You Are Motivated
Disclaimer: Rockman.exe does not belong to me. I used a few lines from songs in the story; these, and the Shakespearian quote, do not belong to me either. Full credit for the quotes is at the bottom of the page (so that the disclaimer won't spoil the story).
Enzan and Laika had been waiting, seated at the large conference table, long enough to become irritated by the time Netto arrived. The NetSaviors' headquarters, usually buzzing with activity and adventure, was in the process of shutting itself down. Even the late night employees who usually ran on ten or more cups of coffee were heading home for a quiet dinner.
Dinner, and the fact that it seemed so long ago, was on Netto's mind as he joined his fellow Crossfusion members. It was definitely time for a before-bed snack.
"So, anyone know why we're here?" The brown haired boy looked around expectantly. He had chosen a seat across from Laika; Enzan was at the end of the table on Netto's right.
"No, but it's obviously important isn't it?" Laika's expression was serious and Netto gave a visible shudder. He thought back to when Papa had said he did not need to bother bringing Rockman, his netnavi, to the late NetSavior meeting. The boy had not thought much of it at first; after all, he expected the meeting to be quick and Rockman needed to go to sleep. But…
No witnesses. Netto eyed the doors leading into the conference room. No witnesses, no netnavis, not even a few stray workers to run into us. This is probably more that just important; it's top secret, possibly life threatening…
Enzan gave a loud sigh immediately before one of the doors slid open and in stepped Meijin Eguchi, a scientist who worked alongside Yuuichiro Hikari in SciLabs, and Commissioner Kifune of the Net Police.
Netto jumped up, startled out of his thoughts. "Commissioner! You can trust me. Not a word you say will leave this room!"
Enzan took a hold of this friend's vest and pulled Netto back into his seat.
"You don't have to worry about that, Netto-kun." Meijin rubbed his temples. Maybe we shouldn't have done this so late.
"What's going to happen tonight is something I should have done a long time ago," Kifune started, as Meijin quietly set down the three shoeboxes he had been carrying, one in front of each NetSavior. "Unfortunately, the idea did not occur to me until after Eguchi received these as a free addition to the antique miniature car collection he bought online. Now, you all know that we give each of you regular check-ups to make sure Crossfusion isn't harming your bodies. Well, your mind is much more delicate than your physical body, so I want you to use these to help you… psychologically."
Kifune glanced around, and Enzan decided to bite. "What are 'these'?"
The Commissioner took on a look of self-satisfaction; Enzan tried not to look too annoyed in response. "Oh," Kifune began, "they're called motivational tapes. It's a form of counseling to raise your self-esteem. That's why I called you here at night, so that you can sleep on it afterwards."
These last words were drowned out by three cries of indignation.
"What do you mean by 'tapes'?"
Meijin decided to address Netto's question. "Tapes play back recordings, like sound files on your PET. They play in machines called tape players. They're next to impossible to find now; I'm surprised I got a hold of a few."
Netto felt sick. He was expected to use a tape player and he had left Rockman at home! The world's technology was falling apart!
The Commissioner looked down at the three boys, whose dubious expressions failed to faze him. "You each have a separate copy of this tape. I don't want you to talk, but to concentrate on getting the most out of it. After all a motivational experience is most effective in the right environment! So, I guess we'll leave you three to it." Kifune looked excited. "You're going to keep this up for a test time of six days. I want regular reports. You can begin as soon as we leave."
The two men exited, Kifune pleased with the way things had gone, and Meijin pleased that he had gotten through a conversation with Netto without one "-san". The atmosphere they left behind was anything but pleased.
"I suppose we should get this over with." Laika began to open the box that had been set in front of him.
It did not take long to get through the duct tape and newspapers. The stream of dialogue kept them amused:
"This one is from the year 2006!"
"Strange, I didn't think tapes were still around then…"
"Either way, you'd think it would have decomposed by now."
It took longer to figure out how the three gadgets worked, but the tapes finally started and the listeners, each equipped with his own bulky headphones, sat in silent anticipation.
As Meijin and Kifune strolled down the hall away from the closed doors of the conference room, the Commissioner had a confession to make: "I never did listen to the message on those tapes."
Meijin smiled. "I did. Don't worry, I'm quite confident that by the end of this session their egos will be through the roof." Kifune did not notice when the scientist's smile transformed into a rather mischievous grin. Meijin had failed to correct his companion when Kifune told the NetSaviors that they were going to listen to separate copies of the same tape. The three tapes, which actually contained very different recordings, were specifically chosen for each netbattler by Meijin Eguchi himself.
The scientist could only wish that he was a fly on the wall of that conference room when the tape players started rolling.
Laika sat rigidly in his chair. What would everyone think if they knew he was going through counseling?
The mechanical, choppy female voice coming from his headphones almost caught him off guard.
"It has been clinically proven that these tapes will help you."
Laika scoffed. Everyone knew that anything 'clinical' from the twenty-first century was a lie.
"You have a positive self-image."
The Sharo NetSavior glanced around at his companions. Netto was grinning; Enzan looked slightly confused.
"You are tried and true."
Humph, Laika thought, maybe hearing well-deserved compliments every once and a while wouldbe beneficial.
"You feel warm and fuzzy inside."
Laika did his best to keep his military composure. He met Enzan's eyes, and the other boy, who was looking rather flustered, shrugged. Netto was still grinning; when he looked up at Laika he nodded.
"You are the sunshine of my life."
Laika had started sweating from the effort of keeping a solemn face. It was made considerably harder once Enzan made a sort of gagging noise.
"Girls like a man in uniform."
Laika unconsciously began straitening his tie. He made another glance around the table. Netto was making strange jerking movements. Enzan looked like he had a fever. Hmph, jealous. Laika fixed his cuffs. After all, who's the only man in uniform in this room?
"This tape was a sound financial investment."
Laika started in his seat because, in the same moment, Enzan jumped up and threw the tape player down with a yell and Netto fell out of this chair, close to tears of laughter.
Laika looked disgusted. "Well, it's true!"
Enzan waited impatiently for the tape to start. What a waste of my time.
The deep, computerized feminine voice finally sounded through the headphones.
"You are not an egghead."
What? Enzan fidgeted. What's that supposed to mean?
"You have a high socio-economic status."
This time Enzan looked around the table to see how the others reacted. Laika sat straight, his hands clasped in front of him; Netto had his usual absent-minded grin on his face. Well it's true for me at least.
"You are an enchanting conversationalist."
Thank you. Enzan found himself rather amused. However he found Laika's expression much more entertaining. The soldier was trying not to smile. You're enjoying this aren't you? Enzan thought.
"Words roll like honey off your tongue."
This is more unsettling than it is helpful. Enzan looked around again and caught Laika's eye. The white and black haired boy merely shrugged. Whatever, it's just an outdated- Enzan paused when he saw Netto nodding to Laika. He probably likes it because it said the word honey.
"Older women find you attractive."
Enzan tried to make his yelp into a cough. Netto was now giggling. I don't see what's so funny.
"If I were human, I would stalk you."
Enzan felt his face burning red. He found it disturbing that the tape was now referring to itself in the first person. Looking towards the other two at the table, the boy saw Netto jerking around in his seat. Poor guy, that last one probably gave him a seizure. But when Enzan checked Laika's reaction, he felt nauseous. The other netbattler was fixing his tie. He likesthis!
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day…"
Enzan was out of his seat and, with a yell, rammed the tape player into the table, before he realized what he was doing. Breathing heavily, he looked around. Netto had ended up on the floor, laughing. So you think this is funny, do you? Enzan was about to say it, too, when Laika spoke up:
"Well, it's true."
Netto was playing around with the cord of his headphones, waiting for the tape to begin. What would Rockman say if he knew I left him at home for a piece of old machinery? Nevertheless the boy still felt a little bit excited.
An automated, female voice crackled through to him.
"You are a non-conformist."
True, true. Netto smiled and looked up at his two friends. Neither looked very happy about the compliment.
"In-line skating is your niche."
Ah! Very true. Netto was grinning. How did it know? The brown haired boy decided to make a game out of it. Next will be "You are the most skilled netbattler in Japan!"
"Your favorite color is yellow."
Um, ok. Not true and I wasn't even close. It never occurred to the young NetSavior that a tape from 2006 would not have anything to do with netbattling. Now it will be "You are the greatest netbattler ever!" Right before the tape moved on, Netto glanced up in time to see Laika's attempt to suppress a smile. Maybe his favorite color is yellow.
"You like cool, sweet beverages."
Netto tried not to laugh out loud. That's right! He looked expectantly around the table and saw Enzan shrug off the beverages. Netto met Laika's eye and nodded. Of course I love them! Only someone like Enzan wouldn't.
"You are a talented color-coordinator."
The young netbattler could not stop himself from giggling, especially after Enzan started choking.
"You like to move it… move it…"
No way. Netto could not help himself; he had to move to the voice!
"Move it… move it…"
He danced in his seat, occasionally watching Laika, who was playing with his uniform, and Enzan, who looked like he was going to be sick. Come on, who doesn't like to dance?
"You are a one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater."
Netto barely felt himself slip out of his chair, or hear his tape player hit the floor, he was laughing so painfully hard. Someone above him yelled, then Netto heard Laika say, "Well, it's true."
The brown-haired boy curled up into a ball, hugging his stomach; he could not breath, he was laughing so hard.
Commissioner Kifune shuffled through the papers on his desk until he found the three reports on the motivational tapes. He had read them through multiple times but was still unable to make any sense of them. Song lyrics, references to fuzzy insides, and Enzan's claim that the tape had been inappropriately provocative were much too confusing to interpret.
It was time to find out what this was all about. Kifune carefully unlocked one of the desk drawers and removed a fourth shoebox. After getting through the duct tape and newspaper, he sat back in his overstuffed chair and hit "play".
A throaty, computerized female voice reached his ears.
"Casanova has nothing on you."
Kifune could feel his self-esteem rising already.
Author's Notes: This was an idea that my sisters and I dreamed up, so thanks and credit goes to them and to Forte's Girl (my beta reader)!
"I like to move it, move it." Belongs to Sacha Baron Cohen.
"You are the sunshine of my life." Belongs to Stevie Wonder.
"You are a one-eyed, one-horned flying purple people eater." Belongs to Sheb Wooley.
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day…" Belongs to William Shakespeare.