Author's Note: This is my very first ReBoot fanfic. I don't know why I haven't written one before now. I've been a fan of ReBoot ever since it first came out in the '90's, but for some reason I've never written any fanfics. Soooo… I thought it was high time I did.
(This story takes place somewhere around the first and second seasons, before Enzo meets AndrAIa.)
Disclaimer: I am only a fan and do not own anything of ReBoot!! All characters, names and anything else pertaining to ReBoot are owned and copyrighted by their rightful owners—Mainframe Entertainment. The only thing I own is the fanfic itself and any fan-made characters that were created by me exclusively for the story. This fanfic and any of my other fanfics may not be copied, altered, edited or posted elsewhere without my permission. For those of you who may speak another language please feel free to translate my story into your native language for better understanding and your personal enjoyment ONLY, or to show to a friend that may not speak English.
Rated G – All age enjoyment (may contain some mild violence in future chapters)
The game was surprisingly tied. If they didn't strike a goal and win in the next few minutes, nullification was around the corner for all of them, and this whole sector would be destroyed. It was a scary thought as Dot Matrix stood right behind Bob and waited for the ball to come to them. If they did make it out of this game alive, she promised herself that she wouldn't tell Bob how extremely hot he looked in soccer shorts. Dot shook her head and tried to concentrate on the game again, blushing at her own daydreaming. It was a good thing that the User had no idea of what he was doing; otherwise they probably would have lost the game already. The User was in the form of a twenty-ish, blonde haired, somewhat muscular man that had a stupid grin on his face. Instead of focusing on the game he was playing, he ran around the field while kicking the ball into the corners and other weird places. After struggling for what seemed like hours, he finally would kick the ball into the other team's direction. At this moment, he was just standing there in the middle of the field while his teammates restlessly moved around him.
"Can you believe this guy?" Bob said, turning to Dot. "Why does he even bother with these games if he doesn't know how to play them?"
Dot just shrugged her shoulders and smiled while focusing her attention back on the User's team. Over the loud speaker, she could clearly hear Mike the TV's voice as he rambled off the game's scores and the occasional commercial. So much for tense moments—this game was about as tense as a lazy, boring summer day.
Finally, the User started to move. Bob and Dot and the Binomes around them moved to their positions. The User kicked the ball and it went sailing across the field. Every muscle in Bob's body tensed as he ran forward. It was like he was moving in slow motion, everything happened so fast. He kicked the black and white checked ball with enough force to send it sailing back into the User's direction. The ball went past the User, went past the other teammates, and landed inside the goal. Dot wondered for a moment if it was actually going to stop at that. There was a cheer from the nearby crowd, and Mike the TV went wild, his loud voice even louder through the speakers around the stadium. They had won the game.
"Game over," came the automatic computer voice as the purple game cube retreated back into the opening in the sky. Bob, Dot, Mike the TV, and a handful of random Binomes were left standing in front of the Eight-Ball Apartments building where Bob lived.
"That was a close one," said Bob, looking up into the sky as the last of the purplish color faded with the game. "Too close."
"You're telling me," Dot said, with a slight laugh. "I hope he never plays that game again."
"Bravo! Bravo! Good show, I say."
The strange and startling voice and slow applause made everyone spin around to face the direction it had come from. Bob was the first to act. He quickly stepped forward, shoving Dot and Mike protectively behind him. Not more than a few feet away stood a man dressed in a black leather trench coat and expensive looking clothes that appeared too outdated for Mainframe. His boney fingers held a monocle up to his right eye and he held a weird looking cane in his left hand. He was very tall and slim in figure, almost to the point of looking a tad lanky. His hair was long, stringy, and neon green in color, while his skin was a very, very dark midnight blue. His eyes were yellow and red. No one said anything as the stranger slowly stepped forward. Dot could tell that Bob was tense and ready to fight. He held his left arm ready incase the situation called for Glitch, the Guardian keytool that lay motionless on his arm. Could his Guardian instincts sense something about this strange being that wasn't visible?
"Ah, you are a Guardian. And, if I'm not mistaken, you're Guardian 452, right?"
"Yeah," Bob slowly got out.
"I am honored to meet you," The stranger extended the hand he had been holding his monocle with toward Bob in a friendly gesture. Bob's face and eyebrows contorted into a puzzled and suspicious look before he purposely crossed both of his arms over his chest.
"Do I know you?" Bob asked.
The stranger cleared his throat, wiggled his fingers, and replaced his outstretched hand back on his monocle, a little offended by Bob's actions. "No, not exactly," He stopped to clear his throat again. "You see, I'm somewhat of a stranger here amongst your fine looking system. I've only just arrived here from that game that just left."
"You rode in here on a game?" Bob sounded almost panicked.
"Oh, yes. It's the only way to travel sometimes."
"So… You're telling me that you're a game sprite? How is that even possible?"
"No, no! Not a game sprite. I'm just a regular, ordinary sprite like yourselves. I got trapped in that game some years ago. So I just decided to ride it out until I found a system I liked."
"That's still impossible. No sprite can withstand riding in a game like that. If the User wins, every sprite that doesn't belong in a game will become nullified."
"Oh, I'm aware of the dangers. But somehow I've survived. Strange, isn't it?"
The cool and slow way the stranger had let those last words roll off his tongue sent chills down Dot's back. And, surprisingly, Mike was even quiet. She glanced down at the little TV beside her and saw that his attention was focused entirely on the stranger.
The man fingered the cane he held in his hands, the rings on his fingers tapping against the odd crystal-like orb on the top. "I can see that my arrival has disturbed you," he finally said after the few minutes of silence. "I'm sorry about that. I can not help the way I entered your system. I had to get out of there somehow, and coming out of the game was the only way I could stop my traveling."
Bob eased a little, turning his gaze to Dot before turning back to the stranger. "We didn't mean to be rude. It's just that we've never encountered a sprite in this way before. No one, other than ourselves, has ever come out of a game."
"It's quite alright. And it's perfectly understandable. No need for apologies. If anyone needs to apologize, it's me. I just assumed that you knew about sprites coming out of games. I had no idea that it's never happened here before."
"What system do you originally come from?" Bob asked. The stranger opened his mouth to answer, but stopped. He looked as though he was trying to think of what it was he was going to say next. A thoughtful expression crossed his face before he placed his monocle back onto his eye to focus a nearby building.
"You know," he began, letting his monocle fall to his chest and dangle by its tiny gold chain. He placed a finger along side his nose as he thought. "I don't rightly know. It's been so long, and I've traveled to so many places since then that I've just plain forgotten."
Bob nodded slowly, not quite believing the man's story. He then stretched out his hand. "My name's Bob. This is Dot," he gestured towards his friend, "and this is Mike."
"Pleased to make your acquaintance," the man gleefully accepted the handshake and placed his hand into Bob's while smiling and nodding in Dot's direction. "My name is Reginald, Reginald Spitbite. However, you can just call me Spitbite if you wish."
"Nice to meet you." said Dot, shaking Spitbite's hand next.
Bob was about to say something, but he was interrupted by Dot's little hyper brother, Enzo, who suddenly came out of nowhere. Frisket, the big gold and red dog that had adopted Enzo and Dot as his family, followed along beside him.
"Dot, Bob!" Enzo shouted as he pulled to a halt beside his sister and jumped down from his zipboard. "Why didn't you tell me that you entered a game? Why did you leave me there with Cecil? Do you know what it's like to have Cecil as a babysitter? I can't believe I missed out on the game. What type of game was it this time?" Shockingly, his mouth could actually run faster than Mike's.
"Enzo," Dot cut her brother off, "I see no need for this conversation. We've had it a million times already. I didn't tell you because—"
"You don't like for me to enter games. I know, I know. They're too dangerous." Enzo whined. "But, Dot,"
"Enzo," Dot frowned and shook her head, "incase you haven't noticed, we have a guest here."
"Oh," Enzo turned to Spitbite. "Nice to meet you. I'm Enzo."
"Hello. I'm Spitbite, Reginald Spitbite. My, what a striking young chap you are. Is he any relation to you?" Spitbite smiled in Dot's direction.
"He's my little brother," she answered with a slight smile.
"I thought so," he grinned. "The family resemblance is very noticeable. I have—had—a brother too—unfortunately, he quit without saving many years ago."
"Thank you," Spitbite shifted his cane in his hands and pointed at his heart with his free hand. "I still have the memories here."
"If you don't mind me asking, what happened to your brother?" Bob asked.
"Well, now, that is a very interesting question. I was a very young sprite at the time—much too young to really understand what had happened. My parents explained it to me when I was old enough to understand. He went into a game, hoping to win it, and that was the last we ever saw of him. It was the last we saw of that sector too. They told me that he had no idea of what he was doing and got himself nullified. It was then that I learned of the dangers of the games and the User inside them."
"That's why Dot won't let me go into them." Enzo said with a saddened face.
"You should respect your sister's wishes, lad. She's only looking out for you because she cares for and loves you. Games are dangerous and aren't toys." Spitbite peered down at Enzo and smiled warmly before turning his attention to the zipboard that lingered in the air. "My, what a strange looking device. May I?"
"Sure," Enzo led Spitbite away from Dot and Bob and over to his zipboard. Bob silently studied the stranger as Enzo explained the zipboard and demonstrated it. Spitbite was utterly fascinated by the method of transportation that was nothing but common among Mainframers. Bob's attention was suddenly drawn to Frisket, who stood off to the side and snarled and growled under his breath when Spitbite got too close to him. The huge dog stepped away and flattened his ears against his head, until a command from Enzo hushed him.
"Dot," Bob whispered, "Would you and Enzo like to take our new guest to the diner? I need to go see Phong."
"Sure," Dot replied. "What's up?"
"I'm not quite sure," Bob gazed in Spitbite's direction. "I just have a funny feeling about this."
"Spitbite," Bob shook his head, "and the stories he's told us. Everything about this guy doesn't process, if you ask me. For one thing, it doesn't make sense. If he's a sprite like he says he is then he shouldn't even be here. He should have been nullified after the game left wherever it is he came from."
"Maybe there are things we still don't know about games."
"It's possible," Bob shrugged, "but I'm going to check with Phong just to be safe."
Spitbite approached Bob and Dot again. "Did I hear something about a diner?" His lips curled into a smile and he shifted his cane to his other hand.
"Uh—yeah," Dot glanced at Bob, startled. "Enzo and I are going to take you to the diner I own. That is, if you want to come."
"I'd be delighted to come," said Spitbite. "In fact, I'd be delighted to have a tour of this magnificent system of yours."
Dot's eyebrows lifted.
Bob walked into the Principle Office only to be greeted by Phong, who hurried up to him in a great hurry. The old sprite had a look of concern on his face.
"Bob," Phong came to a jolting halt and adjusted his small spectacles, "I'm so glad you are here."
"What's wrong, Phong?"
"Right before the game left, there was a sudden burst of energy like I've never seen."
"What kind of energy?"
"I-I don't know. Come, have a look at these readings."
Bob followed Phong through a doorway leading into a room having readouts, dials, buttons, and vidwindow screens. Some of the vidwindows silently replayed the last game that had dropped.
"Right here," Phong pointed a thin finger toward a few digital readouts. "As you can see, it's not game energy and it's not Tear energy." Bob studied the readings a few minutes while Phong continued. "I can not pinpoint the exact location of this energy, but from the way these readings show, it's somewhere in Mainframe. There is something trying to block it, because these readings are not accurate. They are having a hard time locking onto the energy source."
"Phong, I think I know the reason for this. A sprite followed us out of the game."
Phong's small eyes blinked a few times. "A sprite followed you out of the game? But how,"
"I dunno, but there's more behind this character than meets the eye. That's why I'm here. He says that he got stuck in it years ago and has been riding it out ever since until he found a system to his liking. But if you ask me, there's something not right about him. I can feel it."
"Perhaps he's not telling the whole truth?"
"I have a feeling, yes. Or maybe everything he's telling isn't the truth at all. I'm not going to point fingers until I'm sure, though."
Phong nodded in approval. "Does this new sprite have a name?"
"He says his name's Reginald Spitbite."
"Hmmm… That name does not sound familiar to me," Phong turned around and started typing something on one of the nearby consoles. "There is no one by that name listed in the databanks. I assumed as much. Were there any distinguishing characteristics about him?"
Bob thought a minute. "There was something. He carried this weird looking old cane. I think it was more for decoration than something to help him get around—a fashion accessory, so to speak."
"A cane, huh? Can you describe it?"
"It was dark—maybe dark brown, almost black—and had a lot of carved work. The bottom part was straight for the most part, but it started curving and twisting as it got closer to the top, like a tree branch. And it had a crystal ball of sorts on the very top."
"Let us hope that it is just a fashion accessory," Phong adjusted his spectacles. "If I were you, I would keep an eye on this mysterious sprite, at least until we learn more about him and where he came from. You might be right in having a strange feeling about him. One can not be too careful. Where is he now?"
"Dot and Enzo took him to the diner. I'm supposed to meet them there after I finish here."
"Then you must go," Phong started toward the door. "Do not leave Dot and Enzo alone with him until you find out more about him. If he does prove to be a threat, Dot and Enzo could be in real danger."
Bob started walking faster after hearing Phong's words. "Thanks for the advice. I'll be sure and keep my eyes on him at all times. And I'll report to you if I find out anything new."
"Please do. And remember, do not turn your back on him, and do not anger him until we know for sure that he's just a sprite. I am with you, Bob. I have doubts about his story as well. True, there are still things we do not know about the games, but it's hard for me to believe that a sprite can withstand a game like he claims. And this mysterious energy is disturbing me. Somehow I have this funny feeling that they are both connected somehow."