(Theater sequence. Bob takes in his book)
Bob: Well, we might be
shortly decending into hell but at least I'll understand all of what you're
saying this time.
Mike: That's good.
Author's Note: This story takes place right after Bob and the crew of the Saucy Mare return to Mainframe,
Crow: Only to find it restored, Hex and Megabyte deleted, the people happy and thus with no need for them anymore.
and find it in ruins.
Crow: No one ever listens.
It takes a completely different turn than the Arc Four episodes.
Bob: Really? Maybe this
won't be so bad.
Crow: (Sarcastically) You think?
Bob: No really, I read Jerry the Cow's 'Grid Run' which was partially a re-write of season three and it was *really* good.
Crow: But remember those other season 3 re-writes we've been forced to watch? Now what were THEY like?
Bob: Oh. Yeah.
Tom: How many other fics on the Net do you suppose have used that for a title chapter at one time or another?
The Saucy Mare flew through the portal from the Web into Mainframe-- or as it was now called-- Megaframe.
Crow: Even though they hadn't checked out the place yet, they knew it was MEGAframe intuitively.
Ray walked up beside Bob.
Mike: (Ray) You're standing on my board and it hurts. Get off.
(Yes, Ray is with them now.)
Bob: We gathered, what with him standing there.
"My, what 'appened 'ere?"
Mike: Someone stole all
Bob: Actually that's almost the way he talks. It sounds a lot better than when it's written down, I guess.
"I wish I knew," Bob replied simply. Seeing the city in its decrepit state, Bob could only worry about the state of his friends.
Tom: And if his apartment had been sold.
Did they manage to find shelter? Did Megabyte banish them from "his" city?
Crow: Did they still sell 'chunky' peanut butter here?
There was only one way to find out.
Mike: Log onto the Net and read the episode spoilers from the Canadian fans who've already seen season 3.
Bob didn't like it one bit.
Bob: A half-bit, yes. But not a whole bit.
AndrAIa took her place between Bob and Matrix.
Crow: I just had this horrible vision of a really stupid love-triangle idea.
She gasped at the sight of the destroyed system.
Tom: (AndrAIa) My CD collection! Gone!
She felt hot tears streaming down her face.
Tom: (AndrAIa) It took me AGES to find that Voltaire CD!
Matrix wrapped his arms around her comfortingly. He got a pang of worry also.
Mike: (Matrix) I hope Dot didn't throw away all my toys by now.
But it was not for the fate of the city, not yet anyway. "Dot," he uttered, "I sure hope she survived."
Crow: (Matrix) She must owe me a TON of allowance by now.
Bob looked pained,
Tom: (Bob) Will you two stop hugging already? I haven't seen anyone normal in ages and now you have to flaunt it in front of my face?
then lightened up a bit for Matrix's sake. "Don't worry, she's your sister, a Matrix.
Mike: (Matrix) Well actually she's a Byte by now. She and MB decided to get hitched while you were gone. Sorry, forgot to mention it earlier.
I... I'm sure she'll have found a way to survive."
Tom: Just listen to the confidence *ringing* through that stuttering tone.
Although inside, he prayed that he was right.
Bob: Please let there be a Santa, please oh please oh please...
The ship docked, and the sprites got off, into the devastated system. Bob gave his orders.
Mike: (Bob) Okay, I want a Hawaiian pizza, two six packs of Cola, and a giant tub of Expresso Fudge Ice Cream for everyone. Got it?
"Okay, the best way to find
out what actually happened here is to
Bob: Thus weakening our
group, leaving us easier targets for any ABCs around and a generally stupid
Mike: But isn't that what you did in the original "Megaframe" episode?
Bob: Um...that was a different Bob.
AndrAIa and Ray, you take
Frisket and gather as much information as
possible on how Mainframe got in this state.
Crow: (Bob) I thought I'd split you and Matrix up because your hugging is getting on my nerves.
Matrix and I will search for
Dot and the others."
The group split into two, and they went their separate ways.
Tom: Later on Bob and Matrix formed a cabaret, while AndrAIa and Ray went on to record 4 singles that hit the top 20 charts for a while.
* * *
"Just... a little... farther!"
Bob: I can almost...reach...the remote control...
she gasped, running at top speed away from the threat.
Tom: She must've insulted 'Titanic' in front of a bunch of Leonardo DeCaprio fans.
All she could hear was the sound of her heart, ready to pound right out of her chest,
Crow: Although wouldn't it be neat if that really happened?
and the sound of her shallow footsteps on the cold, hard pavement.
Mike: All right, question.
How can footsteps be shallow?
Bob: This is a story and the laws of reality seem to take a temporary hold when the author overlooks something like this?
Mike: Good boy! (Feeds Bob a RAMchip)
Crow: Feeding him like this is going to make releasing him back into the wild harder you know.
She risked a glance over her shoulder.
Tom: Immediately loosing balance and tripping, crashing ungracefully to the ground.
That was a bad idea.
Bob: Again, we gathered.
The virus was gaining. Fast.
Mike: (rapid voice)
But wait, there's a binome coming up on the inside with a sprite shortly
behind him and now binome and sprite are neck in neck with the virus and
awayandYES! It's VIRUS! And virus wins by a hair!
She ran into a narrow, dank alleyway.
Mike: It's *always* dark. Why can't we ever see a character run into an open, cheerfully lit alley instead?
She gasped when she reached a solid brick wall.
Crow: Due to overuse, we're
not going to make the usual Pink Floyd song reference here.
(Bob starts immediately riffling through the book)
She was trapped.
Bob: Well except for her zip-board but it was brand new and it seemed like such a shame to scratch it.
"Well, I said I'd do anything to save the system," she mused,
Mike: (Dot) Good thing I was lying.
a look of sheer horror on her face, "but I never thought I'd be deleted trying!"
Tom: So she went through
the whole of season three with a ragged army, few friends and almost no hope
expecting to come through alive?
Bob: Actually that pretty much sums Dot up. Hey I get it! Just Another Brick In the Wall is a song they did! Ha ha! You know that would have been pretty good.
Crow: (Sighing) We know.
The virus approached,
Bob: Who's obviously Megabyte but for some bizarre reason the author refuses to name him.
claws outstretched, a look of pure malice on his face,
Mike: (Megabyte) NEVER play an All Saints CD around me EVER again.
ready to strike...
* * *
Crow: Dear Lord we're going
to miss the thrilling "Dot gets Decapitated" scene! The SUSPENSE! Will she
Bob: Of course she does. She's a main character. We're near omnipotent.
Mike: Unless of course this turns into some sort of 'kill off main characters just for the shock value' slasher.
Bob: Uh oh.
Ray, AndrAIa, and Frisket approached the lone building in the center of the system: the Principal Office.
Tom: You mean they just left all the crumbling buildings alone when they could have been looting them? What a waste.
Ray pounded on the door.
Mike: Displaying the
intelligence of a salmon.
Bob: (Ray) Let's see, no one's around but the LAST thing we knew was that Megabyte had the upper hand. Hmmm. I'm sure it's PERFECTLY safe to go in.
Mike: Yeah, that's how I deal with solicitors too.
"Well, the lights 're on, but nob'dy's 'ome," he said, trying to be cheerful, but failing miserably.
Crow: As is his accent...the guy sounds like half his teeth are missing.
AndrAIa tried to force the door open but it wouldn't budge.
Bob: (AndrAIa) Oh no wait-I'm pulling and it says push. Silly me.
"Cursors and crashes," she muttered. Then an idea hit her.
Mike: (AndrAIa) BOINK! Ow! Whose was this? I mean it, if the person who threw this idea doesn't owe up I'm going to be VERY angry.
She took out her trident, extended it to its full length, and jammed it in the security mechanism.
Tom: The resulting explosion could be seen as far as Lost Angles.
The control panel on the vidwindow display flickered and faded; opening the door as it faded.
Bob: A sensitive security device that's meant to keep out anything from Viruses to Hackers? No problem, just impale it.
They were in.
Mike: And cue the obligatory Mission Impossible music. (He and the bots start humming while Bob riffles through the book again)
The trio wandered through the halls of the Principal Office, searching for answers to questions long since asked.
Tom: Unfortunately the whole "Twin City" thing was apparently a one-episode only mention that they dumped, so they didn't find anything.
The way to the Read Only room was as gloomy as a night
Mike: Fortunately a box of light bulbs solved the problem.
in the most devastated of systems; which was probably what Mainframe now was.
Bob: Having only a single building standing and all.
Getting to the Read Only room was harder than the small group had bargained.
Tom: (Matrix) Where's the talking voice NOW? They had once last time I was here.
Everywhere they looked, there was a troop of viral binomes.
Mike: (Viral Binome)
Hey, how's it going?
Crow: (Ray) Just fine.
Mike: (Viral Binome) So, you guys plan on launching a rebellion after breaking in here anytime soon?
Tom: (Matrix) Yeah, maybe later this second.
Mike: (Viral Binome) Hey, well great. Keep in touch.
The sinister markings on the walls proved one thing:
Tom: "El Barto" was here.
the Principal Office had been lost to the Mainframers, and gained by Megabyte.
Mike: In exchange for Boardwalk and Park Place.
"Well, one thing's fer sure,"
Ray commented, "this Megabyte guy sure is
frivolous. He must 'ave a professional interior decorator 'orking for 'im.
Bob: Nah, actually he picks most of it out personally. The Tor pretty much ran itself after it was set up so he had a lot of free time.
Look at 'ose tapestries, 'ose designs, look at the artistry, the--"
Mike: They're in the middle
of a Virus's domain and he's babbling on about the
Bob: Actually that pretty much sums up Ray too.
"Ray," AndrAIa interrupted with a sigh, "it's a virus's lair, not a museum!"
Tom: (Ray) So that means there's no vending machines, huh?
After that, the trip to the Read Only room was done mostly in silence, except for when
Tom: Ray started taking pictures.
they came across troops of viral binomes.
Mike: And we all know how effective a guard *they* are.
Frisket had a few micros of fun as he tore the binomes to shreds.
Mike: Ta daa.
Bob: He's not exactly the kind of dog you'd walk up to and scratch behind the ears.
Upon entering the Read Only room, AndrAIa ran a search on "Megaframe". The computer screen flashed a bit and finally returned 2702 documents.
Crow: (AndrAIa) 'Megaframe' bingo night, 'Megaframe' car wash, 'Megaframe' taco stand...this is going to take forever.
"Oh my," AndrAIa muttered, "this may take longer than we thought."
Tom: (Ray) But on th' plus side mate, I have time to ask for a guided tour now.
* * *
Tom: I want those. (Leaps
Mike: Servo they're text, you can't possibly-
Tom: Ah ha! * * *
Mike:...how did you do that?
Tom: I really don't know. * * *
Meanwhile, Bob and Matrix were touring the city from above, on zip-boards. They were desperate to find some sort of life form on this desolate terrain.
Crow: Cool. They're sparkly.
Can I have one?
Tom: Sure. * *
Crow: Neat. *
Bob: Will you put those under your seat? They're giving me a headache.
Tom: Oh fine. You happy?
When Bob saw the hole in the ground where Dot's Diner had once been, he had to fight the
Bob: Urge to
(Everyone looks at Bob)
Bob: Well you know how everyone always said it was the fastest food in Mainframe?
Mike: Uh huh.
Bob: What they didn't tell you was that it was so fast because half the time they didn't heat it up properly. I survived on lukewarm Pizza pops for *months*.
lump that was rising in his throat.
Crow: Like this. (Throws something at the screen.)
Mike: Hey! Crow, quit littering.
His eyes stung, and the water threatened to spill over the floodgates.
Crow: Mainframe has a dam?
He managed to regain his composure long enough to mumble a garbled comment to Matrix.
Mike: (Bob) Let's go eat at Al's.
Thoughts and images of Dot filled his mind's eye as the two Guardians hovered over the city.
Tom: Obscuring his sight and making him accidentally fly into a lamppost.
A lone, single tear rolled down his cheek, relaxing his soul. He wasn't as hard as a rock: he was mortal, after all.
Mike: Wait, were we supposed
to believe that Bob was some sort of immortal, emotionless being *before*
(They look at Bob critically)
Bob: Nah. Even I don't buy that.
He was allowed to have emotions for the sprite he loved.
Crow: Luckily, Mouse was
Bob: (After a long pause) Mike could you please pitch Crow somewhere off-stage for me? I can't reach that far.
Mike: Sure thing. (Reaches over and does so.)
Bob: Hey, thanks.
Crow: (wandering back on) I'm so glad we're bonding like this.
Luckily, Matrix didn't see the dreaded tear,
Bob: What, I'm not allowed
to have feelings in front of Enzo?
Tom: No wonder he's grown up like that.
and mumbled some incoherent response.
Tom: (Matrix) Let's go find a decent bar instead.
He seemed to be having the same reaction to his sister's beloved Diner.
Mike: His vocal chords being reduced to making faint mumbling sounds?
He inhaled deeply
Bob: Wishing he hadn't as soon as all the freeway fumes and dust hit his lungs.
and pressed forward, motioning for Bob to follow. Bob did so, but he found it hard to tear away from the sight of the still-scorched hole in the ground where the Diner had once stood.
Bob: Geez, I'm so obsessed with the morbid in this story.
Suddenly, and without warning, a disturbing image of Dot replaced the soothing ones that were making up a collage in Bob's mind.
Tom: So before this, all the ruins of the city were bringing him *pleasant* memories of Dot.
It erased the mixture of good memories and left a permanent, black mark in Bob's brain. Something was terribly wrong.
Mike: (Bob) Someone's fiddling around with black permanent markers in my psyche!
He stopped his zip-board abruptly and realized that this was no memory; it was happening now.
Crow: Great. So now he's psychic?
(They look at Bob who's looking through the book again)
Mike: (Kindly) Just
say "Scully" Bob.
Bob: Okay. SCULLY!
Crow: Kinda ruined the flow there.
he screamed and headed for where Level 31 used to be.
Tom: (Bob) No, not AL's! Please let it be there!
He had to save her before it was too late.
Mike: So what's with this
psychic link you have now?
Bob: Beats me. Maybe all that Web radiation did more than just melt my hair.
Matrix said, "Bob, WAIT! Wait for me!"
Tom: In some ways Enzo really hasn't changed.
but it was too late. Bob had already sped off to Level 31. Matrix followed far behind.
Bob: I see what you
Crow: Yeah, despite growing up Matrix still follows you around like a puppy.
Bob: Just as long as he doesn't run me over now that he's *that* big, I'm happy.
Bob was speeding towards the darkened alley where Dot was. He could see Megabyte slowly approaching her.
Mike: So was that a gender confusion or just an unclear pronoun reference?
His claws were already outstretched. He had to act fast.
Tom: Apparently along with long hair and a shiny suit, new Glitch-Bob has claws.
He could see by the look on Dot's face that she was frozen in fear, unable to move a muscle.
Crow: She was actually just staring in horror at Bob's new haircut.
He zipped down, snatched her
up in his arms, and lifted away just
Crow: Boy. Bet all you boys and girls didn't see that one coming!
Megabyte smashed into the
wall, claws still extended. He was stuck
there, for now at least.
Mike: What, no Megabyte-esque
threats? No righteous anger at being outwitted?
Bob: Yeah, I miss that.
Bob hugged Dot awkwardly, seeing as he was carrying her,
Crow: And got slapped.
and she soon recovered from her frozen state.
Mike: Yes, it's new self-thawing Dot!
She slowly looked up. She gasped in disbelief.
Crow: (Dot) Oh YUCK, there's some hideous silver-blue thing carrying me away! AUGH! And- oh wait, it's just you. Sorry.
Was this really happening? Was Bob really back?
Tom: Could the author actually make us care?
"B... Bob? Is that really you?" was all she could ask.
Bob: Nah, I'm just a hallucination. You'll be dead in a few moments. Sorry.
They stopped at a stone slab where Bob set her down.
Mike: Oh sure, after being chased by a virus set her down on a grave. Real smooth.
At his nod, Dot threw her arms around his neck and cried.
Crow: (Dot) Megabyte and I were getting along so WELL today and you had to come along and spoil it!
Bob held her tightly; hot tears trickling down his cheeks.
Bob: Uhm, Dot that really hurts. OW! They're boiling!
The only thing that mattered to him was that he had her back for good.
Tom: Or until some other hideous disaster came along.
There would be no more leaving; no more pretending, from now on, only the future mattered.
Mike: Yes, only the future! Let's forget all that past stuff we're supposed to base our relationship on!
"You can't ever do that again. Ever.
Crow: (Dot) I get airsick too easily.
I... I missed you so much.
Mike: (Dot) There was no one who baby-sat little Enzo as well as you could.
I felt I had lost everything I held dear.
Crow: (Dot) Boy, was I ever wrong huh?
For once, I'm happy I was wrong."
Tom: (Dot) I should learn to appreciate my Playstation more.
"I promise. I'll never, ever do that again.
Tom: (Bob) You're just too darned heavy for me to carry.
I... I love you, Dot. I have a surprise for you." Bob released her, and moved aside.
Mike: (Dot) A piece of rubble? Oh, BOB!
There, standing in front of her, was a large, green male sprite.
Crow: (Dot) Thanks but I already *have* a couple of bodyguards. Well, we can keep this one in the shed I guess.
Dot looked uncertainly at the sprite, not really knowing if she should believe her instinct.
Bob: Hey wait, this is
almost *just* like the reunion scene in 'Megaframe' but in reverse and with
Crow: Rewrites. Such fun.
Her instinct was telling her
Crow: To throw back her head and howl like a wolf.
that this was Enzo, her little brother. She was torn by indecision.
(Tom makes a ripping sound)
Before she could decide, the male sprite spoke up in a deep voice, "Hi, Dot. Miss me?" At Dot's blank stare,
Tom: (Matrix) I guess not.
he continued, "It's me. It's
Enzo. I'm home, Sis."
Dot could immediately feel tears burning in her eyes.
Crow: (Dot) Augh! This hurts! My kingdom for some Visine!
Her instinct had been correct. It was Enzo.
Bob: Now she's going to give him a lecture about the dangers of games.
She ran to him and hugged him, crying. "Oh, Enzo!" she cried, "I never thought I'd never see you again. I thought I had lost everything."
Crow: (Dot) Well except my pog collection.
"Dot, I'm really sorry. Losing that game has been something I've been regretting for as long as I can remember. I'm sorry I've caused you this much pain.
Mike: Ah, *now* we have original dialogue added in.
We brought the cavalry.
Bob: (Dot) Horses? You brought *horses*?
Gavin, the crew of the Saucy Mare, and Ray Tracer are here, along with Frisket and AndrAIa.
Tom: (Dot) Uhm yeah okay...who's Ray again?
We're going to win this battle,
once and for all."
"Great! Um... Enzo? One thing. Who's Ray Tracer?"
(They all look at
Tom: It's so creepy when that happens.
"Oh, how basic of me!
Ray's a web surfer. He's the
one who initially got us into
the Web, whereupon we found Bob."
Mike: As an explanation, it rates full points. As authentic Matrix-like dialogue, zero.
Dot walked back to Bob and hugged him. "I guess I owe him a lot then, don't I?"
Crow: Depends on how you look at it.
Bob smiled at her, the kissed her gently. "I love you," she whispered.
Tom: You know, it's really okay to use a proper name once in a while.
Bob kissed her again. "I know, Dot. I know," he said softly.
Mike: But we'll get you help.
No one noticed as Matrix sped off to the Principal Office to tell the others that they'd found Dot.
Crow: They also didn't notice him getting shot down. Or Megabyte's troops pull up. Or the ABC's targeting them...
* * *
Bob: Actually it's a bit hard to read in here. (stands up and sits down with a light in his hand.) There. Much better. *
Mike: I can't help shake the feeling that the way you guys are defying reality like this is somehow, someway very fundamentally wrong.
Meanwhile, Ray and AndrAIa were still searching through files in the Read Only room.
Bob: Oh yeah, the sub-plot. It still lives.
" 'ey, AndrAIa?" Ray asked,
Crow: (Ray) 'ow do you people make those funny 'h' sounds when you talk?
"Is 'is it?" He held up a document that was entitled 'The History of Megaframe'.
Tom: Lesse...history of
Megaframe...somehow that has "Megabyte propaganda' written all over
Mike: (Megabyte, reciting from a book) "And in the year of the Web, High Lord Megabyte banished the guardian to the Web and with his loyal army *gloriously* crushed what pathetic remains were left of the inhabitants who would not bow down to his obvious greatness."
Bob: Brr. You do that well, I got goosebumps.
AndrAIa looked up. "Well, there's one way to find out!
Crow: (AndrAIa) Just let me get out my tarot cards.
Computer! Read file entitled 'The History of Megaframe'."
Tom: (Computer, sulkily) No, why don't YOU read it yourself for once? No good, lazy, illiterate sprites.
Just before the computer read the document, AndrAIa turned on her trusty tape recorder and pressed 'record'.
Mike: So she keeps this
tape recorder in that convenient dimensional pocket she sticks her trident
in as well?
Bob: Yeah it's really neat. She once fitted a whole CPU inside of it. She says it's like having a barn-sized purse.
If this was the desired file,
she'd need a copy to show Bob.
As the recording played, AndrAIa, Ray, and Frisket exchanged grim looks.
Mike: (Ray) Here, I don't like this grim look on me. Wanna trade?
This was definitely the right one. After it had finished, AndrAIa stopped her tape recorder and slid it back into the secret compartment inside her trident.
Bob: You know, if she'd just patent the idea she could be SO rich.
As if on cue, Matrix bolted
through the door and into the room looking
Crow: (Matrix) The have waterslides here!
"What is it, Lover?" AndrAIa asked as she was lifted off the floor and twirled around in a dizzying circle.
Bob: (AndrAIa) And stop it, I'm getting sick.
When Matrix had somehow managed to catch his breath and had carefully put her down,
Crow: (Makes a 'china smashing' noise) Whoops, not carefully enough.
he exclaimed, "AndrAIa! We've found Dot! She's back with Bob!"
Tom: (AndrAIa) Oh dear God NO! Quick, we've got to save her!
He laughed happily and hugged her tightly.
Mike: Breaking several of her ribs.
Ray, looking somewhat excluded, asked, "Well? What're we waitin' for?
Bob: (Matrix) The guard outside said the snack bar opened in fifteen minutes.
We've got the file, let's go!"
Crow: Repeat after me. Redundancy is NOT your friend.
Mike: I have to try this...* * * Ow! Hot! (Throws them back onto the screen.)
Tom: Nice going Mike, you
didn't wait for them to cool down.
Bob: They sure stuck oddly.
Mike: Well I didn't know they were that hot. (blows on his fingers) Ow.
Mouse was scouting the lower levels of Megaframe when she saw something that almost made her eyes pop right out her head.
Crow: (Mouse) A sale on ginsu knives? All right!
She blinked, looked away, then looked back again.
Tom: It's called a double take.
No, her eyes hadn't been playing tricks on her. Dot was standing a little ways off, that was normal enough,
Bob: Dot liked to stand apart from people.
but what got her, was she was standing with... a sprite.
After squinting a little,
Tom: (Mouse) I hate these contacts.
she saw that it was... Bob. Mouse squinted again
Tom: (Mouse) Why don't I just switch to glasses?
and shook her head as if to discard an unwanted thought.
Tom: (Mouse) Nah. They'd come off too easily in a fight.
She then donned her usual indifferent pose and casually (or seemingly so) sauntered up to the pair of sprites.
Crow: The Mouse style school of acting-act as if everything, even Armageddon, is about as interesting as the postal worker dropping off the mail.
As she got closer, she could her Bob saying, "I've never seen a system as bad as this.
Bob: Well there was that one time inside a school Macintosh-but no. That's too painful.
How in the Net did it get this way?"
Tom: Upset Hex. Collar. Breaking loose. You connect the dots, kids.
Before Dot could answer, Mouse stepped in beside her and answered,
Crow: (Mouse) Windows 98, hon.
"It's a long story, honey; too long to tell out here.
Bob: Although that hasn't stopped us from standing outside for the last half hour or so.
Why don't we see if we can get back ta tha base and tell it there?" Bob laughed at Dot's glare,
Bob: (Dot) Mouse, I was just trying to talk out here in the open making Bob and I sitting ducks for any ABCs, do you *mind*?
but agreed. Mouse knew about Bob and Dot's feelings for one another, but decided to flirt with Bob nonetheless.
Mike: The annoying, petty side of Mouse. I though we got rid of that rivalry in "Gigabyte". Well, the petty part at least.
She only did it to annoy Dot. That look she gave her when exasperated was priceless.
Bob: It almost made up for the slug she got afterwards.
The only thing that she didn't like about Bob's being here was that he'd probably start to defend Dot if things got out of hand.
Bob: No, I'd just let her sit there taking hits for me. Of COURSE I'd defend her!
Not that that was a bad thing on Bob or Dot's behalf, but it made Mouse feel a little edgy.
Tom: She felt that people should learn to deal with burns and open bleeding themselves.
She felt as if it might ruin her image.
Mike: Dot's or
Bob: Either way it makes no sense...
To hide her unease, she chattered ceaselessly all the way to the base.
Crow: Until Bob brought out a roll of duct tape.
She never took her eyes off the couple, and laughed inwardly when she saw them both roll their eyes as she went on and on about nothing at all.
Mike: (Mouse) Ha ha! I'm being a total twit and I DO love it so!
"A PhotoShop Moment" as she liked to call it. Only then did she notice that Bob and Dot were walking hand in hand.
Mike: I wanna hold your
haaaaaaand...I wanna hold you ha-a-and...(looks at Bob) The Beatles,
She mentally kicked herself. The strange thing was it hurt!
Crow: Mouse's self-inflicted phantom pains come back to haunt her.
Even though she knew jealousy was not the way to go, she couldn't help but feel just a little envious.
Tom: Ahh, don't worry about it. You'll be fixed up in a shallow relationship with Ray in no time.
There was her ex-boyfriend (from a while back, before Bob even came to Mainframe)
Bob: Hey we never-I mean we went out a few times but-
and her best friend walking hand-in-hand! Well, Mouse, she thought to herself, you've gone and done it again.
Tom: Set up a relationship where both people are happy. Boy, you really screwed up this time huh?
You got your best friend to trust her feelings for her true love, and what do you get? Zilch.
Crow: She felt so hurt being rejected by Dot like that.
Crow: Dibs! I call
Tom: No no, I call dibs!
Crow: Too late sucker. * * * (stows them away)
Mike: Just what are going to DO with those anyhow?
Crow: We'll find something. Heh heh.
Mouse's babbling instantly stopped as soon as she saw Ray.
Bob: Violins...come on, where are the violins?
All she could do was gape in awe.
(They look for a moment)
Mike: No. I can't see it either.
She turned to Bob. "Honey, may Ah ask, who is that?"
Bob: Someone with an accent just as mangled as yours is.
"That's Ray Tracer, a web
surfer," Bob said matter-of-factly.
Dot snickered at Mouse's expression
Crow: (Dot) Hah, she's falling for the dork *already*!
as she paid no attention to Matrix or AndrAIa, but jut sauntered up to Ray and flung an arm around his shoulders.
Tom: Ooo. Forward isn't she?
Ray looked a little confused at first,
Mike: (Ray) It's a girl and she's TOUCHING me!
but then realized that a beautiful woman was paying a lot of attention to him, so he soon began to enjoy himself.
Bob: You know, I'm sorry
but even Ray isn't this womanizing.
Mike: He isn't?
Bob: Nah. He'd at least say something to her a bit before enjoying it. Like "Hi" or "What's your name"?
Bob just shook his head at Mouse's antics. "Same old Mouse," he mumbled. AndrAIa cleared her throat
Crow: (AndrAIa) Will you guys get a room? Or at least a cubicle?
to get Mouse and Ray's attention. They both turned away from their conversation
Tom: Being nonexistent, it was pretty easy.
and looked sheepishly at the small crowd that was intently watching them.
Mike: Mainframe, city of voyeurs.
"Oh, I'm sorry, mates. Bob?
When did you get 'ere?"
"I came with that girl that's draped all over you," Bob said, not impressed.
Crow: (Bob) I could've come on to her faster.
"And who's that lovely lady?"
Ray asked, motioning to Dot.
Bob put an arm around Dot's shoulders and drew her close.
Mike: (Bob) Hey no fair, you already hit on a main character.
"This is Dot, " he said, looking down at her with a smile on his face, "She's this system's-- I mean-- our Rebel Force's commander.
Crow: Always so coherent, isn't he?
And, may I add, an amazing
planner," he added as he hugged Dot.
Dot looked lovingly up at Bob and smiled at him.
Tom: Aww, how adorably cute...(sudden, violent anger) ENOUGH with the romance already!
She looked back at Ray. "Actually, Phong told me that I am now the Command-Dot-Com I don't know why..."
Mike: It was either you or Mike the TV. Take your pick.
Bob looked down at Dot, surprised.
"You never told me that."
"You never asked."
Bob: Then again you never gave me a clue as to what was really happening in the system.
She smiled. "Actually, I was planning to add it into our long story,
Mike: Which you can start aaaaany second now.
but, since you told him my
old rank, I felt the need to correct you. No
offense intended, of course, Bob."
Crow: I mean, we all know how picky you are about being corrected from the times you've been mad about it in the past, especially considering the closeness we share.
"What about the story, anyway?" Matrix spoke up, getting back to business.
Mike: Trying to further the plot along.
Mouse, who had been busily talking to Ray, spoke up. "Ah'll field that one, honey," she told Matrix.
Tom: If they actually start repeating all of season 3 from the episode "To Mend and Defend" could you pitch me back in the theater as far as you can?
Bob: Will do.
"We'll both tell you that," Dot corrected, glaring at Mouse.
Crow: Oh, how their little grade-school rivalry is so in season 3 character.
Mouse smiled smugly
Tom: Does she smile any OTHER way?
and began. "As y'all probably know, we activated a firewall around sector G-Prime.
Tom: Bob, if you'd
Bob: (Picking up Tom) Okay, get ready... (Winds back and hurls him) Alley-op!
But, soon after Enzo, AndrAIa and Frisket lost the game,
Hexadecimal got free of her
prison in Megabyte's Tor, and the collar."
"She, in her rage, blasted all her strength into the Tor and blew the whole top section off the rest of the structure.
Bob: You okay back there?
She then went to commanding her own little legion: the nulls," Dot continued, "She destroyed Hack and Slash, and started an all-out attack on her brother.
Tom: I'm fine, thanks. Hey I can barely see the print from back here!
"Now, Megabyte, with no more Tor, had to find a new place to set up shop. Naturally, he chose the Principal Office."
Crow: Which explains how Ray and AndrAIa snuck into the PO so easily while it was taken over. Yep.
"We tried to hold him off, but it didn't work.
Mike: His sales pitch was too irresistible.
They out-gunned us one hundred to one," Mouse took over again, "Phong ordered us to leave the Principal Office. He rebuilt Hack and Slash and told them to look after Dot.
Crow: She survived only by using all her wits.
Phong stayed behind, like a captain, ready to go down with his ship.
Bob: User knows why. I mean, he could have just left the doors locked and it would have been just as effective as STANDING there while Megabyte burst in for crying out loud.
We don't know what happened to him." Mouse looked at Dot grimly.
Mike: Here's a hint. Think 'Marie Antoinette' or 'Yorick'.
Dot took over. "After that, we needed to find somewhere, anywhere, from which to conduct out battle plans. We set everything up here because it's close to the Principal Office,
Crow: And the donut shop wouldn't let us use it as a base.
and Megabyte doesn't know where we are." She sighed, then said, "Now we have to find a way to get the Principal Office, and Phong, back to us.
Mike: Even though at this
point he's only good for portal codes and 'my nose is itchy'
Crow: Did you just swipe that off the ReHuCoHa 'lines they should have said' list?
Crow: Yeah well...tell me every line *you've* ever used has been original.
Tom: Fair enough.
We need to get rid of Megabyte."
Bob: (Smacking his forehead in mock revelation) My User, you're right! THAT'S what I've been missing all this time!
She stopped. She couldn't take it anymore. She did not look the least bit happy.
Tom: She realized that she needed sentences with commas. Fast.
Bob hugged her comfortingly. He hated seeing her like this. "Do you have any ideas?" he asked her gently.
Megabyte: (Over the
P.A system) Servo! I'd advise you to get back into your seat.
Tom: (Mumbling) Right away, Comrade Stalin.
Megabyte: (Omninously) I heard that. (signs off)
Dot shook her head mournfully. AndrAIa spoke up. "I think I have an idea. Now, here's what we do..."
Tom: (Walking up, dome slightly dented) Spoilsport.
Bob: Whoops...sorry about the dent.
Megabyte finally managed to free his claws from the wall,
Bob: After an hour later.
and stumbled back to the Principal Office, muttering to himself.
Mike: (Megabyte) Lesse groceries, groceries...we need some salad, some more rye bread, some coffee...
As soon as he sat down in his throne, the virus suddenly realized who Dot's savior was.
Crow: Again, an hour later.
"GUARDIAN!" he roared.
Bob: No need to yell. Not as if they can hear you half a city away.
"You will pay dearly for this!"
Tom: Whoa, THERE'S a new one.
He couldn't believe that his archenemy had survived the Web.
Mike: After all, hadn't he dragged up those director's cuts of "Gorgo" and "The Wild World of Batwoman"?
Megabyte now saw that he had greatly underestimated his foe.
Bob: Just like in the last two seasons.
"Herr Doctor," he said casually, "bring me... my most trusted follower,"
Tom: (Herr Doktor) Sorry mein Lord, but that Tora person is off somewhere drawing again and Laurie's always busy with work. The others are building a pagan altar to you. We can get that Silver dope, though.
he ordered with a disgustingly evil smile.
Mike: Actually, evil can look quite good on some people. It's all in the expression.
It would be very satisfying to see the look on Bob's face when he unleashed his secret weapon.
Tom: *NO* one over the mental age of thirteen survives a live Moppet concert.
"Yes, my grossenbeitter," Herr Doctor praised, then ran off towards the door to fetch Megabyte's new friend.
Crow: Hey, it's Timmy the Webcreature!
Megabyte leaned back in his throne. "How can it be possible that Bob has returned?
Bob: Cheap plot device. You get used to them.
Well. No matter. We'll soon find out who really deserves this city, this... haven.
Mike: This crumbling, decaying piece of slag that I wouldn't pay $5 for.
The Principal Office is rightfully mine.
Tom: (Megabyte) After I stole it.
No one will get in my way."
Crow: Not even those meddling kids and their dog!
A few moments later, Herr Doctor returned with Megabyte's most trusted follower.
Mike: (Megabyte) Well hello there-EMI?! You idiot I said *trusted* follower!
Megabyte smiled pleasantly at the sight of him. The green eyes looked so much better, and his blue tinted skin suited him better than the old trashy gold. Megabyte hated that color.
Bob: He hates almost EVERY color. Well except blue, he's got good taste there.
"Well, Phong, I have some most disturbing news for you," Megabyte purred.
Crow: (Megabyte) I've decided that decapitating you would be MUCH more fun than just infection and your head in a jar would make a great conversation piece.
"Please, master, do tell," Phong implored.
Tom: (Phong) Yes, tell me what ultimately failing plan you have for me today.
"My archenemy, Bob, has returned. I want you to do something for me."
Crow: (Megabyte) Annex his apartment! Ha ha! That *will* teach him!
"Anything you wish, Lord
(All burst out laughing)
Bob: What, *Phong*? Okay,
HOW? Give me enough weird advice that I get dizzy and fall over? Throw a
Pong puck at me?
Mike: Oh man, this IS getting weird.
Hexadecimal sat in her throne room watching her brother.
Mike: Hey, so Megabyte let Hex move her throne into the PO. That was nice.
She was not pleased. I never thought Megabyte would go so far, she thought dismally,
Tom: (Hexadecimal) Canceling the X-Files like that.
watching him give Phong his orders.
Bob: (Megabyte) And get it from that really good place on the corner that does take out this time, all right?
She opened another window and watched the Rebels plan their attack.
Crow: (Hexadecimal) They are SO screwed.
"Well, Skuzzy," she said, patting him on the head, "It looks like we have out work cut out for us.
Mike: Now we just need to glue it together.
I have made a decision. We will join the Rebellion.
Tom: (Hexadecimal) We'll use our powers to blow up things in the name of GOOD this time. Won't it be fun?
We must not let my brother win." Skuzzy flattened himself slightly, but made a sound of agreement. He didn't like what Megabyte was doing, either.
Crow: Like introducing leash laws on all pets.
"I'm glad you agree, Skuzzy," Hex said to the little football-shaped mouse. She then got up and went to the Rebel base.
Mike: Wondering why everyone was screaming so loudly when she came in.
She hoped they'd agree to let her join their attack.
Bob: That is when they stopped pointing the guns at her.
Tom: Ah ha! (Tries to
jump up, but Mike quickly pushes him back down again.)
Mike: No Tom, you have enough. This is just being greedy.
Crow: Sweet, they're mine! (jumps) * * *
Mike: Put those back *right* now.
Crow: Spoilsport. * * *
* * *
Mike: That's better.
"Well," Dot said, once AndrAIa had finished telling the small group of her plan, "I don't think I could have done any better. It sounds good.
Crow: (Dot) Although *asking* Megabyte to give the PO back seems just a touch too stupid.
Does anyone else agree?"
Tom: And silence filled the room.
As soon as she had asked the question, there were several nods and statements of agreement.
Mike: Yes, the McWrap WAS a bad idea.
Dot was satisfied. "It looks
like we've got ourselves a plan," she
Tom: It takes so little to make her cheerful.
Not two nanos after she had said that, the door to the base flew open, and in walked...
Crow: Boo. I want Elvis.
Bob said in surprise, stepping protectively in front of the group.
Bob: Giving them oh...about an extra 5 seconds of safety.
Everyone assumed different defensive positions.
Tom: For all the good THAT'S going to do them.
Hex, however, had stepped in the doorway, and had put her hands out, palms up, as a sign of peace. She switched her mask to a pleading, sincere face.
Crow: Lulling them into a false sense of security.
Tom: (Hexadecimal) I brought biscuits! Surely THAT counts for something!
she said quietly, "Before you attack me, I have something to ask of you.
Bob: Is it true there's a giant crack on my mask that looks like a spider?
If I ask to join your Rebel forces, will you accept?"
Everyone exchanged confused looks. Matrix stepped forward. "How do we know this isn't another one of your attacks, virus?" he asked with a sneer.
Crow: (Hexadecimal) Don't talk to ME that way young man. ZAP!
"Wait," Bob said, laying a hand on Matrix's shoulder. "Hex, you can join us--"
Mike: (Dot) Bob? Honey? Are you NUTS?!
"Thank you, Guardian."
Crow: Thank you for being suicidally stupid.
"--on one condition. That you remain with at least two of us at one time."
Tom: Whoa yeah. I can see how that'd make a difference should she choose to let loose with a few fireballs and crispify the whole place.
"Anything for revenge against my brother." Bob then squinted and walked up to Hex. "What happened to your face?" he asked, seeing the shattered mask.
Crow: (Hex) Look I tripped and fell, okay?
"Megabyte," was all Hex said.
Bob: That guy gets into everything, huh?
"Here, just let me touch it,"
Crow: Eww, Bob.
Bob said, laying both hands on Hex's mask.
Mike: (Bob) Okay, let me just pull it off here...
He used his Glitch half to mend it. The process was slow. Very slow.
Crow: Somewhat like the plot pacing.
Tom: (Bob) I TOLD you to use sunblock. Did you listen? No!
She blocked off her optics.
She couldn't bear to see what he was
Mike: Whoa. Should we ask
Bob: No really, all I did was defrag her face. It wasn't anything...icky.
Slowly, the pain subsided,
and she felt Bob's hands slowly leave her
She reactivated her optics, and looked into a nearby reflective surface. She gasped. What she saw, she couldn't begin to believe. She looked whole, and perfectly normal.
Mike: (Angry Hexadecimal) This is going to RUIN my image! How dare you?!
For the first time ever, she felt that way, too. "Guardian," she whispered, then stopped. Her lips. They moved when she spoke!
Bob: There goes her ventriloquism act.
"What have you done to me?"
Bob: I threw around some gold sparkles and glued your face together.
"I re-fragmented your masks. They were completely shattered.
Tom: Yet somehow defied the laws of gravity and stayed on your face.
I remembered that they had never been normal.
Crow: Uhm...how does one
go about defining 'normal' for a virus like her anyway?
Bob: You use random guesses. It pretty much works out in the end.
I added some programming of my own to ease your suffering."
Tom: (Hexadecimal) Well that explains why I'm blue, I suppose.
For once in her life, Hexadecimal looked happy, peaceful.
"I-- I'm sorry for anything I've ever done to offend you, any of you.
Mike: (Hexadecimal) Well except for that Medusa bug. That was a hoot! And the time I re-painted Mainframe. And the whole thing when I fried the P.O with the energy cannon-that was great! Ha ha! Gee, I guess I'm not really sorry for any of this after all.
Now with my mind clear, I see
Crow: That being insane was a lot more fun.
which is the right path." She looked Bob in the eyes. "Bob? Can you purify me of my viral contamination? Make me a sprite?"
Tom: Uh, yay, sure, give up any sense of identity you might have gained from being whole-minded and dump all your past. Are you *still* nuts?
Bob looked genuinely surprised.
"I can try, but it may not work."
"I'm willing to take the risk."
Bob: Without any reasons why you'd do this given, of course.
"Alright. This may be painful."
Bob: Actually it WILL be horribly painful because I'm going to be erasing most of what's left of your identity. But don't let that stop you.
Bob took a deep breath and laid his hands upon Hex's shoulders.
Tom: I can just see Dot glaring in the background already.
He transferred a virus cleaning system into Hex' main data stream,
Bob: What? You moron! She
IS a virus! That'll kill her!
Mike: I guess the author assumes there's some sort of common denominator of existence which both sprites and viruses share that lets them survive despite having nothing to do with form or programming.
Bob: Nah. She's just making it up as she goes along.
and prayed. A flash, a scream,
Tom: A shot rang out.
and a loud power charge, and it was all over. Dot came over to Bob and smiled proudly up at him,
Tom: (Dot) She's dead. Good for you.
then looked at Hex in astonishment.
Bob: (Dot) You managed to get that stupid leather outfit off of her! But how?
Hexadecimal slowly stood up, and turned around to look in the reflective surface. It had worked. She was no longer viral.
Mike: Well, there goes her fan base.
She was about Mouse's height with tan skin, blue eyes, and shoulder-length brown hair. She smiled, then threw herself at Bob.
Crow: Dot still there, this meant that Hex's life as a sprite was relatively short lived.
Bob awkwardly managed to detach her from him. "I let you keep your powers," he said.
Bob: I dunno why, really. They were just kind of cool.
"Hex smiled again. "Thank you, Guardian. You have no idea how grateful I am." She looked at Dot. "Don't worry, I won't steal him away from you."
Crow: (Hexadecimal) Please release my throat now.
Then Bob remembered something. "Mouse?" He turned, only Mouse wasn't there. Neither was Ray. "I think she and Ray are off somewhere else," Dot said with a wink.
Mike: Oh...God no.
Bob got Dot's message loud and clear.
Tom: (sickly) So did we.
"I think I'd better go look for them," he said. "Not without me, you won't," Dot said.
Crow: (Dot) I *like* spying on people, remember?
Bob smiled fondly down at her, hugged her, and let her lead the way to Mouse's quarters.
Mike: You know, I *do* believe they have a relationship of some kind going here.
Crow: All right friends, witness the wonder of ASCII art. (Reaches down and pulls out some characters)
Crow: Ta daa!
Bob: Hey, Andy's trident. That's really good.
Mike: I have to hand it to you, that's pretty nice. Where did you get all the '|' symbols though?
Crow: I stole them from past Tag lines.
Mouse and Ray were alone in Mouse's quarters, mostly chatting, but, after a while, Ray leaned, put his arms around Mouse, and kissed her.
Tom: Aww, this is all so
lovely, and sweet, and darling, and SOMETHING BAD HAPPEN TO THEM ALREADY!
Aside from Megabyte briefly, unsuccesfully attacking Dot we haven't had a
SINGLE bit of action!
Mike: I'm sure there'll be conflict later.
Tom: You're right. Maybe they'll spy on each other kissing some more! Yay!
Mike: You hate this don't you?
Tom: Oh yeah.
At that moment, Bob and Dot walked in. "Well," Bob remarked casually, shattering the moment, "Dot, Look who we found!"
Crow: (Dot) Uh, Bob dear? They're right there, I can see them.
He smiled devilishly and walked up to the couple, placing a hand on each one's shoulder.
Bob: I'm getting freaked out by this.
"Mouse? Ray? You two need
to be present. We are discussing battle
techniques. You remember Megabyte, don't you?"
Mike: (Mouse) Who?
Dot shook her head with a mocking smile on her face and approached the small group. "Mouse?" she said sweetly, "We need you to help us decide on a strategy."
Tom: (Dot) That is if you can tear yourself away from sucking off Rays lips over there IF you don't mind.
"Well, why didn't ya say so earlier, honey?" Mouse asked, speaking for the first time since Bob and Dot had entered the room,
Crow: Because you went off to play 'spin the bottle' with a surfboard, that's why.
"Ah would'a stayed, but Hexadecimal's praise session was pretty nausiatin' if you know what Ah mean. Ah wanted to keep mah lunch down."
Mike: Suddenly I feel a lot more sympathy for Mouse.
Ray just grinned sheepishly.
Dot shook her head yet again
Tom: (Dot) Shoot me.
and led the small party back into the main room.
Crow: (Dot) Now *this* is where I plan to hold our really boring strategy session.
Back in the main room, Hex was admiring her reflection in a mirror provided by one of the binomes
Bob: Who then ran cowering in fear.
and Hack and Slash, who had somehow managed to join the Rebellion,
Mike: In some vague, mystic, zen-like way.
were watching her.
Crow: (Hack) You think she remembers that during the time when she was tied up we poked her with a stick?
The door to Mouse's quarters opened, revealing
Tom: Wall to wall Garth Brooks posters.
Bob, Dot, Mouse, and Ray, who all walked up to Matrix and AndrAIa, who were sitting in a corner of the warehouse.
Mike: Let's unnecessarily run over all those characters ONE more time.
They stood up upon seeing the return of their friends. "So," Ray said, "how 'xactly do you pr'pose we go 'bout carryin' 'is plan out?"
Bob: Well first we plan to get you a few consonants so we can understand just what the heck you're saying.
"Well, I was thinking of a surprise attack," AndrAIa started, toying with a strand of her hair.
Bob: As opposed to one
where we give him a weeks notice out of politeness.
Crow: AndrAIa sure is a strategist all right.
"Megabyte must not suspect a thing.
Bob: Don't worry. He never does anyway.
Hexadecimal? You go with Bob and Dot and sneak in through the 'back door'.
Mike: (Hexadecimal, outraged) You're making me go through the SERVICE entrance?!
Mouse and Ray will try to hack into the PID files to try to liberate them, trying at the same time to find Phong.
Crow: Why bother to bring along Ray, we don't know.
Matrix and I," AndrAIa continued,
Tom: Are going to nap till this whole thing is over. Call us, okay?
only to be interrupted by Frisket growling.
voice) Time for a Scooby sna-
She laughed. "And yes, you too, Frisket.
Tom: (AndrAIa) Of course we couldn't let *you* miss out on all the grisly carnage!
We will go look for Megabyte. We'll meet up with Bob, Dot, and Hex at the door to Megabyte's new throne room.
Mike: (AndrAIa) Just make sure you don't scratch the floor, he gets touchy about that.
Are we ready?"
All: (Monotones) Yes.
In response, everyone made various affirmative remarks, and went into the makeshift armory to get suited up.
Mike: (Bob) What
the-all we have left to fight with are SLINGSHOTS?
Tom: (Matrix) All right!
Far out in the energy-sea, a shimmering portal opened.
Crow: The User's illegal warez site finally attracts the wrong kind of attention.
A dark, ominous figure slowly emerged from it, sliding slowly towards the city.
Crow: Name one of the 137,525,780 things it could be.
It was a particularly evil entity, and it wore a devilish grin.
Tom: Just as long as it's not called "Pitch".
She was here on a mission that could put her whole operation in jeopardy.
Mike: If this is
Bob: Come on Mike, some people haven't sunk that low. Besides, few people actually SET OUT to write themselves as evil. (Pauses) A few.
She didn't mind, however; she had already done most of it, she only had two more tasks to accomplish.
Tom: Pick up some rabbit food and purchase gas.
She was only starting a new mission because it was, as she thought, convenient because she was in the area.
Bob: Funny how these coincidences keep popping up, isn't it?
She touched a key on her arm and her earphone crackled.
Crow: (Unnamed villain) Damn, cheap radio set...I should never have gotten it from K-Mart.
A small and terrified voice answered her touch.
Mike: Look, stop asking for "I.P Freely!" This joke has gone too far!
"Y-yes your evil
"Shut up, you scum!" she hissed,
Tom: Whoa. With dialogue
like this...well! What CAN we say about dialogue like this?
Mike: More bad things?
"I've entered the system. That virus has had his last chance to carry out my orders.
Bob: Everyone's so obsessed with ordering in this fic. Why don't they eat in for once?
I will make sure that he understands the importance of obeying his master. Daemon out."
Bob: Oh THAT'S who it
Mike: Yeah Bob, what's Daemon like in real life?
Bob: Just a plot point, really. You know, to leave open a season 4. Tell you the truth we didn't even hire out an actor for her yet.
Tom: Star light, star bright, let this story's end soon be in sight...
At the same time in the lower levels of Megaframe, a pair of figures stepped out of a similar portal:
Crow: Bruce Willis and Steven Segal.
a male and a female.
Crow: Like I said, Bruce Willis and Steven Segal.
The male looked around and gasped in surprise. The female's reaction was similar. "Turbo? What happened to this system?" asked the female, Chroma.
Bob: Hey, Chroma! She and I used to be lab partners! I remember the time when we accidentally dumped a chunk of francium into a beaker of energy. (Sighs nostalgically) You couldn't use the lab because of the drafts for weeks.
"I don't know," the Prime Guardian replied, "but whatever it is, this system needs help."
Bob: (bitterly) When doesn't it? A million systems to choose from and I picked the one with 2 viruses and has something bizarre or awful happen to it every week.
He suddenly stopped talking
and closed his eyes, opening them a few
nanoseconds later. "I sense Daemon's presence," Turbo breathed, putting his hand to a glowing right temple.
Mike: Let's show some self-restraint and not make any Star Wars jokes this time.
The Infection burned brightly within him.
Crow: So very...hard...must resist...
Chroma lowered her gaze periodically, staring at a large shard of roughly discarded cement.
Tom: (Chroma) I wonder if I should clean that up.
She looked up again. "Let's do it," she said. "Wait," Turbo said, placing a hand on her shoulder. "I... sense another's presence.
Crow: I can't do it Mike. (Darth Vader) Someone else...a sister.
Is... is this possible? Could Bob have truly returned?"
Bob: YES already. Where have you BEEN all season?
Chroma's head snapped up. "Bob?" she asked incredulously, "This is his system?"
Crow: (Chroma) I
still owe him for when he messed up our lab report!
Bob: Hey...she was the one who told me to drop it in.
"Yeah. And I think-- no wait-- I'm sure he's back."
Tom: (Turbo) No wait, it's just a migraine. Sorry.
"Can you trace him?"
Mike: (Turbo) Yep, I stuck a spider-tracker on him.
"Yes. Copland, search for Guardian 452 by the name of Bob."
Crow: (Copeland) Yeah yeah. Slave driver.
The key-tool whirred and responded by displaying a map with a glowing blue spot on it.
Mike: It just turned out to be the local plumbing store started by another guy named "Bob". Weird coincidence.
As one, the two Guardians left towards the Rebel Base.
Mike: Help me, Obi-wan
Mike: Sorry. You were right, it IS too hard to resist.
Megabyte, still in his throne, drummed his fingers impatiently against his console.
Mike: (Megabyte) The sushi place said they only took THIRTY minutes to deliver. What's keeping them?
Herr Doctor watched him intently.
Bob: Forget it. He's not giving you a raise.
"Herr Doctor," Megabyte said suddenly, "A tear has opened out in the energy-sea.
I want you to find out who our... new visitor is," he rumbled.
Crow: (Megabyte) I'd like to invite them over for tea and a chat.
"Yes, Lord Megabyte," Herr Doctor replied and dashed out the door.
Mike: A moment later, looking embarrassed, realized he just ran into the laundry room by mistake.
A few micros later, Megabyte opened a vidwindow at the city limits to check on Herr Doctor.
Mike: (Megabyte) Hey! What are you doing at the video store?
When he saw his servant, his eyes widened. The binome lay in a heap, charred and blackened.
Tom: Hex's revenge part 2-the awakening.
There, on his forehead, was a symbol. Megabyte recognized it immediately. "Daemon!!" he screamed.
Tom: Ah, and wackiness
Mike: Exeunt, stage left. C'mon let's take a breather.
Bob: (Sitting alone
at the desk reading his book again) I just wish there weren't so many
entries for Microsoft in here...
Crow: (sauntering on) Hey Bob. Still reading the book?
Bob: You bet.
Tom: (Hovering on) Whacha doing?
Bob: We were just-Tom, you're *purple*.
Tom: Have been, ever since they destroyed the programming that was done on a Macintosh for me and re-did me for PC.
Crow: We told you that last week.
(Mike also enters)
Bob: Uh, Mike? You haven't
been re-programming Crow and Servo again, have you?
Mike: No, ever since I lost the building schematics for them I haven't touched the two suckers.
Bob: I thought you weren't good at inventing things.
Mike: Well it wasn't hard. After all, the NASA spaceship I volunteered on had a lot of simple, detailed instructions to build robots in case you found yourself the only surviving crew member and suffering from loneliness.
Bob: And...a man named Joel and Dr. Forrester don't come into this?
Tom: Joel? I don't know any Joel.
Mike: Of COURSE I remember Dr. F. And his assistant Dr. Erdhardt. And then there was that one guy named TV's Frank who was there only for the first few movies then quit. Something about getting a better offer from Arby's.
Crow: You feeling all right Bob?
Bob: (In a daze) Fine. Fine. Look, they're calling. (Pushes the MAD button)
(Widowmaker, except instead of the regular Pearl-van this one is a new mini-van, with three rows of seats and grey upholstery. Brain Guy and Bobo are still in the back, but in the middle row of seats there's a man in a tattered hat. Some things being unchangeable Pearl is still driving, in charge of her van. But she's a red-head.)
Pearl: Hey-ho space lovers! How's the movie coming along?
(She waits, expecting Megabyte to add something. She looks over at him. Megabyte is staring out the side window, a confused look on his face.)
Megabyte: (distracted) What? Oh-yes. I hope it dearly hurts.
Bob: Who's that guy in the middle?
Torgo: I Am ToRGO. I take
Care of tHE VAn WhiLe the MASterS ArE AwaY.
Pearl: You're losing your memory already Bob? This is a GOOD sign! Unless sprites are naturally this vulnerable. We converted him to our cause after he took away Dr. Erdhardt to Second Banana Heaven, the land of sidekicks, remember?
Bob: (Expressionless face) I'm sorry. I haven't been getting enough sleep.
Bobo: Stop it! You're looking
at my battleships!
Observer: I can't even see your wretched gameboard.
Bobo: Yes you can! You've been using the window behind me as a mirror!
Observer: You can't prove that!
Bobo: Oh sure I can, I do it all the time when I sit there.
Observer: What?! Why you-
Bob: Ow! Lawgiver! LAWGIVER!
Pearl: (To Megabyte) I have to go sort them out. Here, I'll stick it on cruise. (heads towards the back)
Mike: Hey, Tokemon is on.
Come on, let's go watch.
Bob: I'll...stay up here reading, thanks. (after they've left) TOKEmon?! No, I won't ask...
(Widowmaker. We hear clear sounds of scuffling in the back. Megabyte glances at them and shifts closer to the transmission to make it more private.)
Megabyte: Er, Bob? Have you by any chance-
Bob: Noticed that everything's different? Uh huh.
Megabyte: So it ISN'T just me. No one else seems to have realized what's happening.
Bob: You and I are from a different place. Maybe we're immune?
Megabyte: No, this is probably just some facet in a plot device somehow. As if we didn't have enough on our hands...it's getting quite surreal up here-we have *another* little hanger on who's been resurrected for some reason.
Bob: Yeah, almost like in the fic where Phong is still alive and...oh my User...
Megabyte: You can't possibly mean that somehow it's *leaked over*.
Bob: It's just *like* the fic. Major events have been slightly changed and Tom had a make-over just like Hex. And look at this! Both the crews suddenly had distractions to keep them from overhearing this conversation! That's just the kind of coincidence that happens in fanfiction.
Megabyte: This is absurd, but I do believe you're right. We'll have to find some way to change it back. And, ah, rather quickly. The story line does get a bit more original in the end. I don't think I can stomach any more changes at this point.
Bob: So what do we do?
Megabyte: (putting on a superior expression again) You're the guardian. You're supposed to be able to adapt to incredibly stupid things like this happening, aren't you?
Bob: Oh so NOW look who thinks I can help. Last time I did this I ended up stuck here! I haven't been around long enough for this to bug me, so you can just get used to it.
Megabyte: Do you REALLY want to live in a world with a "Tokemon" show?
Bob: Okay okay, point taken. I have an idea anyhow. All we have to do is use the fics weakness against it. Here watch this. (Loud, clear, fake voice) Oh no. It looks hopeless. We'll be trapped like this forever.
Megabyte: What good will THAT d-
(With a loud pop, everything turns back to normal)
Bob: When a main character says 'we're doomed' something always saves them. Actually being able to manipulate reality like that was pretty cool. Maybe I should have left it like that and used it to get out of he-d'oh!
his fingers) Well, while I appreciate the fact that you were intelligent
to figure a way out but not how to use it, I'm afraid it's-
Pearl: (Taking her seat) Fic time! Back into the theater.
Bob: I hate being a hero. (runs around and enter the theater when the movie sign flashes)