Harke's Homepage

Uncertain whether she'd really sold Aurora on the concept of her own maturity, Lyntael shared the other woman's laughter with a slightly less certain giggle of her own, though the thought occurred to her that, given what Aurora had admitted earlier, it didn't seem quite honest that she'd never been drawn to losing herself to escape her problems. She let the thought go. Instead, she scrunched at her towel a little more, crimping the roll tighter with her finger tips before unravelling it again and seeking another dry spot for her now only mildly damp article.

“He mentioned that eating in general was new to him, didn't he? I guess it's no surprise it didn't have much effect...” She mused on that; it was another difference between some of the memory flashes she'd seen. She'd always known Eternalis with the face he had now, but it seemed the mouth had come more or less at the same time as his unsettling arm. Another lingering after effect of the horror they'd both been through. Her eyes glanced up to Aurora again, and she stood again as well, stretching and tucking the rolled towel under one arm. She envied the other woman's ability to summon her clothing from the ether like that, but pushed the feeling aside. Aurora's suggestion as she dressed made the smaller woman grin with a sudden mix of mischief, excitement and nerves.

“Hehe... um, I suppose, if you want, we could do that. Just a little maybe?” The nerves won over for clearest emotion as she answered, and Lyntael caught herself ducking her head a little bit, and peeking up at her friend almost like she was asking permission, rather than discussing a plan. She distracted herself by plucking at the roll of towel.

“Probably a few minutes before these are dry enough. Did you want to show off anything else here? I feel kind of embarrassed now. My home is...” she glanced down and shuffled a foot with an awkward gesture. “I mean, you've doe all of this really cool stuff, and it's so fantastic, and you know.... It's like... a real house couldn't ever be like this, but you can, and you've been so creative with it. I'm, um... I mean, I'm really happy with what I've done, but, um... it's really just a home, you know. Pretty simple, at the end of things...” She shrugged, seeking a different thread of conversation to jump to.

“Ah, I meant to say thank you properly for the books! I started the first one of the series you sent me, the other night. Not very far in yet, but, I think it seems interesting so far!” She grinned but cast her eyes down after a moment, a little bit shy on the matter. “I'm... I'm a bit cautious about how she's depicting women, I guess, but I've only read through the prologue so far, so, we'll see!” She shrugged softly then stretched, putting the rolled towel behind her neck as she flexed for a moment, then bouncing on her toes as she waited to see if aurora had anywhere else to show her.
"All right, it's settled, then!" said Aurora. She seemed to look a little relieved, for some reason, but it quickly vanished as Lyntael exhibited her insecurity over her grandiose displays of her living space. "I do still want to see it, though. The real fun is in sharing what you've made with others, and seeing what they've made, you know? I think it'd be interesting to see what you envisioned for your home, since I've had to compromise a few things around here when I was designing it with Eternalis. He said I did most of the work, but he's had some hand in it, too," she said, looking around a little. While she had already made a bathing space connected to the middle area, it had been Eternalis who floated the idea of replicating the area that they had been to before directly adjacent to the bedroom.

While she was distracted, Lyntael brought up the topic of the books that she had sent to Lyntael. It had been a simple gesture that she had already forgotten about, but her face lit up as Lyntael expressed her excitement for her recent reading. "Oh, glad you're getting into it! I'd like to see what else you've got, too, so let's hurry on. Just one more place I'd like to show you, and then we can head over to your place," she said, leading the way out of the area.

As they passed back through the doorway to the entrance area, they saw a familiar figure just starting to rise from one of the couches. They were able to see his back as he stretched his limbs, appearing to just have woken up from his nap earlier. Just as Aurora was debating whether to call out to him, Eternalis turned about and noticed them at the doorway. He raised a hand lazily in greeting, through half-lidded eyes. "You two finished yet?" called out Eternalis.

"Almost, just one more room," Aurora replied, wandering over towards the middle area. A glance towards the couch showed that he no longer had Sparky on his torso, but instead, bizarrely, the pup was sound asleep and curled up, while also floating conspicuously in mid-air. It appeared to be the exact spot where he had been sleeping earlier, just that there was no longer an Eternalis underneath the pup.

Eternalis himself didn't seem to pay this detail any attention, and and nodded to Aurora's answer. "Oh, alright. I'll let Harke know, then, just to check up in case something goes wrong with the transfer," he said.

"Thanks! Oh, could you fetch something from the food storage, too? I wanted to bring something over for a housewarming thing," said Aurora, glancing over towards the kitchen.

Eternalis followed her gaze, and blinked a few times in response. "Sure, as long as it's not too hard to find in there."

"It's the one we tried the other day. "Cream Prog"? Just get a new bottle from the pack."

"Oh, that one. All right, I'll see you two back here, then," he said, getting up from the couch to head over to the kitchen to leave the two to their devices once more.

Aurora turned to Lyntael. "Okay, let's head over to the last room, then," she said, leading her to the last remaining area, which was the doorway with the racket and ball icon.

Meanwhile, on an adjacent end of the room, Eternalis paused for a moment before passing through the doorway to the kitchen. He blinked for a second, before turning to the two girls that were just leaving. His eyes narrowed slightly, before he seemed to realize something, and hurried into the kitchen.

Passing through to the last room, the sight that greeted Lyntael's eyes was... less than spectacular, compared to the previous rooms. The same backdrop of a blank room of tiles in the middle of an expanse of water greeted them, except the room appeared to be completely barren. Aurora stared in front of her in puzzlement for a moment, before her face lit up in realization.

"Oh, I forgot, it's set to nothing for the moment. Hold on..." she said, looking around the area, before stopping on what appeared to be a blank space in the air. She reached out towards it, and a console screen appeared, with accompanying floating keypad. Some commands inputted into the console later, and a bright flash of white suddenly washed over the entire area, blinding all sight for a moment, before it rapidly receded.

What was displayed next was instead of a suspended area in the middle of a body of water extending out into infinity, a large, open field spread out before them, with what appeared to be a short bed of synthetic turf. Shortly up ahead of them, a rectangular area marked by lines of white paint was bisected by a long net of string, hanging from two metal poles. All in all, it seemed to be a completely ordinary-looking tennis court in the middle of a blank grassy expanse. Next to one of the poles, two pairs of tennis rackets rested on the grass, with a pair of yellowish-green tennis balls to match.

"It's meant to accommodate a lot of different playing fields, but Eternalis seems to like the tennis field the most. Haven't had the chance to use it too much yet, though," said Aurora, pausing for a moment before inputting another command into the console. The tennis field began to warp about, and the net and tennis equipment vanished into thin air. The air began to shimmer slightly, before a basketball court appeared before them, complete with baskets on either end of the field, and a small cage filled with orange basketballs to the side.
Reassured, at least a little bit, Lyntael nodded and let a small grin creep back onto her features as she resettled her bundle and followed after her companion. Despite only being part way in, and knowing hat Aurora herself knew the whole series, she couldn't resist talking at least a little more about how far she'd gotten, as they moved back through the bedroom and towards the living area.

“I am, but I'm expecting a lot of big story redirections, hehe... I mean, with how long the series is, it's just too simple for the lauded great evil to actually be it, at least not for long. It's a nice scary start, but, you know... both he, and his icy-demon minions seem far too 'neat' for that to last.” She bit her lip and cast her eyes off to the side with a brief, forgiving shrug. “Not to mention, the term they use of them is the name of an actual race of people that existed, in the north, in ancient times... The author had to know that, but I bet she was banking on most of her readers not.” She giggled into her hand again.

By the time they emerged into the living area again, Eternalis was up, and Lyntael waved to him with a grin. A moment later, she recalled her state of dress and a brief flush of nerves threatened to pink her cheeks, but she managed to keep it under control before any sign could show through... at least she thought she did. Any blush was probably safely covered by the other signs that they'd just been for a short swim, she guessed; her hair still looked a bit damp, and her skin had that fresh, warmed colouration of being not long out of the shower as well. She unconsciously squeezed the towel roll under her arm and wondered if she oughtn't to have taken the time to put things back on regardless of lingering damp, before coming back out. Too late now.

Instead of drawing any attention to herself, Lyntael drifted about the room for a few moments while Aurora and Eternalis sorted out the minor details of heading out again between themselves. She paused when her eyes lingered on Sparky, hovering exactly where he had been before, now minus the Eternalis underneath him. She grinned and stifled a giggle with one hand as she bent down a little bit to look at him, and try to peek at his underside without waking the pup. It left her wondering if it was a conscious decision from him or not. Probably not, given how easily distracted the little guy was. Once the logistics were arranged, she stood back, paying attention again, and darted through the transition after Aurora to see what was left.

The room beyond was inactive to begin with, but as Aurora got it set up Lyntael shielded her eyes with one hand, wincing against the flare of light. When the resulting green field had loaded up fully, Lyntael curled her toes against in the grass with a small smile. after a moment she stepped forward to the edge of the court itself; the synthetic texture felt peculiar under her feet. She had a few moments to take in the tennis equipment with a bright expression before Aurora changed it again, showing off the room's different game settings.

“This is neat! I've never played any proper ball sports before, but I always thought they must take a lot of team-work to get right. What other ones do you have? Do you know enough other people to actually play full games?” She glanced back at Aurora, in between the rapid questions, and set her towel down by the edge so she could tentatively pick up one of the balls from the storage cage, bouncing it on the court under one set of fingertips experimentally. Her stance was cautiously wide as she did, and the ball sprang back more vigorously than she expected, with a satisfying sound. A few bounces later she caught hold of it again with a giggle, then stood, aiming carefully at the hoop set up at the other end. Her initial throw travelled quite well, but the arc and angle weren't as she'd intended to make them and it struck the base of the ring and the backboard, rebounding up high. A few curls of wind bent past the girl, making her clothes flare a little, before spiralling around the far end and guiding the rebound to drop more accurately through the ring below. Lyntael giggled and opened her eyes, glancing back at Aurora.

“I guess that would probably count as cheating, wouldn't it? Oh well...” Despite her self-directed reprimand, the girl was smiling brightly, small white teeth showing. She ran to retrieve the ball and drop it back in the cage. “Do you have other things built in as well? I've read a bit about all of the kinds of olympic sports that people all over the world play together with each other, and I've tried to watch some, when I can, but the gymnastic sports always look the most amazing to me, hehe...” She stretched for a moment and curbed her pressing questions.
As he entered the walk-in fridge and started looking around, Eternalis opened up the communication link to Harke at the same time. It took a little while to answer, but Harke eventually showed up on his peripheral display, looking a little groggy. The display showed him reclining in his chair with bleary-looking eyes; Eternalis guessed that his operator had chosen to take a short nap, just as he did. Harke rubbed one of his eyes and half-yawned, "Heading out already?"

"In a little bit, Aurora's finishing her house tour," replied Eternalis as he picked up a black bottle labelled "Cream Prog" from a wooden crate of similarly-labelled bottles. He recalled the odd way in which Aurora had eyed the item when they were looking through food stock for her kitchen at an establishment in Internet City, as if she badly wanted it, but was holding back for some reason. After several minutes of flip-flopping, he had ended up making the decision to buy it for her. He had heard of its intoxicating purposes, but trying it out didn't seem to have said effect on him, which was somewhat disappointing, in a way.

"Got it," said Harke, before raising an eyebrow at the bottle in Eternalis's hand. "Might get something to drink..." he murmured, and his face disappeared from the display, as he got up from his chair to amble out of his room.

With his errands settled, Eternalis closed the communications link and made his way back to the entrance area. As he hadn't taken very long, Aurora and Lyntael hadn't returned yet. He glanced over towards the doorway, through which the two girls had entered, and rolled his shoulders. No harm in checking up on the two, he thought. Recalling his earlier observation of noticing that the two girls had slightly damp hair, he lost himself in a bit of daydreaming its implications before shaking his head. Why was he even thinking about these things? There was nothing like that here, it was just the recreational sports area, he told himself, as he walked through.

"Oh, sorry about that! I've got to fix those flashing lights at some point..." said Aurora when she saw Lyntael shield her eyes from the room transition. She had unconsciously closed her own eyes to avoid the flash, and had forgotten to warn her friend to do the same. Thankfully, Lyntael seemed to recover just fine, and began to inspect the area itself. She set down her own towel, neatly folded up, next to Lyntael's, and began to follow behind her as well, smiling with her hands clasped behind her back.

She was about to answer her rapidfire questions, but it looked like Lyntael wanted to try her hand at some baskets, so she simply watched Lyntael land a somewhat assisted toss into the basket, which made her giggle. "Good shot!" she called out good-naturedly, despite the obvious "assistance" Lyntael had given herself. As she returned the ball to the cage, Aurora found it a good time to return some answers to the questions. "There's lots of settings built into this room, but it's mostly for field sports. There's things like a running track and such. We just use the ones that only require two people, though, since, well, uh," she trailed off, rubbing the back of her neck. "We haven't exactly invited anyone else here yet. I keep finding new things I want to change; I'm not quite at the point where I feel like I can call people over to visit. Inviting you was an on the spot decision, but I'm glad I did!"

She looked at the balls in the cage, and casually picked one up. "Also, I prefer to call it a balancing factor," she said, a smug-looking grin on her face as she walked towards the court herself. Holding the ball close to her chest, the air around her hands crackled with blue electrical arcs, before she threw the ball. Rather, more accurately, she launched the ball, as an electrical burst propelled the ball high into the sky, and out of sight. "... Ah, I think I put a little too much into that," she said, as her earlier smug look turned into a more sheepish expression.

"Wow, that's some distance."

Surprised, Aurora turned quickly towards the source of a sudden third voice, only to find out that it was Eternalis, walking up with bottle in hand, with the other hand over his eyes as he gazed out towards the distance to see where the ball could have ended up. Still, it didn't look like they would be able to spot it, so he ended up just raising the bottle in his hand with a smile instead. "Ready to head out," he said.

Aurora walked over to the edge of the court to meet him, and he approached with the same intent. However, his stroll was stopped when he felt something under his boot, and saw that he had stepped on one of a pair of folded-up towels. "Oh, oops," he said, picking up both of them. Holding them out, he asked, "You guys still need these? I can go put them back."

Aurora tilted her head slightly. They both seemed dry enough already, though perhaps slightly damp. Certainly nothing a bit of a walk back to Lyntael's PET wouldn't fix. "No, I don't think so, we've dried off enough, I think?" she said, looking towards Lyntael.
As she stepped back to let Aurora take a shot, Lyntael stretched, lifting both hands over her head and arching up on her toes for a few moments with a small, swiftly stifled yawn.

“I'm glad too! You've done so many awesome things with the space, and I really like it. Having it all set up to just change rooms over to other things at a button push is really cool! I didn't think of doing anything like that.” A brief moment of surprise startled her and she skipped back a half step as Aurora put rather more effort than necessary into her own basket shot, and she put a hand over her mouth to cover a giggle as the ball sailed away out of sight. The arrival a moment later saw her turn quickly, along with Aurora to see Eternalis. She grinned and waved to him, though her eyes immediately drifted to the bottle he was holding; the prospect of trying drink for the first time was now at a point that was about equal parts excitement and nervousness, with a little sliver of feeling like it was something naughty, mixed in. Without really being aware of it, she paused to smooth her skirt down, despite the fact that it didn't need any such attention.

She nodded along with his question, quite ready to be home despite the uncomfortable transition that the return jump would bring, but found a sudden jolt of nerves taking over when Eternalis noticed, then picked up the towels. She stated to reach out one hand, but hesitated.

“Oh, um, that's...” She swallowed, and found herself unwilling to blurt out exactly why she needed the rolled up towel. In a moment of mild panic, her eyes darted to Aurora, just as the other woman waved him off to take the towels away. Her eyes widened a little, but the feeling of nerves was mixed. What was Aurora doing? Was it a dare? She looked at the other woman for an extra moment, failing to mask her wide-eyed surprise, then slowly let her hand drop again, swallowing and biting her lip. She ducked her head, fighting hard to stop herself from blushing, but found a traitorous grin creeping onto one corner of her lip as she peeked up at Aurora again and gave her a slightly nervous nod. It was pretty naughty, and it was only Eternalis, after all, and she'd be home again and able to change in less than a few minutes anyway... her heart was beating very quickly as she relaxed her body language carefully, and nodded again, more clearly and firm this time.

“Ah, yeah, all dry now. It's fine.” She took a breath and swallowed again, then turned her attention to Eternalis. “We just took a dip in the spring while Aurora was showing it off... I'm, ah, I'm ready to head off whenever you want. I really love everything you've done with the place though. I know you've both said it was mostly aurora, hehe, but you both helped, and it's really impressive!” Unconsciously, she smoothed down her skirt again, making sure it was straight.
Lyntael's reaction to Eternalis's query of whether she needed to dry off puzzled both Eternalis and Aurora. The panicked look in her eyes had Aurora recalling that one of the towels Eternalis was holding, was, in fact, wrapping up Lyntael's undergarments at the moment for them to dry off. Her brow furrowed a little as she made the connection, and her mind raced to try and find an appropriate way out of the situation without alerting Eternalis, who was already looking more than a little baffled. The situation was made even more confusing with Eternalis being suddenly rejected by Lyntael, stating that she was, after all, not in need of it. Aurora's eyes widened a little, looking over at Lyntael. The girl's expression clearly looked like someone who was getting into something daring, and she was torn between letting the situation go, or intervening. After all, they were only a short walk to Lyntael's own PET--but judging from previous "mishaps" of hers, she wondered if even that short distance would become a problem. Even if she retrieved the garments, it would probably just complicate matters more.

On Eternalis's side, he seemed to doubt the way Lyntael simply sped into a different topic, and still continued to extend his hand out with the towels in it. "Uh, thank you, but, I mean, I can leave if you actually do need to dry off or something," he said, still with a quizzical look.

Then, Aurora suddenly stepped forward, and took the towels. "Ah, I'll take them. I want to bring them over as a present," she blurted out. Her eyes went over to the bottle in Eternalis's hand. "You know, like the liquor bottle isn't really something nice to keep after finishing it, so, I was thinking, like, something a bit more permanent."

Thankfully, Eternalis was quick to surrender the fluffy white articles. "Oh! Sure. That makes sense," he exclaimed. Perhaps it wasn't quite as urgent as the situation made it seem, he thought. It still felt like he was being left out of something, but he figured he could just ask Aurora about it later, out of earshot of Lyntael. Then, a screen opened up next to him, showing Harke's figure sliding into view, with a large plastic bottle of soda in hand. Twisting its top open, he gulped down a large swig of it, and set it down next to him.

"Alright, I've got what I wanted. Finished up in there?" he said.

"Think so," replied Eternalis, turning to Aurora.

The Support Program exhaled a little, and glanced down at the towels in her hand, then at Harke. Nothing was going to happen, she told herself. Something like this was less important than having Lyntael safe in her home, where she would have much more peace of mind. "Yeah, I'm done. Lyntael?" she said, turning to Lyntael, along with Eternalis and Harke.
It only took a few moments for Lyntael to calm herself down properly, despite the odd situation. It wasn't as though she hadn't gone 'breezy' before, in other unfortunate circumstances, and it certainly wasn't as though she was intending to show off to anyone in a way that the lack should matter – she reminded herself that her skirt was coded specifically to help prevent that anyway. She could play this game; if nothing else it was proof that Aurora didn't really think of her as a child, so that was a fun positive to take out of it. She grinned, more relaxed by the time Eternalis showed his own uncertainty and confusion and shook her head, still thankful that the overall warmth of her skin from the swim was still enough to hide the very slight pinking of embarrassment that might otherwise have been showing through.

“No, it's okay, really, we dried off in the spring, I was just—” Her thoughts raced quickly to come up with another innocuous answer but Aurora stepped in quickly with one of her own, claiming the towels from Eternalis in the process. Lyntael's eyes moved across to the other woman and down to the bundle, then back. So, she was taking 'custody' of the garments. That was something of a relief, she thought. It would keep the game being discovered later if the towels were washed or digitised in some way.

“Yes, I'm good!” Her response was quick and enthusiastic as the others made ready to head out and Harke returned. “We should just have to head back to the same place, and I'll be able to find the link again easily enough.” For a moment she winced and shuffled a foot, standing between her friends. “Er, it'll still be a bit rough, like before, I'm sorry... If Rogan were actually operating from his side he could make it smoother but... you know, if he were there then he could just jack me in properly and it wouldn't be a problem... and if he were there he'd never let me do any of this anyway...” She folded her arms and huffed slightly, then shook it off and looked up again. “Should we go?”

Provided there were no more reasons to wait, Lyntael was ready to be home again, after the long outing, no matter how nice Aurora and Eternalis' home was. She followed the pair back through towards the living space, and the exit pad, glancing to see if Sparky was awake and wanting to come as well as she did.

((Lyntael, following to => Yoka Rogue))
"Going through an emulated link, huh..." muttered Harke. There wasn't much he would be able to do about it, considering emulated links were tenuous at best already. There was the danger of having it severed from the other side somehow. On the other hand, Lyntael had already risked her own link to visit their PET. "Well, I can't do anything about it on my end, but seeing you guys are already set on it, I can't really stop you," he said.

"We'll make do. It'll be the second time around, so I think we'd be able to handle it a little better," replied Eternalis.

Harke shrugged. "Let's get it on, then," he said.

However, he hesitated slightly on actually sending in everyone, as when he looked over the team members, there was the distinct feeling of having something missing from the lineup. He narrowed his eyes for a couple of seconds before he realized it. "Oh, what about Sparky?" he asked.

Eternalis craned his head over towards the doorway leading to the entrance lounge. "He's still sleeping. Maybe some other time," he said. In reality, however, he mainly feared having such an excitable pup in someone else's home, recalling that they had to actually permanently affix the vase that was on one of the tables in the entrance lounge.

The operator nodded in understanding. "All right. I'm transmitting," he said, as the group was enveloped in a beam of bluish-white light, before being transported to where they had been before.

[>> Sneaking out with friends - Yoka Rogue Net.]
[Aurora, Lyntael & Eternalis GET: +40 Mutual FXP!]
A hazy blue outline appeared in the PET homepage's landing area, materializing into a strange sight. Eternalis's blue body was clearly visible, but it looked like he had been melted into an amorphous mess, holding his form just barely by clinging onto a very distraught Aurora. A beeping disk-like device was lodged inside Eternalis's body as well.

True to her expectations, traversing the emulated link had jolted Eternalis enough for Aurora to wrench herself free briefly, though not well enough for her to travel very far before Eternalis's form overwhelmed her with his weight. The only part she was able to move was an arm, which she reached out to a control panel that she had managed to reach. Frantically working through the settings, Aurora managed to work through it before she was pulled back towards Eternalis's body.

The lighting in the PET homepage rapidly died down, and the area was locked down to outside interaction.


The low hum of an oven was the only thing that could be heard in the kitchen area, accompanied by the intermittent noise from Aurora browsing through a bulletin board interface she had installed to pass the time. A small notification ping interrupted her idle browsing, and Aurora raised an eyebrow. She smiled to herself as she saw an email coming in, from one of her recently made friends.

As she was replying, she saw movement out of the corner of her eye. Looking up, she saw Eternalis' disembodied head peeking in through the doorway. "Saw the email?" he said, and Aurora nodded. He proceeded into the kitchen, while curiously taking a peek over her shoulder at what she had written in reply; she had written scarcely anything in reply.

"I'm not sure where to suggest, though... Any ideas? Maybe not Yoka or Sharo," said Aurora.

Eternalis narrowed his eyes in thought. "Kotobuki, maybe? I think I heard something about them opening up a newly renovated public network," he offered up.

"Kotobuki..." she muttered, looking up information on the area. She nodded in approval. "Sounds like a good idea, I'll send that back."

"Let me get Sparky so we can head out, then--Oh, never mind," said Eternalis, before bending down to catch a speeding pup that had just run through the doorway. Attracted by the smell of baked goods, Sparky was barely stopped from rushing headlong into the oven window. The scrambling young dog barked energetically, and Eternalis waved him towards Aurora, who happily received the pup from his hands.

"Do you want to meet Lyntael again, Sparky? Let's go and have a stroll around Kotobuki!" Aurora fawned and nuzzled over Sparky, who took the chance to add his own input into her email to Lyntael by way of randomly smashed letters. "I'll take that as a yes. Could you ask Harke if he's available to operate? It feels like it's been ages since we did some virus busting."


Having notified Harke of Lyntael's invitation, he readily agreed to operate, and Eternalis and Aurora readied themselves for their excursion.

"It does feel like it's been a little bit, it'll be nice to see friends again. There's been bad weather recently so we can't really fly back to Electopia for a bit, too..." mused Harke. "Ready to head in?"

"Good to go," said Eternalis, flashing the OK, as he and Aurora walked into the central teleport panel in their homepage. With Sparky in Aurora's arms, and a rather beaten-up looking spinner in Eternalis's, the panel lit up as its destination was pointed towards Kotobuki's network, and all three vanished through.

[>> Casual busting and Catching up - Kotobuki Net]