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Posted: Dec 25 2010, 04:53 PM
Member No.: 3
Joined: 20-July 06
Episode 12: To Enter Dark Nation: Part 1
~1 February 20XX ~ Afternoon ~ Famous’ apartment~
Bass had quite a bit of homework to get through, all of it neatly piled on his desk. Not one book, nor a single piece of paper, not even a pencil or pen had been touched since he set them there. He’d been sitting in front of it, staring at all of it, for over two hours now. An almost visible cloud of grumpiness hung over his head. “I hate being grounded,” he muttered sulkily. “And finals are around the corner.”
Your powers were suspended too, don’t forget, Gospel thought to him from the corner. Bass turned to the wolf and glared, but Gospel just cocked an eyebrow and purposefully started wagging his tail.
“What are you so happy about?”
Well, you’re actually spending some time at home with me Master. It’s been so terrific; you’re over there, ignoring me and being a sour puss; I’m over here, wondering what you’ll be sharing with me for dinner. I’m still waiting for that, you know.
Bass growled at the sarcasm that Gospel was throwing at him. “You really have gotten to enjoy being obnoxious, haven’t you? Have you been hanging around that brat, Lan, too much?”
The wolf rolled onto his side, stretching and yawning while still projecting thoughts to Bass, something he couldn’t have done with an actual speech function. No, I don’t go over to spend time there at all. There must be someone around here who I’ve learned to be obnoxious from. He remained on his side, looking up at his Master after he finished his thoughts.
Bass was practically grinding his teeth in frustration. “Making little implications like that can be very bad for your health you know,” he hissed, letting a warning pulse of energy show on his right fist.
Oh no! I didn’t mean to get you mad. Really, I truly didn’t. Why, if I got you so frustrated that you accidentally let off a shot or made some use of navi power when you’re suspended, your suspension would last even longer. But on the bright side, you and I would get to spend more time hanging out. Bass’ eye twitched in his frustration at Gospel. The wolf calmly rolled to a more upright position, though he didn’t actually sit up, and he stared passively at the half navi. After a moment, he thumped his tail once, then again, on the floor, continuing the thumps in a very slow wag. Though he didn’t send any thoughts to Bass, the half navi got the distinct impression that the wolf was saying “Nya, nya, nya-nya, nyaaa.”
Bass decided to turn his glare to his homework again, and Gospel stopped thumping his tail on the floor after a few moments. Bass sighed and finally touched his homework, but only to slide the top book of the small stack off onto the floor. Maybe I should just sleep until the suspension’s over, he thought to himself.
Eventually, a chime caught his attention, letting him know that somebody wanted to come inside. He went to the lower area of the apartment to find out who was there. When he saw it was Lyne on the monitor for the front door, he let her in right away. She greeted him with a grin when she got inside. “I bet you’re bored,” she said.
“Yeah. Please tell me you aren’t bringing more homework for me.”
“Nope, no homework.” Lyne skipped past Bass and went up to his upstairs room. “Hi Gospel! How are you doing?” She reached down and gently patted the wolf on the head.
I’m fine Light Element Master. Just trying to make sure Dark Element Master isn’t too bored, the virus replied with a wag.
“He’s annoying the hell out of me!” Bass offered. “He was rubbing it in that I got suspended from duty.”
Well, it was pretty dumb. Bass growled at Gospel, but the wolf ignored him and continued. You should have known better than to use such a powerful attack in NetCity.
“Who’re you to criticize?”
Have I ever done that much damage before?
Lyne and Bass answered with, “Yes,” simultaneously.
I have? Oh, right. When Wily mucked about with my programming and sent me on that rampage. Well, I wasn’t exactly myself then, was I? What’s your excuse?
Unripe lemons aren’t as sour as the look Bass sent to his companion, but it was Lyne who had an answer. “Well, he was, exactly, himself.” Lyne and Gospel were both rolling with mirth at that jab. Bass huffed and turned away to sulk. “Oh, Connor. I’m sorry. I know I shouldn’t have, but you are reckless when you’re angry.”
“I wasn’t expecting it to be that powerful an attack,” Bass said, still not facing them. “What Dark used through me to destroy Havock was an incomplete version of that attack. Heh, heh. But it was pretty cool. Too bad I didn’t get ‘im.”
“Connor. I want you to stop going after Maniac like that,” Lyne said quietly.
“He’s the enemy Lyne!”
“He’s one of our enemies. But you’re taking it personally Connor. You’re targeting just him and ignoring everything else. You can’t keep hunting him out of anger.”
“Grrrr, ‘cause, what? It’s stooping to their level?” Bass sighed and turned to look back at Lyne. “What can I do? It seems like he’s targeting you. I can’t leave it be.”
“He’s not really targeting me. Believe me, he’d do something nasty to you if he got a hold of you. He tried to when he thought I wa- Combit was you.”
“Still not used to it?”
Lyne sighed and sat down on the floor, idly scratching Gospel on the head. Bass came up to join her. “No, I’m not. I still have trouble figuring out my memories from hers. And I had an… interesting conversation with Searchman recently.”
“Hmm? How was it interesting?”
“Well, when I remembered the destruction of Old NetCity, I saw a navi that looked sort of like Searchman. I asked him about it, and he admitted it was him. I got mad and yelled at him, but it was Combit’s anger.”
“Searchman was there huh? He’s older than I figured. But wait, why would Combit get mad about that? Just because he didn’t tell her he’d been there then?”
“Actually, she was mad that Searchman never told her that he’d tried to shoot me.”
“He what!? Where is that punk!? I’ve got so-whurgh!” Bass had been getting to his feet, presumably to start looking for Searchman, but Lyne yanked him back down.
“You’re not going after him Connor. I was destroying the network and Searchman was doing his duty. He shouldn’t be punished for that. It just wasn’t right to keep the information from us, that’s all.”
Bass huffed and shifted a little so he was sitting comfortably again. “So, he tried to shoot you, and we’re not supposed to be mad about that. I’m seeing a pattern here. So, should we forgive everyone who tries to hurt you?”
Lyne glared at him and puffed out her cheeks in annoyance. “Well then. So what should I do to you for what you did to me when I came back to Japan?” Bass jerked back from Lyne and grimaced. Lyne kept a fierce look trained on him for a moment, then closed her eyes and sighed. “I’m sorry. But you see what I mean, don’t you?”
“Mrrrr. Okay. I got it.”
The two of them were quiet for a while. Lyne suddenly shook her head and broke the silence. “I’m sorry. I completely lost track. I came here to tell you that we have a mission.”
“A mission? Then my suspension is off?”
Lyne nodded. “Yeah. But you still need to keep from causing so much damage in civilian areas.”
“So I can use navi powers now?”
“And I won’t be penalized for using attacks, just as long as there’s no property damage?” Gospel had been half dozing, but now his eyes popped open and he lifted his head to look at Bass.
“Ummm, I guess so.”
Enjoy the mission Light Element Master, Gospel thought abruptly and bolted for the nearest jack in point, vanishing from the room.
“Heh, heh. Wuss,” Bass chuckled.
“You weren’t really thinking about attacking him, were you?” Lyne asked uncertainly.
“I was planning on it. He was taunting me to do it earlier, the little jerk.”
Lyne sighed and hung her head hopelessly. “Well, I hope this mission will let you burn off some of that aggression of yours. Come on and let’s get going.”
~Late Afternoon~ Treno’s Apartment ~
Treno was looking at the monitor on his computer desk with a grim expression. “So, I guess you don’t have any ideas yet,” NeoKnight stated, judging his operator’s face.
“Not so far,” Treno answered. “Her DNA core was so corrupted by dark energy, it was almost enough to make her a different navi.”
“She was acting like a different navi. Can the core be recovered?”
“I don’t know. It should be possible, but I don’t know how yet.”
“Hey Treno,” Leina said as she entered the room. “You just got a call from Famous.”
“Is it about Kaori?” he asked, perking up slightly.
“No. That was the first thing I asked too,” she answered, sounding disappointed. “He wants you to get over to NSHQ.”
“Oh. And I guess you told him we’d be right there, huh?”
“Yes. I’ll get some things ready for you while you get dressed.”
“Why do I have to do that?” he asked playfully.
“Please don’t go on a mission with me in your robe,” NK said pleadingly. “My reputation…”
“Dash your reputation. I’m gonna’ modify your armor to look like pajamas.”
“Ooo, how about a silky nightgown?” Leina suggested.
“Don’t even think about it!”
“Well, I could try a leather nightgown if you don’t like silk,” Treno said.
“… Can we get going already!? Get your damn clothes on and get moving already!”
NK vanished from his PET screen, deciding to avoid the two humans who apparently existed solely to torment him. Treno grinned, feeling pleased at NeoKnight’s reaction. Leina was smiling too, but her expression seemed to be strained. Treno’s grin dropped away and he went over to hold his girlfriend. “Will you be okay without us?"
“Yeah, I’ll be fine. Just go on. Find out whatever you can out there and be careful. You know, dealing with Darkloids, you could end up running in to her. Damn them for navinapping her.”
“I know hon. Don’t worry. We’ll be careful. And we’ll bring her back here if we can.”
Leina sighed and rested her head on Treno’s chest. They stayed like that quietly for a while. “Okay now,” Leina said. “You’ve got to get ready and go, alright?” Treno nodded and went off to change into street clothes while Leina got his travel supplies organized.
“So, any ideas yet on what to do?” NeoKnight asked while Treno changed.
“Oh, are you done sulking now?” Treno asked, turning to look at the PET on his bed.
“You done being a jerk?”
“Maybe. I’m guessing you mean what will I do about Kaori. It’s only a matter of time. I'm not my dad, but thanks to the data he's left me, I now know as much as he and his partner Juste knew about DNA cores."
“Mmnnn, I guess.”
“You guess?” Treno said with a raised eyebrow. “How nice to know you have such confidence in your NetOp.”
“I’m worried damn it! I’m worried I already lost her.”
“NK, we’ll get her back. She’ll be the navi she was,” Treno assured his navi. He finished getting his clothes on and picked up the PET. Leaving his room, he gave Leina a hug from behind and kissed her gently on the ear. “I’ll be back soon hon,” he whispered.
“I’ll be waiting,” she replied with a smile and handed him a generously heavy cooler. “Enjoy yourself.”
“I will if I can.” Treno gave his girlfriend another kiss, this time on the lips, and waved as he walked out the door.
"Hey Famous," Treno said as he entered the NetSavior Commander’s office. "What's up? How's that hellhound cousin of yours and his cute girlfriend doing?" He dropped into the seat in front of Famous’ desk and leaned back casually while he waited for the commander to reply.
"Lyne’s been fine," Famous replied after a moment, looking up from his computer screen. "Connor, on the other hand, has been frustrating. You saw the report, didn’t you?”
“Yeah. It’s a miracle that there weren’t any injuries. I still remember catching the backlash from one of his attacks, and this one covered so much more area.”
“Yes, but he’d already made it apparent that being in the area was a dangerous thing. Eyewitness accounts suggests that half the damage done happened before his final attack.”
“I’ll have to take a jab at him over that,” NeoKnight offered. “What a reckless twit.”
“You can tell him later,” Famous said. “He’ll be on your mission. Here’s the mission portfolio.”
“Really? I’m surprised you’re letting Connor go on a mission again so soon,” Treno said in mild surprise as he looked over the briefing. His surprise stopped being mild when he saw the mission location. “Dark Nation!? You've got the gall to send teenagers to Dark Nation!?"
"Even if those teens are Megie and Bass," NK commented, "Dark Nation is no place for them."
"Do they know about this?"
“Yes, they know,” Famous replied. “Connor is quite excited about it, although anything that got him off of suspension would have made him happy. Lyne, however, is feeling cautious, but that’s to be expected of her. Regardless, you’re going to need them.”
“I agree that this is a mission for more than one person, but wouldn’t Raika be a better choice? Or any adult at all?”
“Can you find me someone who can smuggle a ton of dynamite through Dark Nation customs?” Treno’s mouth opened to reply, but he left it open without making a sound. “You need their unique abilities for this.”
“Well, I can see now why I need Bass, but-”
“Can you keep him under control?” Famous interrupted him. Treno’s expression was one of disappointed defeat. “You need both of them Treno. And their ages don’t make them less capable of handling themselves.”
“I don’t have a choice in this, do I?”
“They’re waiting for you at the airport now.”
“Oh, for cryin’ out loud. Nothing but good news from you today. I’ll get going now.” He pushed himself up from his chair and quickly left the room. “He just loves making me rush, I swear!”
“Well, no reason to humor him Treno,” NeoKnight said. “Just take your time, right?”
"Damsel in Distress code, NK," Treno said. "Never keep a lady waiting."
"Oh, right. Sorry. Been kinda’ forgetting those without my lady around." NeoKnight made a quick prayer to the creators for Kaori as they left the building and went to Treno’s car.
~Dentech International Airport~
"Treno, over here!" Lyne called when she saw Treno at the airport.
"Remind me; why are we going on a mission with him again?" Bass asked. Despite his earlier excitement at going on a mission, the wait at the airport had left him feeling disgruntled. "We can do this mission on our own."
"‘Cause we're what they call ‘minors’, and need supervision."
"We so do not need a babysitter to come with us."
"He’s not there to hold our hands and walk us across the street Connor. Dark Nation isn’t a friendly place, and we need an adult with us there. Besides, he’s supposed to have a contact there."
“Bleah. Another babysitter? Why didn’t they just send Raika too while they were at it?”
“Uh, I don’t think that would be a good idea,” Lyne said, shifting uncomfortably.
“Wh- Oh, right. Sorry.”
“What’s wrong with Raika coming? I thought you were friends,” Treno asked as he joined his two partners.
“Oh, we are,” Lyne replied. “There’s nothing wrong with him coming really. It’s just…”
“It would be awkward right now,” Bass said. “Just leave it at that.”
“Oookay. Well… Oh shoot. What gate are we supposed to be at?” Treno mumbled as he opened up the mission packet and started going through the papers again.
“We’re at it,” Lyne said. “That’s the plane right there.” She gestured at the window near them and Treno looked through it.
“I don’t think a lot of commercial flights go to Dark Nation from here. Don’t feel frantic about time though. We still haven’t seen the pilot.”
“No? Wasn’t there a flight time set up?”
“Well, we’re supposed to be able to go once the three of us are here, but- ow!” Lyne rubbed the back of her head and pouted at Bass. “Why’d you hit me?”
“You’ve been sitting next to the pilot for the last hour,” Bass replied, frowning at her. “Remind me when we get back to find you a download on how to fly. It will help your driving skills.”
“And what's wrong with my dr… Wait. Don’t you need a pilot’s license?”
Bass held up a plastic card. “I got it today. Ready to go?”
“…There’s nothing wrong with my driving skills,” Lyne muttered, still pouting. Bass smirked and tousled her hair. Lyne swatted his hands away defensively, but he did manage to get her to grin. “Fine. After you, oh mighty aviator," she said, getting up and bowing to him sarcastically.
"Why thank you," he replied with a cocky grin as he led the way to the plane.
Treno watched the two of them walk away. “Treno? They’re leaving,” NeoKnight said to his operator. “You should probably follow them.”
“Yeah. Uhh, did Connor say…?”
“Yeah, he’s the pilot.”
“And he actually has…?”
“A pilot’s license. Looks like Famous pulled some strings to get that to him today. We going?”
“… NK? Send Leina a message that I love her.”
“Already did it when Bass said he was piloting.”
“Hey, is there anything to eat on this flight?” Bass called back from the cockpit of the plane. They’d been in the air for an hour, and his stomach was reminding him he hadn’t eaten since before leaving the apartment.
Treno came up from his seat so he could talk without yelling. “Lynie’s asleep,” he said. “But yeah, Leina packed some things for us.”
“Like what? Sandwiches and stuff?”
“Some, yeah. I got some lunchmeat, peanut butter, and jelly. There’s trail mix and beef jerky too.”
“How about soda? Some, uh, Cocoa Cola?” Treno covered his mouth suddenly to hold in his laughter. Bass glared back at him when he didn’t answer right away and saw the older NetSavior laughing at him. “What’s so funny?”
“It’s, hmm, heh, heh, Coca Cola. Not Cocoa”
“Jeez, I even knew that,” NeoKnight added ‘helpfully’.
“You shut up!” Bass spat at the navi. “I’ve only had it once so far, and I wanted to try it again.”
“Sorry Connor. We have a bunch of water and some electrolyte mixes to use with it,” Treno said.
“What kind of deal is that? Are the electrolyte things at least flavored?”
“Hey, I have an idea,” NeoKnight spoke up from his PET. “How ‘bout you quit whining? You didn’t think to bring any food, so you’ll have to take it or leave it.” He glared out from the PET screen at Bass with his arms crossed over his chest. Treno sighed and frowned.
“He has a point,” Treno said. “You can’t complain when you didn’t plan for this at all.” Bass turned his attention back to the sky in front of the plane and grumbled quietly. “But to answer your question, yes the ‘electrolyte things’ are flavored. It’s just Gatorade. I’ve got fruit punch, something orange that has an almost orange flavor, and something that Leina swears actually tastes like grape. So what’ll it be?”
“Fruit punch and a PB and J. What kind of jerky is it?” Bass asked.
“Teriyaki flavor and non-flavored.”
Treno was turning to go get the items when NK spoke again. “Aren’t you forgetting something? How ‘bout some magic words there Bass.”
“Magic…? Oh, for cryin’ out loud. Please and thank you ya’ little jerk! Why don’t you mind your own business?”
“Because you need lessons on how to behave. Show some gratitude. Treno doesn’t have to give you anything.”
“Mrrrgh. Rrgh. I can deal with people just fine. I don’t need anyone telling me how to act.”
“Let it go NK,” Treno told his navi. “He spent years learning how to be aggressive and antisocial. He’s as polite as I’d expect.”
“I don’t know if I like the way you worded that Treno,” Bass called back to his passenger. “The way you say it sounds like you expect me to be impolite.”
“More or less.” Bass grunted in frustration, but didn’t have anything more to say. Hmm. Maybe Lyne is better at keeping him under control, but there are other ways to keep him from misbehaving I guess. He could feel the plane shifting course as he got the food together and brought it over to Bass. When he let go of the controls for a moment to accept the food, actually thanking Treno this time, the plane abruptly straightened out, jostling everyone a bit. Bass quickly reached back to grab the controls again, making the craft jerk in the air until he steadied it again.
“Sorry Treno. Uhhh, there.” Bass clicked the plane’s system to autopilot and carefully let go. The flight remained smooth this time, and Bass again reached for his food. “Thanks. Is this grape?”
“… No. Fruit punch like you asked.”
“I meant the jelly. You okay Treno?” Bass asked noticing that the older NetSavior didn’t look so good.
“Urgh… yeah. It’s blueberry preserves. ‘Scuse me.” Treno went back to his seat, holding his arm over his midsection and sweating a little. He didn’t sit down right away, instead standing next to the seat with his eyes closed and taking slow breaths.
"Motion sickness again?" NK asked.
"Yeah," Treno said wearily. "It doesn't always bother me... but when it does, man..."
"There's some Dramamine in the first aid kit, but I don't know if you want to risk moving, or waking Lyne to get it," Bass suggested.
"I'll be fine." He opened his eyes and started to walk around some more. "Dad had the same problem at times, but he taught me how to get rid of it." Eventually he felt a lot better and decided to lie down and get some rest. It wasn’t long before he fell asleep.
"What's our ETA, Bass?" NK asked a few hours later. The silence was getting to him.
"Um... One hour outside Dark Nation,” Bass answered. “We're not landing at the main airport, right Treno? There was something about an airstrip outside the capital. What are the coordinates? … Treno?”
“He’s asleep. He’s been asleep for several hours now. Didn’t you notice?”
“What? Hey, wake up! I need to know where to land. Why the heck wasn’t that in my briefing?” he ended in a mutter. “Treno! Damn it. Everyone gets to sleep but me, huh?”
“I’m not asleep,” NK reminded him. “And couldn’t you have put it back on autopilot if you wanted to sleep?”
“Autopilot can’t land. Treno! Are you deaf or something!?”
“I think he’s dreaming. People don’t wake easily when they’re dreaming.”
“Great. So I should try yelling louder?”
“Or I could just e-mail the coordinates to you.” Bass got the e-mail notification half a second later. “How’s that?”
“… Why the hell didn’t you send those right off you jackass!!?”
“I was bored. I think I’ll go into sleep mode now. See ya’ on the ground.” NK switched his screen off, but left the audio receiver on for a while, grinning to himself at the curses Bass directed at him. This is gonna’ be a great mission.
Lyne shrieked when the plane shook underneath her, shocking her into sudden wakefulness. “What’s going on? Are we under attack?” She yelled up to Bass, who was making a lot of noise of his own. She realized, after a moment, that his excited whoops suggested that he was enjoying himself. “Connor, what’s going on!?” The shuddering and swerving of the craft were tossing Lyne about in her seat, and she would have been thrown to the floor if she hadn’t been buckled in. She looked to her side and out the window and realized she was seeing trees passing by them. She sighed and gripped the seat’s armrests, waiting for the plane to stop moving.
Finally, the craft slowed to taxiing speed and Bass eased it to a place to park. “Excellent!” he said and then looked back at his passengers. "That was fun. Let’s do that again some time."
Lyne got up from her seat, stomped up to him, and thumped him on top of the head. “Let’s not. That was an awful landing."
Bass rubbed his head where she’d hit him and grinned sheepishly at her. “Uh, sorry. Too rough, huh?”
“Yes,” she replied tersely. She walked back and started collecting her things, and the other two followed suit. Once they had everything together, they left the plane and took in their surroundings. “This place is creepy,” Lyne said quietly, stopping and shivering on the staircase from the plane.
Treno stopped behind her and frowned a little. “Strange. It does actually seem a little darker here, but that shouldn’t make it feel this foreboding,” he said.
“What’s everybody stopping for? We got stuff to do,” Bass said from behind the two of them. They looked back at him, and some worry was obvious on Lyne’s face.
“Don’t mind him,” NeoKnight said. “A place like this should feel just like home to him.”
“Actually, it almost is,” Bass said with an odd tone in his voice. “I was born here.”
“Really?” Treno and NK both said at once.
“Oh right,” Lyne remembered. “What was it? Your father was on a conference here or something?”
“Yeah,” Bass said with a nod. “Mom and Dad thought there was more time before my due date, but unfortunately, I surprised them.”
“That must have been difficult,” Treno said. “So, are you actually a Dark Nation citizen then?”
“No. There was a birth certificate from the hospital here, but Father had one made to say I was born in Japan and destroyed the original.”
“Isn’t that illegal!?”
“Technically. But since relations between Japan and Dark Nation have never been good, the Japanese government agreed to overlook that.”
“Why did he go through the trouble of having the original certificate destroyed?” NeoKnight asked curiously. “It shouldn’t have been necess-”
“He didn’t want to remember. Not after everything that Dark Nation did to him. Both… both my brother… and my mother. They died here. Brother was killed on purpose, and I think Father believed Mother’s death was purposeful as well… Can we get this mission over with?”
“Uh, yeah. Let’s get on the ground and start covering up the plane,” Treno agreed.
The three of them got off the stairway and Bass went to open the cargo door so he could pull out the camouflage netting that they’d been provided with. As they were finishing up covering the plane, Bass noticed a noise from the distance that was getting louder. The sound of an engine. “Treno, we have company,” he said as he rushed over to Lyne to pull her towards cover. “Hey, come on! We don’t want to be spotted,” he called when he realized that Treno wasn’t reacting.
“Don’t worry about it. It’s probably my contact.” Treno waited calmly while a black sports car drove into view and pulled up to them. The driver door opened and out stepped a white haired boy in sunglasses with a white sports jacket. He also wore a black shirt and blue dress pants. He removed his sunglasses, bearing his calm blue eyes.
"Been a while Treno," he said. "How's my sister doing?"
"As usual. A stubborn pain, but the best woman in the world," Treno said, laughing slightly. "Oh, that's right. You haven't met the infamous hybrids Connor Cossack and Lyne Hikari, have you?"
"So that's the Cossack boy who was the God of Navis," a voice said from the boy's PET. "I’m sorry I didn’t get to meet you back then. My name’s Geist."
"And I'm Soma Nightweld, Geist's Operator." the boy said. "I trust my last name should be familiar to you?"
Bass walked alongside the car, checking it out. "Mine’s faster," he grumbled as he looked it over. He then returned to join the group. Nightweld eh… Oh. "Yeah, you're Treno's girlfriend's brother. I've heard about you from him. Why’s your hair white?”
"Connor," Lyne said as she slapped his arm. "That was rude. Apologize!"
"Why should I? His sister has red hair, so why does he have white hair?”
Lyne sighed and shook her head. “I can’t take you anywhere, can I?”
“I’m not worried about it,” Soma said. “Genetics can do weird things some times. I got white hair. Leina didn’t.”
“Say, are they done hiding that plane?” Geist asked. “Looks like a pretty half-assed job.”
“Half-what!? Wanna’ say that again!?” Bass yelled at Soma’s PET.
“Calm down,” Lyne said, grabbing his arm to hold him back.
“We weren’t finished when you drove up,” Treno said to Soma.
“It’s passable,” Soma said. “You mostly have to worry about it being seen from above. We should just get moving.” Treno nodded and walked over to the car. Soma followed and they both got in.
“Navi has an attitude,” Bass grumbled.
“Connor, you have an attitude,” Lyne said, smirking and raising an eyebrow at him. He sighed and let her lead him to the car.
“Does everyone have to pick on me today?”
“This… is the capital?” Lyne said as they drove along. There were colorful, neon lights on the buildings, but a lot of them were burned out. The streets were filthy with trash and congested with disreputable-looking people. There were a lot of hotels, but every one of them had advertisements for their casinos.
“I’ve passed the capital building before,” Soma said from the driver’s seat. “Even that has a casino, but at least it doesn’t have a neon sign like everything else around here… I hear they’re putting one in next month.”
“That’s the one we’re looking for. The Ebony Pine,” Treno spoke up as the car started to slow down.
Bass smirked when he looked at the name. “The _bony Pi_e,” he joked, noting which letters had burned out. “Do we have time for some games?”
“No Connor,” Lyne groaned.
“There are worse places than this,” Soma said. “You haven’t even seen the underworld stuff.”
“Let’s avoid that if we can,” Treno said as they left the car.
“I’ll try to keep you away from it,” Soma said, handing Treno some papers. He then drove quickly off, leaving the three of them behind.
"That's Soma for you," Treno said. "Always does what is requested, then leaves without notice."
When they entered the casino, Treno and Lyne both stopped and Lyne quickly grabbed Bass to keep him from wandering off. "Okay, um," Treno said. "Who's our contact and where are we supposed to find him?" The place had a lot of people in it, playing at noisy slot machines, milling around, or yelling out various, unintelligible things at game tables. The flashing lights and the haze of smoke in the air made it difficult to focus on things in the farther parts of the room.
Lyne opened up a file with a picture of their contact. Bass looked at it for a second before he scanned the area for him. "He's right there," he said as he pointed at a person in the distance.
Lyne stood there and gulped. "We have to go to the back of the casino?" she asked.
"C'mon," Bass said as he dragged her along. They stopped beside a roulette table. "Ooooo, a rigged table," he said in a malicious tone.
"A table that allows the House to pay someone off. Or not pay anyone off," he said as he placed his hand on the side of the table and sent a pulse of electricity into the table. "Now not rigged." He then dragged her off, rejoining Treno before leading the way again.
"Leave it to Connor," Treno said, shrugging. Treno studied the contact as he approached, cautiously. He and NK had been ambushed by treacherous contacts before, and he wasn't about to play ransom bit again. "Keep on guard, guys," Treno said. "There is always a chance that this contact is corrupt.”
"Why'd you do that?" Lyne asked Bass curiously, not paying attention to what Treno had said, as she saw the person who was gambling just lose.
"I just saved the guy’s life. When you get paid off, the house has plans to delete you, so I did the guy a favor and stopped the table," Bass replied as they walked along.
"Oh," came Lyne's quiet response as they came to a stop in front of the contact.
"So, you're our contact. Mr. McFarse," Bass said as the man gestured for them to sit down.
"I am, and you’re the trio that NSHQ Japan has sent to destroy the factory," the man replied as he watched his contacts look around cautiously. "No worries. I'm alone, and nobody followed me here."
Bass took notice of a suspicious looking character at another table before continuing. "Fine, but we should still keep this short. We need a location of the blasted place and a way to get in."
"That's simple. Five miles west out of the city. It will appear abandoned, but there are guards and workers there. There is a tunnel out the back of the facility which smugglers use to steal some of their own chips so they can be sold on the Black Market. That's the only place around the facility unguarded. It's like the distributor wants them stolen."
"Interesting," Bass commented as leaned back in his seat. Wonder why Regal would want them stolen. Must be the way he distributes them in this area. "Looks like we'll need that car of Soma's again NK." NeoKnight didn’t respond right away. “Hey NK, did you hear me?” He tapped Treno’s PET to get the navi’s attention.
“Hmm? Oh, Soma should be back momentarily,” he responded.
Treno nodded. “He probably went to check in with his contacts. Let’s get back to the door and wait.” He offered his hand to Mr. McFarse, who accepted and shook his hand.
“Be careful,” their contact said.
Treno nodded and turned to leave. Lyne and Bass followed after him. “I hope Soma’s contacts are credible,” Bass said as they walked off.
“I do too,” Treno responded. “We need to know as much as possible before striking."
Once the car arrived, the three of them left the casino. As they went outside, the man that Bass had noticed earlier went over to their contact. "So McFarse, is that the team?"
"Yep, but they looked ill equipped to take on such a large distributor of Dark Chips."
"Looks can be deceiving. The one male kid there was pretty alert... I'll give the factory a heads up to look for a male adult and two teenagers, one female and a male." The stranger then stood up and disappeared from McFarse's sight.
"I hope those three can handle this. The destruction of that factory is my only hope for escape from this country," McFarse said, looking at the door they’d left through.
Soma got out of the car when he saw the other three coming out of the building to him. "So how went your chats?" Treno asked as he walked up.
"Quite fine," Geist said.
"This is one of the big ones," Soma added. “All my contacts say that the factory is actually run by a navi and not Regal."
“Darn,” Bass grumbled. “I was hoping to scare him for siccing Ayra on Lyne.”
“Connor, Regal isn’t our concern,” Lyne said. “The factory is. Lan will deal with Regal.”
“She’s right Connor,” Treno said as they started piling into the car. “It’s even in my mission notes that Regal isn’t even in this country”
“Spoil my fun,” Bass huffed but didn’t complain any further. “Hey NK, why were you quiet in there? Somethin’ up?”
“Um, nothing really,” the navi replied. He hadn’t mentioned Kaori being corrupted yet, and wasn’t about to with Soma or Geist there. He knew how much of a rampage they’d go on if they knew.
“Well, you seemed a little lost. I just want to know you won’t get distracted by wh-”
“I’m fine! I don’t get distracted on missions, so shut up!” Bass blinked at NK’s outburst. He didn’t really want to leave things alone, but it looked like NeoKnight wasn’t going to talk.
“We know what we’re doing Connor,” Treno said. “We can handle whatever we’ve got coming. Just do your part and we’ll be fine.”
“Hey, I got the fun job,” Bass said. “It’s going to get done, trust me.”
Lyne was playing a puzzle game on her PET and Bass got her to agree to a challenge match. Soma and Treno quietly went over the directions and it didn’t take long before the factory came into view. "You need to play stealth," Soma said. "This is as close as I can get you by vehicle. Call me if needed. I'll stand by to back you up."
"Stealth I can do," Bass said as he left the car and activated his armor and cloak. "Let’s do it."
"Connor, we can't do that yet," Lyne said, holding him back. “We’ve got to be inconspicuous for now. We'll just sneak in quietly through the woods. Thanks for the ride Soma." She glared over at Bass for a moment. “Connor, deactivate the armor. We’re not using it yet.” Bass sighed and complied.
“You’ve got a real boring idea of what stealth is.”
"You really do rely on your Navi powers too much," Treno said, cracking his knuckles and stretching. "You should learn to use your human abilities."
"Agreed," NK said. "Though I lack the ‘humanity’ you have, I understand full well that Treno's potential isn't hindered by it one bit."
“Hey, I’m learning, okay?” Bass growled.
Soma managed to find some concealing shrubs near the road and waved at them as they started moving through the woods. They’d been walking ten minutes or so when they saw dim lights up ahead. Treno stopped Bass and Lyne and looked at them.
"Think one of you could get us a bird's eye view?" Treno asked.
“You got it,” Bass said and reactivated his armor. Lyne grabbed one of his fins and pulled him back when he tried to take off. "Hey, leggo!”
"He meant climb a tree stupid, not show off our location," Lyne chastened him as she pointed at a tall tree beside them. "Now get climbing."
“Can I at least use my claws to do this?” Lyne sighed and rolled her eyes, but waved a ‘go ahead’ at him. Bass turned to the tree and began to scale it, sinking his claws in a little more aggressively than necessary. “What's wrong with using my powers?" he grumbled when he reached the top and looked around.
"The Master Dark Element, yet so ignorant to the concept of energy conservation," NeoKnight said, laughing.
“NeoKnight, give us a voice link to his PET,” Treno said. "Connor, had you openly used your powers, you'd have set off alarms within a 10 mile radius."
“Wha?” Bass replied.
"Why? Simple. Your energy. It isn't hard to set up an energy detection system when you have access to technology like they do. Any foreign energy that is detected would instantly be pinpointed and investigated. To put it simply, use your powers and you give away our location."
“My energy wouldn’t be foreign,” Bass grumbled. He brought a pair of binoculars out of program storage so he could get a close up on the factory. “It’s dark energy. We’re attacking a Dark Chip Factory. Full of dark energy.”
"Copy dark energy," NeoKnight reminded him. "A Darkloid would go undetected, because they have copy dark energy. You hold the pure dark energy. I'm a master of energy manipulation; I can tell the difference easily, and they should be able to detect it too."
Bass glared downward at the group waiting for him. NeoKnight was probably right, but Bass didn't have to feel happy about it. "Yeah, copy dark energy," he grumbled while he looked around again. "Copied from me in the first place. Damn Wily. If he hadn't made copies of my programming back then, there wouldn't be so much dark energy spread around. Damn Regal. Why'd he have to cultivate that energy? Caused so much damage to…"
"What's the scoop Connor?" Treno asked, ignoring Bass’ irritated soliloquy.
"It's quiet, a few wandering guards. And our contact was right; the place does look abandoned. Well mostly. There are a few lights in the main complex. I'm betting that’s where the chips are located."
"Is that it?" Lyne asked.
"Yeah, that's it. Can I come down now?"
"Wait a minute," Treno said. "Do you see any viable entry points that could be used without drawing attention to our intrusion?"
"And by viable, he means without having to fight everyone in the complex, Bass," NeoKnight said, laughing.
"Why can't I have a little fun?" Bass moaned. "Taking out the guards in a stealthy manner would be good exercise. And I couldn’t find that tunnel McFarse had mentioned.”
"Cause, baka, we don't want to get caught," Lyne said sharply. "I bet you don't want to be caught and held up in a cell for a bit do you?"
"Not that it would happen." Bass cringed when he felt Lyne glaring up at him. “Oh fine,” he mumbled and took another look for an open spot to sneak through. "Okay, I found one. Let's go," he said as he hopped out of the tree and landed on the ground in front of Treno.
Bass took the lead, with Lyne yanking on the collar of his shirt when he started moving too fast and making noise carelessly. "What'd you find?" Treno asked quietly. "And what do we need to do to get there?"
"Well the security was a little tighter then I expected, so I found the easiest gap in sight. Hold up here," Bass said, motioning back to his companions. Lyne wondered what was wrong until she noticed, just barely visible through the dull foliage, a pair of guards patrolling by. “They’ll pass by, and we should have decent window to get in,” Bass whispered. “See? Good spot to sneak in.”
“As long as they don’t turn around,” Treno said.
“And if the third guard doesn’t stick around,” Lyne added. She pointed out a third guard who was approaching the other two.
Bass eyed the guard closely. "I don't remember him being there before." The guard stopped and waited for the other two. "Hum... Looks familiar."
"What do you mean?"
Bass watched the guy closely for a second before he finally remembered where he had seen the guy before. "He was that suspicious guy at the casino sitting at the table behind us. Wonder why he's here?" Bass then turned his head to the side so he could try to catch the guard’s conversation.
"What's he trying to say?" NeoKnight asked.
"Quiet," Treno said. "It's hard enough to hear without your jabbering." Treno tried his best to listen into the conversation. "Son of a... I can't hear them. Connor, can you hear?"
"Hush," Bass hissed.
"Okay, heads up," the stranger spoke. "Keep your eyes out for three people: a man, a woman, and a teenage boy. They've been sent here to investigate the factory. If you see them approach, send them away, but if they are found in the complex, capture them. Understood?"
Both guards saluted him. "Yes sir," they said, then went back to their posts.
"So I’m a teenager and Lyne’s a woman, huh?" Bass mumbled as he watched the man leave the two guards to march back and forth once more.
“What was that?” Lyne asked.
"We've been found out."
"I knew something was up," Treno said, grabbing his PET. "NK, put a connection through to Soma."
"Got it," NK said, opening a line to Soma.
"Soma," Treno said. "We've got a problem."
"What's up?" Soma asked.
"They knew we were coming. I'll send you another transmission in five minutes. If you receive no transmission, then that means we've been caught. You know what to do."
"Of course. See you in five." Soma closed the connection.
"Okay," Treno said. "We've got backup if something goes wrong, but I hope he doesn't have to get involved. The last thing I want is them finding out about Kaori. By your lead, Connor."
"Okay," Bass said with a nod and crouched low to begin sneaking up. He then tilted his head curiously and looked back at Treno. “Uh, what about Kaori?”
Treno winced and his jaw tightened. “Shoot. I still hadn’t said anything. We don’t have time for a long explanation, but we’re expecting to meet her inside there.”
“Wait, if Kaori’s already inside, why don’t we have better information on this or-”
“Her core was corrupted,” Treno interrupted. “She’s a Darkloid. We’re trying to collect her to fix the corruption.”
“Oh. That explains it.”
“Poor Leina,” Lyne said. “And NK too. Why didn’t either of you say anything?”
“It’s not that easy to talk about,” Treno said, and was going to go on when Bass waved a hand at him.
“Explain after the mission. We gotta’ move.” He didn’t wait after talking this time. He ran from the woods to a set of boxes, sliding around it and crouching out of sight. Treno was impressed by how fast he moved. He didn’t think either guard could have turned fast enough to spot him if they’d started before he left the tree line.
"So… ladies first?” Treno whispered.
“No, not yet,” Lyne said, grabbing his shoulder. One of the guards looked their way barely a second later. There was an alertness in Lyne’s eyes that made Treno think, oddly enough, of a soldier. Her grip wasn’t tight enough to be painful, but it was certainly tense. “Okay… go now!” she hissed and pushed him ahead. He quickly turned his head to look where he was going and ran to where he could see Bass leaning out from behind the boxes. When he got there, Bass caught his arm and pulled him out of sight. “Ow! Hey, don’t break my arm again, jeez!”
“Sorry,” Bass whispered and leaned back out to reach for Lyne, pulling her in as well.
“Okay, now we just get to the door,” Lyne said, immediately getting to where she could see the door and the other guard.
“Whoa there. Can we catch our breath first?” Treno said. He felt like he could make it okay actually, but Lyne was breathing unusually heavily, even though she was keeping it quiet. “You okay?”
“ ‘M fine. This just reminds me of the stealth infiltration drill Lyne used to do with me. Not that we did much infiltrating mind you. Ready?”
“Wait, what? Lyne are y-”
“She’s fine,” Bass said, pulling him forward so he’d be ready for the next dash. “It’s just a perspective issue. We’ll trade our explanation for yours after the mission.”
“Perspective?” Treno shook his head and turned his attention back to the task at hand. “Right. After the mission.”
Well, I feel silly now, Lyne thought to Bass.
Don’t worry about it now, he replied. Just keep thinking about stealth infiltrations.
“No problem. Go!” She pushed Bass forward, and he didn’t hesitate at all to dart right for the door. Treno wasn’t expecting her to move him out immediately, but he managed well enough and made it to the door without a problem. Lyne came in right behind him.
“Don’t let your adrenaline get the better of you,” Treno cautioned.
“We had a 5.67 second window to get through without being seen and made it with 1.24 seconds to spare,” Lyne replied.
“A new world record!” NeoKnight exclaimed quietly with his arms raised up in victory. Bass considered giving his PET a smack, but Lyne smiled, so he decided not to.
“I’ll be alright Treno. I’m just extra alert and prepared for trouble. What now?”
"It's best we split up for now," Treno said. He made a small diagram on the ground and pointed at a location. "You guys head here. We need to meet up here, in the central processing area. Keep constant contact. If we don't hear from you every five, I'm calling Soma in for backup. Lyne, keep him out of trouble. The last thing we need is the Darkloids on our asses." Treno looked inside, making sure everything was clear, then moved off to his objective, leaving Lyne and Bass alone.
"What's that supposed to mean? I can do fine on my own," Bass complained. "I have no need for a babysitter. I've been doing fine as a human on this mission so far. So why don't we just let lose and level the place now that we’ve made it?"
"Connor this isn't the time to argue, or do crazy suggestions like that. We have to investigate the situation first, then if permitted, we blow it up,” Lyne admonished, then grinned at him. “But I have to admit, I am feeling more aggressive than usual right now. If we have to tear it down, I’ll help. C'mon, let’s go." Bass didn’t argue with that but just smiled at hearing those words.
"Have you picked up on Kaori's signal yet?" NK asked Treno anxiously.
"I've got a reading alright," Treno responded as he looked down at a tracking device on his belt. "No other DarkLoid navi signatures though. That should make things easier. She must be a loner as a Darkloid."
“It took time to get her to work with others. She was almost inaccessible when we met. I hope this doesn’t mean we’ve lost that much ground.”
“Yeah,” Treno said quietly as he opened a door to outside the building he was in. He looked both ways, then moved quickly to the building across from him, slipping inside. "Okay. Kaori should be in the server near here. You know what to do."
"Of course," NK said, jacking into the net. "I'm coming, Kaori. Just hold on. Your NeoKnight is here to save you."
"Stop dragging me. I can walk," Bass growled at Lyne. He was impressed at the way she was weaving through the compound, but being pushed and pulled all over the place wasn’t something that he enjoyed. “How many of those infiltration drills did you put Combit through anyway?”
“Just a sec,” Lyne said. She went over to a sturdy-looking drainpipe and pointed up. “One-thousand two-hundred forty.”
“Really? That was your spare time, huh?”
She was already on her way up and turned to glance back down at him. “I got the idea from modern war depictions. Y’know, like movies and stuff. Even when a unit isn’t meant to be stealthy, they still learn to avoid detection, and the better they are at being unseen, the more effective they are.” Bass, now climbing behind her, nodded at that. She didn’t see the nod, but she went on. “When the gym class put me through free shot drills, I put her through stealth drills. I stopped at the end of the school year when I asked how many she’d done. But you know, viruses never saw her coming after that.”
“Heh, heh. Cool. Careful!”
Lyne had just pushed off from the pipe and grabbed the ledge in front of an open window, swinging herself inside with her momentum. She looked back out and stuck out a hand. “I’m getting better at keeping my own perspective I think. I’ve been letting Combit’s stealth knowledge steer me, but I still know that I’m me.”
Bass sighed slightly, fighting off the nervousness she’d just caused him by leaping like that. “You slipped earlier,” he reminded her as he reached for her hand. She pulled him in and nodded.
“I know. But at least Treno and I have stories to tell tonight.” She turned and moved down the hallway they were in. It went straight into a railed walkway overlooking working machinery. They were above the main factory melting plant where they were melting down the metal that would form the dark chips. They both looked down and Lyne was slightly startled by the appearance of the contents of the vat in front of them. "Ewww, what is that?"
"Dark Souls." He looked grimly at the fluidly moving mass of purplish, black substance. "What they do is place one dark soul which equates to I think a drop of that stuff inside one of those chips and it takes over the body of any navi that it is used on, by crushing the soul that once inhabited the body or imprisoning it. We should call this in to Treno."
"Right," Lyne nodded as they squatted in the shadows. She pulled out her PET and opened a secure channel to Treno's.
NeoKnight scanned the server. Security was tight. He knew it would have to be disabled if of this mission was to succeed. "Treno," NK said. "I need to disable the security first. If I don't, Meggy and Bass are liable to be caught."
"I'd be surprised if they aren't already," Treno said, getting a ring on his PET.
“Ye of little faith,” NeoKnight said quietly.
"Treno here. What's the situation, Lynie?" Treno asked, happy that he was wrong about their capture.
"We managed to get inside one of the buildings without alerting security,” she said and then turned her PET to face the vat. “We found this. Connor says that thing has dark souls in it. What do we do about this? Do you want us to make note of this and move on to another building?"
"This is seriously dangerous stuff Treno. We have to disable production of the chips now," Bass growled. "Alpha made sure I had a hand in starting this process off and I want to make sure this doesn't continue. We have to destroy this plant now."
"Hold up for a minute, Bass," NK said from within the security system. "Let me disable the security before you do anything. If you shut down the process while security is enabled, you'll have the whole plant on our asses." NK checked for more readings on Kaori. His sensor indicated that her position hasn't changed. She may be in sleep mode, he thought to himself. At least that buys me some time. he walked over to the control panel of the security system and hacked into it, managing to disable it without alerting any backup systems. "Green light on stopping the chip production, Bass," NK said.
"We've got something to take care of," Treno said. "Keep in touch."
"Soon, Kaori," NK said to himself as he worked away at the controls. “Soon.”
~Molten Metal and Soul Warehouse~
Bass cracked his knuckles and prepared to activate his armor and jack into the computer system when he came up with a better idea. "Hey Lyne. You want the first shot?”
“Okay. What do you want me to break?”
“Actually, I was wondering if you could set the vat on fire with your Holy Fire attack?"
"Um... Sure just a second," she said. Somehow, she sounded disappointed, which Bass couldn’t understand. He knew she wanted to help tear things down, so why would burning it be disappointing? She activated her armor while he was contemplating and mixed together fire and light elements to send a streak of nearly white fire down into the vat. They watched as it sizzled and started changing colors. "So, why’d you have me do that?" Lyne asked curiously.
"You just purified the souls. They are now useless to the production process. See? I'm a genius.” He smiled at her and she offered him a little nod. “So, do you like fire now?”
“You didn’t seem to want to burn it. I thought maybe you didn’t like fire.”
“Oh, that was fine. I just… wanted to do something else.”
“I’m not sure yet.” Bass looked at her curiously and she shrugged her shoulders. “Sorry. There’s some idea forming, but I don’t know exactly what it is yet. I think there’s something I haven’t done before or something.”
Bass was really getting curious to know what she meant, but Lyne didn’t seem to know what was on her own mind. He almost laughed when he thought about it that way, but there was still stuff to do. “Now we need this place to destroy the factory still. The molten metal should provide me with enough combustible material," he said placing his hand on his chin while looking around the area. “Or at least enough heat. This will surely piss Regal off.”
"Okay then, but let’s go find where they store the chips first," Lyne said as she deactivated her armor and exited the opposite window, followed by Bass.
NK confirmed Kaori's location once more before departing. Security around the Darkloid barracks was rather lax, but Darkloids were so empowered by the dark chips that additional security wasn’t considered necessary.
After about fifteen minutes, NeoKnight approached the entryway to the Barracks. Two grunts stood in conversation near the entrance. Kaori was in a room by herself in the back.
"Time to take out the trash," NK said, preparing to cut them down.
"Wait a moment," Treno said, hearing parts of their conversation. "Let's hear what they have to say first. We may get some valuable information."
NeoKnight put his ear to the crack in the door and listened quietly to what the grunts had to say.
"…have company tonight," Grunt 1 said. "Supposedly two teenagers and a young adult male are supposed to be infiltrating the facility."
"They won't get anywhere," Grunt 2 said. "Not with what we have in store for them. We've already got confirmation on the destruction of the Dark Souls. They are right on the path to the trap we've laid. All they have to do is go for the Dark Chip Storage area and they're ours. I'm sure their Navis, pathetic as they may be, will make fine additions to our troops.”
"Son of a," NK said. "So close to Kaori... but I can't let them get caught. Treno, try contacting them on the PET. We've got to warn them."
"No good," Treno said angrily. "There's too much interference. Try reaching them mentally."
NeoKnight tried, but grasped his head as a stab of pain went through it. "That won't work either," he said. "The jamming is affecting my telepathy signals.... Treno watch out!"
Too late. Treno had been knocked out cold by security. The grunts who were talking began to assault NeoKnight, blasting him with Dark Energy Cannons.
NK cussed as he dodged the corrosive blasts of energy. With two quick slashes, he disarmed and maimed the Navis. He made a third strike to delete them, feeling it necessary to avoid any potential problems they could create if left alone. He then continued running as more guards chased after him.
Damn now what do I do? he thought while running away. I need chips to pull off a stealth move.
You don’t need your human for that, a voice spoke to NK as he rounded a corner. You have power. Use it. NK wasn’t sure what the voice was talking about as he found a shadowy corner. This won’t do. They’re going to find you, it taunted inside his head. You have yet to get in touch with all your abilities. I’ll help you out. Shadowmeld,
“Huh?!” NK sounded as his body started to fade away. What is this, and how? he pondered as he felt it completely disappear from sight.
No need to ponder on that now. You can escape to ensure your survival, the voice said with a slight edge in tone. This gave NK the impression that it was more interested in him surviving then he was. He then shrugged his shoulders and hurried off to find Kaori.
Posted: Dec 25 2010, 04:56 PM
Member No.: 3
Joined: 20-July 06
Episode 12: Enter Dark Nation: Part 2
~Dark Chip Storage Area~
“Security increased,” Bass commented quietly. He and Lyne had found the storage area moments before, but saw that proceeding would be too risky.
"Yeah, it is getting tighter," Lyne agreed. "And more guards are… oh no."
"They caught Treno."
"Serves him right," Bass huffed. "He was complaining that I was going to goof up and I didn't. I so got this one up on him." Lyne slapped his arm and Bass averted his eyes and cleared his throat. "I mean, this is a problem."
"No joking right now," Lyne said with an edge in her voice. "We have to help him. They're taking him across to that building. We should figure out what's in it."
"Why don't we just link in?"
"Too risky. We'll have an easier time avoiding detection out here."
"Is this really the time to be going on about stealthiness again?" Bass asked with a note of impatient complaint in his voice.
"Yes. It is. The people guarding him probably won't do anything to him right now, but enemies under attack become more unpredictable. We want to get to him without them realizing we're there."
Bass thought for a moment while Lyne scanned the area and muttered to herself about what the best route to take would be. "Well, this is perfect for you. You won't even have to sneak in."
"Huh?" Lyne responded and glanced back over at him.
"Your morph program. You could just walk in like you own the place."
"Regal isn't in Dark Nation right now. They'll notice something's wrong."
Bass grimaced in distaste. "I wasn't suggesting you turn into Regal Lyne. Oh!" he lightly exclaimed when he caught what she meant. "Regal, because he owns the place. I didn't mean it literally Lyne. You just need to look like you belong here."
Lyne's face went a little pink and she turned her gaze back to the surroundings. "I don't want to," she muttered.
"Don't want…? It's the stealthiest way though. It'll keep you from getting caught."
"But…" The color on Lyne's face deepened and her voice got quieter. "They're all guys."
Bass gaped at her like a fish out of water, opening and closing his mouth wordlessly. Lyne suddenly pulled him down as a guard passed near their hiding spot. After he’d passed by, not noting their presence, Bass whispered, “This is not the time to be picky. Our friend is in danger.” He paused for a moment, unsure if he should be saying what he was thinking, but decided to go ahead with it. “You’ve been getting personality overflow from Combit, right? Draw on that now. She was a soldier navi. She’d be practical about this.”
“Combit was female too,” Lyne responded, staring him dead in the eye.
Bass looked at her quietly for a moment, then turned away and stood with his forehead against the wall. Bass observed that another guard was near. He sighed and muttered a quiet, “Sorry.” Before Lyne could react, he called out to the guard, but not with his own voice. “Come here quickly! I need to talk to you!” He sounded like the strange man they’d seen in the casino, the one who tipped off the guards to their intrusion.
The guard turned to the alley the half navis were in and stepped toward it. “Mr. Yanis?”
“Yes. Come quickly,” Bass responded, adding impatience to the urgency in his voice.
“Ah, right,” the guard said quickening his pace. “I just… I wouldn’t expect you to be in an alley sir.”
The guard gasped in shock as a fist struck him in the back of the head, Bass stepping out of a shadow he’d quickly concealed himself in. “Actually a good instinct,” Bass commented. “Follow that reasoning in the future and you’ll be a better guard.” He twitched as Lyne smacked him upside the head. He turned and met her glare. “Lyne, just transform already,” he grumbled.
“Oh, fine, you jerk,” Lyne huffed. She crossed her arms over her chest and pouted, but still morphed her appearance to match the guard’s. Bass gave her an odd look when she’d finished.
“You can stop pouting now. It looks really weird on his face.”
“I will have my revenge on you Connor Cossack,” Lyne said, glaring at him again. Bass made a gesture that Lyne translated as ‘I’m so scared,’ which only intensified her glare at him. Bass bent down to the unconscious guard, and Lyne guessed he was going to pull him farther into the alley, but after a moment, she realized he was doing something else entirely. “Why are you taking his clothes off?” she squeaked.
“You can’t change the appearance of your clothes Lyne,” Bass pointed out. Lyne glanced down at her clothes, which hadn’t changed. She sighed in resignation, looked back up at Bass, about to concede his point, then quickly turned away entirely, blushing in embarrassment at seeing the guard half-undressed. “You might want to fix your voice too.”
Lyne gritted her teeth in annoyance, then quickly reached down to touch his bare leg, only having changed based on visual information before. She walked away once she was done updating the morph data. “Just don’t expect me to wear his underwear too,” she said in his voice.
Bass considered offering another tease, but decided not to push his luck any further. He brought the clothes over to Lyne when he’d finished, then gave her privacy to change. When she was done, she came up to him, frowning. “So, how are you planning on getting through this?”
“In your shadow, like how I hid from the guard a moment ago,” Bass said with a shrug. He then sank down, merging with her shadow, just like he said.
“Oh, wasn’t that Sable’s trick?”
Bass’ head appeared again. “It’s a dark element thing. Seeing Sable do it reminded me it was something I was capable of too. It’s just not really m… Where’s your gun?”
Lyne glanced to the empty holster at her side. “I don’t like guns.”
“Lyne, they’ll notice it’s not there.”
“Just take the bullets out and keep the empty gun with you.” Lyne made a little whine of complaint. “Anything that could get you noticed is bad. Just carry it unloaded. Please?”
Lyne sighed, then went back to where she’d left the gun, along with her clothes. She unloaded the clip, then put the empty weapon back in its holster. “I really don’t like guns,” she muttered quietly as she walked back and out into the open.
“Over that way!” a guard called nearby. NeoKnight turned to look, thinking they may have somehow spotted him, but they passed by his position. He clenched a fist tightly and waited a moment for his tension to ease a little.
“That’s not a navi, you twit. You’re jumping at junk shadows and hungry viruses,” A second voice responded to the first. There were a few blaster shots and some animalistic squealing. “Look, the leg’s still twitching,” he continued with a sadistic laugh. The other dark navi laughed in response, and more shots were fired.
This is nerve-wracking, NeoKnight thought. No operator, voice in my head, and I still can’t find Ka- NK’s thoughts cut short as he turned to continue and tripped over some of the junk data the dark navis had been talking about. He struck his head sharply, and the shadowmeld dropped.
“Drat,” he growled, getting up off the floor. “How am I supposed to effectively perform with all this junk in the way?”
For starters, you could tread more lightly. It would’ve saved us a trip,
“Oh, so now it’s bad puns? Whatever. Like you could’ve avoided that,” NeoKnight snapped back angrily.
At the speed you were travelling, or lack thereof… Yes.
“Shut up!” NK demanded of the voice. “It’s bad enough I can’t even figure out a way to help my friends and Treno without you taunting me.”
"Worry about yourself, NeoKnight," a dark, yet familiar voice said behind him. NeoKnight turned and his heart sank and leaped at the same time.
"Kaori," NeoKnight said, looking hopefully into his lover’s cold, distant eyes.
"Now that your pathetic wretch of an operator is out of the way, I can kill you and feast on your pixilated remains!" Kaori laughed. She drew out her bladed tonfas and stretched languidly, gazing at NeoKnight through half-closed eyes. There was challenge in her eyes, mixed with unmasked disdain. NeoKnight drew his sword, but there was hesitation in his movement, and he steadied himself to defend rather than attack.
Delete her, the voice within said. Lick her data from your sword as you cut through her body, and watch the pixels flow. NeoKnight made no outward indication of hearing the voice. He refused to respond to its taunts. He defended against two swings of Kaori’s weapons, then sidestepped as she thust forward with both blades. Just as moments before, the trash acted as his foil, sending him falling backwards as the junk caught him at the knees. That was the bit you hit your head on before. You’re being pathetic! Pay attention to your surroundings! Before NK could get up, a foot stamped down on his sword hand. He twisted his body to push the foot off, which gave Kaori access to grasp a handful of his blue hair and lift, stretching his sword arm so that he had even less ability to maneuver.
"Wondering why I didn't delete you?" Kaori asked, smirking. "Simple... I want you to feel all the pain I felt when you abandoned me!" Kaori dropped down, simultaneously slamming his head into the ground and driving a knee into his crotch. The attack took her weight off his pinned arm. In the split-second he realized he could draw his arm free, she jabbed a blade into his upper arm. The hilt slipped in his grasp slightly, but he didn’t release it completely. “Cry out,” Kaori whispered in mock seduction, giving the blade a twist, but NK bore the pain.
"Kaori... I still love you," NeoKnight spoke weakly.
"I hate you!" Kaori let go of the tonfa that was pinning NK’s arm and pressed that hand against his forehead, using the pressure to expose and stretch his neck. She then reached for the tonfa she’d released to grab his hair earlier and smiled in anticipation. "Now you die."
Okay, now walk casually and show the guard your ID, Bass guided from Lyne’s shadow. She looked at the guard’s ID for a moment and thought of something creative to say if she was to be asked why she was there. She relaxed as well as she could and presented the ID to the guard.
"What brings you here Hanz? We have no need for you," said the man she’d approached.
"Um... Orders from Mr. Yanis," Lyne said. She noted that the other guard had a higher rank and hoped saluting wasn’t necessary. A quick internal database check suggested it was not an officer rank. "He ordered me to check the prisoner’s body for hidden explosives."
"The prisoner has already been checked for explosives," the other guard replied.
He twitched when he heard a growl that sounded, oddly enough, like it was coming from under the guard in front of him. “Did you just growl at me Hanz? You do want me to pull rank on you, don’t you?”
Connor, you got me in trouble now, she scolded as she started to think of a comeback.
Sorry, Bass grumbled. Will it make it better if I just jump him? He won’t see it coming.
Don’t you dare! "I’m sorry. Mr. Yanis knows he was searched. Something happened to some of the vats, which he must have had something to do with. He sent me to make doubly sure the kid has no other way to sabotage the operation. I don’t want him pissed off at me if he finds out I didn’t check. You don’t want him pissed at you if he finds out you kept me out, right?"
"Okay, fine. Hurry up and make it quick.”
Lyne took a step in, then hesitated. "Um, Mr. Yanis didn’t say where his holding cell is.”
"Up two flights. Cell 305," the guard said, waving down the hall. Lyne glanced down the hall, hoping that the information would be enough, but unwilling to risk any more questions. The guard seemed to expect her to understand.
"Thanks Crew," she said, taking note of the guard's name tag.
Crew paused for a moment before answering. Lyne worried she’d just made a mistake, swallowing as she took in his glare. "Anytime Hanz," Crew said, suppressing annoyance.
Lyne would have breathed a sigh of relief if it wouldn’t have seemed suspect. He was just annoyed by the veiled threat and thought I was thanking him tauntingly, she thought as she went down the hall and located the staircase.
I would have put more menace into my tone, Bass criticized. You know, glared at him, put in a significant pause before saying ‘right.’ That sort of thing.
Lyne didn’t respond to him, though her footfalls were more forceful as she reached the top of the second flight of stairs and came out into the hall. She saw another guard in the hall, and realized that must be the room she wanted. She walked quickly up to him, whipping out the ID. “Orders from Mr. Yanis,” she snapped.
“Problem Hanz?” this guard asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Just people who aren’t the ones doing the job themselves, then being all critical about how it’s being done.”
The guard laughed a little, appreciating the plight that Hanz was going through. “I know how that is pal. Just don’t let him hear you saying it. He’ll get on all our cases.” He opened the door, patting Lyne on the shoulder as she passed by.
Bass detached from Lyne’s shadow when he was sure they were alone in the room. That was cleverly worded, Bass thought to her as she went to check on Treno’s condition. He managed to find NeoKnight’s PET and checked it to find out how the other navi was doing. Idiots. They should have kept his PET in a different room so he’d have no chance to access it.
He’s shackled here, she thought back. There was a snapping noise, and she amended, He was shackled here. And thanks for complementing my wording by the way, she finished, letting her ire ease off.
Not a… “Oh, crap.”
”What?” Lyne walked away from Treno to look at the PET in Bass’ hands. “Oh… what you said.”
Kaori grazed the tip of her tongue over her bottom teeth, tracing the tip of her tonfa’s blade across NeoKnight’s throat teasingly. He glared angrily back up at her. "That's it," Kaori said joyously. "Hate me. Loathe me. Throw away all the love you ever had for me you worthless piece of network trash!"
NK toned down the intensity of his glare, then smirked. "My Kaori would never slay me," he said. "I have nothing to fear from you." Kaori simply laughed at him.
"You think so?" Kaori said. "Well then time to prove you wro- Yeeee!" she shrieked and jumped, throwing a protective hand over her backside where he’d grabbed it.
NK finally had the room he needed to roll and pull the blade out of his arm. He scrambled to his feet, gripping his sword in both hands to make up for the wound in his favored arm. He held the fusion sword defensively again, prepared to take the attack he was about to bring on himself, and said, “Kancho.”
Kaori gaped at him, blushing in embarrassment and fury. "You bastard!" she yelled, charging at NeoKnight. She hadn’t picked up the other tonfa, and she was too angry to keep a proper grip on the weapon in her hand when NeoKnight swatted it away. He then let go of the Fusion Sword with one hand and caught her with the other and she collided with him. She was about to shove him away when he kissed her full on the lips. Startled, she paused and squeaked, and NK saw a softness sneak its way into her eyes.
"Your love betrays you, Kaori," NK said. "I was always saying love was a weakness, and here I am using it against you." The momentary softness NK saw quickly vanished, and Kaori snarled at him in her anger. Just as quickly, shock registered in her eyes again before they lost focus and fluttered closed. “Sorry,” NeoKnight muttered, ashamed at hitting her with the pommel of his sword, but not sure what else to do. He shifted his grip on her so that he could drag her out of the server, but lost hold when a wave of dark energy lashed at him. He turned to see what looked like 30 Darkloids facing him. “Fodder Darkloids. You’re not keeping her from me,” he growled, tightening his grip on his weapon, willing to take them all on if he had to. The sound of feet striking the ground behind him made him pause.
“Get him. We need his data intact,” a voice ordered the platoon. NK glanced back to see a Navi in blue armor with a birdlike appearance. He’d picked Kaori up and was backing away.
Damn. If Swallowman’s here, the purple pipsqueak can't be far NK thought. I could take the fodder, even injured, but Swallowman presents a problem, and Dark Megaman a bigger one. I need back up. “Where the hell are those two when you need them?"
You don’t need them. Raise your sword and let their data flow! NK snarled in annoyance, then flexed his arms and chest impulsively as a surge of aggression washed through him. The pain in his wounded arm receded to nothing, as did the weight of the sword in his hand. NK raised his sword and prepared to let the data flow.
"Jack him out!" Lyne pleaded. "There's too many of them there for him to fight."
"Well, I could jack in and help. Actually, kicking some ass would be fun about now,” Bass said with a grin.
"Baka! Gimme that thing," she growled, snatching up the PET from his hand. She pointed it at a port inside the room. "NeoKnight, jack out!" she commanded as a beam of light shot into the port.
"Hell yeah!" NeoKnight roared as his aggression surged within him. The sensation was almost tangible, flowing through him, and eagerness that channeled itself to his hands and into his blade. Swallowman was already taking off, bringing Kaori with him. He readied to charge into them, and then suddenly found himself in the familiar confines of his PET. "What!?" NK yelled. "Who!?... Who the hell are you!?" he yelled at Lyne. “Send me back in there you bastard! I’ll destroy them! I’LL TEAR THEM APART!!”
Lyne blinked in surprise, forgetting momentarily that she still looked like the guard Bass had knocked out. Rather than trying to explain anything to NK, who appeared to be out of his mind with fury, she pocketed the PET and turned to Bass. "All team members accounted for. We need to complete the mission.” She turned and lifted Treno. “I’ll get him out of here. Connor make us a door, then get ready to destroy this place."
"About time!" Bass said as he activated his armor. He activated his dark blades to cut a hole out of the wall. "Go!" He popped through first and grabbed Lyne and Treno, levitating with them safely down to the ground. “Stay out of sight and try to rouse him. Once the party starts, they’ll be too busy to wonder why one of the guards is leaving with their prisoner.” At that, Bass took off for the molten metal plant, happily anticipating letting loose.
Lyne was left with an unconscious NetSavior over her shoulder and a furious navi letting out a stream of obscenities from her pocket. “Say, NK,” she started, switching her voice back to her own, hoping it would register on him. “When you have a spare moment, could you contact Soma? We’re going to need a ride out of here soon.”
“Lyne!?” questioned the navi. “Where are you? Get me away from this guy!”
“… Don’t worry about him. We, uh, took him hostage. Just contact Soma, okay?”
Bass flew up to the top of a building and landed for a moment. Alright, so they should know that a major power source just switched on, if what the others said earlier is right, he thought to himself. So, they’ll already be figuring out a response. Hmmm, I should probably start at something other than my primary target, just to make sure they don’t respond to it right away. He reached up to scratch the back of his head while he considered his options. And how big do I want the first boom to be? He grinned at that thought, absentmindedly tapping one of the fins on the side of his helmet. Then he stopped tapping and frowned. And I’m not sure I really want them knowing exactly who’s attacking them. He grasped the fin he’d been tapping and pulled the helmet off. After a moment’s concentration to send his helmet away and modify his cloak, he pulled at the collar of his cloak, drawing it up to cover his head and hide his face. I’ll have to figure out something better. But first…
The first explosion didn’t come from the direction Lyne was expecting to hear it. She felt a moment of concern, then realized that Bass was drawing attention away from his real target. “Good plan,” she commented.
“What is?” NeoKnight asked from her pocket.
“He didn’t go straight for his primary target. He attacked something else so they wouldn’t respond right away to what he really wants to hit.”
“Well, I wouldn’t have expected that. First time he’s used his brain today.”
“That’s not fair. He’s…” Lyne thought back to the rest of the day. “Um, oh! Well, he figured out how to neutralize the vats of dark soul material.”
NK laughed a little. “You two. You’re going to be just like Treno and Leina. Except you don’t have any navis to annoy.”
Lyne blushed at NK’s suggestion. “Well, there’s Gospel.”
NK laughed again, hearing the embarrassment in Lyne’s voice. There was another explosion and the sound of a building collapsing. “That one was louder. Was that the target?”
“Nope. That one… Okay, he’s making the attacks make a trail away from our exit. Let’s get… NK, keep quiet!”
NeoKnight almost asked why, but stopped himself. “Hey, what are you doing?” He heard someone asking. “Someone’s setting off bombs on the other side of the compound!”
“I heard,” said another male voice. NK remembered hearing it earlier, the voice of the guard that was holding his PET. “Crew told me to take this kid out of here though. Figures Mr. Yanis will still want him. Did anybody get the other two?”
“No. They’re probably the ones with the explosives. I gotta’ go. Hurry up with him and get back to help.”
“Sure thing,” the man carrying NK responded. He heard footsteps running away, as well as footsteps beneath him, going another direction. There was a third explosion, this one much larger than the other two.
“Ah, that’s the primary target,” Lyne said. The footsteps picked up their pace. There were shouts in the distance, then doors slamming, the sound of people running, vehicles, and more shouts.
Huh, why didn’t the other guard ask for help? NK wondered. And… he said the other two hadn’t been caught? If Lyne’s here, why didn’t the other guard see her? NeoKnight was feeling very frustrated. He wanted to find out what was going on, but Lyne had told him to keep quiet, and he didn’t know what trouble would be caused if he tried asking.
There was only continued background noise, punctuated by an increased number of explosions, for about a minute after the guard quickened his pace when someone shouted, “Hanz, where are you going?”
The guard stopped, breathing heavily from the exertion. “I’ve gotta get this guy *pant* out of here.”
“Well, geez. Why the heck didn’t you get a truck or something?”
There was another pause as Hanz tried to catch his breath. “They’re all in use. You know, with the disaster here.”
“Yeah, I’m giving up on that. Come on, I’ll give you a ride to the gate.”
“Seriously? Oh, that would be great.”
NeoKnight heard the sound of a vehicle engine getting louder as the guard, Hanz, walked over to it. Crap. I hope Lyne can handle this, he thought. This could be really bad if this guy decides to ask for help. And there’s not even anything I can do from in here. There were some noises of exertion, probably from Treno being shoved into the vehicle, then the doors slammed closed.
“So, what are you carting him around for anyway?” the guy driving asked.
Hanz took another couple deep breaths, “Getting a hernia.” The driver laughed at this, and Hanz did too after a couple of seconds. “Seriously though, he’s involved in the explosions back there. We don’t know if we can get the ones setting off the explosions, but we got this guy.”
“Oh, good. Yeah, those explosions though? Not explosives. There’s actually… a robot or something? I don’t know what it is exactly, but it’s flying around and blasting the Hell out of this place.”
“Really? …Huh, so a robot’s doing this.” NK wasn’t sure, but somehow he thought Hanz sounded satisfied.
“Well, there sure is a lot of smoke coming from the compound,” Soma remarked as they approached it.
“The idea was to destroy it. Do you think they managed it?” Geist asked his operator.
“Most likely. Oh, ho, hooo. That was a niiiiice ball of fire.” Soma grinned wickedly. “Man, if I could do something like that… How’s NeoKnight’s becon?”
“Still on. We’re pretty close now. Really close.”
“Good. I’m coming up to the gate. Oh, there’s someone about to exit too. Lucky.”
“Just gonna’ drive straight in, huh? Long as you can get back out, sounds good to me. Um, say. The person about to leave. About 14 yards ahead, just left of our 12 o’clock?”
“Yeah, wh… Is that where the signal’s coming from?”
“Yes. NK’s in that vehicle.”
Soma tensed up, considering what to do next. Driving into the facility would be stupid now. Driving into the truck might damage the car. “Okay,” he muttered and put the car into reverse, turning the car around, then driving away from the facility. He kept an eye on his rear-view mirror to make sure the truck was still coming. When he came up to a bend in the road, he made sure he was just out of sight of the truck, then turned the car to block the road with the driver side door facing away from the oncoming truck. He quickly got out, bringing out his pistol and crouching slightly behind the front of the car for cover.
“Careful what you shoot at Soma. Remember, Treno could be in there too.”
“I’m careful Geist. I know what I’m doing.” As the truck rounded the corner, it quickly slowed when the driver saw the road was blocked. Soma wasn’t going to wait for the driver to do anything else. He took aim and fired at both front tires, blowing them out. He then aimed up at the cabin. “Out now! Throw out your weapons and get out!” The passenger of the truck was the first to react, tossing his gun out the door and putting his hands in the air. The driver grabbed him by the shoulder, apparently chastising him for that. “Shut up and get out here!” The passenger shook his head at the driver, apparently apologizing, then dropped his left hand to the driver’s shoulder. Soma blinked in surprised when he suddenly slammed the driver’s head into the dashboard, following that up with a downward chop to the back of his head. He then got out of the truck, keeping his hands up. “Alright, what the hell’s your game!?”
“No game Soma. It’s me,” the guard replied.
Soma blinked more than once in surprise at the guard’s voice. “…Lyne?”
“Yeah. Give me a hand with Treno. We’ve got to get going.”
“Whooooooohooooooo! This is the best day ever!” Bass shouted into the sky, reveling in the cacophony of destruction around him. The people working had been trying to put out fires for a few minutes, but gave up shortly and were in full evacuation now. His attention was caught by an incoming signal. “Yo!” he answered.
“Yo? You sound like you’re having fun,” Lyne said.
“Oh, yeah. I’ll have to ask Famous if he has any more jobs like this that need to be done.”
“*sigh* Okay, good luck with that. If everything’s been blown up enough, we got Treno out. Hurry back to the rendezvous point so we don’t get caught out here.”
“Killjoy,” Bass said with a grin, though his mood didn’t drop at all. He’d recorded the whole thing on internal memory and intended to watch it all over again before he went to bed. “I’m on my way.”
“He’s on his way now,” Lyne told the others in the car dropping her guise.
“That’s an interesting ability you have there,” Soma said. “And changing into a guard was a good plan too.”
Lyne frowned and looked out the window. “It eats up a lot of energy. I’m exhausted.”
“Well, you got me out,” Treno said. There was still a note of pain in his voice when he talked, but he was conscious at least. “Thanks for that.”
“That was risky though, getting into the other guard’s truck,” Soma said.
“Like I said, it uses a lot of energy. I’m not sure I could have kept going, carrying him like that.”
“You could have told me at some point what was really going on,” NeoKnight spoke up, irritation in his voice.
“Sorry. I was just trying to get out. I couldn’t really talk while moving.”
“*sigh* Yeah, I guess.”
“Say, Lyne,” Treno said. “Why haven’t you changed the appearance of your clothes yet?”
Usually this is the place where we put a zany next episode preview. But both Editor and myself have decided to nix it so we can focus on the chapter content. I apologize for taking so long in getting this chapter finished. At this point in the story I had a request from a member of the board to not use their characters anymore. So the story took its first turn toward my writer’s block wall. I had to think of something to fill in the two chapter gap that it created, so I resorted to an RP that I did on a different forum board to fill in the gap. Finalizing the chapter to mesh into one train of thought was rather difficult. It has taken 4 years 5 months to get past this darn thing writers call the WB Wall to get the story back on track. I appreciate the patience of the Fan Fict Board Mods Mari, Plantman, and Sol in not clearing out a long inactive thread. And to the Fans, I hope you have enjoyed the updated chapter and hopefully we will have the next one out to you guys in a shorter time frame.
Join us for the next episode: ~L&L Season 3~Episode 13: Exodus