ADVER MAN: THE ULTIMATE EVIL

One of these days, he would come. It was inevitable.

Slur sighed as she stood on Duo's shoulder, leaning against his gargantuan head. On the surface, she seemed to be enjoying yet another passive evening floating around on a glowing comet. Inside, however, she trembled with nervous anxiety, for she knew someday that she would have to face the most terrifying Asteroid Navi that she had ever created.

"Slur, is something troubling you?" asked Duo, trying with difficulty to look around his head without turning it. Doing so would have knocked Slur off his shoulder and sent her falling into oblivion.

"Is it that obvious?" she replied, closing her crimson eyes.

"It's about HIM, isn't it?"

"Duo, why did we create such a monster? I know it is up to us to deem Earth worthy of survival, but isn't this absolute overkill? There is no evil more despicable than this!"

"Yes, Slur. If the humans manage to survive this accident of ours, Earth could quite possibly be the most worthy planet of all. By the way, just what is this about WE creating him? It was your doing, you know."

"Please," Slur muttered as she clenched her teeth, "don't remind me!"

A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO...

(Slur: "A flashback? I said, don't remind me!")

IPC's 38-year-old Brand Equity Manager Kenishiro sighed as he looked at the fiscal year's latest sales report. His department had come in dead last in productivity and customer loyalty. Sending Trojan Horse attachments in IPC ads concealing spamming programs and spyware was not a good choice.

Considering that CEO Enzan-sama was coming in for a productivity review and a department inspection, his prospects of remaining with IPC weren't looking good. Enzan was, after all, a miniature version of his father, the most anal-retentive man in existence. This prodigious son was just as ruthless and efficient as his father, although these days he was so busy Net-battling that he skipped many of his inspection duties and board meetings, making even Kenishiro look like the most productive man in the company.

Today was one of those days. Enzan was out double-dating with Meiru and Netto, and his own date, . Kenishiro had quite a while until the inspection was to take place, so he sat back and did what any salesperson in his situation would do. He passed the time by pondering his fate and expressing his grandiose ambition.

"Everyone else seems to sell TWICE what I do!" screamed Kenishiro, although such a fault was better left undeclared, especially in the office. "I wish I had the power to sell to anyone that I wanted! The power to make ANYONE buy IPC's products!" Suddenly, his computer screen began glowing a brilliant white.

"I can't see!" screamed Kenishiro. "My computer's broken! I'm going blind! Tech support? Are you there? Anyone?"

"I am here," replied a slow and somewhat seductive female voice. When the brilliant white glow faded, there on Kenishiro's computer screen was a mysterious, white-and-turquoise-dressed female Net Navi looking him square in the face with a slightly dull smile. "Greetings, Kenishiro."

"A-are you my niece? Wh-why are you d-dressed like that?" Kenishiro stuttered. "Well, anyway, don't worry, I get my paycheck this Thursday! I'll pay you back for those Higure's Rare Chip Otaku Guide magazines, I swear!"

"I'm not your niece. I would appreciate your money, but have no need for it. And the bit about the magazines was more than I wanted to know. I am Slur."

"Well, make a good impression then, whoever you are. That cave woman grammar won't get you anywhere. Say it with me: I am SLURRING."

"No! My name is Slur! Honestly, don't you read the news? You really haven't heard anything about my appearances, have you? Anyway, I am here to grant your wish."

"Okay, I'll take Yaito-chan's mansion, and fill it with swimsuit models. The sooner, the better."

Slur slapped her forehead, thinking that this must be the typical male in what humans call a midlife crisis. "Kenishiro, this is getting nowhere fast. Look, do you want a Net Navi or not?"

"Eh? Net Navi? I have one of those PET things that I never figured out, but what's a Net Navi? I swear, it's so hard to keep up with you kids nowadays."

"Wow. You really need to get out more. Very well, I will offer you the tool with which to carry out your evil deeds."

"Evil? All I said was that I wanted to make everyone buy IPC's products."

"Yes, and that is the most despicable evil of all. Usually I don't tell people that what they're doing is evil, but you are so sick in your selling methods that I figured I'd just tell it like it is."

"Hmm, works for me."

"Very well then. I bestow upon you, Asteroid Navi Adver Man!"

"Wow, try saying THAT five times fast!"

Kenishiro's PET glowed brilliant white, which really annoyed Kenishiro at this point, as staring at a bright computer screen and having his vision go bad was the last thing he needed. He had suffered it enough today.

He wasn't annoyed long, however; when the white glow faded, there in his PET stood a small, chubby, and unusually adorable Navi, dressed in a white-and-blue Chinese-style robe and wearing a blue bandanna with lettering that read, "Ctrl-Alt-Del." His Navi symbol on his chest was nothing more than a blue circle with white numbering that read, "Buy (blank)!"

"Yay! A master! Who do you work for?" Adver man asked Kenishiro in a high-pitched, squeaky, yet oddly cute voice.

"IPC," replied Kenishiro. Instantly, Adver Man's crest changed to: "Buy IPC!"

"I'm convinced of your abilities," Kenishiro said to Slur with a grin. "Now I'd like to test this Adver Man out in a fight."

"Now?" Slur blinked. "Against who, might I ask?"

"Against you. I'd like to challenge you to a Net Battle, or whatever the kids call it now."

"Fine. Your first defeat as a Net Battler will humble you greatly."

Kenishiro looked in his briefcase, and his left eye twitched; he didn't have any battle chips. He went with his next best strategy: "Adver Man! Do whatever!"

"I will do that! Wheeee!" yelled Adver Man in a squeaky voice as he started running to Slur.

Slur's forehead produced a huge anime-style sweat drop. Surely Adver Man could not be evil enough to carry out Duo's trials for humanity. As if to confirm this, he stopped directly in front of Slur and simply stood in one place, staring at her face emptily. Then, nothing happened.

Nothing continued to happen.

After a while of nothing happening, nothing happened some more.

Slur began to think she was getting hit on. She became incredibly frustrated and decided that she may as well be the first to attack. However, just as her flipper-like sleeve was about to make contact, Adver Man expressed an outburst so sudden that Slur screamed for the first time in her life.

"DO YOU WANT TO BUY QUALITY CHIPS AT LOW PRICES? THEN YOU'VE COME TO THE RIGHT COMPANY!"

Slur stepped back, surprised and for some reason strangely annoyed.

"We have 450-Ghz chips for IPC's New Generation PETs! Low prices, high quality! NOT the other way around!"

Slur could feel an anime-style vein popping on her helmet. She clenched her teeth and wondered why she felt this sudden outburst of rage. At the same time, some part of her subconsciously began to wish she had some money so she could buy IPC's chips. Meanwhile, Adver Man continued his promotion speech:

"All you have to do is ask me all about our specials! We have auctions on eBay and Craig's List! All the hottest equipment and deals to help you SAVE! For the kids, we've got action figures! Hot toys! Collectibles! Buy a Rockman doll! A Forte doll! And for a limited time, we'll even make a doll of YOU!"

Slur had endured enough pain, and started to leave when Kenishiro said, "Wait! We haven't even started fighting yet!"

"We have!" cried Slur. "You win already! For the love of Duo, please don't use him on me again!"

As she left, Adver Man yelled after her, "In closing, our Great Leader Enzan-sama says, Puragu-In Yo' Haato! Remember it! Tell them Adver Man sent you!"

When Slur returned to Duo's asteroid home, she asked herself between tears, "What have I done? WHAT HAVE I DONE?"

END PART I