A Meeting at 3:00

Chris sat down on a nearby bench, and set his PET down beside him. Nitro appeared through the PET's holographic projector and looked up at Chris.
"You got the time, Nitro?" Chris asked his Navi.
"Iiitsss..." the Navi replied. "A couple minutes before three."
"Alright, we should be meeting the operator any minute now," Chris said. He looked around, waiting for the mystery operator to show themselves.
As he approached the park entrance, John felt out of place in amongst all of the joviality of the children and park goers that surrounded him, like scrooge at Christmas, he looked down on them with a 'bah humbug' attitude. Staring at his PeT intently, his look told Gadgetman that not only was he not enjoying this but if anything went wrong, he would be to blame, he spoke quietly to the navi, "So have we got anything to go by when finding this partner?",

"Y-yes", Gadgetman replied nervously, "Here I'll bring you up a picture", as soon as he said this, a small picture of the target filled the PeT screen, completely obscuring the navi, although he did continue to speak, "From the file name, he appears to go by the name Chris, looks pretty young too",

"Hmm... Shouldn't be too hard to spot", John replied as he rubbed the un-kept stubble of his chin, "What time is it?",

"About 10 past, we are late, you better hurry up", the navi replied,

"Yeah, yeah, quit your yapping...", he grumbled in reply to the navi as he stalked his way through the playground, looking around himself until he found the man in question.

Walking over to the man from the side, he immediately noted the figures large stature in comparison to his own, only adding to his reasons to be nervous. When he was sufficiently close, John spoke in a slightly cheerier tone, the kind reserved for such occasions, "H-Hey, I take it you are the one my navi contacted, my name is John", the man then held out a hand primed for shaking and offered the best fake smile he could muster.
Chris had begun pacing around the bench, waiting for his partner to arrive. "What time is it?" Chris asked his navi once again.

"About ten past," Nitro replied. "You don't think maybe this guy isn't gonna show?"

"Come on Nitro," Chris replied. "That'd just be rude."

"We don't know if this guy is the type to be rude or not," Nitro noted.

"Still," Chris said. "I did kind of pick a time pretty close to when I responded. He's probably just running kind of late." Chris looked around, and saw a man walking towards them. "You think that's him?"

"Hold on, they gave us a picture before we left," Nitro brought up the picture of the operator posted by Gadgetman. "Yeah, that looks like him. Sheesh, he certainly is a looker, isn't he?"

"Shh," Chris said. "We're here to make firends, not rip on people's appearance."

"Too bad, 'cause I could go on for hours on you."

"Do you want to wear the bikini again?" Chris warned.

"... I'll be good." Nitro said sheepishly.

Chris walked over to the bench and scooped up his PET. He then heard the stranger's greeting, and turned to face him.

"H-Hey, I take it you are the one my navi contacted, my name is John"

Chris noticed that John held out his hand, and he took it firmly in his hand. "Nice to meet you," Chris said. "I'm Chris."

As he shook John's hand, Chris couldn't help but look him over, despite what he said to Nitro. He was a lot shorter than him, but that didn't surprise him very much; he towered over pretty much everyone else in his family, despite being the youngest of all of them. He also had a bit of stubble going on, but Chris was in no position to judge him based on that, he was no stranger to unshaven facial hair. But what really threw Chris off were the glasses. There's no way he can see through those things, Chris thought to himself, trying as hard as he could to see John's eyes through the seemingly opaque spiraled lenses. Chris snapped out of his thoughts, and realized that he had probably been shaking John's hand a lot longer than neccessary. Chris quickly took back his hand, then reached into his pocket and pulled out his PET.

"So, I should probably introduce my Navi," Chris said. He held out the PET in front of him, about level wioth his stomach, and Nitro appeared through the device's projector. "This is Nitro," Chris said. "He's the one that put up the ad on the BBS." Nitro waved up at John from his vantage point atop the PET.
To the discerning eye it would have appeared that all was well with the meeting of the two men, although through the twisted perspective of John, things were far from fine, for one, the hand shake that John had offered Chris was a friendly gesture at best, the man never really did like shaking hands, so when the recipient gripped his hand with a great force, John's confidence was shaken even further, He's a big bugger isn't he, John thought to himself as he grinned and bared it.

After the handshake finished, longer than any handshake ought to have lasted, John quickly pulled his hand back, rubbing it with the other rather overdramatically, he was then stopped abruptly by the PeT of Chris, greeting him stood a small navi on the customized PeT screen which appeared to be waving at him, so it only seemed proper that he waved back but at such a short range he could only manage a few finger movements with the slightly bruised shaking hand, although he stopped after a few seconds after realising how silly he must look. John took a step back and after a few seconds of fumbling, managed to release a small screen from the bundle of wires, upon which Gadgetman should have appeared.

"Hi Chris, this is my navi Gadgetman, he's rather new to the whole busting thing, as am I", John spoke clearly to Chris as he brandished the screen to him, although after the strange look he received, he quickly checked the screen only to see the picture of the man still up, instead of the navi, "Why is that still up!?", he whispered intently to the navi, turning slightly away from the other guy,

"I, er... Sorry... I'm ready now", Gadgetman replied in an insecure tone. John sighed at the navi before turning back to the pair, showing Chris the screen with the navi on at last, the navi spoke out through a small speaker mounted below the screen, "Hi, I'm Gadgetman, it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance".
Chris watched as John rubbed his hand after the handshake. Chris didn't consider himself to be an overly strong person, so when he saw that John's hand had actually bruised from the shake when he waved at Nitro, Chris thought that either he didn't know his own strength, or that John bruised easier than a peach.

Chris watched as John pulled out what seemed to be his PET. It was hard to tell, as it looked more like the inside of a loose wire drawer than a PET. He looked at the screen as John introduced his Navi, but was instead greeted by his own face. "Well, he's handsome, I'll give him that," Chris joked. He watched John as he turned away to get the situation rectified, and after a moment, was greeted by John's Navi, Gadgetman. Before Chris could say anything, though, Nitro cut him across.

"So, you're new to busting, huh?" Nitro said to Gadgetman. "Well, don't you worry, you'll never meet a better busting teacher than yours truly!"

"Really?" Chris said, sarcastically. "You mean you got a teaching degree and everything?"

"Well... no..." Nitro said. "But we've faced and beaten all sorts of viruses and Navis. I don't think we've lost a fight once!"

"What about that time with Phantasm and that sword Navi-"

"That was a draw." Nitro interjected. "Besides, I'm a lot stronger now than I was back then, I'm sure I could wipe the floor with him and his little puppet." Nitro turned back to Gadgetman and John. "So, you want to get started or what?"
"Experienced!?", Gadgetman exclaimed in excitement as Nitro bragged about his past exploits, "Did you hear that John!? This navi must have year's worth of valuable experience, we could learn so much from testing him! All we need is the statistical data analyser, the field scanner, maybe the portable mini printer in case of...",

"C-Calm down...", John said to the navi rather hurriedly as he quickly covered the speaker of the screen, fearing for the damage that the navi was doing to his first impressions, he immediately tried to perform damage control on the situation, "He can get a little over zealous from time to time, I think it would be best if we just got on with this", he said with a tone of embarrassment, he followed up with a question to the other Operator, "So do you know any decent places to jack in, this part of the park seems a little noisy".
"Hmm..." Chris thought for a moment. "We could try somewhere in the south end of the park, I don't think too many people go there, there's no playgrounds or picnic areas, plus it's not near any entrances or exits." Chris stowed his PET back in his pocket, then turned to travel down the path. "Follow me, I'll show you the way."
"Ah ok", John replied in a friendly tone to Chris' suggestion, the sooner he was away from the happy people in the play area, the better. As he watched Chris prepare to get moving, he done the same by thrusting the screen back into the jumbled mess that hung precariously from his waist, he then proceeded to follow the man when he was prompted to.

While the two men walked to their destination, the silence that accompanied it compelled John to fill it with general chit-chat, "So... How did you get into the whole net battling thing then?"
"Hmm?" Chris uttered in responce to John's question. "Oh, I just kind of got into it as a hobby, to be honest. I got Nitro here-" Chris patted his pocket. "-as a going away present from some old friends of mine. Well, I got all the base components, I made Nitro myself. So anyway, after I made him, we did what any teenager with a Navi and nothing to do would do: we took to the net. Dozens upon dozens of viruses and hostile Navis later, here we are. So how about you? Why're you getting into busting?"
John listened intently to Chris as he described his situation and as he listened, it suddenly dawned on him that he would eventually have to answer a similar question. As the man drew his talk to a close, John felt a strange sense of envy at his story; it seemed to be the start of a great adventure for the pair, whereas all he had was a list of bitter regrets. Preferring not to go into too much detail into his life story with somebody he just met, John went with the safer route by saying, "Oh me? You know how it is, bills to pay and all that, he he he", finishing off his hollow tale with a half hearted laugh. Realising the how obvious his half truths must have appeared to Chris, John quickly tried to switch the conversation back to the task at hand.

As the ambient sounds appeared to die down, John posed a question to Chris, "Er, so are we near this point yet?".
Chris raised an eyebrow at John's short and vague explanation. There was obviously something that John wasn't telling him. Still, it's not like Chris had told John the whole story, either.

Chris had decided to keep quiet about he and Nitro's recent foray into Net-terrorism, partly because he didn't want John and Gadgetman into trouble, if Nitro was recognized in the Net by an officer, by knowingly fraternizing with a criminal, and on the off chance that John and Gadget were in the NetPolice themselves.

At any rate, Chris decided not to persue the subject of John's motivations, and instead answered his second question.

"Well," Chris said. "It shouldn't be too much farther, but you sort of have to keep your eye out. They like having them blend in with the surroundings, to keep the park's atmosphere. They put them in benches, statues, lamp posts, I'd even bet that some of these trees aren't quite all natural, if you know what I mean." Chris took a look around, and spotted a bench about forty feet away from where they were. "In fact, I think I see one over there." Chris pointed out the bench to John. Chris started to take larger strides toward the bench, hoping to claim the spot before anyone else did.
As Chris explained the reasons for the jack in port's out of the way location, John couldn't help but notice how rundown this part of the park was in comparison to the area the pair had been in up untill recently, although it was still clean and child friendly, a distinct layer of grime seemed to layer most of the aparatus and seating areas nearby.

The other man had seemed to wrap up his talk and was beggining to approach a nearby supposedly hidden point and as John had never really explored the play area before, could only follow him after a quick grunt of aknowledgement, making sure to avoid the few bits of rubbish that littered the disused path along the way.
Chris and John reached the bench without much incident. Chris stopped at the bench and looked at it for a moment, then wiped his finger across a portion of it. It didn't seem wet or anything, but there was a bit of dried dirt sitting on the spot he intended to sit on. Chris roughly wiped the bench with an open palm, then, when he was satisfied with his work, he removed his PET from his pocket (after wiping his hand off on his pants, of course,) and sat down.

Chris flipped up a cover of sorts on the bench's arm, and located a few jack-in ports embedded into the arm. Chris looked up at John, who hadn't taken any action yet. "Go ahead and sit down," Chris said. "There should be some ports on the other arm." Chris then fished out a small wireless adapter and plugged it into one of the ports on his side. Once it was plugged in and ready to accept a signal, Chris pressed the Connect button on his PET, and sent Nitro into the Net.

Taking the cue from Chris, John also motioned towards his new seating area, although it was only when they were both up close that he realised the seat was completely covered in a layer of grime. Watching onwards as Chris casually brushed away the muck with a few quick arm movements, John went to emulate the move on his own portion of bench only to find that his paranoid brain prevented his clean arm from coming anywhere near the stuff, he instead tucked his lab coat firmly beneath himself as he sat down, preferring not to think of what lay underneath.

Watching as the other guy seemed to attach a receiver of some description into the arm of the bench chair, John smiled at the thoughts of how primitive his own methods must have seemed in comparison, he pulled a wire that seemed to be slightly darker than the rest of the jumble around it, extending it until it could reach the port and inserted it, he quickly added, "My gears a little outdated, needs a direct connection to work properly".

[Jack in, Gadgetman.exe]
A small indicator on the screen indicated that Nitro had successfully transferred into the PET. Chris reached over and pulled the wireless adapter from the jack-in port. He looked up at the sky as hestood up and stowed the device in his pocket, and noticed that it had begun to turn a bright orange red colour. "Jeez," Chris remarked. "We've been out here longer than I thought." A slight breeze sent a chill through Chris' body, as if prompting him to move things along. He turned to John, stowing the PET in his pocket. "Well, it's been fun," Chris said. "You and Gadgetman certainly can hold your own. Sorry to cut things short, but I really can't stand the cold." He gave a short wave as he turned to leave. "Be sure to drop us a line, I'm sure Nitro gave you our email!" Chris began walking away, heading for home and trying to get out of the cold as quickly as possible.
"I'll, er, be sure to do that", John replied nervously, he gave a hesitant hand wave to Chris as he walked off into the distance, "Well that was time I could have spent differently...", he continued as soon as the other man was out of earshot.

After he was sure the coast was clear, John slinked away from the secluded part off the park, making sure too avoid the still busy main area, a bundle of cables swinging precariously from his side; the man was tired and he knew he was in need of a good sleep.