Summary:What was going through Dot's mind when she sent Enzo into that game?
Disclaimer:I don't own ReBoot. I wish I did, but it really belongs to Mainframe Ent. And they're the only ones who should be making any profit from this. Don't own it. Not making money from it. Don't sue. Got it?
Feedback:Yes, please! The address is above, and you've obviously got an internet connection. I trust you know what to do from there.
"Warning, incoming game. Warning, incoming game."
We look up to see the sky turn that familiar shade of purple that I've become accustomed to. Bob rolls his eyes.
"Oh, great," he mutters.
"Great!" I say, then turn to Bob. "I don't want you to fight me on this one."
"What're you talking about?" he asks, puzzled.
I kneel in front of Enzo. "Matrix, I need you to do something."
He grins proudly and looks over my shoulder at Bob. I move so that he's looking back at me. "It's very important and only you can do this." I continue. "I want you to go into the game and stay there. I want you to change your icon to game sprite mode and stay in the game until you grow up. Until you're as big as Matrix."
I hear Bob's startled, "What? You cannot be serious!" in the background and a part of me agrees. Even I can't believe I'm actually suggesting this. I beat that thought down, ready to do whatever it takes to cajole Enzo into doing what I ask.
"Don't worry, Bob. I'll come back and save you all." Enzo folds his arms and gives a smug grin. "Like I did before."
Thank the Net for little boys with big dreams of being heroes.
"Enzo-" Bob begins.
"Matrix!" my little brother interrupts angrily.
"Enzo, please listen to me!" I half-listen to Bob passionately trying to talk Enzo out of it, knowing that if I pay attention to his words, he'll most likely talk me out of it too.
"Hack, Slash, plan four point zero four." I look over at Frisket. He's big, strong…so much stronger than me. "Frisket, go with them, boy." The dog merely barks in agreement, and I'm glad that someone isn't going to argue with me on this.
"Dot," Bob pleads, "you can't do this! Please, think what you're doing!"
I can't even look at him. "I have," I answer. What other choice do I have? I want to yell at him. I can't protect him if he stays here, not really. At least in the games, and with Hack, Slash, and Frisket, he's got a chance to survive.
But I don't say any of that. Instead, I kneel in front of him, trying not to notice that he's about to cry. A lump forms in my throat. "Come back. Save us. You can do it." I lean forward and kiss his forehead, fighting the urge to grab him in a hug and never let him go. "Okay, go. Go quickly." Please…before I have time to talk myself out of this.
"Dad," Enzo calls out, his voice wavering. "I-I'll be back soon." He bites at his lower lip. "I love you."
Dad waves to Enzo and Slash picks him up, carrying him away to the approaching cube. Hack gripes briefly about getting stuck with Frisket, but soon, the little group is under the game. Bob and I watch it fall and I feel like a monster.
I've just sent my baby brother to die in the games.
I turn away, walking back to the Principle Office and trying to ignore the queasy feeling in my gut. "I do not believe in the no-win scenario," I say, trying to sound tough and efficient. "I'm covering all my options."
"Oh, Enzo's an option now, is he?" Bob says sarcastically.
I stop short and turn to him. "And so are you." I put a hand on his arm. "I want you to form a portal to a safe system and get out of here!" I walk away, trying to escape from his inevitable protest.
"What?" he says, right on cue, and chases after me. "Please, tell me what's going on! Have I gone mad or is it just you?"
"Daemon needs you to fulfill her function," I argue, "So-"
"So, I go and hide in the Net!" he cuts me off, angrily.
"Exactly," I say.
"And what happens here, in Mainframe?" he retorts.
We die, I think, or we get infected, and either way, I'll never see you again. But I can't tell you that, because if I do, you'll never go.
"You finished, Dad?" I call out instead.
"Every address on the Net is targeted," he calls back.
"It's a trap!" Bob says, suddenly comprehending. "You're gonna trigger the gateway when she crosses it!"
"Single source, multiple targets," I say in satisfaction. "It'll blow her code to the far corners of the Net."
"But everyone will still be infected," he protests.
"Without Daemon's control, the Net may recover," I answer, inwardly wincing at how lame that reasoning sounds. But what choice do I have?
"This is thin, Dot," Bob says.
"This is all I've got," I reply, while mentally screaming that if he doesn't like it, why can't he come up with his own plan? I'm doing all I can and why can't someone else take over?
I know the answer already. I'm the command.com. I'm Dot Matrix, planner extrordinaire. No one else will do it, because no one else can do it, and I'm on my own.
We both look up as the firewall ripples and collapses. There's a hole in the sky. We're wide open.
I look down and talk into my headset. "Fleet commanders, this is it. Blow the Guardian armada out of the sky as it enters our airspace." Then I look back up as the ABCs aim at the hole and a small figure that floats down between them.
Daemon's here and I have to hope that my plan works. There's no turning back.
This is all I've got.