The good doctor hummed to himself and failed to hide a twisted grin. He carried his PET, with hodgepodge improvements, to his personal computer. It was a sad little thing, he thought. A genius such as himself should have only the finest equipment in his laboratory, a throne from which to preside over all society. Or at least the parts of it he liked.

Dr Gorgon dropped into his computer chair, paying no heed to the hazerdous creaks coming from it. He moved to roll the chair to his desk out of habit and almost slammed his head into his monitor as a wheel caught, and partially chewed up, a tatami mat.

"Stupid.. Of all the..", he snarled as he gave the wheel of his chair a threatening look, to no avail. Sighing as he tried to collect himself for a moment, he wrenched the furnature apart and sat properly.

He placed his PET on his desk and fumbled through a power strip at his feet for the correct cord umong the tangled mess.. Ah the charger, there it was. Hooking things up and connecting the jack-in plug to his PC's port he mused to himself that the PET was surely worth more than the computer, especially considering it's contents at the moment.

He glanced behind his computer for a moment, making sure the PC's connections to a small black brick were snug.. It had a jack-in port on one side and a plug with retractable cable on the other. It was a piece of illegal tech he had spent quite a lot of money on a while back and it served as a virtual server and workspace for his data and navi. It's finest feature, perhaps, was that it simulated dozens of locations that didn't exist and bounced his transmission through them numerous times. Tracing him would be virtually impossible and if anyone tried, the brick had indicator LEDs to warn him of attempts and how close he was to being breached. There was a kill switch for that.

He had all the research he had done under SciLab's nose hidden within it. The fools, they would pay for their narrow minded idiocy. The doctor growled, to no one in perticular and clenched his hands in the air as if choking someone. A wild look flew through his eye for a moment before fading and the snarl was replaced by the origional grin. Finally the PC finished booting up and displayed the uplink data with his PET.

Dr Gorgon gave a half-snicker, half-giggle, a snigger if you will, as he heard a deep growl coming from his PC's speakers. The monitor displayed the virtual world within the black box, which was fittingly a cavernous labyrinth. Digital torches dotted the walls from time to time, providing poor illumination but that didn't matter to his navi.

"Man-ti-core, arise", he called out, to the PET's microphone. A pair of red glowing eyes opened and gleamed through the darkness. The deep growl sounded again, like a snarling lion but much more savage. The tone was that of challenge. The doctor grinned and said "Calm yourself Manticore, it's your master". The beast, still within the shadows, reduced the tone of it's growl to that of a grunt and went silent. Deep breathing could be heard over the speakers as the doctor typed away on his PC.

Again he tried to get readings on Manticore, and again his diagnosis programs returned messages full of errors and corrupted, irrepairable data. He chuckled as he wondered just how powerful this beast must be.. He had worked long and hard, fusing bugfrags and virus data into his navi. The icing on the cake though was when he managed to steal that data from SciLab that the researchers theorized came from some legendary cybeast. He would have his revenge on SciLab yet!

But first thing was first.. Like a good scientist he had to test and make sure. If simple analysis failed he would have to fo a field test. Something easy, something far from the beaten path where he could let his navi finally stretch it's wings.. He had spent what little money he had on a few starter chips and a couple minienergy subchips.. It was hard to find time or funds to spare for his work, it was all he could do at his crummy job to earn enough for room and board.

He frowned bitterly. Stupid SciLab. Stupid NetPolice. Fools, all of them. He knew he was still being watched, maybe his lines were even being tapped.. Yes he was sure of it.. They couldn't find enough evidense to lock him away but they would keep at it, waiting for him to slip up. Well he would show them. He would have Manticore rob a bank or chip shop, maybe both.. Yes, he would get the funds and power he needed, well assuming any of it was compatable any longer with his beautiful creation.

"Manticore, I am going to let you out to play in a quiet little Net. Do whatever you like to whoever or whatever you see. We only have a few battle chips but I shall load them if needed", the doctor said. His beast stirred and yawned as it seemed to take in what it could of the conversation and at the very least appeared to be following orders.

"Good, good.. Yes... Now. I will not be speaking to you while you are in the net, do you understand? I do not yet have anything to disguise my voice or appearance if that stupid viewscreen pops up. I will be working on something to that end while you... play", the doctor again said. Manticore seemed completely disinterested.

With a snort, Dr Gorgon typed a few lines and said "Now, Manticore. Jack-in".

With a hum and several blinking lights from the black box, the navi was off.