"You ready Tomahawkman?"
"Bet your chain of lucky feathers that I am."
"Okay… ready… go!"
"Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!" Tomahawkman screamed a battle cry and rushed around the corner, sliding to a halt. "Oh. There's no one here."
"You sure?" Dingo tilted his PET to attempt to get a better angle on the scene, but it did as much good as turning the wired controller while playing one of those ancient racing video games did. "I could've sworn that somebody weird was hanging around here…"
"Yeah, me too," Tomahawkman said, looking around the familiar SciLab Net. "And from what Megaman told us, he said that he caught somebody spying here too."
Dingo folded his arms and scowled at the small device. He was sitting in bed, having been woken up by an urgent email from Lan and Megaman. "Yeah, and I highly doubt that both Megaman and Lan are lying to us…"
"Hey, send me one of those flying chips, will you?"
"Sure," Dingo said, loading the "Eagle Wing" chip into the PET. "Didja find something?"
"Maybe," Tomahawkman said, jumping into the air as the chip data reached him. He activated it, and wings sprouted out from his shoulders. "They said they used a new paint chip, right?"
"I found the splatters," Tomahawkman said, hovering at the firewall border of the lab's net. "And… hey, what do you think of this?" He pointed at a spot, and Dingo zoomed in, a large smile widening across his face.
"Looks like our spy has green feet right now." He jumped out of bed and started pulling his clothes on. "Wanna investigate further?"
"How fast can you get here?" His Navi looked back at him, with a grin to match his own.
Dingo pulled up the train schedule in a corner of the PET screen. "Since there's a train arriving soon… twenty minutes. Here, have a few more chips and I'll be right there."
"Sounds good," Tomahawkman said, glancing at each chip as the data finally reached him. "Meet me on the first floor of the Tower. I should know where this guy went to by then."
"So, what've you learned about this guy?"
Dingo stood at a terminal in the empty main lobby of SciLab's Silver Tower, his face shining with sweat and excitement. Tomahawkman was grinning on the screen.
"Lots of fun stuff. I found green paint flecks all though the system, some pretty heavily guarded ones too. Lucky we're military and have all the keys eh?"
Dingo laughed. "So he's still in the system?"
"Naw, he'd have to be pretty stupid to think he could hide in here still," Tomahawkman snorted. "I found the spot where he logged out though. Three guesses as to where it leads, and the first two don't count."
"Our favorite place in the entire World Wide Web: the UnderNet."
"You got it!" The Navi grinned and opened a screen. "Pretty specific place too. Looks like Megaman was scaring this guy so bad that he went straight home without erasing his path too well after him."
"You know, for a famous Navi, Megaman isn't that scary."
"I know, which makes me wonder if this is a trap."
"Stake out," the Navi agreed.
Dingo grinned. "Just tell me where to go to get the best connection."
Chaud scowled at the email open on his screen:
"Plugging a leak. Be back in a few days. D&T"
"So someone has been spying on our work. Nocturne was right." He turned his gaze to Dr. Hikari, who returned a sheepish look. Out of the corner of his eye, Chaud saw April swat at her screen. Probably something Nocturne said.
"Doctor, perhaps we should wait until Dingo gets back with more information before continuing on with this project," Naeva said, worry evident in the lines creasing her forehead.
"No," Hidaeki said, half a second before Chaud could get the word out of his own mouth. "Now is the best time to push forward, while Dingo and Tomahawkman are keeping this spy busy. If we get ahead of them—"
"And what if there's more than one?" April pointed out, switching her gaze from Hidaeki to Chaud. "In the wrong hands, this program could be very dangerous. The last thing we need is another potential world-ending calamity."
Lan made a sheepish-sounding noise next to Chaud.
When Lan's involved, nearly anything can turn into the end of the world… the young heir thought.
"However, there is the chance that Dingo and Tomahawkman are on the tail of the only one," Chaud said, sitting back and folding his arms. "Nocturne said he saw only one Navi running that meeting right?"
"Well, yes," April said, "but that doesn't mean there's only one spying on us."
"But the possibility is very great. Navi's who hold power over large groups tend to show themselves to those groups so the group will recognize and respect—or fear—them. It sounds like there's one Navi behind this operation."
"One that we know about," April insisted. "There could be other Navi's and even humans working with this group."
Dr. Hikari cleared his throat. "While there is the risk that someone is spying on us, I've taken the liberty and had our Net—as well as the project—completely separated from SciLab's Net. The only way anybody is going to find out any information is by plugging in one of these terminals, or reconnecting the Nets; but if that happens, I'll know for sure."
April sat back and bowed her head, deferring to the senior scientist, but the scowl Chaud saw on her face clearly showed her dislike.
Silently, he reached over and grabbed her left hand, giving it a squeeze and feeling the ring he had placed there only a few days ago press against his palm. April shot him a side-long glance. "Don't worry," he mouthed, and she sighed.
"At any rate," Dr. Hikari continued, "even if someone stole the Destiny Stream program now—"
"The what?" Lan interrupted.
"Ah, Destiny Stream. That's what I've decided to name this program." He grinned and his son rolled his eyes. "If someone steals it, the program is useless without the rest of the necessary equipment—which we have here in the lab—and requires several passwords before starting up. Right now, if any of those passwords are put in incorrectly, the program will be destroyed."
"And you've backed it up somewhere, right?" Jie asked.
"On disks, inaccessible to the Net."
Chaud nodded in approval. It appeared that Dr. Hikari really did have all the angles covered. He gave April's hand a reassuring squeeze.
"Are we all satisfied? Yes? Good. Now, Lan, Megaman and I went over some parts of it last night, and here's what I think may have gone wrong…"
On Chaud's screen, Protoman smiled and held out an email for Chaud to read.
"You sure nothing bad will happen?"
He raised his eyebrows at Protoman, who tilted his head to Chaud's right. Nocturne waved from a corner of Chaud's screen, and the young man glanced over at April. She was staring straight ahead as though she was paying attention to Dr. Hikari.
Chaud typed his response.
As sure as I ever am.
He heard a soft snort from April when she opened the email. Her response was quicker than his—she must be a lot better at typing one-handed.
"Which is to say, not very."
I have full confidence in Dr. Hikari and Dingo and Tomahawkman. They'll find this spy—if they're on stakeout already, they probably know who the Navi is. And Dr. Hikari has taken good, strong measures. The program is safe.
"What if the spy is one of us?"
It was Chaud's turn to snort.
That's very unlikely.
Yes. Even if the spy is someone in this room, Lan and I have the authority to arrest them, and stop the scheme right then and there.
"And you'll do that?"
You know I will.
"Promise," she whispered softly, looking over at him now.
He locked gazes with her. "I promise." He glanced up. "And I think Dr. Hikari is talking to you."
Startled, she looked up. "You were?"
The older scientist grinned. "Yes, I was. I was asking you about this part of your code here."
They started talking about bits of code that looked like they still needed some work. Chaud started to pull his hand out of April's, but she gripped it tighter and didn't let go.
Chaud gave her a smile, then leaned forward, resting his chin in his hand. "Women," he mouthed at Protoman, grinning and rolling his eyes.
Well, only one person entered my "contest" that I started all the way back in CHAPTER FOUR, so naturally, he won! The program is named "Destiny Stream" as suggested by randomdude 9754.
By writing this, I've realized that I messed up the continuity between this and the oneshots, but I honestly don't care. Those are so badly written that I'm considering deleting them… . they're embarrassing to go back and read, honestly.
Anywos, I have a new goal now that I've graduated: finish all my fics before baby comes in June (yes, I am pregnant, thank you for noticing. XD) now that I've gotten back into this story and have kinda sorta remembered where I wanted to go with it, and now that I'm out of school and a jobless bum (my poor husband…), I have lots of time to write, so be expecting semi-regular updates from me! ^^
Next time: Requiem. Because I love her.
Leave a review please! ^^