That Park, Those Benches

"Okay, it's done." announced Mill from one of many park benches, having used his screwdriver to good effect to open up his PET, hook up the speed and process upgrades, and close the whole thing back up. "Would've been a whole lot easier if you had let me turn the PET off, though. It's just a bit nerve-wracking to plugging in things millimeters away from an electrical current."

"..." The words all bounced off Anyis, who was still thinking.

"Hey! You're silent now, after all that fussing?!" griped Mill, fairly expecting some sort of gratitude from his Navi.

"... Oh, yeah, thanks, everything's great." replied Anyis absent-minded. She sure was brooding a lot today, though this time Anyis was only bothered by that other Navi in the shop. What was it about her...

"..." Mill just sighed in response to his Navi's mood swing. "Well, if you're not going to check, I'll run the system check to make sure everything's in order."

Silence set in over the two of them... well, three, but Magna was still clammed up from whatever he was pondering in the shop. Mill watched his PET run through compatibility tests automatically, while Anyis kept on thinking, and thinking, and thinking... "...!" Wait... that red scarf...? it was by the time Andrew reached the park that the inevitable happened, and the PET flashed a screen full of warnings of upgrades and attachments being removed unexpectedly. "Oh goddamnit," Andrew said under his breath, hurriedly finishing the upgrade and mashing the other attachments against the main body of the PET with his hand to plug them back in. It was a temporary solution, so temporary in fact that it wouldn't last as long as getting out of the SciLab area. But at least it shut the PET up for a moment so he could get it back in the case.

"Oh goddamnit?" Eidolon asked, having apparently...not noticed anything. "What's oh goddamnit?"

"Nothing. It's nothing," Andrew said hurriedly while fiddling with the PET, which predictably did not want to go back in the case. "It's...this isn't going to work. I'm going to need a screwdriver or something.

"Over there." Eidolon didn't point, but it was easy to see where she was indicating, as the nearest person that was just sitting around was the other guy from in the shop, who was currently still holding a screwdriver.

"Right," Andrew said, making his way over and addressing him. "Excuse me, do you think I could borrow that for a moment?"
"...? Oh, uh, sure." responded Mill, handing the screwdriver over to the one asking for it. If nothing else, having multiple fingerprints on it would make it less incriminating should things become... problematic. That aside, Mill was surprised that someone else even needed the screwdriver. Current PET models for the most part were just plug-in-and-go as far as upgrades went, so this guy must be using an older model too...

"..........." Oh good god, that PET was a monstrosity. Mill couldn't even say what model it was based on, and that really said something for his knowledge of PETs. There were so many things he wanted to say about that PET, but words just... failed him, entirely. So, Mill just decided to watch with the intensity of observing someone diffuse a bomb. For all he knew, that could be a fair comparison.

"... Ah!!!" shouted Anyis loudly all of a sudden, making Mill jump in his seat. "You!"

"What?!" hissed Mill at his PET, being highly bothered by his Navi's sudden outburst.

"Not you! Why would I call you 'you'?!" groaned Anyis. "You!" she emphasized, forcing Mill to present his PET screen to the other person so she could point at the holographic Navi. "That red scarf! I know it! Where did you get it?!"

Mill's thoughts? What on earth was his Navi going on about.
"Thanks," Andrew said, taking a seat and setting the PET case aside and went to work screwing everything back into the PET that had nearly fallen out. He made sure that they were tight enough that they couldn't move around. Maybe that way they wouldn't fall out next time.

...oh who was he kidding. He did that every time, and it still happened.

"There," he said, setting the PET back in the case and slowing it up. It was about then that the other guy's navi spoke up, loudly. He looked up. "Pardon?"

"Shouty, aren't you," Eidolon responded. "Ask him, I had nothing to do with it."

"Huh? Oh, right," Andrew said. "Some guys gave me the remains of some deleted navi along with payment for a job I did for them, and I used them to patch up Eidolon here and help keep her from falling apart. Said the guy's name was...Pianissimo or something like that. Why, do you know him?"
"Yes I know him! He owes me a... fight...?" answered Anyis quickly, but her words slowed as her thoughts caught up to what she was saying. "Wait, he was deleted? Crap... That's going to be bothering me forever!" She clutched her head with her hands as she said this, rustling her hair a little to show her frustration.

"What are you... Oh! The ONB semifinal match!" exclaimed Mill, finally figuring out what Anyis had been mulling over this whole time. "Wait, you wanted a rematch this whole time?"

"You expect me to just take a loss and live with it?" scoffed Anyis.

"... No, I guess I don't." sighed Mill, unable to deny that this was totally within the confines of Anyis's personality. He was also unable to deny that he and Anyis were basically just talking to each other, despite the company. Oops. "Err, sorry about that. I'm Mill, and this is my Navi, Anyis. We fought against Pianissimo in the ONB tournament a while back, but haven't really seen him since. I think she just remembered that scarf your Navi has, and started going on about it like she did."
ONB? ...oh, right, that thing that Andrew didn't watch because he was swamped in work that didn't involve his own navi for once in his life. Good times, when he had actually had a steady income. Now other than the Preon business he hadn't had a decent paying project in months.

"I'm Andrew," Andrew said. "And as I've said, this is Eidolon." Eidolon's projection nodded silently to the two of them. "I take it you two don't have any idea what happened to him, then?" he chanced, although it was pretty obvious that they didn't. Still, any chance he had at finding out what had managed to do such precise yet thorough damage to the ex-navi was one he was going to take.
"No clue. I know he lost in the tournament finals, but that didn't delete him by any means. I hadn't heard anything about him since until today, so I couldn't even guess why or how he got deleted." shrugged Mill. The thought then occurred to him that part of that explanation was rather odd. "How'd you end up patching him into Eidolon, though? That's a pretty... unique way to upgrade a Navi."

Anyis remained quiet for the time being, continuing to ponder how she could avenge her loss to a postmortem Navi.
"I've been doing it for some time, actually," Andrew answered, shrugging. "Eidolon's actually rebuilt from an older navi that was...also deleted. When I put her back together I had to fix her up with what amounts to spare parts to keep her from falling apart again. Then I've had to do it a few more times since then because she has so much trouble staying in one piece and not full of holes.

"I am terribly sorry," Eidolon deadpanned.

"Oh hush," Andrew said. "Here's this back by the way," he added, suddenly realizing that he still had Mill's screwdriver and handing it back.
"Thanks." said Mill as he took back his screwdriver and slipped into his pocket. "I couldn't even imagine splicing together all that data... You must be pretty good with software to manage all that. Anyis won't let me anywhere near her main coding."

"I don't want to get turned into a blob of pudding, thanks." informed Anyis, giving a vote of extreme suspicion to Mill's programming prowess.

"Hey, it wouldn't be that bad... Maybe..." Okay, so Mill wasn't very confident about that either. "I managed those initial repairs fine when I found you, right?"

"Anyone could run an auto-repair over a span of 6 months." explained Anyis, disarming Mill's defense entirely.

"Oh whatever, hardware's my specialty anyway." sighed Mill, giving up on that matter entirely.
"If I'd been better with software, I probably wouldn't have to clean up after myself every few months," Andrew said. "I've made a business of sorts out of similar restoration projects since then once I really figured out what I was doing and I've never had the same problem, but Eidolon? Never been able to fix her completely. Although she hasn't exactly been helping matters herself-"

"Do not start on that again," Eidolon interrupted.

Andrew sighed. "If you would stop being so careless in how you fight I wouldn't have to start on that again."

He turned back to Mill. "That said, unless you really don't know a thing about coding I doubt you'd have actually turned her into pudding." Under his breath he added "Although the ways you would be likely to screw up aren't much better."
"I guess so. Anyis's coding is just a little... unique, so I think that even experienced programmers might do something that can't be undone with her." explained Mill hesitantly, having to choose his words carefully regarding Anyis's strange situation.

"Which is why my core coding is off limits." added Anyis to make a point.

"Yes, yes, we've got that..." sighed Mill, before listening to Andrew berate his Navi for her recklessness. Oh how familiar that sounded...

"... Ah! I got it!" exclaimed Anyis suddenly. "Eidolon! Fight me!"

Reckless, was it? Yep. "... Wait wait wait. Why are you suddenly at that?!" questioned Mill hastily.

"I can't get a rematch against Pianissimo now, so Eidolon has to serve as a proxy since she has his data!" elaborated Anyis. Whether that elaboration was any good or not... eh.

"Hold on, hold on! You don't even know anything past her name! Isn't it just a little rude to challenge her to a fight out of the blue?!" groaned Mill, wishing he could retroactively mute his PET.
That was sudden. Or not, Andrew didn't know Mill's navi enough to know if demanding fights out of navis she had just met was normal or not, and for that matter didn't know anything about her except that she was, in Eidolon's words, 'shouty'. Dead navi or not though, it was still sudden to Andrew. "Ah ha ha...well...I guess if it's okay with Eidolon-"




As far as to the point answers went, that was...well, to the point. Andrew had known Eidolon to be very curt in her responses and extremely blunt, so it wasn't surprising. Just...well, also sudden. "I guess that's that, then. She doesn't want to."
"Well of course she doesn't want to..." responded Mill, his attention initially on Andrew before, "when you just act like that all of a sudden!" turning back to Anyis and giving her quite a glare.

"Argh...! Then... Then...! Viruses! Yeah, viruses! We'll fight viruses. I need to compete with you, somehow!" suggested Anyis, grasping out at anything, anything at all that'd suffice.

Mill was just at a loss for how desperate his Navi could be for this impossible rematch. She wasn't like this at all when she lost to... when she lost to... wait, seriously? Pianissimo's the only one Mill had ever seen her lose to? Damn... This almost made sense now. Almost.

Equally blunt.

Andrew scratched his head. "I...uhh...I'm still not quite sure what's going on here, but if Eidolon's okay with it then I am." Fighting viruses seemed like a ridiculous way to compete, not to mention one that was likely to drive Eidolon to damage herself again, whether she treated it like an actual competition or not.

Not that fighting viruses on her own was usually any different.
"Good, follow me then!" exclaimed Anyis. "... Mill, jack me in." Glad this was planned out thoroughly.

"Jack you in where?" questioned Mill, with fair reason.

"Just wherever! The Netsquare! We'll go somewhere from there." answered Anyis frustratedly.

"Alright, alright..." sighed Mill. This park had an abundance of jack-in ports for whatever reason, so Mill didn't even have to get up off his seat to send Anyis off onto the Net. "Uh, I'm... really sorry about all this." added Mill, speaking to Andrew. Judging from Eidolon's cold attitude thus far, Mill could imagine Andrew's relation with her wasn't all that different from his own with Anyis. That alone merited sympathy, but Mill apologized for his Navi's actions anyway since he hardly saw his interactions with Anyis as a happy, normal Operator/Navi dynamic.

(Jack In, Netopia Rogue Net)
"No harm done," Andrew answered. Yet, at least. There was still plenty of time for harm to be done on the net. That wasn't something he was going to hold against Mill or Anyis, though. At the same time, he really had to wonder what he had just gotten himself into.

He shrugged it off, jacking Eidolon in as well. At any rate he was probably about to find out.
Mill just stared at his PET, seeing both Anyis and Magna arrive back in it without giving him much of a say in the matter. "Well... I guess Anyis had her fill of all that." sighed Mill. "Sorry for the trouble, Andrew."

"Don't make me sound like some kind of nuisance." snapped Anyis quickly.

Mill... bit his lip. There was really no safe way to respond to that. "Aaanyway, I ought to get going. Here's my e-mail if you want to contact me." announced Mill, who got up off the bench and pointed his own PET at Andrew's to transfer the information.

"By the formal definition of 'nuisance', the Mother Unit would have to be-"

"Yes, thanks Magna, that won't be necessary." interjected Mill quickly by stuffing his PET in his jacket pocket and leaving.

(Going home)
"It's fine," Andrew answered. "And same to you." He sent his own contact information in response to Mill's, adding "You need any programs restored, just let me know. I've had a lot of experience since this," he held up Eidolon's PET, "So I can actually do a proper job now."

Once Mill left, Andrew looked between his PET and the navi shop outside the park. Sure, they had practically just left it, but he had also earned a decent amount of money since then from the viruses Eidolon and Anyis had torn apart. Not to mention that Icaro could still use a bit more work to be a competent healer. Shrugging, Andrew pushed himself off of the bench and made his way back.