A quiet table in the Navi Shop

((From => The Here That's Actually Back There))

Waving again, Lyntael bounced on her toes, trying to make sure she caught the struggling woman's attention.

"Hey! I know! I know how to do the hardware upgrades! It's really simple, just..." She started to dash across the table towards where the other woman was fiddling with her PET, but hesitated a moment, glancing back. It would be fine, her hologram could move up to a full metre from her PET before it began to extenuate. Nothing to worry about. She dashed the rest of the way, then vaulted up to clamber onto the woman's wrist, leaning out to look at the hardware.

"Right, I recognise these. So, you see those slots there..." she pointed, but as she opened her mouth to continue, Rogan shifted. His own PET, sleek and black, was flat on the table's surface and he tapped it twice briefly.

"Back here, Lyntael. I need to run your checks." He glanced at the small hologram, then once, briefly, towards the other woman, rolling his eyes in something that might have been apology. Lyntael turned to him, pouting softly, and she didn't move at once.

"Sir, it'll only take a moment... I'm helping this—"
"You are pestering other patrons, Lyntael, now come." Still perched on the woman's wrist, the little hologram's shoulders slumped and she slipped down. Strangely enough, rather than simply letting the hologram dissolve, the little girl walked back across the table to the PET and stood on its surface, arms folded and head down.
"You're very rude sometimes, sir." Her voice was barely a murmur and Rogan ignored it, looking instead to the lady he'd pulled her away from.

"I apologise for my Navi, if she bothered you." He nodded once, eyes on hers, then returned his attention fully to what he was doing, apparently running tests on the navi in question.
...She wasn't entirely sure, but Leslie got the distinct feeling that she had just been ignored. Well, excluding the extremely eager hologram. Who happened to be cute, but looked way too young to do any ogling. "Well, at least SOMEONE listened. All right, show me!"

But, as soon as Lyn started to share her wisdom, she was recalled by her rather rude operator. "H-Hey!"

"Hmm, those holes...uhh, that doesn't really help much, does it...?"

"Nope." An angry glance was shot at Rogan, as the young woman wasn't really happy when people helping her were interrupted mid-sentence. And then...wait, did he just apologize for his Navi bugging her? She couldn't be entirely sure, but she just might be dealing with a certified jackass. "Actually, she was helping me, since SOMEONE was perfectly content not giving me the time of day. Now, I'm gonna ask again, and either of you can answer. How do I install HPMemories?"

Martia opened her mouth to speak...only realize that Leslie had pretty much covered it all, so she closed it and awaited an answer with her operator.
As he input the last diagnostic test commands and let them run, Rogan drew a breath and looked up to the woman across from him. An impatient one then. Clearly polite disinterest wasn't going to cut it now that Lyntael had run loose. He resisted the urge to sigh and smiled instead, a good-humoured curl at one side of his lips, accompanied by slightly raised eyebrows. Eric had given the PET to him as a way to tell him to be more social, after all, and if there was one thing Eric did well it was design effective programs. It was almost enough to make him chuckle.

"Right, that's set. Now, you wanted a hand?" As before, his voice was the same rich, deep tone; the sort of smooth calmness that might be discussing the end of the world, or the morning paper with equal ease. "Let's see what model you've got... Standard Progress PET? If you look to the line of chip ports that my navi was pointing out before," Lyntael glared up at him, and he did his best to ignore it. Doing so was harder than it should have been. He cleared his throat. "The one furthest to the right should be the slot designed to receive HPMemory firmware updates. In a standard model, if you have the right port, there should be a small alpha-numeric sequence printed below it, that reads..." He kept the explanation simple, but clear; not talking slowly, exactly... she seemed competent enough, just lacking knowledge... but not repeating himself or belabouring any step either.

As he spoke, Rogan looked the woman over properly for the first time... then again... then once more. Just as he felt his eyes linger for longer than they ought to on some of her... features, Lyntael let out a soft sigh that, were she possessed of real emotions, he would have said sounded surprisingly sad. It was enough to draw his eyes back to her, just in time for the girl to turn her back to him, dropping to sit cross-legged on the screen of her PET instead. Sometimes it was an effort to remember that she was nothing more than a highly sophisticated program. Shaking his head, he returned his attention to where it should be.

"At any rate, the process is the same no matter what grade of memory you're updating to, so you just repeat the process for each one in turn, same as the first." He grinned again, this time flashing teeth briefly and arched an eyebrow. "That cover it...? I do apologise: You never gave me you name before you began asking questions."

A light on his PET flashed signalling the completion of its checks and he reached out a hand to scoop it into his pocket again. He had expected Lyntael to slip back inside, but instead she jumped clear of his hand and the PET, to remain on the table, stretching briefly and feigning complete unconcern for her owner. She turned a lazy cartwheel that became a handstand, then one hand, then over into a neat flip that landed on the toes of her opposite foot. As usually happened when she decided she wanted to stretch in her excessively acrobatic fashion, Rogan found himself content to just watch her, though he couldn't put his finger on why. In reality it was only a few moments before she stood upright again, bouncing on her toes. Through the entire little routine, regardless of what angle Rogan or Leslie might have been looking from, her short school-girl's skirt always managed to obscure what it was meant to, its internal modesty coding unfazed by something as simple as this.

"Feels good, sir!" Her little hologram beamed up at him, showing off perfect white teeth. Somewhere along the way, her upset from only minutes ago had completely dissolved. She turned the happy grin on the other woman next, tilting her head slightly. "Don't be mad at Rogan, miss. He always concentrates way too hard on what he's doing." This was followed by a small giggle that did absolutely nothing to improve her perceived maturity.

It took a moment, but this time the guy finally bothered to properly respond. Leslie showed him the innards of her PET, and listened. "Uh...Progress PET? Martia, what's he talking about?"

"Oh, that's just the model name. But, I thought yours was the Advanced model...well, whatever it's called, just listen to him!"

So, she just had to stick it into that rightmost slot? Completely oblivious to the fact her more...feminine attributes were getting a good look, she grabbed her first HPMemory, and with surprising dexterity, inserted the upgrade into the proper slot. Huh...that was actually pretty easy once she actually knew what to do. "They really oughta label it better...but anyway, thanks!" One by one, she placed her purchases in the pointed out slot, giving her Navi nice, big...HP numbers.

"Uh, Leslie?"

"Yeah? There, that's the last one!"

"You know you're kinda ignoring this guy right now, right?"


"He just asked for your name..."

"Ah, crap!" The martial artist set her PET down, quickly snapping the back into place before looking up. "Sorry! My name's Leslie Battle! And the super cute Navi on my shoulder is Martia!" The latter smiled and waved. "So, who are you two? Aside from being a big help, anyway!"

The Navi proceeded to watch Lyn's exercising with a good deal of interest; she hadn't seen very many Navis besides herself perform athletic feats of that caliber. Though, she had to wonder why a Navi capable of such wore such a short skirt...or any kind of skirt, for that matter. Granted, it looked like said skirt was impossibly good at keeping her covered, but...well, she couldn't imagine doing backflips in something that moved more with gravity than her own body.
Rogan inclined his head in a small motion that closed his eyes briefly as well.
"Leslie, then. Happy to be of help. For myself," On the tip of giving one of his day to day use-names, his eyes flicked down to Lyntael for the barest fraction of a moment, then up to her eyes again. She'd already said his name, so no use covering now. "Rogan, and the overly enthusiastic one is Lyntael." The navi in question waved, upside-down again by this point, though it was becoming increasingly clear as she set to clambering about Rogan's hands on the table and tumbling neatly in between, that she was doing it for her own amusement now, rather than any sort of routine.

Despite himself, almost unconsciously even, Rogan shifted his hands as she played, lifting fingers here or there, or holding them out for her to thread between or hang from. He seemed completely unaware of doing so while he spoke, every bit as much as Lyntael was beaming with barely contained laughter.

"She's a bit erratic at times, I'm afraid, and does seem to get very caught up over emulating human emotions. To call her custom would be an understatement; the man who gave her to me designed and wrote her from the ground up himself. He has some.. strange notions." With another small smile and a shake of his head, Rogan shrugged his shoulders and stretched. Lyntael spilled contentedly onto the tabletop again, lying spread-eagled on her back and apparently breathing quickly. Hard as it was to tell on her miniature hologram, there was a pink glow in her cheeks.

"Faster... Hehe... Much faster... I can feel it." It was barely above a murmur, but probably enough to be heard, even interspersed with breathy giggles as it was. Rogan pulled his PET back from his pocket in order to tap it against the table slightly, glancing down at the girl again. She looked up at him, then nodded, beginning to pick herself up.

"At any rate, it was nice to meet you, but I have..." He paused, the seed of a thought in his mind. He did need to check at some point, and this would be as good a cover as any. His features brightened as he flashed Leslie a proper smile. "Actually, tell me, if you don't mind. Your Navi, Martia, was it? Looks to be designed like a fighter, at least as much as I'd guess you yourself are trained, to look at. Does she do much work combating viruses and other hostile elements? Lyntael needs to become more capable in that area, but I fear she's sorely lacking..."

The plan formed neatly in his mind; there were things he needed to search here, answers that needed found sooner or later, and if he split masked the PETs signal under the guise of doing some casual busting here, only someone who was already looking for it would be able to trace his probing. Lyntael might even genuinely pick up something useful along the way. It was perfect, really.

"I find my schedule unexpectedly free. Perhaps you'd be interested in finding a coffee shop here, and, say, testing out some of those upgrades for a little while? Maybe your Martia can show Lyntael a thing or two? I'll buy the drinks, what do you say?" He arched one eyebrow as he offered, a casually warm tone to his voice to go with the grin. Lyntael was looking up at him, almost disbelieving in her stare. Whether she was being incredulous at his sudden sociability, or at him inviting a young woman who was probably less than twenty for a drink, when he himself was closer to thirty, he didn't care to guess. Instead he just stood, dropping his PET back into its deep coat pocket and holding out an inviting hand to Leslie, open palmed and a little to the side, while he waited for Lyntael to race up his sleeve again, perching on his shoulder. Still looking uncertainly at Rogan, she glanced back across to wave at Martia, quickly distracted.

"Well then, nice to meet ya, Rogan and Lyntael!"

"Likewise!" Unlike the other Navi, Martia was perfectly content to just stand atop her operator's shoulder, taking in the sights...such as they were.

"Well, nothing wrong with that!" Yep, that was all Leslie had to say about Lyn's behavior. Though, she kinda wished she had that much energy at the moment..."Yeah, I guess I need to get goi-" Honestly, she kinda wanted to go take a nap, but...wait, that was a big time smile. He wasn't going to ask her out or anything, was he? Because turning guys down was always a pain...phew, just asking about Martia. "Yep, she's programmed to be skilled in all forms of martial arts! I'm more of a karate specialist, myself, but when you come from a long line of karate masters, I guess you don't have much choice about what you're gonna learn!" Granted, lately she'd been doing some research on other forms of martial arts, but anything other than karate wasn't making a ton of progress. "Actually, lately we've been working on boosting her NetBattling ability, because it was really lame that a Navi with her skills had any problems with beating viruses! Plus, a strong Navi would be great advertising for my family's dojo..."

"Though, it's weird...the last few days, we haven't really done much battling. Heck, Leslie's done more fighting today than I have!"

"Yeah, we really should work on that some time..." Which made Rogan's offer all the more appealing to her. NetBattle practice AND a free hot drink? Who turned down a combo like that? "Well, we're not exactly experts at NetBattling, but...well, what do you say, Martia? I guess you should get a say in this, too!"

"Sure, why not? I mean, I could use the practice...and it'll be fun to team up with someone else!" The martial artist Navi returned Lyn's wave, smiling as she did so. At the very least, she seriously doubted that she'd need to tell her soon to be busting partner to keep up with her. If anything, she might need to keep up with her.

"Well, there you have it! Though, I'm more of a tea drinker, myself!" And right now, she could really go for a cup, and the delicious, delicious caffeine that it contained. "Can't say I know any good places around here, though...I don't come to this part of town very often!" With that, Leslie stood up, and tucked her PET safely within the confines of her jacket. Martia's hologram remained in spite of this, and she began to do some basic stretching, in preparation for what she was about to do. ...Not that Navis needed to stretch, mind you.
The vastness of the SciLab complex had always made Rogan feel like it wanted to be its own little city; the wide plan corridors and walkways that made up the public access areas tended to feel more like proper streets and plazas, even dotted about as they were with public seating and a smattering of greenery, well tended. As they left the Navi Shop, he headed right pressing a little further into the complex, though still well within the the areas that were open to the public. There were a few other people to be see along the way; some visitors like them, and a handful more who were clearly staff or employees, sporting ID tags, or else lab-coated researchers. None paid them any particular heed, for which he was glad. He looked over to Leslie as they walked, though, side by side now, his eyes scanned leisurely over far more than just her face.

"So, 'Battle' you said, and a martial arts background. Might I guess that makes you related in some way to Takeshi Battle? Quite a big name, in the right circles, that one." He flashed his teeth in an amused grin. "Should I maybe be asking you for an autograph?" True he had only really read a little on the topic for some other work, and years ago at that, but linking one piece of information to another always pleased him.

It was only a short walk from the Navi Shop before the path they were on opened into a high-ceilinged and sky-lit area, an almost circular hub with a number of clear signs pointing off in various directions. The area was slightly busier, but not much; most either moved though purposefully, heading from one wide corridor to the next, or else to the lifts. Some lounged on the seating around a central focus of the hub, some sort of artistic water feature, as well.

"That looks promising." There were several other public shops in the space, around the walls not occupied by branching pathways, but the one that seemed to have caught his eye was a cosy-looking coffee lounge, in mostly soft orange and rich brown decor. Beyond the entry way it recessed back more deeply than one might expect, though the ceiling was low and the lighting soft. Bright enough for clear reading at the majority of the tables, of course, but a goodly number of settings were away from the hang-lights, lending a few more cosy corners.

Rogan's pace didn't slow as he made his way to the shop, glancing to Leslie once or twice along the way. He threaded past the small number of 'outdoor' tables, ahead of the wide-entrance doors. Unsurprisingly they were all empty; the seating bythe fountain seemed to be the main choice for those after an 'open air' feel. Striding smoothly to the counter and nodding with an amiable smile for the barista, Rogan ordered a straight black coffee for himself, then looked across to Leslie.

"Pick a table, if you like, I'll put your order in for you. What would you like?" His casual demeanour was only slightly spoiled by Lyntael, bright grin and equally bright yellow clothing hanging upside-down from his collar, tilting her head back and forth occasionally as she studied both Leslie and Martia in silence. Interestingly enough, inverted as she was, her legs were firmly together and pinching her skirt between them to keep it decent. A deliberate precaution that the young woman had obviously taken, apparently the modesty protection in the garment, while good, wasn't completely foolproof.

The tables inside were mostly empty too; only a few were occupied, a lone visitor at one by the wall, reading a thick fantasy novel, a scientist in her formal white with a laptop and documents spread all around her at another, and a couple chatting softly in one dimly lit corner. Other than that the shop was empty, and blissfully quiet.

Leslie followed Rogan out of the shop, taking in some of the sights as they walked. After all, SciLab was arguably the most technologically advanced place in the world, and much of her world was...a bit more low-tech. Luckily for her new companion, this made sure that she was completely unaware of his own sightseeing. Not that she would've especially cared if she knew, anyway.

The arrangement was disrupted a bit, however, as the mentioning of one Takeshi Battle glued the martial artist's eyes to the man with more than a little surprise. "Y-Yeah! I'd hope so, anyway, since I'm his one and only child! Not too many people make that connection...met him before or something?" She ignored the part about the autograph; at this point, she'd be half-surprised if her father could write his own name.

Eventually, they reached a coffee shop that Rogan took a shine to, and so Leslie followed him in. Seemed nice enough, though it wasn't really her kind of place. She preferred traditional to modern. "Oh, get me some tea! Green if they have it. No sugar or anything, just plain tea!" With that, she looked over the seating arrangement, coming to the immediate conclusion that she wasn't the kind of person that usually came in. But, today, she was, so there. Speaking of there, she made her way to a table next to a window, and sat down so that she was facing the counter, just in case she had to do some directing.

Beep beep! Beep beep!

"Hey, Leslie. You got an e-mail from your father! It says that he's back, and he brought supper with him..."

"Yeah...tell him I'll be late, so he can eat without me."

"Gotcha!" Martia's hologram vanished for a moment, as she worked on a reply, and the operator sat back and waited for Rogan to come over. It wouldn't be long before the martial arts Navi popped back up on her shoulder, and adopt a similar position with her operator as the chair.
The barista nodded and set to with a practised efficiency even as Rogan was still slipping his card away. He joined Leslie, taking the seat opposite and pulled out his PET again, tapping a few buttons as he began to scan with it. Every few moments he glanced up to Leslie, making her eyes as he answered.

"I never met him personally, no. Just a coincidence really, but the name jumped out at me. Not exactly common. In my line of work, I tend to do a great deal of research in a variety of interesting fields. An event I was at for unrelated reasons, oh, many years ago now, saw him giving some sort of public demonstration of prowess, and it warranted a little background research on the side. Think nothing of it."

They'd only been seated for a few moments, it seemed, before their drinks arrived. Rogan paused to lift his own cup, inhaling the steam for a few moments, then set it down again without taking a sip yet. He smiled and his other features seemed to enjoy the aroma, but his eyes never wavered from the woman across from him.

He let his own silence continue as she took the message and answered, his head tilting slightly as Martia both delivered the message and handled the response. After a moment a small grin curled on side of his lips, just briefly.

"It's amusing, you know. Until recently, I've not actually owned a PET, or Navi. I prefer to handle most things myself, and even now, I still do, out of habit and preference..." He chuckled, then finally took a sip of his coffee, just one small sip, and set it down again. "It's a good thing they don't really feel anything, or else I fear Lyntael would grow quite bored in the times when she isn't working for me."

As he said this, the little navi, standing on his shoulder again, looked across to the man, her features crying hurt as her shoulders slumped. She said nothing, though, and it only lasted the briefest of moments before she looked away, eyes down. It seemed that she had probably heard such disregard many times before already. A few moments later her hologram dissolved into nothing as she retreated to her PET.

"I'm ready to begin at any point, sir." Her voice remained as audible as before, though her actual tone was quiet and soft now. Rogan nodded and took another sip of his coffee, then connected the PET to one of the available jack-in ports set into the edge of the table. At the same time he pressed a few extra buttons on his device and pressed forward with his thumb, extending a small, high-tech-looking probe from one corner. It had a series of small lights on it, all green currently, and some sort of electronic interface on the tip which he seemed to have no intention of using. He glanced back to Leslie in between tapping buttons on his PET.

"Shall we?"

"Oh, those. Yeah, those were fun. Too bad he doesn't do them anymore..." Leslie frowned as she recalled the reason why he never did them anymore. "Everyone was always amazed by those. I remember hearing people wonder if it was even possible for a person to do those things...but I've been behind the scenes, and I can tell you for a fact that everything he did was real. He actually was that good." It wasn't entirely impossible that he could still do it, but...well, she had a feeling that he'd lost a step or three. Though even then, he was probably still the foremost karate expert in all of Electopia...

"Anyway, sorry about that. My father and I usually eat together, but I think for today we can break that tradition!" Probably just stand bought noodles, anyway. Not like they had the money for much else. "I've had a PET ever since I was 11, since it's a school requirement to have a Navi for 6th grade. For years I just had a plain ol' NormalNavi, who was about as much fun as jumping into the ocean in January. But about 6 months ago, I decided to try expanding the family dojo into the Net, and a NormalNavi wasn't going to cut it for that, so I saved up and got a custom Navi...and I'm pretty sure you know how THAT turned out!" The martial artist motioned to her shoulder, where Martia waved without looking at anyone. "Kinda wish I'd done it a long time ago...it's a hell of a lot more fun with her around!"

With that, she picked up her drink, and took a nice, long sip. Mmm, green tea. Her favorite. What Rogan said next, however, made her stop and give him a disbelieving look. "Uh, I'm pretty sure they really do feel things, even if they are programs..."

"Yeah...well, most Navis do, anyway. There are some that don't have those things added to their AI, for whatever reason...pretty sure your Navi isn't one of them, either. I mean..." Martia started to point at Lyn, but stopped as she noticed that the other Navi had gone back to her PET. Probably wasn't the first time she'd heard that. "...Well, never mind. If Lyntael's ready to start, then so am I!" Her hologram disappeared as well, as she prepared for combat.

"All right, but...where do I jack in, exactly?" Leslie's eyes darted around the shop, looking for a place to point her PET, and failing based on the looks of it. "I don't see anywhere..."

"This place has complete total Wi-Fi access. Which means that you can jack in from literally anywhere! Though, you probably shouldn't point your PET at someone, anyway..."

"Oh. Nice." Fancy. "All right, let's get this show on the road!" She held her PET high, for dramatic effect. She wasn't sure WHY she always jacked in so dramatically, but she was hardly the only person she knew that did that. It was all part of the fun, she supposed. "Jack in! Martia, Exec..." She quickly lowered her arm as it dawned on her that she forgot a very important detail. "...Uh...so, where do you wanna go? Just the local network, or somewhere else?"
"Just the local net here will do nicely." His eyes flicked to the screen. "Lyntael, off you go, and follow Martia's lead. I'll keep one eye on you."

"Sir..? The SciLab net... you mean I'm going to be shot at by actual viruses again, sir?" The hint of sudden worry in her voice went apparently unnoticed as Rogan nodded.
"Of course."
"O-oh... Yes, sir."

A moment later his screen changed as Lyntael jacked in, and Rogan pressed another button, causing the probe on the side of his PET to begin shifting its lights, one at a time, from green to orange. He moved his eyes between it and Leslie as one set of fingers continued to tap the controls.

"Don't worry about this. It's just a signal booster. The man who designed this is something of a genius with code, but... tends to forget some of the more practical importances at times." Taking another sip of his coffee, he leaned back in his chair now, his hand still working quickly. The signal was branched and masked now, seemed stable... he could begin probing the outer net layers without being detected now, at least. It would take some time to work the integration in deeper from this little terminal. Only now he had Lyntael. New methods, new options.

"Lyntael, seamless integration filter as you go. Let me know if there's a problem." He leaned forward enough to reclaim his coffee and take another, longer sip this time before returning his gaze to Leslie.

It was only a small gesture; a closing of the eyes along with a very soft shake of his head and a wryly amused smile. Even so, the words that accompanied it illustrated his stance on the earlier question very clearly.

"However it may seem, a program is a program, and an A.I. exactly that; Artificial. You sound rather like my brother. He's quite convinced that this generation of custom NetNavis experience genuine sensation and emotion; that already there is 'something' there that thinks and feels, within the code. He believes his own work can take that even further, still." Here Rogan chuckled aloud, shaking his head a little more mirthfully. "Sometimes I suspect he thinks Lyntael there is actually the daughter he's never going to get around to having." Returning his cup to its saucer on the table, he shrugged.

"No, beautifully, impossibly complex they may be; masterfully designed to emulate real thought, and real emotion down to the finest nuance, perhaps... but in the end, they are code." Used to an adverse reaction for explaining these facts to anyone, he immediately raised his hands, palms out in a soothing gesture, just in case. "But I won't press it; I know many people choose to believe otherwise, and we're each entitled to believe as we do on the matter. I suspect you disagree with me, no?"

In the back of his mind, Rogan winced and suppressed the urge to curse, though none of it showed on through his warm grin and calm features. Without realising it, he'd come right out and mentioned his brother, rather than simply 'the man who designed'. Careless. A part of him wanted to blame the pretty face across from him, and he quietly admitted to himself that it had, in fact, been a long time since he'd simply had a normal conversation with anyone, that wasn't work or business related. Lyntael didn't count, of course.

((Branch: Lyntael Jacking in, to => SciLab Net))
"All right, SciLab, got it!"

"Cool, never been to SciLab Area before!" Unlike Lyn, there wasn't the slightest hint of worry in Martia's voice, almost like she was about to go on a vacation. Though, after what had happened earlier, it kinda was...

Leslie raised her PET, prepared to send her Navi into the Net once again...but Rogan's PET made her stop once again. A signal booster? Why would he need that? Wouldn't the cafe's connection be plenty strong? Maybe his PET had issues with that? But that seemed weird, since hers was old, yet never had any problems like that. She thought about asking, but eh...she didn't want to look like a complete idiot when it came to technology. Even though at times she actually was one.

However, she WAS pretty sure that his whole spiel on Navi emotions was crap. But she didn't say anything, because the whole thing was starting to give her a headache from thinking about it so hard. So instead, she downed some more tea, and held up her PET one more time. Third time was the charm. "All right, let's get started. Jack in! Martia, Execute!"

Rogan's eyes closed for a few moments as he hid an amused smirk behind his coffee cup, holding it in both hands as he sipped. It was always interesting to see which people were attached to the dramatics. Under normal circumstances, behaviour as flashy as that might draw eyes, but no-one raised an eyebrow at a person jacking in with the more... traditional flair. People were fascinating sometimes.

The last light one his probe went orange and a glance down at the screen confirmed that Lyntael had stabilised the integration from within. All ready to go then. Draining the last of his cup, he set it back down and scooped his PET off the table once more instead. Held close in his own hand, there was no way his companion would be able to see the screen, split now between the normal display, and a more bare-bones window on one side, that would have looked to most people like little more than strings of regularly refreshing data. He tapped a few buttons, made a small adjustment to the probe, and tapped a few more. As he began to delve, carefully into the non-public parts of the network, he looked towards Leslie. This was a problem with using social meetings as a cover... being social.

"So anyway, tell me a bit about yourself, Leslie... I always feel like I'm being rude if I know more about a friend through my own research than they've told me themselves, after all. Has the martial arts training really been your whole life so far, nothing outside it?" He winked at her, and muffled a small chuckle. "I can tell by looking that it's been a very dedicated part, certainly."

The table server, further inside the coffee shop returned from bringing the researching scientist what was her third mocha since the pair had come in, and Rogan caught his eye, signalling for a refill of his own with his free hand. "Another?" A brief flick of his eyes to Lesie, accompanied by a questioning eyebrow, and the waiter hesitated to see her answer as well.

As Leslie continued to down her tea, it dawned on her that her new acquaintence was not all that chatty. He seemed pretty content just fiddling with his PET, whatever it was he was doing. It couldn't just be regular operating, since it definitely wasn't anything she'd ever done. Hmm, maybe she oughta ask.

Almost as though he were psychic, Rogan picked that moment to start the conversation up again. "Uh, pretty much. I don't think I ever really wanted to be anything else when I was little. I just wanted to be a great martial arts master, like my parents! I'm not there yet, but...I think I'm on the right path, at least. I don't think I need to crush boulders like my father, and I don't need to put out candles from 100 feet away with a single kick like my mother...I just want to be the best martial artist I can be. No better, no worse. It's easy to say that I want to be better than my parents, but I'm me, and they're them. It's stupid to have a goal that I might never reach."

"...Meh, sorry, guess I got a little over serious there.'" With one last sip, she made an unpleasant discovery: she was out of tea. Luckily, the man sitting across from her was willing to provide refills. "Uh, please!" Woo, more tea. "So, how about you? What do you do? Bet it's something Net related, if you need a signal booster!"
Their refills were delivered in short order, the waiter setting them down smoothly while Leslie spoke and removing the empty cups. for a change, Rogan's eyes stayed on the other woman as she answered him, watching her talk rather than staying focused on his screen. At length he nodded to her, his small smile becoming a soft laugh.

"Oh, I wouldn't say that was over serious, or the goal unreasonable. After all, if your parents are both legends in the right circles, you are still their child, no? I'm sure you've probably go the potential to reach whatever peak you want to, in that particular field." He took a short drink from his fresh cup, forgetting for a moment that it was, in fact, fresh, and very nearly burning himself. He hid it well though; years of drinking little else had long since primed his throat to handle it. "Besides, I must say... it's actually quite refreshing to hear someone talk with such honest enthusiasm for something."

With a small start that he only barely covered, Rogan realised that it was actually true. It was, really, very refreshing to simply talk with someone so patently honest about their thoughts. Aside from his brother, it had probably been years since he'd had a conversation with someone who didn't have an onion's worth of layered motives and undercurrents. He cleared his throat softly, shifting and recrossing his legs. He too the moment of action to look down at his PET again and delve a little further, though he noticed that already the system seemed to have found something amiss. That was worrying, or else he was being careless. no matter, there was no danger of discovery so long as it focussed on Lyntael and continued to miss the split signal.

"For myself... would you believe, I'm actually a professional photographer?" Grinning he set his PET down on the table and reached into his coat, pulling out a small flat rectangle. It lit up in response to his fingers and he held it up, sliding a small scale on the side to its tightest range, then pressed with his grip, taking a straight shot of Leslie's face and shoulders. In a motion that was more deceptively smooth than fast, he flicked the camera over to his other hand, which had surreptitiously slipped out to the side around , and took another quick shot. A wink and a grin that he made as disarming as he could, and he transferred the small camera back to his other hand.

"I do do people, functions, a little bit of model shooting and filming work," he couldn't help but clear his throat here and take a sip of coffee. "But mostly, I actually do art shots and structural captures, architectural mapping, that sort of thing. Take a look." with another deft flick of his fingers, the devise flipped around in his hand, held flat now, surface up. Another small squeeze of his fingers and it immediately projected a compiled 3D model of the series, in this case the two pictures of Leslie, forming a detailed hologram of her face, head and shoulders... and a part of her chair at the edge of the image. "Beautiful. Another masterpiece, no?" He winked at her again, and slipped the device back into his inside coat pocket with a smooth flourish. A quick eye for his PET showed that Lyntael had ended up in combat, and he reached out to it on the table, tapping a few more buttons and delving further into the the more secure areas. A name was what he needed, if he could only find it here somewhere, and see what it was connected to.

"As for this..." He shrugged, feigning unconcern. "It's just a hobby really, a little something I tinker with on the side. My brother is the really tech-savy one, or the two of us. I just dabble, as it were." Well, that much was true enough... as much as he specialised in data manipulation, Eric was light-years ahead of him in terms of technical know how. He hadn't actually answered the question at all, it was true, but confidence was ninety percent of bluffing. A small part of his mind wondered why he was suddenly so conscious about which of his words were true or not. It was not something he ever even noticed normally... but then, most of his 'normal' conversations were as veiled and steeped in deception as it was possible to get. Maybe that was it. He shoved the thought away.

Are. Are. She tried to hide it, but Leslie flinched a bit at referring to both of her parents in the present tense. Yeah, her father was still around (by and large), but...well, that was it..."Thanks...guess all I can do is try, right?"

She brightened up a bit as Rogan explained his job, at least. She was a bit relieved when she saw the 3D image, though; at first, she thought he was trying to get a picture of sideboob. "Neat! Hmm, maybe the dojo needs to do some more high tech advertising..." Though, that was a big reason she got Martia. And while cool, 3D pictures probably wouldn't do much to boost enrollment. Still, maybe she oughta consider it? If the price was right, it couldn't hurt. Nothing could be worse than the status quo, after all...

"So, you never did say what it is you're d-" Fortunately for the person sitting across from her, the martial artist didn't get a chance to finish her question, as she was brought into operator duty. After sending a couple of chips, she sat back and had some more tea. Though, she had noticed something else interesting as she aided her virtual partner. "Say, I noticed you didn't send your Navi any chips, or even tell her what to do. I heard there's Navis like that, that can fight without any help from their operator! I'm sure it's really convenient if they can fight completely by themselves, but I dunno if I could make Martia like that...I think it's kinda fun to help her out, even though I'm not that great at it! Plus, she's not all that well-trained in NetBattling yet, so I'd probably just worry if I wasn't around to see how she did."
He caught the small flicker of pain, only visible for a moment, but carefully showed no sign of having seen. What had it been that he'd said, he wondered. Rogan went back over the exchange in his mind for a moment. Something about her parents then, probably. What he knew was information years old by now, so if something had happened between now and then... Hmm. If the mention made her react like that, however well controlled, then nothing he could say or ask would be better, most likely. Probably best to let that topic lie and be careful of it for now.

Taking his PET in hand again, he spent a moment redirecting his search and checking the masking, taking another drink as he did. No record of the name he was after here, at least... surface scanning for matches probably wasn't going to cut it on a network this vast... and complicated. If he could get a look at some of their more secure databases, that might turn up what he needed, but that meant going much deeper, and slipping through the security undetected here was already a delicate operation. It was almost enough to make him sigh.

Unperturbed by his blithe answer, it seemed Leslie was much more determined to ask him about his other work than he'd thought... either that, or he'd misjudged how quickly she'd notice getting such a non-answer. A tiny thought was disappointed that she hadn't asked him more about the modelling and filming work he did on the side, and he brutally shoved the thought away, a little appalled at himself for it. Instead, Rogan's mind dashed for another response, but he was saved by the distractions of his own cover story a moment later. Not that that didn't present its own problems.

Schooling his face to a semblance of thoughtfulness, he rubbed at his chin.
"Truth be told, Leslie, I'm quite new to the concept of operating a navi. New or not though, I have to trust that the tools at my disposal function as they are meant to; if I can't trust in that, then I can't use it." He shrugged softly, eyes closing for a moment as he did, then reached for his coffee again. "Amongst their other functions, netnavis combat viruses and other elements hostile to networks, and Lyntael is no different. It's within her capabilities, and if I can't rely on that, then her usefulness to me as a program becomes somewhat limited." A thought in his mind murmured that saying so aloud wouldn't be taken well by most people, with how common it seemed to be for others to hold affections for their navis, but it only won over enough in his head to make him give Leslie a small, helpless gesture with his hands, even though they were each still holding his PET and coffee respectively.

"The truth is, where I go, and what I do, if Lyntael is with me, she will need to be as busy as I am; and I simply will not have the time or chance to coddle her at all. I simply cannot afford to oversee her half of things as well as my own, in most cases. Rest assured, I know that she'll tell me if there is a problem she cannot handle." Here he managed a small chuckle. "Besides, it's all lessons learned in the end; from what I understand the actual learning capabilities of navis like Lyntael are very impressive. And, in the end, if a virus situation does get the better of her, there are safeguards in place that will make sure no data is lost. Unlike you or I, such things are generally quite easy to retrieve and restore if the individual instance of a program is damaged or destroyed, even one so complex as Lyntael."

Speaking of complexity... A glance at Lyntael's vitals made his eyebrows draw down. Ironic after what he had just said, but he knew that pattern. That was her displaying her simulation of fear... and she'd taken some light damage. Rogan fought the urge to sigh, and wondered how dedicated to a personable appearance a designer would have to be to make it continue emulating, even when doing so could literally endanger the navi itself. As dedicated as Eric, he supposed. More irritating was the fact that he'd given her this instruction multiple times now, but it never seemed to stick.

"Lyntael, enough with that. Such emulation is cute, but unnecessary when there are more important matters to hand. Now do your job and pull your weight." There was a slight delay before her quiet affirmative came back to him over the open channel, and her vitals showed her moving to engage a virus properly. Satisfied, Rogan nodded then looked back to Leslie, giving a small, helpless shrug.

"You see? Now, if only she'd actually remember to dispense with it in combat situations, rather than needing told every time. I should talk to Eric about that."

Mentally, he scolded himself. Something about the situation was making his tongue unusually loose. What was the matter with him? Already he'd said far, far more about both his work, and his family, than he ought to have to anyone... but here he was musing about it to... well... to a pretty young woman he'd only just met. It was pleasant though. Even if he was working, it still felt, somehow, more relaxing a use of his time than he'd pursued in some time. A treacherous part of his mind mused that Eric might be right after all, and that he should get out and make some friends that were just friends, for once. He pushed it away again; the reason he didn't was was that he didn't have the time, not that he didn't want to. That, and it just wasn't practical, or safe, in his line of work, and Eric didn't understand that.

As Rogan spoke, Leslie was beginning to wonder exactly how much this guy knew about Navis. Sure, she hadn't had Martia for all that long, but...everything he was saying was the exact opposite of her experiences. "You know, most Navis really shouldn't just be sent in and left alone like that...they work better if you keep an eye on them and help them out. Just because a Navi's a computer program doesn't make them all-powerful or all-seeing. At least, that's what the guy that created Martia told me. But after spending time with her, I'm pretty sure he was right about it..."

"And...why does she have to be so busy when you are? That's kinda weird...it'd be like my father making me run around Yoka beating up rabid dogs while he did his daily training! Can't she help out any other way? I wouldn't think photographers would have to spend all day, every day on the Net..." Slowly but surely, the gears in the martial artist's mind moved forward. Rogan was lucky she wasn't brighter, or else he'd probably be in trouble about now. "And by the way...take it from me. Navis are a LOT better with emotions. Before Martia, I had a NormalNavi, which followed my orders and nothing else. And it was awful. If I didn't point out every single detail I could see, it'd act like it didn't exist. You know that once there was a wall in front of it? And because I didn't say it was there, it walked right into it. And it couldn't figure out why. And it was boring as hell. Martia, on the other hand, is actually capable of doing something other than falling on her ass from being totally incompetent. And not only is her ass a lot better looking, but she can do a lot more than my old, emotionless Navi ever did!" ...Hoo boy. Calm down, Leslie. Just drink your tea for a moment...no need to rant at the person you just met.
The coffee cup only served as a passable shield to hide Rogan's soft wince. Again with the saying more than he meant to, for the sake of being conversational. Of course she wouldn't need to be busy working for a photographer. Which was what he was, and nothing more. Except he'd already mentioned his 'hobby', barely thinking about it, and not... ugh, what a mess. On the surface, he recovered from the momentary wince to offer Leslie a slightly more wry smile.

"And Eric wonders why I don't socialise..." He shook his head and set the cup down, putting his PET aside for a moment as well, then re-crossed his legs as he settled. "I'm sorry, Leslie... different lenses, as it were. It's not as simple as all that, really. I wouldn't put her to work just for the sake of it, of course not. There are few things I detest more than wasted time or pointless effort..." Not that that actually applied to Lyntael, or any other program, he mentally corrected himself... only insofar as a tool should be put to productive use. "It's, well, it's my hobby I talk of, mostly. With her, I can attempt things that I couldn't without, but only if I can rely on her to do her job independent of me."

He chuckled. "Besides which, I'm sure Lyntael would be very disapproving if she was present during some of the shooting work I've done here and there." The words were out almost as soon as the thought itself formed, but it made him stop and blink, starting briefly. Where had that come from? Of course Lyntael wouldn't be disapproving, any more than a door was disapproving of being slammed... she'd just display the affectations of being upset, and sulking. Probably for a day or more, unless he ordered her not to.

He really needed to change the subject, before he started rambling to the young woman about everything... One of her other comments jumped out at him and he latched onto it instead.

"A nice looking arse, you say?" He raised an eyebrow, his grin returning. "I've heard many things, but I wasn't aware that was a selling point in most navis. I appreciate a great many things in a lady, but being alive, and made of flesh and blood, both rank quite highly for me." He chuckled softly and winked. "Still there's a field of interest for it, you know. Maybe you would like to do some model and film work for me some time, after all?" he arched one eyebrow the let his eyes drift shut as he took another sip of his coffee, finishing the mug again. Inwardly, he was disgusted with himself. Fit and strong she may be, but he severely doubted the young woman was over twenty, even, and besides that... it just wasn't the sort of thing you said... joked about to a good friend, maybe, or proposed seriously to a complete stranger in passing, but not... ugh... appalling as it was to have said, it was better than talking any more about his own work to her, and the more the topic stayed around that, the more he seemed to slip up for some reason. If she seemed interested he'd have to back out politely, somehow, and if not... He did mean it as a joke, mostly, but that didn't mean it wasn't still a bit of a terrible thing to say.

He distracted himself by grabbing up his PET again and checking the progress of the scan. It was almost done checking what he'd carefully probed access to, and no luck yet. Another few moments and he'd need to concentrate on it again.
"Well, me too, but I'm just saying...it's nice if your Navi's easy on the eyes!" Rogan was a very, very fortunate man, however, as Leslie wasn't easily insulted on the matter of his question. "Heh. Listen, I'm flattered, but I don't think the dojo quite needs THAT sort of attention. Sex appeal doesn't hurt, but there's a point where enough is enough!" After all, she'd already gotten Martia in part for that purpose, and the number 2 instructor of the dojo was known to do things in form fitting clothing.

"So, uh..." As her partner in caffeine consumption checked his PET, so did the martial artist. That extension was just weird to her...she'd never heard of anything like it, and some of the people she knew had some old, old PETs..."What's your hobby, anyway? I mean, I'm not trying to pry or anything, but why wouldn't you just do it yourself instead of letting your Navi do all the work with it? I'd think it'd be more fun if you handled it personally. That's what a hobby is, after all!"

She took a moment to glance down to see how the Navis' fight was going. Looked like Martia was letting Lyntael handle the last enemy, and was even pointing out the incoming attack. She kinda wished she'd just punch it into nothingness and get it over with, but that worked, too.