Idea from Subieko's 'Shade of 1337', but hopefully taken in a different direction. Please don't kill the author, she couldn't resist. *shameface*


To Gregor, who had been absorbed in the fight to save his sisters, it seemed as if the Bane had materialized out of nowhere, as if he had sprung out of the ground to exact his revenge. Ares veered sharply to the side just as one of the powerful claws scraped down the side of the cavern unleashing a magnified sound like nails on a chalkboard.

"1 \/\/i1l p\/\/\ y0u \008!" he roared. Gregor blinked, bemused. It didn't sound like any kind of language he had ever heard of. Ares was equally astounded. So much, in fact, that he faltered slightly. The Bane slashed at them, the bat barely escaping.

"Y0u (4/\//\/07 3$(493 /\/\3! 1 4/\/\ 73h r0x0rx!" the Bane bellowed. Gregor still had no idea what he meant, but Ares had collected himself and was speeding along.

Ares shot down the tunnel and the Bane was right behind them, bouncing off the walls, roaring.

As the Bane took one last leap onto the plateau, Ares took to his wings. The chase had been a good idea. The Bane was drained, gasping for air, thick foam hanging from his mouth. Several wounds had reopened on his face. The spider silk bandage had ripped off somewhere and blood ran from the stump of his tail

"73h 84/\/3 p\/\//\/$ 4ll! 1 4/\/\ k1/\/6 0f 411 p\/\//\/463!"

"Uh…" Gregor stuttered, despite the situation. He was caught off guard by the inane absurdity of what the Bane was saying. It sounded like something Gregor had seen before. He just couldn't remember then, and in the heat of the battle there was no way for him to think about it in-depth.

Twirltongue leaped off his back onto a pile of boulders. A nice safe place to observe the match. Gregor could see that she was unmarred, not a wound on her anywhere. Her silver coat was flawless and unruffled.

Suddenly, she looked disapprovingly at the Bane.

"Pearlpelt, love, have you been spending time on that computer again?" she asked, her tone scolding.

Computer? Gregor thought, astonished. What was a computer doing in the Underland? And how did the Bane get it? More importantly, how did he even use it? One would think that an oversized rat wouldn't be able to type.

The Bane was glaring at Twirltongue mightily. If looks could kill, Twirltongue would have been dead twice over.

"$hu7 up, /\/008. 73h b4/\/3 is 73h r0x0rx, 4/\/) y00 4r3 a /\/00b," he said. Gregor could barely make it out. What was a 'noob' anyway?

Twirltongue shook her head and clicked her tongue. "Honestly, love, you need to get out more. Places to go and people to kill. What sort of king spends his time in a chat room?"

Chat room? Gregor thought. Of course! He remembered where he had seen the odd language. Larry was having a brief internet addiction when his mom upgraded from dialup and finally threw out the Windows 95 their family had been using. Gregor shuddered at the memory of the Windows 95. Anything that was flat and blue scared him now. Larry had gone the whole hog—Myspace, forums, and chat rooms. During that time, Larry had begun to talk strangely, referring to people as 'noobs', claiming that he was 'the uber pwnful master' and that such. The Bane, apparently, had picked up the same virus.

That, however, didn't help Gregor's utter lack of understanding of how a connection could be gotten miles below the surface of New York.

He blinked back into the present, where a horrific scene was unfolding. The Bane threw his head back in an unearthly howl.

"/\/0 /\/00b (4/\/ 7311 73h b4/\/3 \/\/h47 2 d0!" he roared, and with one mighty swing, whipped her head off.

"The Bane has gotten much more insane since the last time we have seen him," Ares mused aloud in his usual purr. Gregor could only nod absentmindedly.

"Hey Pearly!" he shouted before he could stop himself. The Bane's head jerked up attentively.

"How do you get a connection down here?"

The Bane stared, dumbfounded. "Uh…I think I use a booster. Not sure, Ripred used to handle all my computer needs," he said, losing the elite accent as soon as the subject turned to computers.

Gregor nodded. "Yeah, but you should really take some classes on the subject. It's not as hard as you might think."

He appeared thoughtful. "Perhaps. Shall we discuss this at a local Starbucks?"

"Yes, let's," Gregor replied amiably, quietly amazed at his incredible luck. He could almost feel Ares's look of astonishment.

"Overlander," the bat hissed. "What are you speaking of? What is this Star Bucks?"

"Relax," Gregor whispered back. "I have a plan." Ares wasn't convinced, obviously, but reluctantly started to descend to the ground.

Just before Ares touched down, while the Bane was preoccupied with thoughts of UNIX or Mac, Gregor hefted Sandwich's sword and drove the blade straight into the Bane's hard drive…er, I mean heart.

"NOOOOOOOO!" The Bane shrieked. "I can't die! The Windows Millennium is in that place!"

But Gregor had no pity for the great white rat.

"Bad command or file name," the Bane droned in a monotone before finally collapsing and dying. Gregor shrugged and mounted Ares again. The bat took off, stunned and speechless. When they reached the main battle, Gregor was immediately peppered with questions from passing Underlanders about how he had killed the Bane. Gregor just shrugged in answer and said,

"It was a slow dialup connection and a crappy Mac that killed the beast."

And so the world was saved, peace restored, Gregor spared some severe trauma, and all because the Bane turned out to be a huge geek.