Notes: A response to the "body language" prompt over on Al's. Bob's POV. Set during S2, after "Infected" and "When Games Collide", and before "Bad Bob".

Sure, I've seen my share of viruses - first as simulations at the Academy, then in the code when I started pulling active duty shifts in the Supercomputer. I studied the sims in detail, but they didn't talk much, and the real ones were lucky if they had time to get ten words in before they were locked down and shipped off for deletion, or just outright erased.

Technically I'd say I'm as savvy about your kind as any fourth-level Guardian out there. I know exactly what you are: a Class Three controller, capable of energy manipulation and artifact corruption, able to infect any non-viral program without Level Six coding by cracking their PIDs or, if you want to get up close and personal, with the venom in your bite. Viruses of your Class set up technologically advanced military dictatorships that rely heavily on hardware to get the job done; they have a natural aptitude for anything mechanical and high intelligence to match, but they can also run and hunt and fight like animals when they have to, and they can throw armored personnel carriers around like toys. There are four suggested strategies for taking one down in personal combat, but the first rule with Class Threes is: don't get into personal combat at all. Hit them from a distance with heavy ordnance and mop up whatever's left when the smoke clears.

All that was drilled into me by my instructors. Deleting you should have been the first thing I did when I hit Mainframe. I could have done it, and I should have done it, because that's a Guardian's duty: to mend and defend the System. But Dot told me that she suspected you had destruct codes built into Ghetty Prime that would activate if you ended file, and that alone was reason enough to hold off on getting rid of you.

Are there any destruct codes? I wouldn't put it past you, especially after what just happened in the Core Control Chamber. The kind of guy who thinks that his own death isn't so bad if he can take his enemies with him wouldn't hesitate to hold a sector hostage... what am I saying? You were ready to wipe out an entire city. That kind of evil is in a class all by itself.

In the last few minutes I've gotten to know you, Megabyte, something I never had a chance to do with any other virus. You're everything a Class Three is supposed to be - lying, scheming, devious, treacherous, brilliant, ruthless, and cunning. "Corrupt and conquer" is your motto and you'll stop at nothing to get what you want. Some seconds it takes everything I've got to keep one step ahead of you. I know now that if you could you wouldn't just take over every program in Mainframe: you'd delete them all if it served your purposes better. All stuff my training warned me about, and all stuff I can deal with.


You also played one helluva guitar at Enzo's birthday show, then gave it to him afterwards. You sent him away, or tried to, rather than forcing him to stay and watch Frisket get taken apart - a strange kind of mercy, but mercy nonetheless. And when I saved your life in a merged Game you remembered it and spared Dot's life in return. Those aren't things the Academy prepared me for, any more than they prepared me for the way you stand (as if you already owned the System) or the proud angle of your head (that crest like fire) or the way you speak (sending a hot chill down my spine when I least expect it). Just when I think I know what you are, you do something that reminds me that I don't know who you are.

And some treacherous seconds, that makes me wonder if those hypothetical destruct codes are really such a bad thing after all.