Spark Café

Rose had been fairly lucky. The place showed up on GPS the first time. Sabrina's directions even helped. They didn't get lost at all.

Well, they may have made a few wrong turns due to conflicts between the GPS and directions, but nothing too major.

They did find the place though.

Another issue had been parking. After finding Spark Café, Rose discovered that it was woefully underprovided for as far as parking went. And the street was terribly busy. It took her a decent while, and after failing to find any good parking lots or spots, had to settle with parallel parking on the curb by a parking meter, about a block and a half away.

She did a fantastic job parallel parking, though, if she could say so herself. After securing the car, she swung up over the door and put time on the meter. Then she looked at the time read out it was giving them.

"Hey guys, how do you feel about hurrying a bit? Not a minute past 11:37 A.M. is getting a little close." She glanced down the street towards their destination. They'd make it.

She waited for the others to join her on the sidewalk.
"Woo! Nice ride, Rose!" Sabrina practically leaped out the convertible, landing elegantly on the sidewalk. "Guess we should head there before it's too late, huh?"

"Yep! And that really was a nice drive. Much nicer than when Sabrina drives!" An aquatic hologram appeared on his operator's shoulder, who promptly began to feel as though he were fighting a NinJoy. The reason became apparent as he glanced over at his operator, who was shooting him...a less-than-hospitable glare. No wonder he could feel kunai in his shoulder all of a sudden. "...Er, I m-mean, she's stuck with that hunk of junk called a car! She's a great driver, really! She's not terrible or anything!" Hmm...come to think about it, hadn't he blabbed that to someone before? It might've been Rose or Zeo then...oh please, don't let it be one of those two...

"...Anyway! It's getting close to time, so let's rush over before we miss out on, uh, whatever it is we'd be missing out on!" Of course, she still knew enough to be on guard. After all, they still had no idea what was going on. Hopefully, her friends were taking a similar attitude; cheery yet careful.
Stepping out of the car last, Zeo sullenly turned his PET back on. He'd shut it off once ViralMan had made one too many barely audible cracks about Rose's car. ViralMan stretched and stared blankly at his operator for a second before yawning. "That was a nice nap," he said. Zeo ignored his Navi's unperturbed state and stretched his own arms. I should probably get a license one of these days, if only for convenience, he thought. Then again, I don't exactly have regular access to a car...

"Yeah, nice job finding somewhere to park in Electown," Zeo noted after Sabrina's compliment. Not that he'd ever had to before, but he could easily see it wasn't a fun thing to do. Zeo was fairly sure there had been at least three other people eying the parking spot before Rose had pulled in. There was probably a few more angry drivers on the busy streets now then there was a minute ago. "I'm surprised we ended up so close, ha," he laughed lightly. Lifting up his PET to get his own view of the time, Zeo's smile changed to a thoughtful frown. "Yeah, we should get going. Onward, I guess." He moved to follow Rose and Sabrina down the street, his brain constantly reminding him not to zone out once they found their anonymous client.
Rose smiled in reaction to Sabrina's comment. And then looked a little concerned with SplashMan's freak out. And then Zeo also added in his compliments to the driver.

"Thanks guys," she said appreciatively, "it's nice to hear once in a while. Surprisingly enough people don't generally expect much out of me as far as driving goes."

She began walking with the others, since all had echoed her sentiment.

Rose, of course, noted a distinct lack of her Navi. Especially after ViralMan immediately rejoined the conversation after being turned back on. "SummonerMan may be a jerk. But he's not a very social one. " She thought, suddenly. "It keeps him out of trouble, at least, I guess." She was justifying his silence by thinking she was ok with it.

She could be ok with it though. He didn't need to talk. What said he did? And she could be social enough for the both of them.

"Do you have a license then Sabrina? On that note, do you?" She turned to look at Zeo with the second part, including him in, since she had almost failed to do so originally.

It was somewhat young for a license, 16. But a lot of people got their license as soon as they were old enough. Of course, living in an area with so much public transportation, she could see why people would hold off.

However, it was something she didn't know, which was why she asked. "Always nice to learn more about eachother." Rose thought with a smile.
"Nope, no license for me yet. But I'm trying!" Well, she wasn't lying, at least. She was trying to get good enough to get that coveted data, she just...wasn't doing a very good job. Now, if SplashMan would actually back her up on this...

"Yep! Sabrina hasn't been able to do it lately, what with being in Electopia and all, but she's been working hard to get it! I bet she could get it any day now!" Any day, 10 years from now, at least. But if he said that out loud, he'd wind up getting a very long nap courtesy of Navi switching.

"Yep, I might try to get it once I go back to Netopia!" ...Okay, now THAT was a lie. ...Speaking of lying, someone wasn't with the group. Was he sleeping or something? "By the way, where's SummonerMan, Rose? I don't think he's even shown up since you joined us..."

"Yeah, I was kinda wondering the same thing..." SplashMan's hologram moved over to Rose's PET, and started waving his arms around. "C'mon, SummonerMan! Wake up and join us!"
"A license?" Zeo repeated with a laugh. "I'm probably not attentive enough to drive in places like this, and otherwise I'm usually walking around. Besides, I wouldn't want to get this guy damaged or anything," he said mockingly, holding up his PET. "Ha ha. Just watch where you go swinging me and I'll trust you with a car," ViralMan replied. "I really hope you're capable enough to drive, it's getting tedious waiting for you to walk everywhere. Hey, if you'd had a car on Beach Street you wouldn't have gotten that evidently painful sunburn." Zeo winced in response, though the burn in question was mostly healed by now.

Zeo wasn't sure whether his Navi was honestly suggesting he get a license or mocking him; a rare occurrence indeed. "Uh, we'll see," he said automatically as he did with most activities he was reluctant to participate in. ViralMan crossed his arms and frowned. "Sure, sometime next century I'm betting." There was a good chance he was right. When Sabrina mentioned Rose's Navi, Zeo eagerly jumped onto the new topic as a way out of the current one. "Yeah, your Navi hasn't spoken or anything yet. They can't be as bad as this guy here," the boy supposed, gesturing at his PET with a smile.

He kept up his pace all the while, subconsciously dodging other pedestrians as the three teens neared the café.
"Oh, cool." and a sharp inhalation through her teeth were Rose's respective responses to Sabrina's lie and ViralMan's sunburn story.

Then, suddenly, as if everyone was thinking the same thing as her, everyone started addressing the mysterious absence of her Navi.

"Oh, uh-"
"I'm not asleep, I just didn't see anything to add to the conversation."

Rose had begun to answer before SummonerMan added in his own view on the matter. "Summ's not always the craziest socialite. " Rose said.
"Or any reason to talk." SummonerMan continued, under his breath and to himself.

Rose didn't hear it. "Well, there you go; he made an appearance. Thanks." This last part was targeted at her Navi. Though as SummonerMan knew, it was for answering, not just for showing up.

"Whatever." was his answer. But he said it in a fairly even tone and did so with a smirk, though it was one Rose wouldn't have been able to see. It wasn't so much offensive as a sidestep to avoid responding to the gratitude.

All the while SummonerMan never actually graced the others with his presence. He remained peacefully within his PeT. Who needed those wimpy holograms anyway? "Losers like those two, that's who." SummonerMan was not incredibly comfortable in hologram format. "They can do whatever they want. It's not like I care."

He sighed inaudibly. Totally chill.

Rose, however, took a deep breath, totally happy. "We're here." The place didn't look too sketchy. Though their timing was more so. "Just in time, too."

She gestured towards the doors with her head, before stating a quick "Let's go." And with that she pulled the door open and walked in. As she did so, she discreetly flipped a little switch on her PeT, before looking around for. . . well, something.
As Rose entered the cafe, the first thing she looked at was the wall clock. 11:35, the large hand being right on the 7 mark. Interior-wise, Spark Cafe looked quite vibrant, brimming with life. A few tables tastefully arranged around the area, pleasingly adequate lighting, and lots of people. All of the tables except two were packed with people chattering away about their lives and their experiences and whatnot. Among the bustle, waitresses could be seen taking orders, dancing through the crowd of patrons gracefully.

However, all of this was not what Rose was looking for. She searched around some more, until her eye caught an unusual thing in the cafe: a large digital alarm clock, sitting on a table. A black box, with huge red numbers of '11:36' printed across it, it certainly stood out against everything else that was nice and light around it. She saw that a hand was drumming its fingers on it, and that hand belonged to a rather striking young man sitting at the table, probably in his early 20's. The man was in a sunshine-yellow short-sleeved shirt and black slacks, with slicked-back hair and rimless glasses. As Rose saw him, the man was looking out the window near the door with a bored look on his face, his other hand propping his chin up.

As he heard the door chimes signalling another entry into the cafe, the man glanced at Rose, and smiled.
Rose, after spotting the man, continued toward the table. "The chance that the man with the mysterious box labeled with the time we were supposed to arrive at is unrelated to this thing is incredibly slim." She figured.

And she would have her friends right behind her to back her up. She hoped.

"That better not be a bomb . . ." she thought, dreading the concept of having walked into her death on a casual almost noon with her friends. She was pretty agile. Worst case scenario, she could dive under a table or something. Despite realizing that it was probably a silly fear, Rose checked the seconds hand on the clock and kept figuratively on her toes, though she made sure to project nothing but calm and friendliness.

She reached the table with no trouble at all.

She greeted the man with a smile and outstretched hand. "Hey there. I'm Rose," she began, and then sought the device on her hip housing her Navi. Holding it in front of the man's face, she continued, "And this is my Navi, Summ." The aforementioned Navi played his part and waved. He knew exactly why she'd bothered introducing him, when he'd likely never come back into conversation.

She decided to return the PeT to her hip, and continue. "Are you here for the "hunt"?" She added a bit of questioning emphasis to the last word, as if to emphasize her lack of commitment to the term. She verbally added quotation marks with her intonation, even.

Despite the awkwardness of that wording, Rose wasn't too worried about starting a talk about a "hunt" with an unrelated stranger. She could easily talk her way out of this even if he had no idea what she was talking about, which was impossible. This whole situation was also far too coincidental, like the e-mail not being based off the mission.
Zeo walked cautiously into the cafe after Rose, feeling like he was overdoing it a bit.

"Don't you think you're overdoing it just a bit?" came a voice from the boy's holstered PET. Zeo winced in embarrassment and took out the device again. "Yeah, I know. Just not sure what to expect," he said quietly. "You know I'm not the most alert guy around, so if you pick up on anything, kindly let me know." ViralMan stretched and gave a fake yawn. "Eh, maybe if I feel like it." Zeo made a face and skirted a table to stop just behind Rose.

"Sure, sure. Just remember, people who don't contribute get used as ammunition," the operator finally replied with a smile. While ViralMan tried to work out these words' meaning, the boy began tossing the PET lightly into the air. Upon the Navi's protests, Zeo ceased after a few seconds. "Seriously though, try to treat this like an official Net mission. A little less sarcasm and we'll make it through alright. Hopefully with no PETs thrown as deterrents to pursuers." ViralMan's eyes barely widened before he regained control.

"You wouldn't dare," he said. Zeo winked as he turned his focus to Rose and the stranger. "Just try me," he laughed.
Alongside her friends, Sabrina also entered the cafe, a bit nervous now that she was actually there. However, she didn't really show it, and started taking a good look around. "Well, we're here. Now, who was it that sent me that e-mail..."

It took a minute, but it appeared the group decided that a man with a giant clock warranted further consideration. Silently agreeing, the Netopian girl walked over, thinking about how she could indirectly ask him about the 'mission'...only for Rose to completely blab everything, causing her to forcefully place the palm of her hand on her forehead without thinking. Great, she just completely wrecked any chance they had of being able to find anything out in secret. Sad part was, she didn't not see it coming, considering what she knew about Rose's personality.

"..." Well, Rose went there, so she might as well be quiet for a bit and see what this guy had to say. Chances were he knew something about it, at the very least. And no matter what, something was probably going to happen in a minute or two.
The man didn't move as he saw Rose approach his table and introduce herself. "Good afternoon, Rose, Summ..." the man started, then looked around the 16-year-old, ".. and yet-to-be-introduced friends, of which the lady, I assume, is Sabrina. Please, take a seat. You are quite fashionably early, as this clock would tell." Tapping on the clock with his fingers, he then closed his eyes for a few seconds. The silence was a bit awkward, until the clock broke it with a singular beep. Across it, '11:37' could be clearly seen by the three.

"Right then, it's 11:37 AM, and we are all here," the man suddenly said. He lifted his hand off the clock, took his glasses, and began to wipe them with a small blue cloth produced out of his shirt pocket. "Now, it would be polite of me to introduce myself, which I will. My name is Ryan Suffolk, and I am a collector of sorts. An eccentric, people might say," he started. Then, putting his glasses back on, he continued, "As you would already guess, I e-mailed you to get you on this "hunt", as was phrased in the message. More specifically, a scavenger hunt."

The man then reached into his pocket, and pulled out a small piece of paper. On the piece of paper was some beautifully printed words, which comprised a list. "A list of items which you can go out and "hunt" for me. You do not have to obtain them all, but only that which you are able to, within reason. If you are able to bring me back these items, I will prepare some compensation. Is this agreeable?" While waiting for a response, he took his glasses and began polishing them again.

Quote ()

Scavenger Hunt

1- Batch AA-00001 Process Upgrade
2- Nil-Zenny Poker Chip
3- [Neuronomicon], author Maya Frasser
4- Previous three NetCafe Secret Menu listings
5- Two (2) Tier-3 Battlechips
6- Thousand Year-Old Spring-Boiled Egg
7- Dentech University 200X Vision Statement Plaque
When offered a seat, Rose sat down, to be polite. And then she waited with a somewhat put on smile while the man closed his eyes and waited for the minute to end. "Strange." was all she could think. The smile was put on to avoid the need to laugh nervously or just look at her friends with utter confusion at the man's . . .actions.

Then she listened carefully as he spoke. She took it all in, and her smile widened when he mentioned a scavenger hunt. It was definitely not the worse they could have gotten.

"How long are you going to be here?" Rose quickly inquired. She figured it was only logical to want to know when she needed to be back with this somewhat long list of fairly odd things.

She had picked up the list, and began looking over it. Before reading, though, she took a picture of it with her PeT, just to make sure she couldn't lose it.

"An obscure sounding process upgrade, a zero value poker chip, a book that sounds like an occult summoning-brain surgery affair, some menus, some third tier chips, a really specific kind of egg, and a vision statement from DenTech University."

She was somewhat grateful that he'd said they didn't need to find all of them, as some of these things sounded difficult to obtain, or illegal. She placed the list back down so the others could look over it, if they wanted to.

And the man was incredibly eccentric. She was also happy that he offered up such a good descriptor for him. She wasn't sure she could have thought of something better without moving towards offensive. "Between these really weird things he wants, and his obsession with specific times, the dude's not quite normal. Eccentric, most definitely."

Well, this would definitely be interesting at least. They'd wanted something to do, and they got it. A scavenger hunt wasn't exactly the least fun they could have gotten.

As far as compensation went, Rose didn't feel the need to decide that. She left it up to the other two to determine if they wanted to get more specific about the price. Or wait until they'd put in the effort and then debate price. She wasn't really in it for the payout, and Sabrina had requested the mission in the first place.
...Well, he knew her name. Which meant he was probably the one that sent her the e-mail. That made Sabrina feel a bit better. She took the list, and started looking it over. ...What kind of 'collector' was this guy? She hadn't even heard of most of these. But, if they could skip the ones that they couldn't get, they could probably take a whack at it. "All right, we'll give it a try. To be honest, I'm not really sure how many of these we can get for you...but we'll get as much of it as we can!"

At around this time, another thought crossed the Netopian girl's mind: people that were eccentric like this were usually rich. Which meant that reward could be pretty good if they went 7 for 7. A smirk started to creep across her face at this revelation...but it stopped when she realized something else "Oh, by the you have any idea where we can get any of this stuff? It'd help if we knew where to look."
"I'll be here when you come again, don't worry," replied Ryan, addressing Rose on her question. He shrugged as he put his glasses back on. "It's not that much of a big deal, anyway." He then turned to Sabrina, and scratched the back of his head, looking up and appearing to be deep in thought. "As for where you can find these... I think I heard that Maya Frasser was signing her books in a bookstore somewhere in Electown today... Not sure which out of the dozen and half. You'll have to find her yourself, I guess. Everything else looks pretty self-explanatory to me."

"If you have any other questions, feel free to ask now. If not, you can all be on your way," he said, smiling as he took his glasses for yet another cleaning job.
Rose's thoughts were already elsewhere when she smiled and slid out of her seat. "I think I'm all set."

She then began dismissing herself. However, she obviously needed to do it politely, so she did. "Thank you," she said, accompanying this basic statement with a quick bow.

SummonerMan still found this to be a ridiculous habit. "I guess maybe it's a culture thing that causes the bowing, but even so she's too polite. Which is too two-faced. She's definitely not that concerned on the inside." he mused.

"Now if you can excuse us I guess we'll be on our way." Rose obviously meant her friends when she entered the first person plural. This included Sabrina and Zeo with her, not SummonerMan.

Rose turned around and began walking to the door, checking over her shoulder to make sure her friends were following. She figured they could discuss their next plan when they got outside. It'd be more open, and it would save them time. They could be on their way to her car already.

She held the door open and waited for her friends, planning on exiting after they had both gone though.
" then!" As the requester gave her the hint, Sabrina whipped out a pen and started writing it down on the note. It was pretty easy to tell what she'd written; it was in a different color from the print, and wasn't quite as invoking of the term 'beautiful'...though it was by no means bad looking. Once she looked up, it seemed that Rose was letting themselves out. Which was good, because she wasn't a fan of waiting. "Well, I guess we're off. Wish us luck!"

As his operator followed her friend outside, SplashMan decided to check out the list. Most of them were pretty obvious, were they going to get some of these? And those battlechips...he really hoped he wouldn't have to go back to Chaos Net..."Well, you gotta give this guy credit. I'm pretty sure no one's ever been on a scavenger hunt like this..."

"Hey, you're saying that like it's a bad thing!" Yep, the hunt had begun...and speaking of which..."So, any ideas what we should get first? Start here and get the one in ElecTown? Should we just go down the list? Up it? Do the odds first, then the evens? Honestly, I'm fine no matter what. But I wanna know if anyone's got any ideas on what we should do first!"

Quote ()

Scavenger Hunt

1- Batch AA-00001 Process Upgrade
2- Nil-Zenny Poker Chip
3- [Neuronomicon], author Maya Frasser  ~Bookstore in ElecTown
4- Previous three NetCafe Secret Menu listings
5- Two (2) Tier-3 Battlechips
6- Thousand Year-Old Spring-Boiled Egg
7- Dentech University 200X Vision Statement Plaque
As Rose and Sabrina made for the door, Zeo studied their "employer" again. He was just about to leave when he realized he hadn't even introduced himself yet. Well, better late then never... he supposed. "Uh, sorry I didn't say anything before," Zeo apologized to the man sheepishly. "My name's Zeo and... I should probably get going." The last bit was in response to the boy seeing Sabrina head out the door. "We'll do our best," Zeo said hastily to the man before turning to catch up to the girls. After nearly making a faceplant on a table, he made it out past the door Rose held open.

Zeo got outside just as Sabrina finished speaking. Panting slightly, Zeo tried to regain his breath. He was fairly sure a chair had hit him in the gut somewhere on his way out of the cafe. "That bookstore... finding it sounds like a good thing to start with," he commented. "Yes, the bookstore is probably our best choice right now," ViralMan spoke up clearly in agreement. "And Zeo, you really need to watch where you're going or give up on restaurant parkour." Zeo scowled for a moment before conceding and continuing to listen. He was ready to head back to Rose's car, if that was where their party was headed.

"Ack, I think I cut myself on the way out of there..." Zeo sighed out of the blue, examining a barely visible scratch. ViralMan shook his head in disappointment.
"Sure, book signing first sounds like a plan." Rose said. She figured staying in Electown wasn't a terrible idea. It'd save them time, and save her gas and money.

"Are you ok?" she ventured, looking to Zeo. It didn't look bad. She listened up for a response, but figured she could continue with her life without worrying about the scratch ending his.

She pulled out her PeT, shut off the recorder function, and did some searching. Well, first she checked the name of the book and the Author. " Neuronomicon, Maya Frasser, Neuronomicon, Maya Frasser" she recited mentally as she went to look it up.

She figured that plugging them into a search engine, along with "Electown" and "book signing," or at least the author and those two terms, would return some news.

In no time at all, it did. Maya Frasser's Home Page shared the news in its Important News section. "Today, at the CornerStone Book Store in Electown" it read, Miss Frasser would be signing copies of her books. She'd also do autographs and photos. Or memorabilia.

With her handy find, she got back to the group. "Looks like it's at CornerStone Book Store." She informed them. Plugging the place into her GPS, she learned that they weren't terribly far away.

"We should be able to walk. That way I won't need to find another parking space. Or try to, at least." She added the last sentence after looking at the building afternoon traffic in the streets.

"I think we'd head that way," she said, directing their attention to the left. That was what her PeT was telling her, at least.
As soon as he said 'cut', Sabrina's gaze shifted over to Zeo, who was checking...something, apparently. She couldn't see it from where she was, however, which meant he was probably being a little bit of a wuss. At least it wasn't anything she had to worry about, like that time with Harke. Ugh, that was just...ugh.

But, it looked like the others both wanted to check out the book first. It made sense, and she didn't really care what order they did it in, soooo..."All right, let's check it out! ...Uh, but which one? That guy said there were over a dozen..." Luckily, Rose knew enough to just look it up. "That way, huh? Okay, let's go!" And then, left moving!

"Uh...I've got a question. What if that author's charging for those books?"

Hmm, good question by her Navi. Luckily, it was easily answered. "It's not like we don't have money, you know. I mean, if it's less than 1200z, I can get it myself!"

"I guess, but, don't books like that cost more than that?"

"Well, we'll figure something out. I mean, even in a worst case scenario, I don't think they'll miss one book very much! ...But that's a last resort, of course!" A very last resort. "Hopefully that..." A quick note check! "Maya Frasser person's nice and understanding, so we don't have to do any 'last resorts'."