"Enough!" Hal shouted, slamming his hands on his desk as he rose dramatically, sending the papers he'd been rigorously stamping flying from the desktop and onto the air. The only light in the room, a single tablelamp, nonetheless seemed to be casting an incriminating glare on him as he began to pace. He drew out his PET, tapping on it to wake up his Navi. "Teeth? You awake?"

"Ehur...hum?" Teethman roused himself, getting up from where he had lain and scratching his back. "Hal, whatever hour is this? Would never you live in cot?" the Navi's warbling voice resounded in the room, the only other sound than Hal's own pacing footsteps.

"Teeth," Hal said, unaware that he was whispering, "I think we're the only one still in this building. I've been thinking about this for a while: we have to get back to Netbattling. You can't tell me you don't feel it too! I'm going to lose my good humor if I don't get out and do something..." he warned his Navi, glaring back at him from beneath his dark, arched eyebrows.

"I'm pleased to listen you voice such," Teethman nodded happily. "I've stalled a lengthy moment. However," Teethman asked, becoming confused, "proceeded never you voice stating you intended toward completing your toil?"

"I know I said that..." Hal admitted, feeling a little unsure of his course of action himself, "and I've stuck to it for a whole year now. But look at this mountain of paperwork! This is nothing that people around here couldn't do: I'm here to make decisions and form an image for the company. This busy work... you know and I know that it's only an excuse to give me a responsible image to our consumers as the head of the company. Well, that's it!" Hal yelled, clutching his fist. "I'm not going to sit in here and waste what I built up as the prodigy Netbattler, Hal Belfast, and I'm not going to waste my life here either. If I put in some work now and then, I'm going to enforce that I can get out now and then to get Netbattling in. That's what people really want anyway: a company head who actually takes some stock in what he sells!"

Teethman shrugged and nodded. "Hears well toward myself. I shall let this sorts concerning legislation toward you. Proceed whatever it requires toward advancing us Webfighting!"

"Then that settles it," Hal said. He quickly jotted down a note on a yellow sticky pad and left it on his desk, prominent among the stack of papers he'd collected and organized on his desk. With that, he clapped his hands and headed out onto the Helicopter port. It was right outside the office- in the old days, Hal would wave to his grandpa at his desk whenever he headed out. He thanked himself for learning how to fly the vehicle: with a swift motion, he hopped inside and prepared himself to head to ACDC. "After all, this will just be another one of my little 'breaks'," Hal remarked with a laugh as the black rotor began to spin, lifting the machine into the sky as it began to hover toward its destination. "What could it hurt? I've got my cell phone on, after all..."
Hal had been out longer than he thought on his first virus-busting escapade, and it'd been much more eventful than he had planned. Exiting the helicopter upon returning from his accepted assignment, he shuffled his heavy feet to the door of his bedroom. The office building was a strange place to live, but ever since he was a child it was where Hal had called home. Stripping off his clothes as he entered his room, Hal took note of a yellow post-it note with his unfinished assignments from that day... he'd have to make up for it over the weekend. He didn't give it too thorough of a glance, though, and quickly headed for the shower. After just a short while, he was out, clean, and ready for bed. Setting his PET next to the bed, the same position it had always taken when he went to sleep since he first recieved it, he pulled the covers tight around him and rolled onto his side.

In what seemed like minutes, Hal's hand was scrambling for his PET across his desktop as he covered his head with his pillow to drone out its buzzing alarm noise. It appeared that the request mission he'd taken had developed overnight. Rising, drawing on his less formal clothes, and brushing his teeth but not his hair, Hal swept his PET off of the table and bolted downstairs for breakfast. "It's strange, isn't it Teeth?" he greeted his Navi, who was still rubbing sleep from his eyes. "Nobody around on the weekends... it's normally so busy. Then again, I'm probably going to get a stern talking to by my counselers, so I guess I can deal with that for now," Hal added, his hand moving up to his tie but resting on the back of his head, a struggle between his older and younger habits.

"Fine, you understand which we need toward accomplish," Teethman responded groggily. "Consume any morningquick: it appears we're grabbing upward the objective's journey."

"Oh, really?" Hal said, a bit shocked the announcement. Being the last one there wouldn't be a good impression. "Well, I'll start moving as I eat," Hal said, drawing the cord. "I'm going to make breakfast: I'll go ahead and jack you in to do the talking for us." Nowadays, Hal could forget about the usual battlecry he gave before sending Teethman into the Net, and since it was early for both of them they decided to make one such case. Hal slotted in the cord and left his PET on the counter as he began to move around the kitchen.
"Raidene... I've got to find some way to track him down..." Hal muttered to himself as he leaned against the door of his refrigerator, his hand still shaking with the empty glass his milk had been in. The spilt drink still covered the tiled kitchen floor. Hal's eyebrows furrowed with intensity as he clenched his teeth at the thought of his uselessness in the situation. "Why... with all my money, all of my fame, why couldn't I do anything? Why can't I do anything now?" Hal pounded the door with his fist, turning to get a towel to clean up the mess.

Teethman was silent for a while, still reflecting on the events of the day. He still had his suspicions that there were bombs inside the packages, but he didn't want to push it on Hal. Besides, he didn't trust his own intuition over his operator's anyway. Hal had always done most of the thinking for the group, even when he was a child. Instead, Teethman had to do the same thing he always did, as it was the only way he could think to help out. "... It is never your blemish, Hal... Assuming if every of this was our mistake, there was remaining none path we might possessed realized..."

"You're right, of course," Hal said, cheering up a bit at the relief. "Besides, it's not like us to dwell on something like this. Bad stuff's gone down in the past, that's the same deal here. We'll just get to the bottom of it somehow and work ourselves out of this rut. Say, Teethman... a Netbattle would be good, wouldn't it...?" Hal noted, falling into a somewhat dreamy trance, flashing back to the time he spent with Area and Persephone in their colloseum battles and their old epic adventures. He let out a sigh, returning to the dreamy world of his kitchen seperated from its rugged area where sunlight poured in through the window. He walked to it and rested his hands on the ledge. "... Let's virus bust some, Teeth."

"You possess recieved it," Teethman replied.
Hal had planned out a victorious return to Netbattling in his head following that incident. He assumed that he'd simply tried to tackle too much at that one point too early back into his Netbattling career. In truth, however, the mishap had taken its toll on his state of harmony in battle with Teethman. Their strategies had frequently been out of sync, and a number of times it had ended in a situation where the Navi had been forced to jack out and an awkward silence had reigned. Hal now found himself in a miserable state. He'd shut off his PET, telling his Navi that it was so he could rest, unable to face Teethman after their latest humiliating defeat, and now pounded his fist against a light pole as the faceless continued to pass in the background. He wasn't talking aloud to himself, as was his habit... the reality that had hit him was something he didn't want to admit. In this world, in these clothes, the Hal Belfast who used to be an expert Netbattler at such an early age didn't exist. In his normal clothes, without his TV face and well-combed hair, he was a nobody that no one respected. He couldn't even recall if he'd ever made any friends in the real world that he could call on in a time like this... he couldn't imagine finding Eric in this day and age, and if his Navi was any indication Eric probably wouldn't have any comfort to offer. Calling on Area again after their break was unthinkable. The people from that tournament, the faces behind the Navis of all the great events he'd been a part of, now seemed to fade into the crowd of strangers shifting constantly behind his back.

Suddenly, a hand clapped onto his shoulder. Hal spun around to face a shaggy-looking stranger facing him.

"Aren't you Hal Belfast, that kid on the TV?" the man asked in a droning voice.

"Yeah, that would be me," Hal responded without thinking, following the man as he withdrew from the streets into the alley. Hal wasn't concentrating on the oddity of the encounter, only able to show gratitude that the man had somehow recognized him in the crowd. As soon as Hal stepped into the alleyway, however, he was jarred back into reality as a fist connected heavily with his ribs, knocking him unconscious immediately.

When Hal finally came to his senses, he was still lying in the alleyway. He found that all of the money in his wallet had been taken. He was surprised they hadn't taken his PET, but the reason that had abandoned him earlier told him now that it must be because so few people turn off their PETs in any situation nowadays. The man had probably assumed it was broken. Hal still a bit of money that he had luckily hidden away many years ago in part of his PET, which his grandfather had told him to keep in case of an emergency.

"... I can't go back to the company office like this. I have to go back later, or everyone on staff will see these stains and I'll have to explain," Hal thought aloud now. He gritted his teeth, angry with himself and with the fact that neither his self-defense training or his book-learned intellect had served any purpose. His wallet was empty, and he wouldn't even be able to get a bite to eat.

"What does a man do at a time like this?" Hal thought desperately, again banging a fist to the wall. "It's time for me to make an educated decision! I've got my luck, my will, and my reserve of money! What does one do when..." Hal thought, suddenly losing himself. An uncharacteristically thin grin broke across his lips.

"Hal!" Teethman called, finally blipping out of sleep as Hal flipped the switch to turn his PET back on. "Hal, proceeded anything occur? You view horrible!" the Navi noted with concern, observing the strange, screwed up half-grin of his operator's face.

Hal sat on the stool with his head on the slot machine he'd been sitting at. By now, he'd already wasted all of the reserve money he had. The place had let him in without any identification, clearly a shady establishment, though he was sure if he was in trouble for it they'd claim that they thought he looked legal age for gambling. He looked sideways at his active PET, speaking in a raspy, whimsical tone. "Say, pal... I've been trying to get money, act on my own and be a man, for about an hour now..."

"Represent a fellow?" Teethman responded, not understanding what his operator meant. "Play onto your owned? Whatever are you speaking concerning?" Ever since Hal had gotten the hang of controlling the expressions that flashed across his face, he had become incredibly good at hiding his true emotional conditions from everyone from Teeth. But the Navi didn't need any special ability to tell now that Hal was in a bad state.

"This machine's broken, Teeth," Hal muttered, drawing out the cord to his PET. "We're going to jack in and clear the viruses out of it, all right?" the operator said as though to himself, plugging the PET into the slot machine's port with a vacant expression.

Teethman nodded, unsure of how to respond to his operator. He didn't know what the situation was, and he thought of reminding Hal that he kept personal control of the Netbattling finances so they'd have a backup stash. He could tell something was wrong, though. Hal's grandfather had left Hal Teethman in the position of a personal advisor in addition to Hal's own place as head of the corporation. Most of the time, Teeth couldn't think of any way to help his operator with words. As usual, he saw it was once again going to come to their actions to pull them through. Teethman might have to do this alone to get the Hal he knew back.

Within moments, the Navi had entered the Netspace.