"Wait," Ribbon gasped.
Netto winced and Rockman's grip on his shoulder tightened. "Yes?"
"I…" Ribbon blinked. "I think…"
"Yeah?" Netto asked, slightly rudely.
Ribbon glared at him, "I want to help."
Netto blinked, "Oh…"
Roll smiled and walked over to the smaller navi, "Are you sure?" she asked.
Ribbon nodded, "Yeah, I know things can never go back to the way they were and it's no use trying to make it so. I might as well just face the facts and make the best of my life."
"That's very mature," Roll said with a small smile.
Ribbon gave Roll one of her childish grins, "Yeah, well don't get used to it," she said.
Netto grinned and turned around to face Blues and Searchman, "Well?" he asked.
Both navis shifted uncomfortably but gave small nods of consent in spite of it.
"Yay!" Ribbon said cheerfully.
"I thought you said you were going to accept the truth," Netto told her with his arms crossed.
"Yeah," Ribbon said with a grin. "That doesn't mean I can't act the way I want to."
Rockman smiled, "I don't think you're the right person to tell her otherwise, Netto-kun."
"What?" Netto snapped.
"Nothing," Rockman said innocently. "Come on, we need to back down and plan something. With Ribbon's help."
"Yes!" Ribbon cheered and disappeared into her hidden link with everyone else close behind.
"It would appear I am alone…" Lividity said with a small smile. "Time to finish what I started."
Finally they got back to sci labs and everyone breathed a sigh of relief when they were back behind the faux protection of the dimensional area. "Well then, what should we do?" Blues asked.
Ribbon put a finger to her lips and posed cutely but it was apparent she was deep in thought. "Well, Lividity-sama said that it was going to do something to make sure that the net could never connect back to the real world. I'm not sure how Lividity-sama was planning to do it though."
"It what?" Netto snapped.
Ribbon shrugged, "That's all I know," she said.
"Do you know where?" Rockman asked.
Ribbon shook her head, "No, but I do know when!" she said cutely.
"When?" everyone asked her.
"Two days," she said.
"So we have to days to think of a plan," Blues sighed.
"Yeup!" Ribbon cheered.
"Greaaat," Netto said sarcastically.
The next day everyone was still planning, except Netto and Ribbon. Netto was asleep out of pure habit and Ribbon merely proclaimed she was bored and she disappeared down a hall to sit and think. Something that she desperately needed to do.
Blues, Rockman, Searchman and Roll talked over their current predicament in hushed tones while Netto slept on Rockman's lap. "What should we do?" Rockman asked.
Blues frowned, "We need a location," he muttered. "Without that, how can we launch an attack?"
Rockman leaned back in the chair he was sitting and let out a deep breath. "Are we sure the link is hidden?" he asked.
"Not even Ribbon knows where it is," Roll said. "How can we find it?"
"It might be easier to find from the real world," Searchman said.
"We can't get into the real world," Rockman pointed out.
"No, but Netto-san could," said Blues. "We need to get him back into his normal body."
"How?" Rockman asked.
Blues shook his head, "I have no idea," he admitted.
Roll frowned, "He was split by an attack that somehow separated the data from his human form… could we possibly… I don't know… download him back into his body?" she asked.
"We would have to use Saito.bat for that…" Rockman said in a worried voice. "Papa said…"
"We know what your father said," Searchman told him. "But we need to fix this and if that's how then that's what we should do."
Rockman sighed and rubbed his head, "I know."
"Well?" Blues asked.
"I'll ask Netto-kun about it when he wakes up. It's ultimately his decision in the end," Rockman pointed out.
"We know," Roll said.
"Netto-kun?" Rockman asked his sleepy brother as he slowly woke up.
Netto yawned, "Yeah?" he asked.
Netto frowned and sat up, looking at Rockman with a concerned look in his eyes. "I'm fine, why?" he asked.
Rockman shook his head, "I've just been worried about you lately."
Netto smiled, "Yeah, I know."
"I know you know," Rockman said with a short laugh.
"But of course," Netto teased.
They both laughed before their expressions became somber again.
"Netto-kun, we came up with a plan to possibly find where Lividity is and get you back into your body," Rockman told him.
"Oh?" Netto asked. "How?"
Rockman sighed, "I said if we became desperate we could download you back into your body using the Saito.bat link."
Netto's eyes widened briefly before he sighed, "And?"
"What?" Rockman asked.
"What do you think about it?" Netto replied.
"I think…" Rockman's mouth twisted. "I think it's dangerous," he admitted. "But I also think that if it's something that needs to be done to get you back to normal then we should try."
Netto smiled, "I glad you see it that way."
"You know I only said what you wanted to hear," Rockman told him.
Netto nodded, "Yeah, I know."
"So, your decision?" Rockman asked.
"I want to be human again," Netto said. "Or at least as human as I possibly can. I'll do it."
Rockman took in a deep breath. "I figured that's what you would say," he said with a small smile.
Netto smiled, "Is it all right with you?" he asked. "If you really don't want me to I won't…" he said softly.
Rockman shook his head, "No, I think you have the right to choose for yourself. I can't pretend to know what you're going through, nor will I. So right now I'll just let you decide for yourself."
Netto looked at the floor then took in a deep breath, "I want to go back to my normal body…" he said slowly.
Rockman nodded, he knew that was coming. "All right," he answered.
Netto smiled and sat on the couch next to Rockman. "Thanks," he said softly.
Rockman hugged Netto, "No problem, truth be told, I want to see you like your normal self too."
Netto giggled, "That would be nice," he admitted. "Then maybe I could reach some of the stuff on Papa's desk."
Rockman laughed outright, "I can see that."
Later, Netto and Rockman told everyone else of their decision and got the consent from the others. "We need someone in the real world without the aid of Dimensional Area's," Searchman noted. "Otherwise we might not be able to stop Lividity."
Netto nodded, "Yeah, not to mention I'd just kinda like to be… normal again," he said slowly.
Rockman ruffled his hair. /Normal/ he teased.
/Hush, you/ Netto replied, although he wasn't upset about it.
Rockman nodded and looked up. "So, how will we go about this?" he asked.
"Do you know where Papa keeps the core data on Saito.bat?" Netto replied.
Rockman looked thoughtful, "Yeah, I do. Why?"
"Because, that's where you're gonna have to change the program to get me back into my body," Netto pointed out. "We can't do it by will obviously or it've happened already."
"What do we do?" Rockman asked.
Netto shrugged, "I have no clue. I've never seen the program. Can't you tell if there's an abnormality in a program?"
"Yes…" Rockman said slowly.
"Then undo it," Netto said simply. "That should make things go back to normal."
"And if it doesn't work?" Rockman asked.
Netto shifted uncomfortably, "Nothing ventured nothing gained, right?" he asked in a slightly off beat cheerful voice.
"Netto-kun…" Rockman said in a strained voice.
"No," Netto cut him off. "We're going to finish this and I will get back to normal. Because that's how we can handle it, right?"
Rockman sighed, "Right," he agreed. "I'll handle the program."
Netto smiled, "I'll leave it up to you then," he said brightly.
Rockman nodded and pointed down the hall. "The initial Saito.bat mainframe is on his laptop. It should be in his office."
Netto nodded, "Yeah, he never really uses that computer anymore, does he?"
"I think he's afraid too," Rockman admitted.
"I can see why," Blues pointed out.
Roll nodded, "Yeah, me too."
Rockman opened the door and searched around in some old file cabinets. "I think… here it is!" he said while pulling a slightly used, silver laptop out of the top drawer.
Netto looked at it. "The core program is on that thing?" he asked.
Rockman nodded, "Yeup. The computer really isn't needed anymore now that the program has manifest it's self in you and me but I guess papa keeps it around for instances like these."
"Or it's because he's a packrat," Netto pointed out.
A smile quirked Rockman's lips as he turned the laptop on, "That too," he admitted.
Netto took in a deep breath as the machine slowly came to life. Rockman tapped on a few keys and opened the program. "Well Netto-kun, I think I've found where it splits off, all I have to do is reconnect the program to your body. You ready?"
Netto nodded solemnly. "Ready," he said.
Rockman took in a deep breath and pressed the enter key.
Netto's eyes snapped open. He was lying on his bed, looking at the ceiling in his house. He sat up and ran to a mirror, just to make sure. He grinned as his twelve year old self stared back at him.
/Netto-kun/ Rockman called.
/I'm here/ Netto replied.
/Oh thank god. I figured you would log out but it was still scary for a few seconds. Did everything go all right/ he asked.
/Everything is perfectly fine/ Netto answered with one last peek at his reflection as he headed out the door of his room. /I'll be at sci-labs, ten minutes tops./
/All right Netto-kun, I'll see you then/ Rockman replied and cut off the link.
Netto padded down stairs to see his mother slowly stirring noodles in a pot without really looking at anything. He sighed sadly and walked on, he was about to fix everything, he just needed time.
Lividity looked at the shimmering program in front of it. It reached out a gloved hand and sparked it with some of its own power. The program flared for a few seconds then settled back down. Lividity smirked and pulled its hand back into its cape. "The prototype for Dimensional Areas," it smirked. "Pulled out and hidden because of its instability, yes I think this will do quite nicely."
Netto ran into the sci labs building as the dimensional area came up behind him. As he got into the room, Rockman was already logging back into the real world with the help of the dimensional area.
"Netto-kun, are you okay?" Rockman asked him.
Netto held up his hands, "I've already told you, I'm fine."
"But…" Rockman said slowly.
"Fine," Netto insisted.
Roll giggled and walked over to where Rockman was standing over Netto. "Rockman, we should be worrying about Lividity," she reminded him gently.
Rockman blinked and nodded, "Right."
Netto peered around his navi and saw Ribbon standing next to Blues. She smiled and walked over to him. "Hello!" she said cheerfully.
"Do you really like looking like you're eight?" he asked her dubiously.
Ribbon shrugged, "I told you, it's not my body that matters. Besides, I like getting treated like an eight year old. Everyone tells me I'm cute!"
Netto blinked then looked slightly awkward. "Right," he said slowly and turned to his navi. "Do we know where Lividity is?" he asked Rockman.
Rockman shook his head, "We only know where Lividity last was."
Blues and Searchman nodded towards the computer screen behind them. "Lividity just appeared near here when you logged out. We're not sure what it took but some kind of file is missing."
"We're trying to find which file was taken," Rockman explained.
Netto frowned, "Did you look at the file database?"
Rockman nodded, "Yeah, but we haven't found anything yet."
Netto shrugged, "Okay, then I'll look on the main computer."
Rockman smiled, "Need help?" he asked.
Netto nodded and sat down in front of the large computer in the center. "If the main database didn't list it then…" he paused and tapped a few buttons to bring up several windows.
"It should be a prototype," Rockman realized. "Of course. Prototypes aren't mandated to be put in the main database. Only the final product."
"What would Lividity want a prototype of?" Blues asked.
Ribbon opened her mouth then closed it and looked thoughtful. Roll looked down at her and smiled sweetly, "Do you have an idea?" she asked.
Ribbon frowned and put a finger to her lips, then she nodded. "Lividity-sama wanted to make the Net World not need the Real World. Is there some kind of program that could make one or the other obsolete?"
"No," Rockman frowned. "Sci-labs would never make something that dangerous."
"Then why bring it up?" Netto asked.
"We're looking for a prototype, Netto-kun," Rockman reminded him. "Prototypes often don't do what the final product do. Something similar to making a world obsolete would be…" his eyes widened in realization. "Netto-kun, look up he prototypes for the Dimensional Area program!"
Netto blinked and looked confused. "What?"
"Just do it," Rockman commanded.
Netto nodded and pulled up the program Rockman commanded him to. "Here," he paused and pointed to an area on the screen. "It's missing," he said slowly. "Why would Lividity…"
"Pull up the specs," Rockman said softly.
Netto looked at the basic set up of the program and his eyes slowly widened. "Oh wow," he said.
Rockman leaned over and read what Netto was looking at and merely stood there silently.
"What's wrong?" Blues asked them.
"I think we know why it was rejected as a prototype," Rockman said softly.
"Why?" Searchman asked, finally making the effort to cross the room to look at the file.
"Its effects are permanent," Netto said in an equally faint voice to Rockman's.
Lividity smiled and pulled out the program that it had stolen. "Well, well, well, that was quite easy," it said with a grin. "Too easy," it whispered while licking its lips. "I want more…"
The program shimmered and pulsated in Lividity's dark grip. It smiled and gripped the lump of data even harder while cackling softly. "Come on," it chided the program.
Finally the program dissipated and scattered over the area that Lividity was standing in and began to glow in certain areas. "Perfect," Lividity grinned as the area it was in began to absorb the data into its main structure.
Over in sci labs, a small data signal abnormality appeared on the main screen. "Netto-kun," Rockman shook his twin's shoulder and pointed at the screen. "Look."
Netto blinked and looked, "No way," he said slowly.
Roll, Blues, Ribbon and Searchman peered over the twins to look at the computer. "What is it?" Ribbon asked.
"According to the computer it's the prototype, only the data is horribly corrupted," Rockman said with a frown.
"How bad is the corruption?" Blues asked.
Netto hit a few keys on the board and glanced at the data that appeared on the screen. "Bad enough that this computer no longer recognizes it as a sci labs file," he explained slowly.
Roll winced and leaned over to press a few more keys. Another screen came up that pointed to the location of the corrupted file. "Not in the net nor the real world," she said softly when she looked at the coordinates.
Ribbon sighed heavily. "Lividity-sama acted so soon."
Rockman frowned, "We have to go before it gets any worse," he said quickly and looked up. "Is that okay?"
"What if it's a trap?" Searchman asked.
"Then we deal with it," Netto replied matter of factly and pulled out his PET. "Or at least Rockman and I do."
Rockman nodded and stood behind Netto. Ribbon cheered and linked her arms between Netto and Rockman's arms and leaned forward, making the two boys wobble a bit to support their weight plus hers. "I'm in!" she cheered.
Roll nodded, "Of course," she said while giving Rockman a shy smile.
Blues and Searchman merely nodded solemnly.
Netto nodded and walked over to the Dimensional Area control panel and looked at the button. "Well then, I guess I'll see you guys there."
They nodded and he deactivated the Dimensional Area. Rockman called out from his PET two seconds later. "Ready, Netto-kun?" he asked.
Netto took in a deep breath and picked up his back pack. "Sure," he said while walking out of the building.
"Really?" Rockman asked.
Netto smiled and clipped on his rollerblades. "Yeah, I'm ready, nii-san."
Ribbon's shrill voice came out of Netto's PET making Netto and Rockman wince simultaneously. "Yay!" she cheered. "We're all ready then!"
Netto sighed and began to skate down the empty roads towards where in the distance Lividity was sitting on a small chair and looking thoughtfully into thin air. "They're coming," it said with a grin. "Of course."
Netto skated into the perimeter of the area and looked around. "Well, here we are," he said slowly. "You guys ready?"
"Yes!" Ribbon said cheerfully.
"Go ahead, Netto-kun," Rockman told him softly.
Netto nodded and skated into the area. He could tell as soon as he set foot into the area that something wasn't right. Everything around him felt different and unnatural. It was the same feeling that dimensional areas gave him, only the feeling was increased several times over.
"Are you all right, Netto-kun?" Rockman asked.
Netto nodded, "I'm fine. We're in the area though, try and see if you can link out of the PET."
"All right," Rockman said and several moments later they all appeared around Netto in the area.
Netto waved at him cheerfully, "Hello."
"Well, looks like our hunch about this place was right," Rockman said, looking around. "There's no visible sign that this place is corrupted with data, but it is. If Lividity learns how to do this on a world wide scale, we're all in very big trouble."
Netto nodded, "No kidding," he said while looking around. "And it feels so… creepy too."
"Why?" Ribbon asked him as they walked further into the corrupted area.
Netto shrugged, "I can't really explain it. All I know it that it doesn't feel right."
Rockman nodded his agreement, "Yeah, I know what you mean."
They walked the rest of the way in silence until they came up to Lividity. Lividity smiled at them and jumped off the car it was sitting on. "Interesting, isn't it?" it asked. "How little it takes to bring down the barrier between the human and cyber worlds. Think of the possibilities," it said softly. "Creating a world just for net navis. No more dependence on humans. We'll have everything we need to survive on our own this way."
"You're wrong!" Rockman yelled. "We need humans, just like humans need us. How can you say that we can get along without the people that gave us life?"
Lividity smirked, "And those that take it away so easily?"
"So! What you're planning to do is no better!" Rockman yelled at Lividity.
Lividity smiled cruelly, "I hope so," it hissed.
Netto put a hand on Rockman's shoulder. "Don't waste your breath Rockman. It's not going to work."
"Oh?" Lividity smirked. "Says the brat who isn't even fully human?"
Netto's eyes flashed angrily as he glared at it. "Shut up!" he snapped.
"Netto-kun," Rockman said softly and shook his head. /You can't loose your cool, not here/ he told Netto softly.
Netto took in a deep breath/Right, sorry Rockman./
Rockman smiled/It's all right./
Lividity walked over to them. "Well, since words merely seem to be delaying the inevitable, let's get this battle out of the way, shall we?"
Netto pulled out his PET and everyone else got their default weapons ready. Lividity lifted up and hand and summoned a pulsating energy into it. "Come!" it yelled.
Rockman ran up to it first, downloading a sword chip Netto gave him and slashing at its hand. Lividity jumped away but Rockman turned backwards in mid air aiming for the energy that it was cradling in its left hand.
Lividity smirked and pulled its hand away and thrust out its other hand, catching Rockman in the shoulder. Rockman retaliated by thrusting the tip of his sword into Lividity's shoulder. He then pushed back and skidded a few feet away.
"Hm?" Lividity smirked while looking at its shoulder. "Clever," it hissed then lashed out with the energy ball. It flew forward and almost hit Rockman but Ribbon jumped in the way and entwined the data in her ribbons and absorbed it. "Oh child, you've finally betrayed me?"
Ribbon grinned, "I'm not a child!" she yelled and formed a sword between her hands. "Not anymore!"
Lividity blocked the first blow and turned to the right to avoid the next one. Ribbon was very quick with her blade, but each time Lividity managed to block or dodge each strike.
Blues summoned his own sword and looked at Searchman. "Do you happen to have a vaccine chip in your sniper?" he asked.
Searchman nodded, "Yeah, why?"
"When you get a clear shot, I want you to shoot Lividity with it. That might keep it from using dark energy," Blues said and jumped into the fight just before Ribbon was nearly hit by one of Lividity's attacks.
Searchman nodded and loaded his sniper. "Roll," he said.
"Yes?" the pink navi asked.
Searchman nodded at Netto who was slotting in battle chips for his navi to use at a furious rate. "Make sure he doesn't get hurt. Something tells me that Rockman is going to be the one to end this battle."
"Right," Roll said and ran over to Netto.
"Hello Netto-san," she said as she summoned a heart to her hands.
Netto glanced up at her then grinned. "Either Rockman, Searchman or Blues told you to come over here," he said while giving Rockman an area steal chip to avoid another attack.
"Searchman," Roll agreed. "Is anything changing?"
Netto shook his head, "Not yet. There's too much going on. Searchman is trying to get a clear shot right?"
Roll nodded, "Yeah."
Netto took in a deep breath, "All right then."
/Netto-kun, what are you planning/ Rockman asked as he listened in on the conversation.
/Tell Blues and Ribbon to jump out of the way when I give you the Roll Soul chip. I bet the healing technique can freeze it for a second/ Netto said.
/Right/ Rockman agreed.
"Roll?" Netto asked as he took out the chip.
"Can you aim a cure at Lividity?" Netto asked her.
Roll blinked, "I can try, why though? Don't we want to defeat Lividity?"
"Yeah, and this is how to do it. Lividity is made of corrupt data, I'm sure about that now. It was the one who corrupted the prototype in the first place. So, healing data is what makes corrupt data revert to it's original form right?"
Roll nodded, "Yes. But is my attack enough?"
Netto smirked, "Probably not, but you and Rockman together should be more then enough. Just make sure to aim well and fire when I say so."
Roll grinned, finally catching on to his plan. "Okay," she said and transferred healing data into the heart she was holding.
/Ready/ he asked Rockman.
/Ready when you are/ Rockman replied.
Netto nodded and slotted in the chip. "Now!" he yelled.
Rockman jumped back and fired a Roll Arrow at Lividity that was full of healing data while Roll threw her heart. Blues and Ribbon jumped back as Lividity was hit with the attacks full force.
Searchman took aim and fired his own vaccine bullet into the navi and watched as it took effect. Slowly the dark purple energy around the navi died as Lividity sunk to its knees. "NO!" it yelled. "NOT YET!"
Netto gave Rockman a shield chip, just to make sure he wasn't hurt in case anything happened. Lividity yelled out in pain as its corrupted data slowly rewrote its self. "No…" it whispered.
Blues went over to the weakened navi and knocked it offline with his sword. "You are placed under arrest by the Net Saviors organization," he said coolly.
Netto used his PET to scan for the thing that was controlling all of the humans. "Netto-kun?" Rockman asked.
Netto pointed at a radio dish above them. "There!" he yelled.
Ribbon jumped up and held her sword at the ready. "May I?" she asked.
Rockman nodded and let Roll Soul fall off of him.
Ribbon jumped up gracefully and slashed at the dish where it came apart and exploded. "Yay!" she cheered.
"How do we get rid of the corrupted data in this area?" Netto asked.
"It should wear off soon," Searchman said. "Now that Lividity's corrupted data is not longer feeding it."
Netto nodded, "All right. So, things are back to normal?" he asked.
"There's really only one way to find out," Rockman said softly.
Netto nodded, "All right," he said as he put on his roller blades.
Blues picked up Lividity and nodded at them, "I shall see you soon then," he said with a curt nod and made sure that it was really unconscious before logging out.
"Bye, Netto-san, Rockman," Roll said with a blush. She ran over to the blue navi and hugged him tightly. "I'll see you at home." She smiled, waved then logged out.
Searchman nodded, "Thank you for your help," he said. "Netto-san, Rockman, your secret is safe with me."
"Thanks," they said gratefully.
Ribbon looked up at them. "Well?" she asked.
Rockman grabbed her hand, "You're coming with us until we know what to do with you," he told her and logged into his PET.
Ribbon giggled, "I don't mind. It seems like it would be an adventure and a half just to be with you two anyways."
"Ha ha," Netto said dryly as he skated home.
Netto saw people coming out of their houses looking confused and upset but no one was hurt or in danger and that's all that mattered at the moment. He quickly skated up his driveway and into his house where he hastily kicked off his shoes and ran into the kitchen. "Mama?" he called.
His mother came in behind him, "There you are," she breathed. "I was worried about you when I couldn't find you. What's going on?"
Netto grinned and hugged his mother tightly. Haruka looked surprised but hugged him back nonetheless. "What on earth happened?" she asked him softly.
Netto sighed, "It's a long story."
Haruka stroked his hair softly, "Well, I apparently made hot chocolate and we have time," she said softly.
Netto nodded and followed her into the kitchen where he and Rockman began to tell of their adventures over the past few days.