Author's note: First of all: TEH SPOILER WARNING!11 (OH-EM-GEE).


Now that that's good and done with… To be honest, I am downright amazed. This is the…third fic—out of what, the forty-some that I've started?—that I've actually finished. cries tears of joy It's a miracle. And it's actually a decent length for once, too. (Although one of the other two fics that I've finished doesn't even really count because I ended it in a semi-cliffhanger so I could write a sequel. Which, you can probably imagine…I never wrote. ; )

But yeah. Maybe it's because I'm just so in love with the idea of these two as a couple. I mean, it started as just a passing fancy: wouldn't it be interesting to see what Chaud and Maylu would be like together? But then the "passing fancy" ate ten gallons of Miracle-Gro and the next thing I know, it's taken over my mind. MY MIND, I TELL YOU. D:

cough Ahem. P.S. Oh, yeah! I own Rick, Sid, & henchmen. Everyone else not mine.


Maylu followed Chaud down the steps into the basement of the old building and into the maze of shelves and storage containers, feeling strangely at ease with the young Net Saver. In past times, there'd always been a slight feeling of awkwardness when he was around, but those days seemed to be over.

'Must be because Lan's gotten him to warm up a lot,' Maylu thought with a smile, striding quickly to keep up with him. 'Lan seems to have that effect on a lot of people.'

Chaud glanced over his shoulder at her as he pulled out his PET, which largely resembled an MP3 player of some sort. He had stepped over to a small net port that was attached to the dirty wall of the basement in a little niche.


Maylu nodded, slipping her own personal terminal out of its carry case. In unison, the two of them pointed their PETs at the net port, and twin beams of red light burst from their mini computers.

Within the building's computer system, pink and red streaks of brightness soon solidified into a pair of net navis.

Roll and Protoman surveyed their surroundings, their eyes searching for whatever had been causing the disturbances people had reported, such as smoke pouring out of some of the building's windows, or strange noises emanating from somewhere in the structure's depths.

"See anything, Protoman?" Chaud inquired, gazing intently at his PET screen.

"Not yet, sir," reported the red navi as he paced forward, continuing to turn his head from side to side.

Hearing a sudden yelp of surprise from his pink companion, he whirled around to face her, expecting to see some virus that had appeared. Instead, he found Roll wincing and clutching the two semi-transparent, yellow antennae that encircled her helmet.

Confused, Protoman lowered his sword and cocked his head. "What's wrong?"

Roll opened one eye and looked at him. "Something just sent out a really powerful radio wave of some sort. My antennae are designed to pick up those kinds of things, and they got vibrated so hard it was painful!"

The red navi rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Were you able to sense which direction the wave came from?"

Straightening, Roll carefully considered the question. Then she nodded and pointed southeast of where they stood. "That way."

Protoman nodded and turned, jogging lightly towards the area Roll had indicated. The pink navi followed him closely, not wanting to get left behind.

"If that was a radio wave that Roll picked up, it must be a virus that specializes in the sound department," Maylu commented to Chaud as they observed their navis' progress.

The dual-haired boy nodded. "Which would explain the strange noises coming from the building," he added.

"But what do you supposes was causing the smoke?" wondered Maylu.

"I'm not sure. It could be almost any kind of virus, really. All they'd have to do is damage the computer system so badly in an area that the system's corresponding device in the real world would become dysfunctional, even to the point of breaking down and spewing smoke."

"True. Though what on earth could they want with a rickety old place like this?"

Chaud shrugged. "Hard to say. Probably nothing other than to tear it apart. Usually, unless they have an intelligent leader of some kind, like, say, a darkloid or a zoanaroid, their only purpose is to destroy anything and everything they can get their hands on. They don't really need a reason."

"Those without purpose can sometimes be the most dangerous…" Maylu murmured thoughtfully.

Chaud looked at her out of the corner of his eye, his interest snagged by her comment. What she had said was true. Those who did something terrible without reason would do it to anyone and everyone, anytime and anywhere, wreaking havoc without pattern and thus making them dangerously unpredictable. He wouldn't have expected such an observation to come from Maylu, who didn't seem like the kind of person who would understand much more than the next guy about the world of criminals.

'But then again,' he reflected, almost smiling, 'appearances can be deceiving. You'd never think Megaman is one of the most powerful navis in the world if you were seeing him for the first time, pipsqueak that he is. Or that Lan is one of the best Net Savers, dense as he can be sometimes. I've sure learned that lesson by now...'

Meanwhile, Protoman and Roll had finally reached the source of the wave that Roll had sensed.

Viruses, widely varied in type, were clustered around a few large blocks of core data, and were attacking it viciously. Some were dealing physical blows to the data while others, those specializing in audio, were blasting it with wave after vibrating wave.

Roll's face was contorted with pain. She clutched at her head. The waves were coming more frequently now as the viruses picked up their pace, frenzied with the exhilaration of destruction. They were also even more powerful, now that she was up close.

Protoman glanced at her in concern. He didn't see how the little female navi would be able to attack in this condition, let alone defend herself.

"Perhaps your operator should log you out," he suggested, keeping his voice low to avoid catching the attention of the viruses.

"Actually, I've got a better idea," Maylu said to them, her fingers working the controls of her PET. "Roll, I've gone into the settings and toned the sensitivity of your antennae way down. You should be okay now."

Roll's hands dropped to her sides, and her features eased in relief. "Much better."

Then she sank into a battle stance, and Protoman smiled slightly. He should've had more faith in Maylu's intelligence. After being acquainted with her for as long as they had, he and Chaud both knew that, while she lacked the caliber of skill that the Net Savers possessed, she was no dunderhead. Nor was she a coward.

Leaping into the air, Roll touched her fingers to her lips and then thrust her hand outward, as if throwing a Frisbee. "Roll Blast!"

Protoman dashed into the midst of the virus swarm, his sword darting back and forth as it cut down the enemy one by one.

The area became a blur of pink and red as the two navis jumped and rolled and sprinted around, slowly taking out the herd.

However, just as it seemed they were on the verge of clearing the system completely, the air above them blurred and twisted, morphing into a tunnel. Out poured a stream of new viruses. These were all electricity-based, Roll could see. She jumped backwards just in time to avoid being landed on by a few of them.

A few of the viruses split off from the group and climbed onto the core data, where they shoved their spiked arms into the shell of the data and began sending pulses of electricity into it.

The rest attacked Roll and Protoman, preventing the two from reaching the core data.

"Aqua Tower! Battle chip in and download!"

"Variable Sword! Battle chip in and download!"

Roll spun on her toes. Then, smiling, she cried "Aqua Tower!" and slammed her hand onto the ground. A giant gush of water burst forth and slid away from her, deleting all the viruses in its path.

"Sonic Boom!" Protoman slashed through the air with the sword, and a wide arc of power shot off.

"Protoman!" Roll cried, looking at the core data and the viruses ravaging it. "I don't think we're going to make it in time to save the system!"

Protoman's head whipped around to follow her gaze and found that she was right. The core was glowing a dangerous red and pulsing sickly.

"Chaud!" he hollered above the chaotic sound of battle. "Get away from that net port! The core looks like it's gonna blow any second!"