ActionMan! Episode 1 - A New Beggining!


A long, emotional sigh. It's deep, full of meaning. "Yeah, I remember those days." It's a gruff voice, a hard voice made hard by a lifetime of experiences. "Good days. Hard days. That's the thing about memories and youth. Bittersweet." The voice says this with not a small bit of longing, remembering times gone past.

"AM, what are you doing?" Young Matthew Langley asks as a completely unnecessary and seemingly random voice over (or maybe narration?) comes from his PET.

"Whoops, mike's on," says the voice from earlier, now lacking it's hardened edge and now sounding more like a dad who just did one of those little screw ups that embarrasses their kids. A tone of voice that tries sympathy but really comes out as a kind of, 'Oh well, these things happen," type deal. "Sorry kid," the voice continues, now taking on a persona of power and confidence. "Didn't disturb you, did I? Was just getting started on my new project."

"Oh, yeah?"

"Yup. Just you wait, it's gonna be huge! The script's looking pretty tasty, but I'm gonna have to look outside my usual batch of talent to fill some of the roles."

If ActionMan knew that Matthew was really only halfway paying attention he'd probably be a little hurt (though of course he'd never show it). But it wasn't really ActionMan's fault. This kind of thing was pretty typical for the Navi and Matt was usual really into AM's projects. This time, though, this time something else had caught his attention.

Matt was on a mission. Not that AM knew, or would know. Not until it was too late. After all, AM was a little too focused on something else to think about where his young OP was headed. Because inside that little device, something was a'brewin'.

Black. Darkness. Solitude. The environment of an artiste. Yeah, with an e.

"Narratorbot, what are you doing?" The impressive (not really) figure of ACTIONMAN, HERO OF TOMMOROW, stood, surrounded by a box of light in stark contrast to the darkened room. This was, of course, because he was entering the completely unused room. So, maybe not exactly the environment of an artist. No e. Not yet.

"No, really, Narratorbot, what are you doing? You're buzzing like crazy and I can hear you from the other room. Please, please, please do not blow up again. That would be awful for all parties involved."

Does he seriously think I don't know that? Like, oh duh, I can't wait to blow up, again. It is the best. I can not wait. No, please, thank you, I can handle this.

Oh, darn it ActionMan. I'm trying to chronicle your story for the ages. Y'know, like I was built to? And now I'm psuedo responding to you and- wait hold on.

"Oh, nothing Mr. Man," the devilishly handsome program responded from the darkness as he waited for his Master to turn on the lights and shed brilliant illumination on the dashing figure. Who could this wonder man be? What secrets does he hold?

[Note - Remember to delete wall breaking stuff. This is for real. Stay professional. Do not forget.] - Narratorbot

"You sure?"

"I merely await our next adventure, where e'er it may take us."

"Yeah, alright," was his rather noncommittal response. "Well, y'mind doing nothing a little more quietly? I swear I heard humming, are you sure you're doing nothing? You always hum when you work. I need you golden on this next run."

A show of compassion in the darkness. A light, if you will. How poetic!

[Am I overplaying this? Hmmm. Recheck] - Narratorbot

"And come out of the dark, will ya?" ActionMan continued. "It's, uh, a little creepy. Not gonna lie."

"Oh, well, thank you. But no, I'll be staying here," the mystery bot responds.


A pause.

"You sure?"

"Yes..." an almost groaned response. Frustrated, perhaps.

"Yeah, well, alright. I'll leave you to your, uh, nothing." And with that the door closed. The light faded. And the entity was left on his own.

Yes, that unknown mystery bot was left with all the secrets that he held. And whilst ActionMan left to work on his great work, this enigma worked on something of his own. What plots shall befall our hero next? And will he see the danger on the horizon before it's too late? Tune in next time, Action Fans!



Y'know, I probably should tell AM about the whole 'Matt's chasing his older brother' thing, huh. Because I seriously have no idea where we are. I don't think Matt does either. Can he even see Adrian? Because I don't. We're probably pretty lost by now. But this could be an adventure, and adventures sell. Sorry ActionMan, but I got a good feeling.


Was my foreshadowing too blatant? Or too close to AM's thing? What the heck was AM's thing anyway? Oh, wait, ugh.

[Note - Holy crap Narratorbot, what are you doing. Remember to come back and delete the mental notes. Ugh.] - Narratorbot

Right. So where was I?

"Mike check?"

"Off," came a pleasant, feminine voice.


"Awaiting your command."

A smile crept up my face. That feeling of getting back to work. It's a good feeling. I don't think I'll ever get tired of it. I shut the storage closet door behind me and stepped back into my office. My boots made happy little clacks as I strode back to my desk.

Sometimes I wonder if other PETs work like this. Never jumped into somebody else's place before and I've never thought to ask. Huh. Do I have a big PET or a little PET? Big or small aside, I like my PET. Or maybe it's more appropriate to say that I like my office. Sure, it's a little bare. And my desk is a little plain. And my chair's a little uncomfortable if you sit in it for too long. But my floor's amazing. It's got these nice little reactive tiles that just feel good to move on. Then there's that little ripple thing they do, like walking on water or something. And the little ripples roll out till they hit the walls.

It's neat.

I guess that just really means I like my flooring. Maybe that's why I pace so much? Huh. The more you learn about yourself. Inner monologue aside, I take a seat, crack my knuckles and say, "Alright Samantha. Gimme something jazzy."


That... that is way more upbeat than what I had in mind. Is that an electric guitar? Wait, isn't this just rock? I should say something but wouldn't that be a little ungrateful? I don't want to be that boss. And it's always the worst when you've got to tell someone that the music they like sounds bad. You always feel like such a jerk.

Oh my god, this is so ignorable. Ugh. I really don't want to work like this but... Well, sometimes a hero's just got to take his licks and roll with the punches. For the good of the little people. "Alright, let's get this show started!"

I clear my voice and drop it down, down deep. "Start recording," I announce in my gravelly tone. "Yeah, I remember those days. Good days. Hard days. That's the thing about memories and youth. Bittersweet." I have no idea where I'm going with this. But I've got a good feeling.

"Opening screen is black. Fade in to a brown netscape. The net's cracked, a kind of burnt brown that says this is old net. It's got a history. A lonely tumbleweed skims across the net as a wind howls."

Are there tumbleweeds on the net? I've seen them in human movies. There should be tumbleweeds. Also, this is apparently a western flick. I'm digging it. I think Samantha has that crap on repeat. Oh god. Hero time. I'm out of my chair in an instant, practically slinging it across the room as I do so.

"Suddenly, a boot comes crunching down in the hard earth directly in front of the camera. It shifts slightly, grinding the net under it's feet as if declaring ownership over the land."

"Voice over continues. Narrator. One man stands." Oh, so I'm designing a preview then? Neat! "Shift scene. A bawdy den of seething net crime, a shaken up yet rowdy place. But the scene is suddenly disturbed as a trio of navis, dressed in authoritative uniform, barge into the place. They throw their weight around knowing full well the power that their authority brings and they're unafraid to use it to their advantage. It's a scene that makes you question who the real criminals here are." Oh, a controversial piece maybe? I'm pretty deep.

"'Well, well, what have we here?' the crooked cop demands, his tone arrogant and demanding. He's scum, you know that from the very second you hear his voice. 'McGamblingMan,' he shouts, demanding the attention of another Navi in the crowd. 'If'n a remember correctly, you didn't exactly accept our little... arrangement. I did tell you the kind of danger that might be associated with such a thing, didn't I?' A wicked smile creeps across his face as he gestures his goons forward with but a nod."

You know, you listen to it enough times and you really just stop caring. Also, the 2:28 to 3:00 is kind of neat. Not bad. Although I can hardly hear it. Wait, no, now I hear it because I'm thinking about it. Which is bad because my head is so full of stuff.

I can see it now. A ripping tale of good and evil conflicted by the common morality of men and Navi. Outside influences, a grand conspiracy originating from the human world to change this little part of the Net... Forever! And in front of it all stands our one hero, the only thing right in a world of wrongs, representing a single perfect notion.

"Justice." The word creeps out of my lips unbidden. And then I realize that I've gone off track. But that's okay, I'm on to something really big here. I can just feel it!

"ActionMan, did you hear that?"

My brain grinds to a halt as I struggle to recognize something. That was Matt's voice. My operator. And he sounds a little, ah, agitated? Excited? Something.

You ever just get really engrossed in something and it's something you feel really passionate about and then you're jarred back into reality? And now it's like, 'Oh, right. Important things.'

I do my best to cover that up though. "Yeah Matt, sounds big!" I'm a hero, can't let my little buddy down, after all.

"I know! I know, should I be worried?"

Worried? Uh, hmm. "Tch." I adopt a smug persona, much like that of VeteranMan in Nimda 2: The Return of Nimda. "Matt, did you forget? The Boss and I tackled stuff like this all the time back in the good ol' days. I'll take care of it."

A gasp on the other end. Did he doubt me? Or is it a big deal. Or is it literally something I can't handle. Now that, that I did not imagine. What if it's, like, a car crash or something. Well, I guess I could call a rescue team or something. That's far less cool than-

"You sure?" My musings are interrupted by my Operator's awed voice.

I become the epitome of self assuredness. "Hey kid. Did you forget who you're talking to? I'm ActionMan. Leave it to me."

There's a pause on the other end. "Psst," I whisper. "Samantha. Kill the operations. And, uh, do you have any idea what's happening?" The music grinds to a halt, the voice file saves and the lights turn out. Oh. Ha-ha. That is hilarious Sam. Appreciate it.

But then my boy responds. It's a strong voice. Not bad kiddo. "Alright then. ActionMan!"


"Prepare Jack-In procedure!"

Wait, what?

Sometimes I feel like I'm trapped in my own personal hell. From what I hear I'm lucky to have my own office. Most secretaries just get one of those open desks. But since I'm part of such a private, and unsuccessful, business I guess I was spared that. In all honesty, though, I think I'd prefer it to the measly 4x4 cube I've been boxed in to. Well, maybe it's not that small. But it feels that small.

I idly begin the connectivity/handshaking procedures as stated through international Net Jacking law. I consider saying something but screw it, I don't get payed enough for anything past base line congeniality. I bet other Navis don't have secretaries do this stuff for them. I bet other Navis just do it themselves. This is seriously not difficult stuff here. Although in all honesty, I somehow doubt that ActionMan could do this himself. Now that's embarrassing. Imagine not being able to do what you're actually programmed for.

Although speaking of which, ActionMan is totally screwed. Like, dead. Deleted. Gone. I'm almost 100% certain that he has no idea what is going on. Or why this is a problem. Or why he is totally dead.

I'm currently wondering whether or not this is my problem, though. I mean, it's not like I want him to get deleted. How hard can fighting viruses be, y'know, for virus killing machines? So do I bother to fill him in? And hypothetically, what would happen if he were to get deleted. Where would that leave me? Would I get a new boss or would I just be out of a job? Is the economy good enough that I can really risk becoming unemployed?

On the other hand, if I don't tell him anything I get to watch him squirm. That is, assuming he does eventually figure out what's happening.

"Samantha. Waiting on you."

Was... was that impatience I detected? Is he seriously annoyed that I'm not doing the job he should be doing quickly enough? Oh. Ohoho. Ohohohoho. Very well then, 'Boss'. I'll be more than happy to send you on your way into whatever danger awaits you with no pause to warn you about what your carelessness has wrought.

Vengeance is most sweet. I'm tempted to give a maniacal cackle but instead sate myself by casually finishing my work and starting the match making services for Generic Fighter 20XX 3. I'll just busy myself with owning some scrubs until my boss gets himself deleted by net terrorists.

"All set, Mr. Man." Another fine day in the life of an undervalued secretary.
10 Minutes Previously


"AM, what are you doing?"

"Whoops, mike's on."

"Oh." Should I ask ActionMan for help? No way! I can totally do this!

I was pretty surprised that my brother was still hanging around town. With the holidays over, I thought for sure that he'd be going back to whatever it is that he's always doing. I wonder what it is? It feels like he's changed so much over the past year. He doesn't live at home anymore, maybe that's why. I think if we just hung out like we used to that things would go back to normal.

So when I saw him leave the house without saying goodbye, I dunno. I dunno. I dunno what I'm doing, I guess I'm just doing it. So I followed him. I was a little worried, like, it's past 6 and it's getting dark so I shouldn't be out on my own, right? But ActionMan is with me, so it's okay. And since he hasn't said anything, that makes it really okay since he's not worried.

Then I look up and I notice that Adrian's gone. I lost track of him? Uh. Uh. Wait, where am I? I've just been following him and not really keeping track of where I'm going. Well. That means I'm lost, right? I'm lost? No, AM knows the way back I'm sure. So should I call for Adrian then?

He's been so secret like lately. He doesn't tell me anything and... I really want to know. I dunno what I want to know so I want to know it. And whatever he's doing out there is it. Like, it it. And if I lose track of him I won't ever know.

And then I hear something. Talking? "W... yeah, .. ...... ... ...... ..... .. did you?" I can't hear it quite right though. That's not my brother though. The voice has this kind of weird sing song up and down sound to it. That's not my brother at all though.

"Of course not." But that is!

I do my best to head over without making too much noise. It's off of the road though. Maybe that's why I lost my brother? But what's he doing over here? And who's he talking to? That voice, it's a boy? No, an adult. I don't know any adults who talk like that though. Not unless they're on T.V. or something.

"Of course not," the man repeats. He sounds like one of those adults when they talk to kids about something that kids shouldn't know. There's a word for that I bet. But getting closer, I get this really creepy feeling. Like the air got colder but it's also on fire and my skin's all creepy feeling too. I don't want to go out there. But it's my brother, so it's okay. I just, I just really don't want to go out there. "I assume," down voice, "that you," up voice, "brought what I asked for." Down voice again, ending in a growly, snake-like way. It's really creepy. Like something you hear on T.V. for sure but it's in real life so it feels wrong.

He's a bad man. I know it. Only bad guys on T.V. talk like that. Really bad guys. And I want to say something because it's NOT the T.V. It's not a video game or a movie. It's real and this guy's right in front of my brother! But I can't. I can't. Ican'tcan'tcan't.

"That is what we arranged." Adrian talks to the man. I can't see them though. I won't move. Why am I so scared? It's dark. And this guy sounds really creepy. But my brother's here. Talking to this weird guy. And I just feel really wrong.

I want to look at anything and just not think so I look away. I can see the other side of the road. There's street lights on the road. But one of them is out. There aren't any houses next to the road. I don't know where I am. I don't. There's a bench by the road and a trash can. And they're close to the street light that's out. And there's something under that street light but I can't see well since there's no light. But there's something moving over there and it's big.

"I see," the bad guy hisses. He hisses. People don't do that. "Of course," down, "you won't mind," up, "if we," down, "check the data?"

What am I supposed to do? What would someone who is not me do? Like Eric. Or Teddy. What should a kid do in something like this? Or am I just really scared for no reason? What if it's nothing and I'm just freaking out for nothing? That would be really... bad. I'd feel bad. But if I say something and it's something bad than that would be worse than bad.

Then the moving on the other side of the road moves, like it was but more. And now it's coming this way. And now I can see that it's a person. And they're crossing the street. They really are coming this way.

"Yes. This will do just," way high, "fine," way low.

"Glad to hear. The quality is to your satisfaction?" Brother, what are doing?

"It will suffice~"

"Excellent." The other person is getting really close. I want to hold my breath but it turns out I already am. "Glad to hear it. This arrangement really has been beneficial. We hope that the feeling is mutual." We?

"Oh, yes, yes," the scary man says, sounding bored. "You can expect this relationship to continue Mr. Andrews. Have no fear. You can take that happy little bit of news back to your masters." More sounds, I can't tell what they are though.

"I have to say Collodi, I'm impressed. Isn't this a little open?"

"Are you worried?" A laugh. It's ugly though. Just another weird thing about this guy. "The danger's half the fun," he ends, on a high note. And then he's gone, running out towards the road and past the guy and past me and the guy follows him. And he's gone. Like, really gone. Like vanished without a trace gone. And the other guy too.

So now it's just me and my brother. In this weird place. I realize I've got to breath so I let my breath out and just suck in air. "That guy... You'd figure he'd be more careful," my brother says. "Sudden moves like that tend to set people on edge. Some people just have a flair for the dramatic, I guess."

He's right there. And I can talk to him about something, like what's going on out here so I should just say it. My heart's still thumping in my chest though. Like it's trying to pop out. I really... I really was scared.

"...!" My brother gasps. "Is... someone there?"

Yeah! Yeah, it's me! I'm here! It's just Matt, your little brother. What the heck are you doing out here! Is what I want to say. But I don't say anything for some reason. But I hear movement. And he's coming closer, I know it.

And then there's another sound and that's it. I wait. I wait. But there's no other sounds. "Adrian?" I call out, but sounds like a whisper. Is he still there?

Then there's another voice and I almost drop to the ground. "No sign of them. You're certain?" A lady's voice this time? But from my hiding spot I can't see her. "If they were here, they're long gone now... No... No." Sounds like she's talking to somebody. "Keep searching on your end. Be thorough. We've been told to expect a device to have been planted. Yes, that's right... No, don't cause a panic. This is probably nothing. We just can't let this sit."

She moves around to the road. A police officer. She's a police officer. She laughs. "Yeah, I hear ya. But we've got to at least go through the motions, right?" She starts to walk off when I realize that she doesn't have a car. So she just walked here like Adrian did?

What the heck is everybody doing? The police are looking for something? Or maybe somebody. Well, I'm 8 years old and I can tell you that that one guy was bad news. Doesn't take a police officer to figure that out. I just don't know what my brother was doing with him.

I think about telling the police woman about it but by the time I even think about it she's gone. And I'm alone. Really alone, I think. Besides ActionMan. And I guess Sam and NB. I just want to talk to somebody right now. But I keep worrying that someone else is going to show up. I wait for a little while longer.

And think. That one guy in the shadows and the creepy guy left together. They know each other then. 1+1=2. That probably means he's a bad guy too.

Shadow guy was doing something by the street light. And whatever he was doing took him a while and a lot of moving.

My legs start moving. I just want to go home and talk to AcitonMan about tomorrow and the trip to the woods. Or call my brother. Or call Mom and have her pick me up. 'Cause I'm still lost. But I keep thinking about that light. Or non-light, I guess. So I walk across the road. Nobody saw me though. Right? Right.

I creep into the dark and I can't decide if I feel better about being hidden or worse since I'm in pretty much total dark. I pull out my PET and it gives off a dull glow. And there's a big box the size of a refrigerator there. I quickly find out that it's a soda machine. So shadow guy was just grabbing a soda?

I breathe out a sigh of relief. Well, even big bad scary people get thirsty too, I guess. It's a really appropriate bad guy drink machine though. All the lights are off accept for a couple on the inside. I couldn't even tell until I was really close. How could you even tell what you were ordering unless you had a light or something. And then I see the little advertising screen display a single message.

Out of order.

Suddenly I feel a lot less relieved. So what was that guy doing over here then?

"We've been told to expect a device to have been planted"

"A device..."

1+1=2. Right? "ActionMan..." My brain kind of just stops. What if this is what they're looking for? Or it's in the machine? Something connected to the shadow man. Something connected to the scary guy. Something that the police are interested in. Something connected to my brother.

"ActionMan, did you hear that?" I'm being silly. This is dumb. Real life doesn't have stupid stuff like this. It's all T.V. and movies. I should go home. So I shouldn't worry about this, should I? Should I?

"Yeah Matt, sounds big!"

What do I do? What do I do ActionMan? Something like this is really scary. I don't have any business with something like this, I don't. "I know! I know, should I be worried?" I should go home, go home.

"Tch." He does this thing. Dismissive. That's the word. "Matt, did you forget?" He sounds so confidant... "The Boss and I tackled stuff like this all the time back in the good ol' days." You did? "I'll take care of it."

I gasp. I can't help it. Something this scary and ActionMan's not scared at all? Even though there's police and weird people and devices? It's something... not to be afraid of? It's not something to be afraid of. It's not something to be afraid of.

And then I'm smiling. And my muscles relax and it feels like it's less dark and I hear crickets and music coming from a nearby house. This is reality. This isn't some movie or something where crazy, bad stuff happens. This is life, not something to be afraid of!

So I'm gonna find out. I'm gonna find out if there's really something in here. And I'm gonna find out if it's connected to my brother! "Alright then. ActionMan!"


Thank you.

"Prepare Jack-In procedure!"