her?" Dot wondered.

Crow: (to Bob) Geez, they can't figure anything out without you, can they?

"The blanket."

Bob: Of course! The blanket! It all makes sense now! That's the thread that tied this whole story together!
Servo: Readers won't soon forget when Dot wondered how to move Hexidecimal and Bob suggested the blanket!

She passed it to him. Bob carefully started to wrap her in it while talking. "Hack. You have to carry Hex. You'll go though the portal with the first group. Go straight to the Principle Office.

Mike: Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

Phong will know what to do."

"Sure Bob."

"Dot. When I open the portal I'll have to stay until almost everyone has gone to close it after us."

Crow: (Dot) And I care because. . . ?

"I understand."

"It would be better if you went ahead without me."

Bob: At this point she should say "Good idea. There's no sense in us both being endangered. Thanks for thinking about my safety." But instead. . .

"No way," she insisted. "I'm staying by you. You jump, I jump right?"

"Right," he beamed.

Nubus ran up to them. "Bob! Dot! Itís turning into a firefight out there! We need to go!"

Mike: (Bob) Oh, but we just got here!

"As Matrix would say, letís do it!"

Servo: And as Tom Servo would say. . .

PLEASE STAND BY

(Cut back to the shot of Mike the TV.)

Mike the TV: And it says: "Panda: Large Asian mammal that eats shoots and leaves". (Mike the TV breaks down laughing.) See, you get it, because he eats, he shoots, and then he leaves. Heh heh.

WE NOW REJOIN MYSTERY REBOOT THEATER COAST TO COAST

(We're back in the theater. Everyone has edged nervously away from Servo. He's panting rabidly.)

***

Bob and Dot held hands as they exited the bunker. A small stream of injured binomes followed them,

Crow: (still a bit nervous after Servo's outburst) The, uh, Macy's Thanksgiving parade is rather dispirited this year.

guarded by what CPUs could be spared. Hack brought up the rear, carrying Hex in his arms. The hiss and bang of energy beams hitting Bugs made the sprites cringe. Nubus took point, shooting any Bug coming too close.

Bob: I bet his core was processing too, but I think we can assume a few things, story.

Nubus had seen so much disappointment, he needed to ask Bob. "Are you sure you can do this?"

"Yes, Nubus," Bob assured him.

Crow: There is a Santa Claus.

"We're leaving. And I hope we'll be able to return to stop the system from crashing."

Mike: Or, failing that, to cruelly betray you.

"I'll just be happy to never see another Bug again!"

Servo: Doodly doodly doop. . . (Nubus) Another bug!

"Keep your eye open for winged Soldiers," Bob glanced up. "They have a nasty way of dropping in."

Dot cocked her gun. "I won't let it happen."

"Spoken like a Matrix,"

Crow: Stating a bold cliché while cocking a gun. Spoken just like a Matrix.

Bob squeezed her hand before releasing it.

Bob: Gee, usually I squeeze her hand after I release it. Get on with it already!

"Stand back."

Bob risked closing his eyes to concentrate. He had to muster up the programming inside him. His hands glowed as he raised them up.

Mike: So, the rest of the story is a description of him opening the portal.

Opening his eyes, his focused on the tear. A bright ball of light escaped from his hands an spiraled towards the tear in a awkward arch. It struck the tear, changing it to a portal. A view of the Principle Office from the border of Baudway was visible in the large sphere.

Servo: Please say "The End", oh please oh please oh please. . .

Bob staggered. Dot came to him, to give him support as she instructed the binomes. "Move in! Double file! Keep moving once youíre through! Don't block the others coming behind you!"

Crow: Thrill as they talk more!

"Hack! Get moving!" Bob panted.

The first set of binomes carried the wounded into the portal. Hack disappeared after them.

"Nubus! Get the next group!" Dot implored.

Bob: Say! Someone broke out the thesaurus!

"We have to do this fast!" When she glanced at Bob, she saw strain and discomfort in his face. "Can you hold it?" she asked.

Mike: (Dot) The next gas station isn't for a few more miles.

"I have to but we're going to have more problems coming our way."

"The winged Soldiers?"

Servo: (Bob) Actually, I was thinking of the unrest in the Middle East, rising global temperatures, and the risk of worldwide famine, but yeah, those'll be a problem too.

"No. Worse."

Arrivals <))):=

Crow: A chapter break. That's much worse.

Mouse and Ray walked behind Phong as the headed for the CPU garage. Ray carried Surfboard who showed no more signs of the sting wound on its surface.

Bob: And the minor, pointless sub-plot dies a horrible, vicious death.

"Are you sure yah want tah be up sugah?" Mouse asked her bow.

Mike: Her. . . bow. . .
Servo: Yeah, Mike. I talk to my archery set all the time. Really helps me vent my frustrations.

"You still don't look too well."

"It was only a nip, love," Ray assured her. "I'm startin' ta feel like a new Search Engine thanks ta Phong."

Crow: Get the feeling that RoeBoot got sick of writing and just cut out the "Ray getting cured" scene?

"I knew if I pulled the stinger out quickly the poison would have little time to injure your systems,"

Phong said. "Your ability to repair yourself was a benefit.

Bob: You wouldn't think something like that would come in handy. Really a blessing in disguise.

I may be a old but I can still come through in a pinch."

"Please," winced Ray, "don't say pinch."

A vidwindow opened next to them. A frantic CPU scrambled to get all the word out of his mouth.

Mike: Wow. Must have been a big word.

"Sir! A portal opened on the border to Kits!

Servo: Hey, that's "The Edge of Beyond" now, pal.

There are binomes coming out of it! Hack was with them!

Crow: (melodramatic) No, not Hack! Dear sweet mother of mercy!

He is carrying someone wrapped in a blanket."

"Bob?" Mouse hoped.

Mike: Yeah, she'd love to see him wrapped in a blanket. To see him being sick and everything.

Ray thought about it. "If so Bob couldn't have opened the portal."

Phong asked the CPU. "Where is Hack now?"

Bob: Come to www.hack.com for up-to-the minute updates on where Hack is and the next city he'll be touring.

They heard Hack screaming from somewhere within the Principle Office. "Phong!?! Phong!?! Where are ya!?!"

The robot charged around the corner of the hallway carrying Hexadecimal.

Servo: (Hack) She followed me home, can I keep her?

"Phong ya gotta help her!"

"Calmness Hack!

Crow: Coolness, Parker Lewis!

Let me see."

Phong pulled away part of the blanket to examine Hex. "Was she stung?"

"No. She took the stuff out of Bob. She said she was a reciprocal."

Mike: Ha ha ha. It's funny when he gets words wrong.
Bob: I love stories where people get words wrong and it's funny.
Mike: Yeah, me too.

"Receptacle?"

"Yeah! It was the only way to save Bob."

Phong touched Hex's forehead. He let out a small ouch when he felt the heat of her metal skin.

Servo: Remember to keep your hot viruses out of the reach of small children. Brought to you by the Fire Safety Council.

"We need to get her in a bath to reduce her temperature and she'll need antitoxin if it is not too late already.

Crow: And do something about her hair.

Mouse! Ray! Go to the portal! There maybe more patients on the way."

Phong led Hack away. Ray mounted Surfboard as Mouse decompressed and jumped on her zipboard.

Ray noted. "Hex's in pretty rough shape."

Mike: (Ray) And your hair glows. And kitties have tails.

"I'm more worried about the others."

"Still have sour grapes, love?"

"Wouldn't you?

Bob: Oh yeah, I'd feel the same way if. . . huh?

I can't figure out how Bob let her off so easy."

"It must be that correct guardian programmin'. Maybe we could all learn somethin' from it."

Servo: Like how you should blow up entire systems full of innocent people if they have a bug or a web creature.

Mouse gave no response.

Critical Condition <))):=

Crow: As opposed to unimportant conditions.

Slash yelled to Matrix. "I'm running low in missiles!"

Matrix checked the charge on Gun. It ran low.

Mike: See, he should have used Duracells.

"AndrAIa?! How are you holding up?"

"I've only got one tank left!"

Bob: She's got a tank? How did she get heavy artillery through the portal?

Winged Soldiers started to drop in front of them to back up the crawling Soldiers.

"This is bad! This is very bad!"

Servo: Everyone but Bob is using his catch phrases!

***

Group after group

Crow: (singing) . . . appeared on the stage, and Sally just sat there crying!

of binomes ran into the portal protected by a small wall of CPUs trying to protect the way. But their weapons were running out of power or shells

Mike: Well, what was it? Power or shells?

as they were also ran out of time.

Dot shouted direction attempting to keep order. "Keep moving! Don't block the entrance!"

A young binome girl tripped and fell over.

Bob: Not nessecarily in that order.

Bob stooped down to pick her up.

"Bob! Heads up!" Dot alerted him.

He saw a wing Soldier making a beeline for the portal. Dot aimed her handgun and fired, knocking it from the air.

Crow: All this because the girl couldn't get up on her own.

Bob put the child binome in the arms of a CPU as a second Soldier came towards him. He fired a red energy beam, blowing it to pieces. But a third Soldier flew past him and through the portal.

Servo: Well, two out of three ain't bad.

"Not good! This is not good!" he declared.

Mike: (Bob) Now I'll never fulfill my life dream of becoming a goalie!

***

In Mainframe, the other end of the escape route was being deluged by arriving binomes, Mainframe CPUs and Med vac units trying to remove the sick to treatment centers.

Bob: And no one's noticed the big flying bug yet?

Miles conversed with a CPU lieutenant.

"How many refugees?" asked the officer.

"Seven hundred and five

Crow: So they had exactly seven hundred binomes, plus Slash, Dot, Matrix, AndrAIa, and Bob.

including what is left of our CPU forces."

"We have to keep these people moving! Get them clear so others can get in!" a binome screamed.

Servo: Whoa, someone better switch to decaf!

The Soldier hopped through the portal, hissing at the gathered troops. They aimed their weapons and shot it to bits.

Mike: And the potential plot complication is instantly neutralized.

Mouse and Ray arrived.

The Hacker took charge. "Form a ring around the portal's perimeter!

Bob: (Mouse) Start playing Ring Around the Rosie!

Don't shoot at the portal. Wait until youíre sure it's a Bug! Then blast it!" Mouse drew her sword telling Ray, "Things are going tah be a tad too interestin' for the next few milliseconds!"

Crow: As much as I'd like to believe that, I know you're only teasing us, story.

...............................<))):=
DeBugged <))):=

Nubus ran to Matrix informing him. "There are more Bugs trying to get past Bob and Dot!"

"Get the CPUs to fire on them!

Mike: (Matrix) Do I have to tell you guys everything?

We'll hold the rest off!"

As Nubus left AndrAIa gave him more bad news. "My tank is almost empty."

Servo: (AndrAIa) We'd better gas up at Steven's Point.

"I'm out of missiles!" Slash put in.

"Gun is running out of power! But the number of Bugs is cutting down! We might just hold them back yet!"

Bob: Is this supposed to be tension?

The street began to rumble.

"Oh no! Not another sector crash!" he complained.

Crow: (Matrix, whiny) Geez, that's all we need!

"No," observed AndrAIa. "It's only on this block!"

Mike: Well, maybe this sector's crashing. Ever think of that?

The ground started to erupt open. Something very large, no extremely large

Servo: No, gi-normously large, no, big-tudiously large, no, really really large. Yeah, that's it.

dug its way out. The head of a Bug the size of a data dump poked its way out of the ground, snapping a pair of pincers as long as a sprite's leg. As it climbed free, six tree truck width legs lifted it to its full height. It let out a screeching call as it beat its sail size wings.

Bob: So. . . it was big.
Crow: Yeah, that's what I'm guessing.

One of the CPUs watching the scene stammered. "We...need...bigger guns!"

Servo: This is a bug hunt, man! A bug hunt!
Crow: Game over, man! Game over!
Mike: You guys have been waiting through the whole story for that line, haven't you?
Servo: Like Death Valley waits for a spring shower.

***

Bob saw the Bug. "It's the Queen! She wants to access the portal!"

"Bob!" Dot cried out.

Bob: Umm, why?
Servo: (Dot) I just like saying "Bob"!

Six Soldiers came up out of the ground trying to surround them. He grabbed Dot's hand and covered them in an energy shield. They attacked it, unable to get in.

Crow: Gasp as nothing at all happens to the protagonists!

CPUs shot the Bugs away but more winged Soldiers dropped down. Refugees were beginning pursued inside the portal. The winged Bugs were only passively paying the CPUs efforts any attention,

Mike: Which made them a lot easier to shoot.

preferring to give chase and bring the battle to Mainframe.

Bob called out to Epson. "Get through the portal with the rest of the binomes!"

Dot tacked on. "And get some reinforcements to come through from Mainframe!

Servo: Then the senator from Iowa tacked on a clause to help fund public education and the bill failed.

We can't hold out!"

Epson went in behind some of the last binomes. Another winged Soldier tried to follow. Bob blew it away using his energy beams.

Bob: Meanwhile, the Queen's just standing there, twiddling her pincers.
Crow: (Queen) Is it time for my part yet? Am I too early?

He then sank to on knee still keeping a firm hold on Dot's hand.

She stooped down beside him. "Bob?"

"I...I can't do this much longer."

Mike: (Bob) These ten-hour shifts are really taking it out of me.

"Drop the shield. We can hold out without it."

"No! They'll come right...right for us!"

A Soldier jumped on Bob's back but this time his shield provided a layer of protection.

Servo: Which it couldn't do before, but who cares?

Its pincers and stinger bounced off the golden energy. Bob still strained from the creatureís weight on top of him. Dot took the handle of her gun and smacked the Bug in the face. It fell off.

Bob: The fight scenes in this story are just one anticlimax after another.

Keeping his hold on Dot, they crawled up to the side of the building and huddled against it as more Bugs began surrounding them.

***

For most of the battle Slash remained as cool as he could

Crow: He listened to all the right music, hung out with all the right people. . .

so he might function properly in the battle. But after seeing the Queen he started to shake from terror.

"Can we leave now?" he asked.

Mike: Hey, if we have to stay here, so do you, buddy.

The Queen paused long enough to study Matrix, AndrAIa and Slash. It gave Matrix a chance to assess her as well.

Servo: That's nice of her.

He saw a sack on her chest area. Using his eye he saw the contents inside. His stomach sickened.

Bob: Well, what did he think the inside of an insect's stomach would look like?

The remains of a binome, most likely the Command.com, were within the greenish liquid. A network of arteries were plugged into the binome's cranium, feeding the Queen the knowledge of Quadra and the portal codes to Mainframe and other systems the Bugs could invade.

Crow: I'm so glad we got to see what was in the Queen's belly. Please, take us on a tour of her other organs.

Furious, Matrix opened fire. He punched holes in the Queens wings, disabling any chance she had to fly. She roared and stomped closer.

Mike: Anyone else get the feeling Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones should be here?

Matrix pulled the trigger again. The beams coming out were now only having minimal affect, scorching her hide but leaving her unhurt.

"Gun's power is too low!"

Servo: Tell us a few more times. I don't think we believed you the first time.

AndrAIa sprayed the last of the poison. The Workers and Scouts crawling beneath the Bug's legs were falling over, but the Queen only roared louder and more enraged.

Bob: And for as smart as these things are, it doesn't occur to her to just stomp past us and go through the portal.

"Matrix! I'm empty!" she tossed away the nozzle and back pack and took out her trident.

Nubus staggered over to them suffering from pincer wounds. "Matrix! We're outnumbered! We have to leave!"

Crow: (Nubus) Mom says it's time for dinner!

Nubus collapsed. Slash bent over and helped him up.

Matrix ordered. "AndrAIa! Slash! Take Nubus! Get Bob and Dot! Get out of here!

Mike: (Matrix) And get me some more exclamation points while you're out!

I'll hold her back!"

AndrAIa passed Matrix her trident. "This helped you before. It will work again."

Servo: Unless it doesn't.

"I'll see you later," he responded. "Nubus! Pull all of the last troops out!"

Nubus said weakly. "Right away guardian!"

Matrix wondered if Nubus was a little delirious now.

Bob: Oh yes, the way he deliriously followed orders and everything.

He smiled anyway, recalling when being called guardian made him proud. Then he remembered Dot's words. 'Bob and I are proud of you.

Crow: He remembered them like it was a flashback.

We always will be. No matter what goes wrong. We're a team. We're a family.'

Mike: (singing) We. . . are. . . family!. . . I've got all my sisters and me!. . .

Matrix snarled at the Queen. "All right ugly! You want to get to that portal! You have to go through me!"

Servo: "That was a dumb thing to say," Matrix thought as the Queen bit his head off.

***

The last few refugees came into Mainframe. Quadra CPUs and Mainframe CPUs were firing at the Bugs slipping through the portal. Mouse sliced the head off a Soldier. Ray used a shower of blue energy to trap another and suffocate it.

Bob: And now, because we know how much you love them, more bug-killing scenes.

Ray wiped his brow telling Mouse. "This is getting messy love! That portal has ta be shut!"

Two CPUs carried Epson passed them on a stretcher. He begged them. "Please! They need help! Bob! Dot! Matrix! They can't hold out any longer!"

Before Ray and Mouse could act, Hack flew past them hollering. "Cowabunga!"

Crow: (dully) Radical, dude. Let's get some pizza.

He when through the portal.

***

The Bugs formed a line around Bob and Dot, clicking their pincers impatiently,

Mike: (Bug) C'mon, when's the floor show start?

expecting Bob to drop the shield anytime. Weakening, Bob had narrowed the shield to form only a protective layer.

Servo: Uh, why? What had it been before?

The sprites remained sitting on the ground propped up to the building's side, watching the ring of hungry Bugs.

Bob breathed hard as he said. "We literally have got our backs against the wall!"

Bob: If you take away the parts where the characters restate what the narrative explained perfectly well, this story would only take up about a page.

An inpatient Soldier attempted to pull on Bob's leg. Angry, Bob kicked it in the face forgetting not to use his right foot. The effort caused his stinger wound in his side to pull open.

(Everyone screams)
Crow: Thanks story! We really needed to see that!

He slumped over, groaning from the sharp pain. The shield flickered a moment but reset fast enough for the Bugs to still be left waiting.

Dot put her arm around Bob as he gasped. "That was a...stupid thing...to do."

Mike: (Dot) That's okay. You're doing your best to pad out the story, just like the rest of us. That's all we can ask of you.

The same Bug came at them again. This time Dot punched it in the eye. It whined and ran to the rear of the group.

"Good right hook," he complimented.

Dot changed the subject for a moment.

Servo: (Dot) You know, we never really settled that whole "Baby" issue.

"Remember the game sprite you told me about once?"

"Which one?"

"The one with the wings and long hair that had special powers."

Crow: The Esper?

"The angel."

"Yes. I was thinking about how much you are alike. Youíre my angel Bob."

Bob: Umm. . . okay. Can we concentrate on the bugs now, please?

"So are you."

"When we get through this you can call me baby but I get to call you angel."

"It's a deal."

Mike: And thus, the Merimac Treaty was signed, and the feud between Bob and Dot ended.

One of the Bugs was blown apart. Bob and Dot watched as the Soldiers were mowed down by a fresh barrage of missiles. When the firing ended there were no live Bugs left.

Servo: (uninterested) Wow. Bugs are blowing up all over the place. Haven't seen that for a few paragraphs.

Bob released his energy shield.

Hack flew up to them, his hand turrets still smoking. "I HATE BUGS!" he boomed.

Bob: (Hack) Did I mention that yet?

"Hack!" Bob exclaimed. "Youíre not afraid anymore."

"Of course I am! But you guys needed me! I can't go against my programmin'!"

Crow: And there's your moral. Enjoy.

"Now you sound like a guardian."

Slash arrived using his jetpack carrying AndrAIa and Nubus in his arms.

Mike: What, did he have one tucked under each armpit?

The game sprite helped Dot lift Bob up. The women supported him as they started for walking to the portal.

"Where's Enzo?" asked Dot.

Servo: Probably still in Mainframe. Is that really important right now?

Before she answered they saw the Queen leaping down the block, bucking and screaming. Matrix had jumped onto her back

Bob: In a maneuver so incredible that it can't be described.

and was jabbing her repeatedly using AndrAIa's trident. The Queen danced around on her legs, rearing herself up and down trying to throw Matrix off. But Matrix had his legs firmly around her neck, refusing to let go.

Crow: Look, just kill her and get it over with! What's taking so long?

All those western bull-riding games have finally paid off, he thought.

Shouting full force, he stabbed the Queen in her eye. The Bug crashed to the ground, legs flailing. Matrix tried to pull the trident out but it seemed stuck tight.

Mike: (Matrix) What's wrong with this camera? Is it out of film, or what?

"Matrix! Leave it!" AndrAIa screamed.

Bugs were swarming over the Queen, preparing to dissect her to feed the eggs remaining in the core. Matrix backed away and drew Gun as a Soldier got close to him. He shot it before turning to run.

Servo: Oh, it magically recharged itself. Great. Just end the story.

The Queen found her footing and rose up, shaking off her attacking children. Shrieking, she pursued Matrix.

"Hurry Enzo!" cried Dot.

Crow: (Woman from Riding With Death) Give it the old college try!

Bob panted. "Hack! Slash! Go through! We're right behind you!"

They followed his order, taking Nubus with them. The three sprites waited until Matrix all but tackled them, sending the group falling through the portal.

Bob: And so, hideously and clumsily, we escape from Quadra.

***

Bob, Dot, Matrix and AndrAIa tumbled to the ground back in Mainframe. CPUs came to help them.

"Get clear!" Bob warned everyone.

Servo: (Bob) Lose your pigmentation, now!

They scrambled away as the Queen stuck her head out. At that moment the portal closed, blowing her head from the rest of her body and scattering fragments of her from Quadra to Mainframe.

Mike: My, what a charming children's story.

The head rolled to a stop, still having AndrAIa's trident jammed in its eye. Mouse and Ray ran over to the sprites. Matrix put Bob's arm over his shoulder to hold him up. Dot hugged them both.

Crow: The End. Wow, finally.
Bob: Umm, there's still a few more pages.
Crow: What? What's left to say? What could RoeBoot possibly add to this story?
Servo: Well, now we have to show the characters telling each other what happened, describe how the Quadra binomes found homes and jobs in Mainframe. . .

Ray took one look at the Queen's head and commented. "Heck of a trophy. Who gets to put it up on their wall?"

Mike: That guy's getting really hard to ignore.

Bob said to Dot, "I think I 'd better lay down."

"You should. You very weak and I need a med team to treat your wounds."

Crow: End!

"That's not the only reason. Little Enzo is coming."

Sure enough the child was bounding towards them squealing for joy. "Dot! Bob! Matrix!"

Crow: End! End! End!

AndrAIa bravely got in between them and got bowled over instead. She first glanced to Little Enzo sitting on her waist, then looked up at Matrix.

Bob: (AndrAIa) You were such a jerk when you were little!

The game sprite said. "So that's what it's like."

Crow: End! End! End! End! End! End!

They all laughed.

Crow: EEEEEEEEEEND!!!

Epilogue <))):=

(Crow starts crying into Mike's shoulder.)
Mike: (rubbing Crow's back, singing) Hush little baby, don't say a word. . .

"Hexadecimal?"

Servo: Or Memorex?

She heard Bob's voice. The former Queen of Chaos opened her eyes. She saw an intravenous bottle attached to her arm, feeding antitoxin into her systems. A large bouquet of flowers sat on a small end table placed by the bio-bed.

Bob: "A candy wrapper lay at the bottom of the waste basket. A light switch was set next to the door at about shoulder level. The roof was painted off-white. Small dust particles floated gently about the room, carried by convection currents caused by the. . ." It goes on like that for a while. Let's skip ahead.

Scuzzy sat on it too, wagging his tail and chirping hello. Bob stood by the bedside holding her hand. She smiled to him.

"Hello, love," she said.

Mike: Uh, Hex? I think you misread some signals.

"How do you you feel?"

"Better. Phong got me treatment in time. Is everyone else all right?"

"Everyone is fine. The good news is we killed the Queen Bug. Because of it, Ray and Mouse were able to drop a fumigation bomb into Quadra's core.

Servo: (Bob) I was a little disappointed that I didn't get to blow them up, but that's life, I guess.

It will take some work from clean up crews but the system will be back to full power in less than a minute. They lost much of their people but the remaining binomes want to restore their home."

Bob: All four of them will begin work sometime next minute.

"How wonderful!"

"You still have to stay off your feet for another second. We were going to hold off Dot's birthday celebration until you get better."

Mike: (Bob) But then we thought, nah, why bother?

"I won't hear of it. You have your little get together and save me a piece of cake."

"Hex. I never want you to put your lift in such danger again.

Bob: Your elevator is important to us all.

I'm a guardian. Allowing this procedure, even to save my own life goes against what I stand for."

Servo: (Bob) Although I have no problem at all with bombing entire systems to cure an infestation.

"Glitch knew this was a last resort."

"We still know better. If you had deleted-"

"It wouldn't have been a big loss," she interrupted.

Mike: (Hex) There are other viruses out there.

"Your wrong. We do care about you Hex. I told Matrix once that we've all changed, we've all grown and we've all made mistakes.

Bob: I sound like a bad sitcom for some reason.

Will you let us put off the party so you can be there?"

"Oh, all right but don't use the 'P' word around Dot. You'll scare her off."

Servo: Pistachio?
Mike: Pittsburgh?
Bob: Parliment?

"That's nothing compared to trying to keep her age a secret," he laughed.

"Like I say, never ask a woman her age!"

Servo: And never laugh at living dragons.

"Hex there's something I want to give you as a thank you."

Mike: A year's supply of Rice a Roni as our parting gift.

"Bob! I did it to repay you! You've given me so much already!"

"But it's something you've always wanted."

Bob: A lifetime subscription to Reader's Digest.

"Bob! What will Dot think?"

"I asked permission. She said yes."

"She's very lucky to have a guy like you."

Servo: (Hex) Someone who can kill with a gesture.

"I'm very lucky to have a friend like you," he leaned closer to her. "Thank you."

Bob bent further over and kissed her on the lips.

Mike: Oh, how naughty of them!

Hex closed her eyes and savored the moment. Scuzzy let out a long whistling sound.

When Bob ended it he told her. "Now get better."

Bob: Or I'll kill you.

"After that I'm going to be doing cartwheels!" she giggled. "One more thing. Can I play a game sometime?"

Servo: (Bob) Sure, we got Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, Checkers. . .

"We'll see. Now get some sleep."

Bob walked out of the room.

Hexadecimal let out a deep sigh and told Scuzzy. "Why are all the good ones taken?"

Mike: (Hex) Every time I meet a man he's either married or he's a virus.

***

Dot held Bob's hand as she led her along a path in Floating Point park. She had a blindfold over her eyes to keep her from peeking.

Bob: And not to keep her hair from falling out, as one would readily assume.

"Did you have a good time today?" Bob made small talk.

"Right up until you put this blindfold on," she mildly complained. "But today was fun. I even saw Mouse and Hexadecimal talking. I think Mouse is ready to give Hex a chance."

Servo: We're going to tie up every loose end even if it takes another forty pages!

Dot tripped slightly.

"Oops! Be careful," Bob held her.

"I would if I could see!"

"Okay! Okay! We're here!"

Bob removed the handkerchief. Dot saw a table and two chairs sitting under a lamppost with place settings,

Mike: A lamppost with place settings? Welcome to Happy Land!

a covered silver platter of food, a bottle of chilled spirits and a bouquet of daisy-wheel blooms.

"Oh Bob!" said Dot. "This is so sweet!"

Bob: Meaning the creation.

"Remember the note I gave you?"

"I still have it along with something else." Dot turned her icon changing into the sparkling red gown she wore for Enzo's first birthday.

Servo: Well, we can give RoeBoot one thing: She did watch the show.

"It's a little old but I never got a chance to go shopping."

"It still looks gorgeous on you," he drew her closer to him. "Now about the note..."

Mike: (Bob) Did you see the little "April Fools" part at the bottom?

Dot put her arms around his neck. "What about it?"

"Well I see a bunch of un-sniffed daisywheels over there."

"And what happens if I do angel? Do they squirt me?" she teased him.

Bob: Oh, it's no fun when you guess. . .

"No, you just smell them."

Dot wasn't interested in the daisywheels. She nuzzled up to Bob's face. "I can smell them later."

Servo: No, you just missed the entire point! Now, go back to the start of the story and this time, learn something!

Bob leaned over and plucked one of the flowers from the bunch. "Here. Let me help you."

Mike: You know you're out of practice when you need help to operate a flower.

Dot sighed and gave in. She took the daisywheel and put it to her face to whiff its sent. Then she saw something nestled in its center. She gasped and removed a ring shaped like the bud of a young daisywheel bloom. The sculpted silver silicon flower had a small icon in its center. The areas representing the white were crystal silicon. The areas meant to be black were instead gold silicon.

Servo: Hold on, silicon doesn't come in different colors! It's a metal! A silvery metal!

Dot's mouth opened but not a sound came out.

Bob explained to her. "It has a stasis field in it like Mouse has in her ring so you can defend yourself if you have to. I also put in a homing devise so if we ever get separated I can find you."

Bob: Form follows function in the Daisywheel Bloom Engagement Ring. Available only at Shaw's Jewelers.

Tears started pouring from her eyes.

"Did the flower squirt you baby?" he asked.

She sniffed. "Is this what I think it is?"

Mike: (Dot) Is this a new juicer?

"I sure hope so. I can't afford to get you anything else. I don't exactly have a salary from the Super Computer anymore now that Iím considered a public employee of Mainframe," he remarked in slight embarrassment.

Servo: (Bob) In fact, I don't make any money at all, and I had to rob several banks to pay for this thing.

"Dot, I know you own most of the businesses in Mainframe and your Command.com. You have so much and I have so very little I can give you. Maybe that's why I couldn't see you being interested in more then being friends.

Bob: Hold on, I didn't propose before because I was intimidated by her vast monetary holdings?

But now I see what a mistake it was not to tell you about my feeling for you."

"Youíre wrong Bob. I always thought you were the better one. You saved Mainframe so many times. Youíre a hero."

Servo: She says yes, they kiss, fade to black, The End. C'mon!

"We both are. We fought together and apart. During the time in the Web you were always on my mind. I promised I'd never leave you again. But now I'm asking you if you'd...

Mike: (Bob) Work for me next Friday.

will you..."

Bob: Drive me to the mall?

He had such a lump in his throat he couldn't get the words out.

Dot nodded. "Yes."

Servo: Brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department.

Bob's eyes shimmered.

"I love you," she said.

"Copy that."

As they kissed a small pair of eyes watched from a bush nearby.

Mike: Oh no, not Hack and Slash again. . .

The Scout Bug paused only a moment longer before scurrying off into the darkness....

Servo: Hmm. . . I give the horrible twist ending a 2.5. Didn't tuck in time.

THE END

Mike: Yes! The two most beautiful words in the English language!
(Bob runs up and kisses the words on the screen before following Mike and the Bots out the theater.)

...............................<))):=

(Back in the SOL bridge. Everything's returned to normal. Gypsy's waiting as the guys enter, still wearing their crossover costumes.)

Mike: Hey! The ship's back to normal! (He takes off his helmet.)

Gypsy: Yeah. I had the nanites fix everything while you were reading the story.

Bob: (taking off the mask) That talk show idea was really dumb.

Servo: Well, the guests were pretty nice.

Mike: Yeah, and hey, before I forget, I'd just like to say something to our special guests.

Crow: Or at least the ones who are still alive.

Mike: (ignoring Crow) We appreciate all of your help, and we've put some nice checks in the mail for you.

Servo: Of course, since we're lost in the midst of time and space, and taking into account that we live in a fictional universe, they may take a while to reach you.

Gypsy: That reminds me. I got a call from Jerry the Cow. It turns out Mike didn't blow him up; he just cut the transmission.

Crow: (ignoring her) Man, how about that story today, huh guys?

Bob: (also ignoring her) That thing moved slower than the continental plates.

Gypsy: Umm, hello?

Mike: (ignoring her) Yeah, but I think we all learned an important lesson.

(The guys look at Mike incredulously.)

Gypsy: Am I still in this scene?

Mike: (you guessed it -- ignoring Gypsy) No, really. Any story, no matter how simple or how complex, says something about right and wrong.

Crow: Oh, yeah! Like, I learned that if your boyfriend has a disabling injury, the best thing you can do is just dump him.

Gypsy: Umm, I'll just be over here then. (Gypsy wanders off.)

Servo: I learned that giant, superintelligent, poisonous bugs are actually very timid and will run away from thrown rocks or loud shouts.

Mike: I learned that army lieutenants are bitter, hateful people.

Bob: And I learned that there's no such thing as a good war or a good crossover.

(The red light starts flashing.)

Mike: (to the Widowmaker) Yeah, guys! I mean, what was the deal with that whole dumb Space Ghost crossover?

(Cut to the Widowmaker. Close-up on Megabyte.)

Megabyte: We thought that talking to the people who wrote these things would drive you mad, but I suppose not. All well, it was worth a try. Perhaps next time.

Andy Rooney: Why do people have this attitude that you can get it done "next time"? Why don't people ever bother to do something right the first time? What if our founding fathers had said, "Well, we can't win this revolutionary war, but we'll get it right next time"?

(Pan out to show the whole Widowmaker. Everyone's seated as before, except that Andy Rooney is sitting in the back seat, between Bobo and Observer. Everyone's looking out the window, obviously put off by Andy's rambling.)

Megabyte: (to Pearl) From now on, no more hitchhikers.

(Pearl nods solemnly.)

Andy Rooney: (as we fade out) Funny thing about hitchhikers. Everyone thinks they should. . .

Credits