Hey look a serious Undernet topic

After several prompts confirming that the intended destination was, in fact, the Undernet, A blue beam of light appeared, and transformed into SplashMan. "Oof. This atmosphere..."

"You're not scared, are you?"

"Of course not! SplashLady did this, and so can I! But the Undernet feels different from any other area. How do I put it..."

"Well, it looks the same as last time. And if I had to describe it, it'd be, in a word...dead." It certainly looked dead compared to other Nets. If you excluded the criminal activity, it was basically unused. And the sky...in a lot of areas, it had a bright and cheery design, if not actually resembling the real world sky. But here, it was just static, like someone forgot to pay for upkeep.

"Dead...yeah, I think that's a good way to put it. And I can feel a certain pressure in the air. A low-level Navi could probably get overwhelmed just from it."

"Hey guys, I just want to make sure...you don't have to do this, you know? Honestly, I was going to give you the money anyway. I just wanted to help in your quest to get better at NetBattling, but I know you need some money to help with that, so..."

"Well, I'm all for giving me money, but we can do this. If I honestly didn't think we had a good shot at this, we wouldn't be doing it."

"I'm 100% with Sabrina. I know I can do this, so long as I've got Sabrina backing me up!"

"...All right, you two have your minds made up. I won't say anything else about it. Just, try not to get deleted out there, okay?"

"It's time, SplashMan. Let's show May just how good we've gotten!"

"I'll be back in the PET victorious before you know it!" The watery Navi started to slowly walk forward, keeping an eye out for anything. He was confident, but if there was ever a part of the Net where he needed to be cautious, it was here, where there were no limits to what he might encounter...

(Searching for Battle #1)
Jacking into the deepest depths of the network and bravely moving forward towards the deeper parts of the collective network of the Darknet Undernet, Splashman would soon find himself upon a coupling of panels, feet beginning to feel the heat of the furnace that he walked upon, his feet hot but not burning with the clang of each metallic panel he traveled across.

Further ahead, Splashman would find what looked to be a sandpit, a crystalline object just floating above it with a crimson red hue, a deep pulsating glow emanating from it...but before he could rush to his potential prize, he was beset by a trio of viruses...a deep dark grey looking oni head floating above the terrain just barely for movement, eyes as red as the data cashe that floated in front of the navi...and a pair of gelatinous blobs of grey goo beginning to hop up behind the floating virus...and even before the battle could properly begin, a wave of glitched energy flowed across the field, the viruses and Splashman unaffected by the energy...the panels the viruses floated and jumped upon though...glitches began to crawl up against them, the oni was probably safe...the other two...probably not as much...

-- Viruses --
Slimey OmegaSlimey Omega (Slimey)

Slimey viruses were produced to be sources of major traffic lag. While a Slimey virus is on the battlefield, all Navis and SPs suffer from a passive Slow-like effect that imposes a -10% Evasion AND Movement Speed penalty. This effect is not a status ailment, and cannot be cured. This effect does not stack with itself if more than one Slimey is on the field at once. As this does not count as a true Slow effect, up to two instances of Slow may stack on top of this effect for a total penalty of -30% Evasion/Movement Speed. This effect expires when all Slimey viruses on the field are deleted or flee. Slimey viruses are very slow to move and dodge, but every move they make that is not a dodge counts as an attack. Slimeys deal damage by touching an opponent, thus touching a Slimey directly results in damage to any non-Slimey the virus considers hostile.

Area: Undernet

HP: 360
Attack Damage/Effect: 120 Aqua + Slow
Attack Accuracy: A
Attack Description: Body slams its foes. Any foes hit are slowed the following turn. Must be within melee range to attack a foe.
Element: Aqua
Possible Rewards (Per Virus): MetaGel3, SlowGauge, Zenny
Special: While this enemy is on the field, dodge effectiveness is reduced by 1 Rank.
Special: May use AreaGrab once per turn to drop-attack an enemy from above.
A: 360 HP (to the left and behind ElecOgre SP, roughly Splash/Blast3 distance behind) (Glitched)
Slimey OmegaSlimey Omega (Slimey)

Slimey viruses were produced to be sources of major traffic lag. While a Slimey virus is on the battlefield, all Navis and SPs suffer from a passive Slow-like effect that imposes a -10% Evasion AND Movement Speed penalty. This effect is not a status ailment, and cannot be cured. This effect does not stack with itself if more than one Slimey is on the field at once. As this does not count as a true Slow effect, up to two instances of Slow may stack on top of this effect for a total penalty of -30% Evasion/Movement Speed. This effect expires when all Slimey viruses on the field are deleted or flee. Slimey viruses are very slow to move and dodge, but every move they make that is not a dodge counts as an attack. Slimeys deal damage by touching an opponent, thus touching a Slimey directly results in damage to any non-Slimey the virus considers hostile.

Area: Undernet

HP: 360
Attack Damage/Effect: 120 Aqua + Slow
Attack Accuracy: A
Attack Description: Body slams its foes. Any foes hit are slowed the following turn. Must be within melee range to attack a foe.
Element: Aqua
Possible Rewards (Per Virus): MetaGel3, SlowGauge, Zenny
Special: While this enemy is on the field, dodge effectiveness is reduced by 1 Rank.
Special: May use AreaGrab once per turn to drop-attack an enemy from above.
B: 360 HP (To the right and behind ElecOgre SP, roughly Splash/Blast3 distance behind) (Glitched)
ElecOgre SPElecOgre SP (ElecOgre)

ElecOgre viruses attack by charging electricity between their horns, and then shooting thunderbolts at everything in sight the following action. They cannot move or dodge while charging. ElecOgres move by floating through the air, and are fully flight capable. ElecOgre is considered a high tier virus type, and should be used sparingly.

Area: Undernet

HP: 450
Attack Damage/Effect: 180 Elec + To-All-Clause, 1 Action Charge
Attack Accuracy: B vs Ground, D vs Air
Attack Description: Arcs of lightning strike at all enemies. More effective against ground based enemies. This attack requires an action to charge.
Element: Elec
Possible Rewards (Per Virus): ElecReel3, Zenny
Special: Omnishoes. Can use Blinder on all enemies.
: 450 HP (Taking point for Slimey Omegas, moving towards RMD) (Glitched)

-- Navis --
Splashman.EXE: 540 HP (roughly in the middle of the furnace field) (Furnace)

-- Terrain --
60% Glitched (Roughly the northern half of the field, with some on the outside ring "enveloping" the Furnace)
5% Quicksand (Middle square of the field)
35% Furnace
  • Fire attacks: Splash to all adjacent panels for 20% Source Damage. Does not chain across multiple Furnace panels.
  • Heat Mirage: Non-Fire Elementals get -10% Accuracy, +10% Evasion against Non-Fire Elementals.
  • Aqua attacks: Vaporize into steam, increase accuracy penalty to -20% for Non-Fire Elemental and -10% for Fire Elemental for turn after hit.
  • Changes to Metal Terrain when hit with an Aqua attack of 100 damage or greater.
  • Echolocation nullifies the effects of the steam cloud and heat mirage for the user, and Seeking just ignores it.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Fire.
(Splashman's side)

-- Objects --
RMD: 15 HP (Safely spinning on Quicksand)

Battle mode: Extermination! Murder everything that isn't you, objects or allies to win! Die against the viruses to lose!

-- Undernet Battle 1 Ready? Start!! --
It didn't take too long before SplashMan's venture into the worst Net of all resulted in some fruit, in the form of three gray viruses. A lot of Navis would flee immediately, or cower in fear...but he wasn't most Navis. He casually looked them over, and perhaps just as importantly, note the red burst of color in the middle of it all. "Oh, wow! I've never seen a Mystery Data of that color!"

"Oh man, could you even imagine how awesome the stuff in a Mystery Data from the Undernet could be? We've gotta try to get that!"

"Wow, you guys are...really nonchalant about this."

"Of course! We've got nothing to be scared of!"

"Maybe not nothing..." SplashMan leaned over to get a better glimpse of the virus behind the MD, and recognized its unique appearance. "That EleOgre's gonna hurt if it gets an attack off. Maybe we should handle it first?"

"Sounds like a good idea to me. Don't worry, I'll get you out of the way of the Mystery Data, so just focus on building up that water power!"

It was faint, but if anyone happened to be right next to SplashMan, they'd hear a faint sound of running water. A lot of it, like a waterfall or something. "Uh-oh...this is gonna take longer than usual. That doesn't make sense, I'm at full power..."

"That's an effect of the adjustments I had to make. Your charge time is slower, but...heh heh!"

"Heh heh...? I hope that's a good sign..." There wasn't much else to do, as his cannons were now filled with pressurized water. "All ready!"

"Get ready! BattleChip, AreaGrab! Slot in!"

The aquatic Navi vanished from where he stood, and equally instantly arrived at a new spot. From where he previously stood, he was now in front of the right Slimey, though with a bit of distance between them. Not that he particularly cared, as he locked eyes on the more electrical of the foes. His cannons lowered, built up that extra bit of water pressure, and launched his trademark attack. ...Though, launch would be a poor word choice, as it nearly looked like he shot twin blue lasers out of his cannons. Not much would be able to withstand that level of force, even in a place like this. "H-Holy cow! What happened?!"

"That's the tradeoff for your slower charge time! Before, you hit like a truck. Now, you hit like a truck full of other trucks moving at light speed!"

"Wow...who knew I could pull of that kind of water power?" He was still shocked, but in the back of SplashMan's mind, he knew he couldn't spend much time thinking about it. He shifted his focus to the nearby Slimey, whose very presence was making him feel a little more sluggish than usual. "I'm guessing I can't just fire that Water Splash any time, can I?"

"I mean, if you charge up, you kinda could? I don't really wanna overstrain you, though, so we'll just focus on using chips to attack for now. Although, first..." Sabrina kinda liked the chip she grabbed in order to use. It wasn't an attack, but the Navi on it was kinda wide, and didn't have much in the way of a face aside from eyes. Kinda like her own Navi. "This'll cushion whatever you might get hit by for a while! BattleChip, StoneBody! Slot in!"

Starting from his feet, the water tank Navi began to take on a gray, grainy texture, until he looked like a life-size statue. Luckily, there were no bird viruses nearby. "Well, this feels...weird."

"Weird, maybe, but it'll make even the strongest attack feel like a light punch!"

"Neat! Although I feel really heavy right now. I can barely walk, much less run over and attack something!"

"That's the price you pay for 99% damage reduction, I guess. Besides, we can just use chips that you don't need to move those feet to use!" And that was something they had no shortage of. A couple, in particular, randomly appealed to the operator, who grabbed them, and stuck one into her PET in short order. "Let's go ahead and use the one I got here before! BattleChip, BigWave! Slot in!"

A pickaxe appeared in SplashMan's hand, which he quickly raised over his head. Good thing that even though he was basically a living rock right now, his arms felt mostly unaffected. He then crashed it down onto the ground, and sent a shock wave traveling forward. It wasn't the fastest, but it had quite the trail; a Slimey hop probably wouldn't be enough to jump over it if it tried. It also had abnormal power, a level a Mettaur could only dream of. But, using the attack, the Navi noticed something he hadn't before. "Hey, Sabrina? I didn't notice it earlier, but isn't the ground over here kinda...weird looking?"

"I guess, yeah. But can it really be worse than that Furnace area? ...Don't answer that, famous last words, I know..."

"It's too late to do anything about it now, anyway. All we can do now is press on!"

"Right! Okay, I hope having stone for arms helps keep your aim steady!" Click! Another chip entered the appropriate slot. "BattleChip, MachineGun2! Slot in!"

The pickaxe vanished, and the Navi's right arm was replaced with an odd, double barreled gun. It wasn't necessarily hard to aim and fire, but...as soon as he activated the firing mechanism, the recoil struck. Using his free hand, he tried to steady it as he kept firing shot after shot at the Slimey. But once the ninth shot was set loose, it stopped, as though it'd never fired to begin with, and SplashMan ended up pointing it right at his foot from downward force. Fortunately, there was no need for it to exist at that point, and he just let it fade back into his hand.

Now, it was time for Navi and operator alike to survey the situation, to see what was there, and what wasn't...

[Order of Turn:
1-Stream Charge on SplashMan (Buster Charge x 2)
2- AreaGrabEffect: Teleport + Accuracy UP
Accuracy: S
Description: Allows the user to teleport to any spot on the field, and raises the accuracy of the next attack by 1 Rank.
Duration: Once
Element: Null
Special: Accuracy UP: This effect raises the accuracy of the next attack by 10%, and is stackable with all other Accuracy buffs. In the case of AreaGrab, this replaces Teleport's RP-based accuracy bonus.
Trader Rank: D
to a bit in front of SlimeyΩB
3-Water Splash charge attack on EleOgreSP (600, Aqua, Break)
4- StoneBodyEffect: StoneBody
Accuracy: S
Description: Turns the user to Stone, which reduces Non-Break damage to 1 point per hit, but also prevents them from Dodging.
Duration: 2 turns
Element: Null
Trader Rank: B
on SplashMan
5- GigaWaveDamage: 160 + Line Attack + Ground Attack
Accuracy: C
Description: Sends a narrow, but long, shock wave rolling in front of an enemy. Slow, but difficult to jump over due to its length. Rare
Duration: Once
Element: Null
Trader Rank: A
on SlimeyΩB (+1 accuracy rank; Pathfinder)
6- MachineGun2Damage: (50 x 9 Shots) + Spray Fire
Accuracy: D
Description: Creates a machine gun that fires 9 shots at a single enemy. While inaccurate, its missed shots are capable of hitting others.
Duration: Once
Element: Null
Special: Spray Fire: If a shot from this attack misses its primary target, it has a chance to hit something near the enemy instead of completely missing. Good RP increases the chance of triggering this effect.
Trader Rank: C
on SlimeyΩB]
For a moment is seemed as though the unexpected visitor to the undernet might just stand there in shock at the sight of the powerful viruses arrayed before him, emitting only the faint sound of running water, the clever ruse was soon revealed. One of the omega Slimeys warped suddenly, appearing above Splashman and dropping down from above, but in split moment, the aqua navi teleported as well, leaving the virus to splat onto the ground ineffectively.

As he arrived on the far end of his teleport, however, the glitchy, damaged terrain tingled and crackled beneath him, with destroyed code filtering up into his form and starting to make havoc of its own; it felt, quite suddenly, like he was submerged, but not in cooling friendly water... if anything, it felt like he was under liquid magma, and it stung. The Slimey just next to him didn't seem to be suffering in the same way, and it thrashed, slamming him with its gooey body, and doing nothing whatsoever to cool the burning feeling... though the virus itself began to writhe and swell, trembling as it remained on the glitched terrain. It was hard to tell what was going on with it.

This discomfort and confusion wasn't enough to stop splashMan from taking aim and blasting what had to be one of the most powerful direct blasts the networks had seen in a long while. The unfortunate target of this was the ElecOgre, who was hovering in place as it charged a massive amount of electricity between its horns. Fortunate for SplashMan, he would never have to feel the impact of what the virus was cooking up, as his water cannon blitzed it from the net in one satisfying blow.

The glitchy terrain under him was still causing problems, however – the infections code was turning his body fascinating shades of orange and purple, and his vision swam – the Slimey viruses had started to look like large, squishy geese for some reason.

One of the geese-slimes launched itself towards him, but it missed, splattering into the panels nearby him and covering itself in Glitchy code; the slime began to sprout gooey limbs, twitching back and forth in place at erratic moments, though to Splashman's own vision the goose looked to have grown numerous new feet and several extra wings. It honked at him in a fury.

SplashMan chose this moment to harden his defences and become statue-like. After all, geese weren't the sort of birds to bother statues, were they? The thought made total sense. Or did it? A glance down at his feet suggested that this damaged terrain was going to start causing real problems before long. Fortunately, the fight wasn't going to last too much longer. SplashMan was able to line up both of the nearby Slimey with his next attack, since they had so conveniently come together in their zeal to attack him. The thundering ground wave made both slime-geese jiggle madly, and their bodies started to blend together slightly, as though they had become linked in some way. The swelling trembling one began to whistle.

It slammed itself at him again, but this time the wet splattering barely registered; no matter how strong it might have been, SplashMan's stony body shrugged it off. The feeling of being under lava changed as he pulled out his next weapon; instead, despite the visually distorting ground beneath him, it felt like lush, fresh grass that he was standing on. Better than the lava, at least. His machine gun rattled off nine shots at the slightly merged goose-viruses; the main one took five bullets, and ruptured in an explosion of slime that splattered everywhere. Two ricochet bullets found their marks on the remaining virus, and each one seemed to cause small reaction within the blob of rapidly distorting feathers. Like pustules exploding, the bullet wounds burst apart, spreading fresh splatters of slime over the glitched ground. The goose blob honked again and dragged itself away from SplashMan for a moment or two, before collapsing into slime and disintegrating.

SplashMan had a moment or two to deal with the destroyed battle scene; the patch of quicksand was beginning to draw the red data crystal downward, but not particularly quickly yet. He had space to let the glitches run out of his system, sanding on the furnace panels, and to gather up the spoils of the brief battle, likely over faster than even SplashMan had been anticipating, before a sound from the north drew his attention. the space was dark and gloomy, and it was difficult to see very far, but from the same direction that the initial ripple of glitch data had flowed, a smaller pulse emanated, then another. Moving out of the gloom, something else approached.

In the darkness, the first thing he could really see was a red glow; closer, it looked like a pair of arched shapes emitting the light. It was a figure moving through the gloom, stopping again just as she came into view; another slim ripple of energy pulsed outwards, sending a run of normalised panels out to meet up with the island of hot furnace tiles that Splashman was on.

A small figure, but without the excess of casual levity that others may have encountered her with in other places. Three feet of calm and cautious seriousness made her way forward here; white fur covered by a knee-length denim skirt, divided into separate strips for ease of movement, and a broad chest band in matching style made her only ensemble here; the red glow was coming from a faint pair of arched wings, spreading up from behind her back and reaching barely past her shoulders; they were made of a fluid red energy that flowed and wavered slightly but kept its form with small flexes.

The bunny girl held up one hand, palm out as she approached, stepping onto the furnace but keeping a polite distance as she looked about, long ears twitching in different directions as she looked about and around without making direct eye contact, save for a respectful nod.

“Wasn't expecting a delivery down here. Whatever work you're down here for, thank you, for fighting.” She reached behind her head and pulled a small shard of red from somewhere, setting it down on the ground between them.

“It's supposed to be seasonal gift giving. For navi's busting viruses... don't think anyone was expecting to pay it out this deep... but I think it's more than worth it for someone to come down here and do what they can.” The crystal shard expanded into a second red data crystal.

“This one's safe, no promises about that thing though – that's a wild one. I can't stay, got my own work to do... but you're a bit hurt... are you going to be okay? I can fix you up before I go, if you need. It's important that battlers stay safe down here.” She glanced Splashman's way, before turning her attention outward again to scan the darkness and keep a watch for further dangers. Behind her, the strip of normal panels was already being slowly devoured by the glitched terrain.

-=Viruses=-
Slimey OmegaSlimey Omega (Slimey)

Slimey viruses were produced to be sources of major traffic lag. While a Slimey virus is on the battlefield, all Navis and SPs suffer from a passive Slow-like effect that imposes a -10% Evasion AND Movement Speed penalty. This effect is not a status ailment, and cannot be cured. This effect does not stack with itself if more than one Slimey is on the field at once. As this does not count as a true Slow effect, up to two instances of Slow may stack on top of this effect for a total penalty of -30% Evasion/Movement Speed. This effect expires when all Slimey viruses on the field are deleted or flee. Slimey viruses are very slow to move and dodge, but every move they make that is not a dodge counts as an attack. Slimeys deal damage by touching an opponent, thus touching a Slimey directly results in damage to any non-Slimey the virus considers hostile.

Area: Undernet

HP: 360
Attack Damage/Effect: 120 Aqua + Slow
Attack Accuracy: A
Attack Description: Body slams its foes. Any foes hit are slowed the following turn. Must be within melee range to attack a foe.
Element: Aqua
Possible Rewards (Per Virus): MetaGel3, SlowGauge, Zenny
Special: While this enemy is on the field, dodge effectiveness is reduced by 1 Rank.
Special: May use AreaGrab once per turn to drop-attack an enemy from above.
A: DELETED
Slimey OmegaSlimey Omega (Slimey)

Slimey viruses were produced to be sources of major traffic lag. While a Slimey virus is on the battlefield, all Navis and SPs suffer from a passive Slow-like effect that imposes a -10% Evasion AND Movement Speed penalty. This effect is not a status ailment, and cannot be cured. This effect does not stack with itself if more than one Slimey is on the field at once. As this does not count as a true Slow effect, up to two instances of Slow may stack on top of this effect for a total penalty of -30% Evasion/Movement Speed. This effect expires when all Slimey viruses on the field are deleted or flee. Slimey viruses are very slow to move and dodge, but every move they make that is not a dodge counts as an attack. Slimeys deal damage by touching an opponent, thus touching a Slimey directly results in damage to any non-Slimey the virus considers hostile.

Area: Undernet

HP: 360
Attack Damage/Effect: 120 Aqua + Slow
Attack Accuracy: A
Attack Description: Body slams its foes. Any foes hit are slowed the following turn. Must be within melee range to attack a foe.
Element: Aqua
Possible Rewards (Per Virus): MetaGel3, SlowGauge, Zenny
Special: While this enemy is on the field, dodge effectiveness is reduced by 1 Rank.
Special: May use AreaGrab once per turn to drop-attack an enemy from above.
B: DELETED
ElecOgre SPElecOgre SP (ElecOgre)

ElecOgre viruses attack by charging electricity between their horns, and then shooting thunderbolts at everything in sight the following action. They cannot move or dodge while charging. ElecOgres move by floating through the air, and are fully flight capable. ElecOgre is considered a high tier virus type, and should be used sparingly.

Area: Undernet

HP: 450
Attack Damage/Effect: 180 Elec + To-All-Clause, 1 Action Charge
Attack Accuracy: B vs Ground, D vs Air
Attack Description: Arcs of lightning strike at all enemies. More effective against ground based enemies. This attack requires an action to charge.
Element: Elec
Possible Rewards (Per Virus): ElecReel3, Zenny
Special: Omnishoes. Can use Blinder on all enemies.
: VERY DELETED

-=Navis=-
Splashman.EXE: 379Hp [Normal]

-=Terrain=-
30% Glitched [Northern end of the field, and beyond]
30% Normal
  • No effects.
[straight section cutting through the glitch from the north. Being encroached on by the glitch]
5% Quicksand [Middle square of the field]
35% Furnace
  • Fire attacks: Splash to all adjacent panels for 20% Source Damage. Does not chain across multiple Furnace panels.
  • Heat Mirage: Non-Fire Elementals get -10% Accuracy, +10% Evasion against Non-Fire Elementals.
  • Aqua attacks: Vaporize into steam, increase accuracy penalty to -20% for Non-Fire Elemental and -10% for Fire Elemental for turn after hit.
  • Changes to Metal Terrain when hit with an Aqua attack of 100 damage or greater.
  • Echolocation nullifies the effects of the steam cloud and heat mirage for the user, and Seeking just ignores it.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Fire.
[Southern side of the field, encircled behind by more glitch]

-=Objects=-
RMD: 15 HP [Quicksand]
RMD: [Untrapped][Normal]

-=Battle 1, victory!=-
Spoils: 9000z, MetaGel3Damage: 170 + Slow + Drop Attack x 3 Targets
Accuracy: B
Description: Summons three Metagels to drop down on three different opponents. Causes Slow on contact.
Duration: Once
Element: Aqua
Special: Drop Attack: This attack originates above the battlefield, and falls to the ground. It gains one rank of accuracy against High Altitude targets.
Trader Rank: B
, 30 BugFrags

- Open RMD(s)?
- Accept Healing?
Somehow, someway, for some reason, it was over. No viruses in sight, bird-like or otherwise. SplashMan's external state returned to its usual water tank...ness, and started to make his way foward. "Uhhh...my head feels weird..."

Back in the real world, Sabrina leapt up, and raised her PET holding hand upward in victory. "Ha! How'd'ya like that, May?"

"W-Wow..." The other young woman decided to remain seated, her head swimming for very different reasons from SplashMan. "Th-That was incredible! That was like watching your dad virus bust! Except your Navi isn't a total ass! And he's water based."

"Oh, I dunno if I'd go THAT far. It was pretty rad, though!" The operator looked at her PET, noting something was a bit off with her Navi. "Are...you okay, SplashMan? You're not looking that great."

"Huh? That you, Sabrina? I'll be okay, I just need a minute..." The aquatic Navi reached over, grabbed the Mystery Data before it sank, and walked over to where he'd started the battle. "Those glitched out panels are weird...but I guess we did it, huh?"

"We sure did! I think May's in shock from it."

"I mean, how many people do you know that can fight in the Undernet, and come away ready for more? Of course I'm gonna be flustered!"

"What can I say? We're great!"

"Yeah! ...Okay, I think I'm starting to auto-repair those glitches. Everything's looking more normal now. ...Oh! There's the reward data! I'll send it over!" SplashMan waved an arm, making it vanish into the safe confines of his operator's PET. "Oh, wow...there was chip data in there!"

"Probably an ElecReel, knowing our luck. Oh well, it's better thaaaaa-" Now it was Sabrina's turn to be flustered, as she noticed what chip they'd acquired. "-aaaat's a MetaGel3!"

"MetaGel3? I've never even heard of that chip. Let me see what it does-ohhhhh wow that's quite the chip!"

"I know! And we got a ton of cash, too! And some BugFrag things, but c'mon, cash and MetaGel freakin' 3!"

"MetaGel3? Awesome! Totally worth coming here for!" He looked off to his side, and the red crystal that was there. "And that's before we open this guy up!"

But before anything could be done about that, a sound alerted SplashMan, who looked in that direction as he lowered his cannons. It was soon revealed to be some sort of...bunny Navi? Who proceeded to give him another Mystery Data? That was weird on so many levels..."Um, thanks...and no thanks on the healing. I'm fine, and I'll probably leave in a minute, anyway. But, uh...just who are you?"

"Hey, SplashMan? Are we sure taking Mystery Datas from weird bunny Navis is a good idea?"

"It's fine. There's no encryption that keeps a Navi from being able to tell if it's a Mimic or not, so I can definitely say that's not a problem. But, how'd you do it to begin with? I don't think this is what a Mystery Data's usually like after using an Untrap, so you had to have done something...sorry if I'm coming off as rude, but you're really making my head swim, and at this point it's not from glitches!"

"Well, if it's safe, you may as well open it. Oh, and here's something to make opening up the other one safe, too. SubChip, Untrap! Slot in!"

The aquatic Navi's hand glowed, and after touching the Mystery Data from his battle, it began to glow. As he did that, he placed his other hand on the offered data, and opened it up. The twin MDs would open at the same time, and reveal their contents...

(opening RMD; Untrap used)
(opening already untrapped RMD)
(declining healing)
The smaller figure didn't seem to take any offence at the caution from SplashMan, or from any of the others watching on – it was the undernet after all, and trust was a sparse commodity for a stranger out of the dark. Instead she nodded and put her hand down again.

“If you're sure. As long as you're staying safe.” She moved away to give SplashMan clear space and priority with the data crystals, scanning the darkness again. In the moment when her back was to him, the energy sprays that formed her wings flowed back and forth slowly, shedding a dim red light.

“This would normally be the part when I'm meant to say I'm a netiday elf, or a festive bunny, or some other non-demonimational holiday mascot here to give presents, but the family friendly byline wasn't made for places like this. My name is Prosopopoeia...” As she had come into sight, those watching in on Splashman's PET would have been ale to see the designated name come up for her, but her program integrity wasn't returning a number, and the extension on the name was an odd one that could almost be taken for a joke - '.lapin' the gift-giver only paused for a moment in her answer. “And I do a lot of jobs. This one is about supporting and giving presents and gifts to net-battlers who spend their time risking themselves to bust viruses. It may not be as big a risk as it used to be, but down here it is, and even elsewhere, it's still a sacrifice of sorts... So I say thank you in the most useful way I can.”

The pathway of normal panels that she had first pressed through the dark, corrupted landscape had been almost entirely consumed by it again, leaving only the circle of more resilient furnace panels. She prodded at the edge of the corruption with one toe then turned back, shrugging her shoulders.

“As for the data... Not all of these caches you find crystallise naturally, you know. A lot do, but just as many are left behind by people who made them and lost them, or stored them for safe keeping somewhere and never came back. Mimics like to slip in and take over the surface layers of the data. They don't usually damage the contents, but it's how they set up their ambushes. There's some evidence to suggest that they eat viruses as well, when they can't get navigators, and that that gives them some measure of influence or control over the viruses they take over... another theory builds on that, it says that that's why a lot of viruses are very determined to destroy data crystals whenever they find them; it's sort of a self preservation measure. Don't know how far you can trust that, but it's a running theory. Still... the method of making data containers that will survive independently on the net is... not a lost trick, exactly, but not as many people, at least on the navigator side of things, seem to know how to do it now as used to.... It's not too hard though. Watch.”

moving closer a few steps, she stood in front of SplashMan and reached up to her chest, drawing a string of wispy white data away in a long thread. The next step was a little harder to follow, but not too complex if SplashMan was of a mind to understand it; she wove the data into an interleaved structure in her hands, and swiftly formed a lattice about it; within a few seconds the familiar form of a green mystery data crystal began to take shape. She kept her hands moving, drawing out a seconds string of white data, then a third, sliding it into her working. In between she looked up.

“Like this, the information, objects, mementos, currency, or other data will remain stable and preserved, and it won't be cleaned up by any automated net maintenance programs, or recovered as 'junk' data, even by systems that don't recognise it. It's a bit delicate to actual brute force though. The colour changes as you improve the data density, and as you need it to contain more, so...” Looking at her work again, more threads got fed into the crystal, until it reached reached a limit, refusing to accept more. The next string got woven into the outer structure again, and the hue changed from green to blue, then from blue to purple, and eventually purple to red. She stopped working there and glanced up at SplashMan again.

“There's at least one more storage depth degree beyond this, that I know of, but if I make this one any bigger, it will start to draw attention like a beacon. Anyway...” closing her hands around it, the red crystal collapsed inwards and the girl seemed to take the data contents back into herself. “The ones I give out aren't tampered with, I just know when and where they were made, even if I don't know exactly what's in each one... so I know there's no danger of an infestation. That's all.”

She moved away to let Splashman open his own rewards, and gave him a chance to make whatever he wished to of her explanation. The data crystals themselves opened without fuss – the one from the gift-giver opened cleanly, while the one floating above the quicksand shuddered and convulsed as the untrap was applied, Prose glanced in its direction and raised an eyebrow, wary, but didn't speak wile the crystal thrashed side to side, flexed its facets and shattered into a dozen geometric shards, before coalescing again in a screech of pain and rage that sounded like broken glass scraping on metal. deep crimson mist spilled out of the gaps in several places before the sounds of torment faded and the crystal gradually reformed into solid, connected facets. After a few moments more, it successfully unpacked and delivered a smaller data packet. In the end, Splashman was left with a great deal of extra zenny and a new chip.

The other person on the island of furnace panels watched with curiosity, but her ears continued to twitch and her gaze moved off into the darkness every few seconds in between, cautious and alert. She seemed to be waiting to see what SplashMan would do next, but wasn't going to press him to stay or go in either direction.


((RMD: 30000z, JealousyEffect: Chips used this turn x 50
Accuracy: A
Description: Add up the number of chips used by your enemies in one turn, and deal 50 times that much damage to a single foe in one angst-filled blast. Rare
Duration: Once
Element: Null
Special: The resulting attack must target an enemy capable of using Battlechips (meaning it will not work on Objects, for example).
Trader Rank: A
))
As it was becoming clearer that the bunny Navi wasn't an active threat, SplashMan raised his cannons, though he raised a metaphorical eyebrow at the idea of her having wings. She proceeded to give her name, after stating what she'd normally say in a time like this, and before the actual answer to one of his question. "Well, it's good thing you didn't bring up the mascot stuff, because I don't think I would've believed it. And I KNOW my operator wouldn't!"

Based on the single raised eyebrow on Sabrina's face, the watery Navi was almost certainly correct. "Hang on, her file extension's .lapin? How do you make a file extension that's literally just a Netopian word for rabbit? It's not even three letters long! And I'm not even touching that name!"

"Well, luckily for you, I'm a word nerd. Prosopopoeia is the act of an imaginary or absent person being represented as speaking or acting. Like, if you pretended to take a call because a guy you don't like is trying to hit on you."

"That doesn't really make me any less suspicious of her."

"I know...be careful, SplashMan!"

"Okay then, I guess it's nice to meet you, uh..." ...Nope, he wasn't even going to try to pronounce that name. "...Can I just call you Prose, for short? Me, my name's SplashMan!"

Navi and operator proceeded to get a lesson on the inner workings of mystery data, the former looking quite intently as she essentially created one. "Neat! I think I caught that...maybe I'll try it next time I get a break!"

"I'd say try it now, but I'd feel better about doing something new when you're not in the most screwed up place on the entire net."

"I'm with you on that..." And with that, both datas were ready to be opened. At least as soon as the Mimic occupying one of them quit milking its death and went away. And...there. "Okay, finally opening these things up!...This one's got...wow, a whole bunch of money!"

"What's a whole bunch-holy crap!" The amount most definitely qualified in her mind as a whole bunch. "That's a match for what May's giving us!"

"Wow, that's not bad at all, for deleting three whole viruses."

"And the other one? I kinda hope it's not cash, at this rate I'm gonna have more than I know what to do with..."

"Hmm...nope, it's a chip! One without any sort of virus data signature, either. It's called...Jealousy!"

"...Cool, but I have no idea what that would even do." Let's see what her PET said..."J...Jealousy! It does more damage when your opponent uses lots of BattleChips. So, I guess it's good against other Navis. Virus busting, not so much. Pretty rare, though, which is cool!"

"I don't think it's a chip a lot of people would have, at least. That's pretty neat." SplashMan transferred the bonuses over to the PET, then looked back over at Prose. "I'm probably going to leave in a minute. I dunno how good at virus busting you are, but if you're not feeling up to battling omega viruses, you should probably leave first. I'm still feeling mostly okay, so even if something else ambushes me before I can leave, I don't think I'll keel over easily!"

"Don't forget your smart, helpful, and beautiful operator's here to watch your back!"

"I think one of those isn't as important as the other two...anyway, Prose, you should go ahead. I'll be right behind you! And uh, I don't really know why you're going around giving mystery data to people, but I appreciate it!" Aside from casually looking off to either side, SplashMan didn't show much sign of being concerned about what might or might not be incoming. His lack of movement, however, seemed to indicate that he was serious about waiting until he was alone before he'd leave the Undernet behind. And the lack of questions from either human or Navi was probably a good sign they were content with what they knew. Although once the latter checked his operator feed..."Sabrina? You kinda look like you wanna say something."

She was biting her lip a little, but stopped once her Navi addressed her. "Well...honestly, I don't think I'll get an answer."

"Oh, come on, Sabrina! What's she going to do, say no?"

"...Fair enough. So uh, Pr...Miss Bunny Girl, you said this was a job, right? So then it'd stand to reason that someone hired you to do said job. So who's weird and rich enough to have you throw around tons of cash and chips out of the goodness of their heart?"

The water tank Navi seemed a bit puzzled by the question, but his focused gaze on Prose seemed to indicate that he was interested in an answer.
For a moment or two, the serious expression and body language seemed to fade from the bunny girl as SplashMan and his operator went back and forth about her name, and she raised one hand to her mouth to muffle a quiet giggle. It only lasted a moment before she calmed and smiled, then inclined her head towards SplashMan.

“Prose is just fine... after all, what else are names but the words we use to personify and represent ourselves? It's nice to meet you, SplashMan.” It was hard to say whether it was just her nature, or the oppressiveness of their location, but so far it seemed as though the diminutive woman wasn't keen on raising her voice too far above a quiet murmur, even now that they were slightly more relaxed. It wasn't hard to hear, but she was being distinctly soft-spoken and quiet.

She didn't engage again until after SplashMan and Sabrina had finished examining their haul, turning away at the edge of the corrupted tiles to give them some measure of privacy, but glanced back over her shoulder as SplashMan spoke up again. She smiled and shrugged.

“I'll be alright. I still have...” she sighed and looked off in a slightly different direction into the darkness. “Other work to do. Thank you, though. I appreciate the concern. Be careful as you go... I'm sure I don't need to tell you, but, accidents can get messy down here, even if your emergency is reporting clear. Stay safe.” She turned back more properly to the edge of the corrupt panels again and the arched sprays of red light energy that formed her wings pulsed faintly. A slim strip of normalised panels pushed back the glitchy, static mess and drew a single long line away into the darkness. Almost immediately, the corruption at the edges began to gnaw on the panels and eat inwards – it was worth noting that the small island of furnace they'd been standing on was steadily growing smaller and smaller as well. As she started to leave, Sabrina's curiosity made her pause and turn back for an extra moment with a playful grin despite her otherwise alert body posture.

“I said I do a lot of jobs... I didn't say anyone was paying me to do them. Some things you just do because it matters, don't you, miss Sabrina? Maybe that's not fair. I don't work for anyone, but I work with other people who want to see the net taken care of, and navigators looked after, and rewarded for their risks and sacrifices. I think...” She paused, distant for a moment, before continuing. “I think they probably had a name once... I don't think it matters any more. I don't think anyone remembers. Not really.” She shrugged her shoulders then brightened her expression again, grinning. “See you next holiday season, maybe!” With a brief wink, she turned back and energy pulsed again, refreshing the line of safe panels, before the peculiar creature walked out into the dark and swiftly disappeared from sight, leaving SplashMan and Sabrina to contemplate their next move alone.