As with my other ReBoot fics, this story was written a long time ago - I think it might have even been before S3 came out. So.. um, yeah. This can pretty much be ignored, or at least excused for its suckyness because of that.

"Regrets"

by Clearsky

There was no hope... it would all come crashing down on them; it would be his fault, and there was nothing he could do to stop it from happening. Turbo sat in his chair in the Council Chamber, waiting and watching the other eight Primes enter the room.

Nine Primes, one to watch over each SuperComputer and their surrounding array of systems; and out of them all, he, Prime Guardian Turbo, was the head of the Guardian Collective. Nine Sprites to determine the fate of the entire known Net... this wasn't good.

Turbo looked up as the last Prime seated herself, then nodded and tapped the keypad in front of him. Damn, but he didn't want to do this... They didn't deserve to have-

****DO IT****

Turbo would have screamed if he could have, but the pain was all in his head, and it never reached the nerves for his body. His finger hesitated slightly before tapping the key to control the lights, but that was all the outward reaction he displayed. Inside he was writhing in pain, his very code being shredded.

****TELL THEM****

Turbo called up the image of Mouse onto a screen in the suddenly darkened room, and began his speech.

"Now, as some of you may know, I called in a Hacker for some freelance work. Her name is Mouse, and now that she's in position, I'd like to tell you what it is I've assigned her to do." Turbo paused a moment, hearing some murmers around the horseshoe shaped table. "What is it, Vermal?"

"Well, I was wondering..." Vermal was at the far end of the right hand table, a white-skinned sprite with bright blue hair and green eyes. "I was wondering why you needed to call in a mercenary for anything you needed done. Wouldn't a Guardian have done better?" The other Guardians nodded, murmuring their agreement and turned to look at him. Turbo struggled not to take a deep breath and continued his pre-written speech.

"Mouse was hired because of a report of a Web creature arriving in a system by the name of Mainframe, just inside the edge of the Net. Mind you, this report wasn't from the best of sources, which is why I didn't send a Guardian. There are plenty of places more in need of one. Of course, I gave the mercenary a communicator so she can report in, when and if she does encounter the Web spore."

Turbo clicked another button on the touchpad, and the image blanked. The lights didn't raise, however, and the Primes watched Turbo's face carefully, or at least as well as they could in the dim light. "What I called you all in here to see was her first report. I thought it was important enough to assemble the full Council for." Turbo pressed another button and a replay of Mouse's report started to play back.

"Turbo, this is Mouse, I'm inside the system and their Principle Office. A lot has happened already, I had to grab Bob here out from in front of a Class 5 Virus; he'd already powered down the system and gotten most of the people out of the way and it was going after him. Anyway, we managed to get rid of the class 5, but it seems there was a web creature here. It was what caused the two viruses to merge in the first place, but it's still here. I'll keep an eye out for it, it hasn't left the system yet, all I have to do is track it down. Got that Turbo? Good. I'll expect the other half of my payment when I get back, and make sure you add in those bonuses. Mouse out."

The Primes were silent for a few moments and Turbo felt a glow of pride in them. No panicking, no blaming anyone else, just calm cool thinking-

****LET ME SEE****

Turbo felt his inner self being pulled backwards and saw something move in front of his eyes, like an extra eyelid, making the scene blurry. He had a sick feeling as he heard an evil chuckle inside his head and knew that Daemon was there, watching through his eyes, enjoying his struggles.

****IT IS FUTILE* *I WILL WIN* *YOU CANNOT HOLD OUT FOREVER****

'I don't need to hold out forever, just long enough to warn them,' Turbo watched as Daemon retreated behind his eyes again. For now she was content to watch him as he acted out her plans for infection of the Collective.

"Now, it's almost time for Mouse to check in again, which is why I called the meeting now, when she gives the other reports I want you all to be here; we may need to act fast." The other Primes nodded as Turbo screamed silent curses inside his head. The panel in front of him beeped and he calmly activated the comm link to the Hacker.

"Turbo, this is Mouse... there is a web creature here..."

***

Turbo sat at the head of the desk and watched the ID codes load into his panel. All nine Prime codes were now loaded, and Daemon took full advantage of that, using them to tap into the protocols of the eight other Primes. She didn't infect them all at once, but gradually, chipping away at their defenses, taking more and more of their codes into herself. Turbo asked to be alone as he waited for the countdown of the bomb that would destroy Mainframe. He felt Daemon's influence within him fade as she turned her attention away from him, and Turbo sighed in relief. He needed to do something.. surely he could do something to help Bob and Mouse...

He tested the boundries of his infection, reaching out to the countdown timer. He felt no resistance; Daemon must be busy... Turbo tapped the timer panel, flipping it over and doubling the time to detonation.

"That's the best I can do. I'm sorry Bob, and I'm so sorry Mouse..." He rubbed his head with his hand, feeling Daemon's influence returning. Daemon didn't seem to notice what he'd done, and Turbo felt cheered by the fact that the super-virus didn't know everything. Maybe there was hope after all...

***

Turbo couldn't believe it... first the Council, now the SuperComputer's Port Guardians... slowly but surely, they were all being infected. Soon, there would be no one left. If only he could tell someone...

****AND WHO WOULD YOU TELL? NO ONE ESCAPES ME****

The sound of her laugh echoed throughout his mind, and no matter what he tried, he couldn't stop hearing it...

END