ACDC Flower Garden

"What a day..." Griffin groaned, sinking onto a bench, still clad in the pants from his firefighter's turnout. Just a few blocks down, a massive tower of smoke reached high into the otherwise-clear skies, the product of a truly spectacular house fire. "Can we get some funding together for a PSA about not forgetting to turn your oven off? I feel like we'd save people millions..."

"It wasn't that bad today," ScorchMan remarked, appearing on Griffin's shoulder like a blind, burning angel. "It was only a dog that needed rescuing; could've been a lot worse. It HAS been a lot worse. Lack of eyes didn't stop him from giving the man a very pointed look.

Griffin sighed, wrinkling his nose when he realized he still smelled largely of smoke and fire. "Well, regardless, that's another job well-done," he allowed, letting the conflict subside and focusing on his surroundings. "I'm glad I noticed this place on the way here; good place to unwind, we'll have to remember it."

ScorchMan couldn't help snarking. "I hope you think it's good enough to take over a ride back to the station; you'll need to take public transit back to the station now that you passed up on riding back. And there's the after-action report you're procrastinating on."

Griffin tried waving the Navi away, mildly disappointed when his hand went right through the intangible hologram. "The chief let me stay, so I don't see a problem. And I've got tons of time on the report, so you, Mr. Punctual, can stuff it." Jibing tone aside, the words were meant with affection; the both of them liked to banter to destress. "That said, it still is a really nice little garden. I think it's community-run, you can see all the different patches where everyone's growing their own thing.

There was a moment where the conversation was put on hold, in favour of a most comfortable silence. Then, ScorchMan asked, quietly, "What do the flowers look like?"

Griffin grinned, turning to the nearest patch. "Well, this one in front of me, it's called..." and so the two took to spending a comfortable afternoon, Griffin's impromptu lesson washing over the burning Navi, painting his mind with thoughts of flowers.
Sir Nicolas Pensworth, Lord of the Dragon Manor, stood holding the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes in exasperation.
"Now see here; I told you before we left I intended to view the gardens. You still insisted on being involved, so I will not tolerate this....behavior from you any longer."
He turned to the Navi he was addressing, perched on his shoulder....well, not so much perched, as draped over his shoulder like a sash. Silver, a fierceome, silver dragon in miniature, lazily lifted his head and yawned directly into his Operators face, before flumping back into a position of abject boredom.
Sir Nicolas looked at his Navi with a mix of frustration and affection; he knew the poor Navi hadn't been able to do anything that truly tested his abilities in a long time, and sympathised with him in that respect at least.
"Alright, perhaps we should head back....what would people think of me if I were to let my Navi die of something as trivial as boredom?" Sir Nicolas chuckled under his breath when Silver rolled his eyes at him, but it was apparent the news had cheered the little dragon immensely, as he sat up and began surveying his surroundings, moving like a strange, silver cat on the old man's arm.
As they began walking along the bank of gardens, Silver began crooning, bringing Sir Nicolas' attention to a rather bedraggled looking firefighter, and more notibly,the Navi, perched on his own shoulder.
Sir Nicolas could see from the condition of the man's hair and clothes he had just come off a job, so beaming, he moved to greet them.
"May I just say sir, the job you do, everyday, is admirable....I truly thank you, and you fellows, for your service to your fellow man. Yes, modern knights, truly."
Silver snorted in amusement, and looked over at his counterpart, before looking very pointedly at his operator.
"Yes, of course, where are my manners? Sir Nicolas Pensworth, at your service! And my.....companion here is my Navi, Silver. Did you know, there aren't many DRAGON Navis? Was quite suprised in fact...but I'm rambling again, aren't I?"
Silver rolled his eyes before looking over at the pair on the bench, looking back at his operator, and facepalming heavily.
Griffin looked up to face the newcomer, immediately taking in everything he could see about the elder man: strapping physique, fine clothes...and, of course, the draconic Navi taking up residence on his arm. He grinned at the words of gratitude, dusting himself off and standing up straight. "Griffin Reim, at yours. I'd shake your hand, but I'm afraid mine are still a little sooty," he held up his hands to emphasize; both were blackened with a liberal coating of black ash and residue.

"I'm ScorchMan," the burning Navi introduced himself simply, standing up on Griffin's shoulder and turning to face the source of the voice. "Your words are appreciated, Mr. Pensworth. It's all in a days work for Griffin and I; there are a million ways to make something of yourself, and my Operator decided emergency services was his way." He'd heard the animal crooning and the other man mentioning his dragon-Navi, but couldn't actually see it in front of him; holograms gave off no heat.

"Four legs, two wings, silver're trying to picture him, aren't you?" ScorchMan 'saw' Griffin turn his head to face him. The man looked back up, facing Nicholas. "That's one heck of a Navi you've got there. ScorchMan here's mostly a work-Navi, operates the thermal scanners and what not for me while I'm working, but we're starting to get into virus busting in our off-hours," he explained, gesturing to his own shoulder-rider. "That being said...I don't wanna assume, but your Navi's looking a little bored. ScorchMan and I still need to burn off some pun intended, from our last job, and knowing us, we'll probably just go bust some viruses. Care to join us?"

The suggestion was made off-hand, but ScorchMan's shoulders still flared up with an excited tension that belied his stoic expression. Perhaps it was a childish thought...but he wanted to see this Silver for himself, face-to-face.
Before Sir Nicholas was able to even open his mouth, Silver realized he would have to act. This was not the first time they had been offered a partnership, however Sir Nicholas would always protest they worked best alone, or that Silver was "not yet ready for the fires of true battle", most times without even discussing it with Silver. The Navi loved the frustrating old man dearly, but was truly fed up with being treated as a pet, rather than a fellow warrior. Sir Nicholas spoke often of doing heroic deeds, and Silver was determined he would do his part to help. The only way that would ever happen though, was to prove to his Operator that he could hold his own. These "modern knights" were definitely the sort he could feel proud to fight alongside. Grinning mischievously, Silver realized the only way he would get that opportunity would be to "speak" up.

One of the reasons that Sir Nicholas was reluctant to agree to a team up, had to do with the fact that Silver was not actually able to speak; his draconian mouth made human words impossible to to recreate. He could understand perfectly, and was actually an intelligent being in his own right, and in some ways was wiser than even Sir Nicholas. Instead, when Silver needed to communicate complex ideas to his Operator, he could psychically project images, emotions, smells, even sounds he had heard; Sir Nicholas had always wondered at that, why Silver did not simply create a mental voice to speak with, but when asked about it, the dragon would shrug and refuse to answer. He wasn't even sure if Silver would be able to work with other Navis, he was just so...different. As he pondered what to do, he noticed out of the corner of his eye Silver tensing on his shoulder....before suddenly the world exploded.

He felt as though he was flying upward, higher and higher until he was at the top of the sky, looking down at the surface of the world below. Even at this distance he could see everything in intense clarity, every leaf and blade of grass, every building, every face of every human was impossible, and yet there it was in front of him.
Joy and awe and a desperate ache to do whatever it took to protect the world below him...the emotions were so intense it made him double over.....Sir Nicholas' realized that this was truly how Silver felt, and felt a great sadness that he had underestimated his Navi....
Flying back to the surface, so fast...before realizing the world rushing up to greet him was the Net world....and standing in a field, staring up with piercing blue eyes was Silver, only here he was his full size, as big as a war horse and far more terrifying...
His scales hummed, the faintest crackle of electricity seeming to emanate from his body, making his presence even more overpowering....
His wings spread to his full range, almost 20 feet from tip to tip and shimmering like liquid metal...
Just before touching down, Silver held onto his gaze with eyes still loving, but very determined, before a very musical, baritone voice spoke just 4 words...

Sir Nicholas sat down rather suddenly and awkwardly on the grass, clutching his head; he hadn't realized just how powerful Silver could become, or even that he could..."shout" like that...Realizing that the fireman and his Navi companion most likely had no idea what just happened, he quickly regained his composure and stood up to offer an apology...before noticing the pair of them also clutching their own heads...and Silver had a very smug expression of satisfaction on his face. As the situation dawned on him, and realizing that there was nothing else he could do but numbly nod his assent to Silver, Sir Nicholas held his breath, and waited to see how the pair of them would react.
<(OOC: With all the stuff we talked about on the chat in mind, I'm gonna allow the telepathy to spread over to ScorchMan, as another Navi; it's still up in the air on whether or not we're allowing Nicholas to hear it, and no chance of Griffin getting involved. I'll do as you say he does this once, but just remember in the future that godmoding another character's reactions is a big no-no here.)>

A strange permission request entered ScorchMan's awareness, marked from a one Silver.EXE. Figuring it to be a simple greeting of some kind, he greenlighted it without a word, prepared to open up some means of communication with the other Navi. What he wasn't prepared for was an entire extension of the draconic Navi's consciousness to flood through the link, battering against the walls of his own and slipping inside. "Gah!" ScorchMan fell to his knees without warning, flaring up in alarm on Griffin's shoulder. He could feel a foreign presence inside his head, intruding on his soul, or whatever constituted one. "What's...happening?" he groaned, entirely unused to having his mind joined to another.

"ScorchMan? ScorchMan, what's wrong?" Griffin asked, looking back and forth from his Navi to the elder man, who were both in some state of obvious mental distress. The only possible perp was...he turned to the smug-looking dragon on Nicholas' shoulder. "May I ask what the hell you think you're doing?" he went on a wild guess that it had to be the Navi's doing; they were, after all, completely alone in the garden.

"No, Griffin, no...I can see. I can see," ScorchMan gasped out, flames flaring and receding as he visibly took deep breaths. Unconsciously, his hand slid under his face-concealing blinder, feeling at the twisted scars that had claimed his eyes. Images, so full of colour and clarity and vision as to utterly overwhelm him, flooded into his mind through the link. He saw the human world as the other Navi saw it, in all its natural beauty; had he still possessed tear ducts, his eyes would have been watering. Then, just as he started getting used to the very concept of seeing again, the torrent of emotion (Silver's emotions, he realized) washed over him, making his shoulder-flames ripple like a child blowing against a lit candle.

And then he could see Silver, standing before him, scales like molten silver and electric-blue eyes piercing in a way he'd long-since forgotten. He could see the dragon's wings, outstretched like they were preparing to laugh in the face of gravity, like it would only take the barest thought for him to soar high overhead. "Incredible..." he murmured in spite of himself, enraptured despite himself.

And then, as Silver's mind retreated from his, the image faded away, and ScorchMan very nearly reached out as though it would come back if he tried hard enough. The image of the drake stayed with him even as his vision faded to nothing once more, left with nothing but the PET's thermal scanner to show him the bright gleam of Griffin and Nicholas' body heat. Feeling he should speak up, he explained to his Operator in a quiet voice, "Griffin...that Navi can show me things. I could actually see him...I want to meet him, in the Net. I want to see more." It was a tentative request, almost a plead if his dignity were any lower...and the man understood.

"I'm not really sure what just happened, but my Navi wants to meet your Navi face-to-face. We were going virus-busting anyway; your Navi's welcome to come along," Griffin said to the other man, scratching his stubble and grimacing when he felt the soot coat his face even more. "Out of curiosity, what did just happen anyway? I've never seen ScorchMan react to another Navi like that." As he spoke, he started searching the garden for a jack-in port; they were so ubiquitous in this day and age that you never had to look too far. With a quiet, "Aha!" he uncovered a public port against a telephone pole. "How's...say, ElecTown Net sound to you, ScorchMan?" he asked his Navi, checking a list on his PET of the different accessible Nets from this port.

ScorchMan just nodded, still a bit numb. Maybe it had just been the mental stress of initial contact on top of the job they'd just pulled in the house fire, but he definitely needed to (no pun intended) burn off some steam.
For a moment, both Silver and Sir Nicholas both simply blinked in stunned silence...before Silver unleashed a thunderous roar of joy. Sir Nicholas still seemed a bit in shock, but quickly regained his composure, realizing their new allies needed answers.
"Well then...I can assure you, your Navi has not been harmed in anyway. Silver has been programmed with the ability to transmit his...well, memories, what he can see, what he can hear, as data. It is picked up by an elaborate cerebral interface I have designed for such a purpose. It can also be picked up by fellow Navi if he wishes, but the connection is...quite intense. It isn't just images...Silver basically...joins his mind with yours. Needless to say, it can lead to incredibly awkward situations, which is one of the main reasons I've kept him away from others....for which I feel terribly guilty over. If you can truly accept such an unusual partnership, we would be honoured to join you and your Navi kind sir."
Sir Nicholas looked over at his dragon and smiled. "Will you ever forgive me for doubting you, my friend?"
Silver playfully nipped at the air in front of his Operator's nose, before gesturing impatiently at the jack in port.
"No, it shouldn't be too fact, this might have been a chance encounter. See, my Navi's blind, and so he can only really see through heat. If your Navi can transmit images...well, let's see how this works," Griffin mused, looking to the Navi on his shoulder. "You ready, ScorchMan?"

ScorchMan just snorted. "Just jack me in, already," he said, unknowingly mirroring Silver's impatience.

Griffin smiled a sooty smile, withdrawing his PET from its holster on his belt. "You said it. Off you go, ScorchMan!" The burning Navi disappeared off his shoulder, drawn into the infrared beam he lanced from the gunmetal-grey terminal into the jack-in port, beaming ScorchMan into the depths of the Net World.

<(To ElecTown Net)>
Sir Nicholas smiled, relieved. He approached the jack-in port, and gently withdrew his PET from his pocket, before turning to the dragon still standing on his shoulder.
"Go on, Silver," he said with an encouraging smile, and the dragon was gone, beamed into the NetWorld.

<(To ElecTown Net)>
"OOOOOOHH YEEEEAAH, CANNON BALLLLL!!!" The park was empty. Foot traffic had nearly ground to a halt in the city block surrounding an elegant flower garden, pedestrians in the middle of crossing frozen like deer. Traffic was stopped altogether on one street. Everyone, everyone had their PET held out, recording.

Resplendent in brawn-cradling black raglan and the sort of athletic shorts only the truly confident could wear, the man on the bench would have raised eyebrows in a sports bar on game night. He would be front-centre on the Jumbotron all day long at the game itself. Clips of his antics were going viral in real time, ranging from drill sergeant-esque screaming into the PET he clenched hard enough to make his entire body flex, to hooting and dancing and bouncing his feet on the ground like a happy pit-bull when the plans he was screaming apparently pulled through.

The Navi's name he barked every three-to-seven seconds was, of course, bleeped out right before the '-Man'. Privacy concerns, and all.

Naturally, Griffin himself was completely unaware of his fifteen minutes of Internet-fame, only having eyes for the bombastic action ScorchMan had thrown together. Their haphazard arsenal had pulled through better than he'd ever have expected, and ScorchMan was moving almost like he used to, that signature Navi precision coming through at the right moments just so, mm, just like Grandma used to make.

Wha-ding, the PET clanged once like a fire bell and just as loud, announcing ScorchMan's safe return. Seeing the diagnostics come up, red wireframes slowly bleeding away to green, the tight coil of adrenaline in Griffin's chest finally started to unspool. Everything was good, they'd handled it -

And they'd cleaned themselves out of the resources to do it again. The spent SubChips taunted Griffin from the tiny pocket in his shorts (good for storing broken SubChips, apparently, and very little else). "Ahh well, those weren't that much!" The big man clapped his knees, and a great many people silently, simultaneously thought 'oh finally' as he rose to his feet and started on his way, hooking the sooty firefighter's turnout over his shoulder and his gunmetal-grey PET on his hip.

Then a certain few of those people realized he was headed straight for one of the shops on the corner, and, well, whatever they thought of the half-dressed young man with far too many muscles and not enough volume control, he was moving with far too much purpose to be stopped now.

<(To Chip Shop)>