Mark's Apartment

A swift kick opened the door to the old apartment in downtown Electown. Light flooded into the room, revealing old tee-shirts and sweatpants scattered on the floor along with several old airs of socks and papers. Several bills were on the old counter, which he looked at with disgust. He haphazardly threw his bag on the couch, the wood creaking as it landed. A flip of a switch and a slam of the door, and he was alone in his apartment again. He hadn't been home in several weeks. He had taken most of the spare money he had, invested it in various locations, one of which being Trent's training, and was staying where ever while he worked with his navi. Now that same star navi wasn't ready. It was all crashing down on him in the worst ways right now.

Exhausted he moved over towards his computer, set the PET down beside him, and stared at its white face for a while. His eyes rarely blinking as he lost himself in a deep thought. What would he do about everything? He had to get Trent to the rings, but he couldn't lose him. He would be deleted if he went now, then Mark really would be in a terrible place. At least right now Trent could help. He snapped out of the passive stare, and lifted himself back to his feet as he started to stagger into the kitchen.

His eyes scanned the bills, and his hand drifted to the door on the refrigerator, pulling it open with a solid jerk; the door often got stuck. Inside was a bottle of water. He pulled it out, drank a large amount, and carried it with him as he staggered to the closest of his studio apartment. Sliding the wooden door open, several suits hung in the closet, the one area of his apartment that was as neat and orderly as his outer appearance normally was. He took off his jacket, vest, tie, and shoes. Carefully he placed them all back in place, and wore the black slacks and white undershirt back to the computer.

Several more minutes passed neither Mark nor Trent, who still hadn't opened his eyes, said anything. Finally Mark broke the silence. "I'm getting you another partner. The two of you will do busting runs in a high network. There you shall understand how other Navi's fight, and we will gather more information on common tactics. Also, you shall fight more viruses for practice moves. Once we gather the correct amount of zenny, the appropriate upgrades will be bought, then we will go to the rings. No exceptions. Either you will be ready, or you will be deleted, with your deletion I'll take the guaranteed ring money and get another fighter. Do you understand?"

Trent let out a deep breath, keeping his body clam and his mind clear, despite the words being barked and issued to him. Sasha hugged closer to Trent's form, his head burying into his side. A large paw scratched at Trent's leg. Trent quickly put a stop to him. With another deep breath he answered, "Understood."

Mark unfolded his arms and turned off the displays of the PET. He started typing out the request for a partner, his fingers strongly striking the keys. Trent sat in silence, his hand comforting Sasha by rubbing his head. They all waited.
A reply to the post came after a few hours of sitting around. Looking back the response might have come sooner if he hadn't used such harsh language in the add. Either way, there was a taker and the spot had been set up. Netvegas it was. This network and alliance should prove to be very useful for Trent and Mark since the zenny output from the network was a higher amount. They could get the upgrades faster and get Trent back into the rings. The main thing that Trent needed was more HP and be caught up on his process upgrades. Those process upgrades would help him a lot, his current move pool was somewhat lacking. He needs a few more dirty fighting moves, maybe a revamp was needed soon on his attacks.

Mark typed his answer to the navi who posted then turned his attention back towards Trent, who was sitting in the same spot unmoving. Sasha had fallen asleep from staying in the same spot for so long, and was slightly twitching in back and front paws. Trent didn't open his eyes as Mark began to speak. "I have found a partner for you. Let's get you to the netvegas door in internet city. We can meet up with her and start the run. With some more zenny under our belts, we will go get the upgrades and get you fighting."

Mark waited not for an answered, and jacked Trent into the network. "Gather the zenny, and don't mess up. Take each battle in well, we cannot have a repeat of losing to Dragonierman."

{Jacking into Internet City}
Mark leaned back in his half broken desk chair and placed a hand on his forehead. Not as much zenny as he would have liked to have made from all those fights, but according to his calculations, it should be just enough to buy his upgrades. He pushed himself up from his chair and moved over to the closest, where he collected his iconic suit clothes and put them on. After fixing his tie, straightening his shirt, and wiping his shoes he moved back to the computer where Trent and Sasha was playing in the blank homepage. "Odd that Terra had to go like that. Disconnected. What a terrible way to end a good fight we had going. I was curious to see what the rest of the house held."

"I would like to bust with her again," Trent said bluntly. He was rather impressed by her unique fighting style, something he hadn't seen or encountered before. Sasha was barking in agreement with Trent's statement, having also enjoyed the company from Carbide and her curious antics. Something that neither of thought they would enjoy at all.

"Lets go get those upgrades then head on in for the recruitment. I'm sure the bloodhounds will be happy to see you again Trent."

Trent stopped his plying with Sasha and closed his eyes briefly. The moment itself was slight and almost unnoticeable, but Sasha noticed. The dog started to rub his head against Trent in a comforting motion. The whole event was unseen by Mark.

{To Scilabs}
Mark arrived back home in his apartment and opened the door, letting light spill in on his rather run down place. This time though there wasn't the sense of disappointed, the sense of failure. He looked at the small stack of unpaid bills with a silent happiness, knowing the money would soon be flowing into his pockets once again. Today was the day that he sends Trent back out to the wolves and wild, praying he returns with bounty a plenty. Trent had been a crowd favorite before, enough so to attract attention from the mafia. Mark chose to take the invitation to join the bloodhounds as both a threat and a opportunity. With the mafia behind him the money would come easier, the fame faster, and the rings would be much more acceptable.

As Mark moved over to the computer once more he sat down and pulled up the screen to prepare Trent for jacking into the homepage and network. He was far more confident in Trent than before, the prospect of new upgrades and attacks giving him a good feeling about the whole ordeal. As he unwrapped the upgrades and started to install the batch, a slow smile faded over his face. He had come a long way from the random buyer and owner or one terrible gladiatorial navi. The navi barely made it through its first round, and clearly failed in the second. Mark was very eager for this.

Trent, however, was not. He dreaded the rings, the fighting, the unnecessary violence against him and the other navi for the benefit of Mark. Mark was an OK operator, rather nice at times even, when the rings are not involved. Trent often found himself fighting and deleting a navi which didn't want to be there either, or one that was simply bloodthirsty from the trials in the fights. Either way they were broken navis, and keeping your head in there becomes impossible over time. He knew he would find navi's just like those today as he searched for the bloodhounds.

Sasha hugged close to his side and looked up at his master, sensing a air of discomfort and pain. He whimpered slightly and used his muzzle to scoop Trent's hand onto his head.

"The upgrades are finished and installed, lets get going," Mark said happily. Without waiting for a response from Trent, he jacked him into the heart of Internet City, in the Recruitment Kiosk.
Mark happily returned Trent to his PET after the successful venture into internet city to confirm the acceptance into the Bloodhound family. This one change alone meant a large deal to Mark. The money that could be made, the chances that he could have within the fighting force of the mafia. The status alone would grant him more bets, more money, and better challenges within the rings, which Mark was ready for Trent to return to. He nodded in approval a few times before leaning back to the PET and check a few menus.

Trent on the other hand, was taking the short break he had and play with Sasha. The two were playing and rolling roughly in the safety of the PET and the homepage. The homepage itself was fairly standard, nothing outstandingly special here, but the two enjoyed their space and their time all the same. Mark thought at his seat about the stealing of the device, while the two played, muttering indiscernible sentences.

Finally, after a few moments of thought said, "Trent. We should get you a few upgrades and changes to your setup. Just enough to throw off the balance of the Neo-Shoguns when we encounter them again. They will be expecting you to be how you were when the data was withdrawn. Lets add a few more perks to that set up for distraction. Then lets head to the ring. I already have a great idea in mind for a first upgrade. I will post up about it on the mission boards, it would take a while to obtain this one on your own." Mark had already starting posting up the mission request before he finished describing the idea to Trent. Trent was more than OK with it all the same though, since it wasn't a straight shot to the rings.

Trent didn't really care what the item that they were after was, it would in the long run be beneficial none the less. He carried on his play time with Sasha, having only heard every few words that Mark was saying regardless. Sasha would be ready to go back out soon into the nets anyways. He did always get rather restless.

"HP +100 Request sent out. Now we just play the waiting game. The extra health with be a huge benefit for you. Compared to some of our brothers in arms, you are rather squishy. Lets fix that. PantheonMan had health off the charts almost." Mark pushed himself away from the computer and moved into the kitchen to start basic cleaning and organizing. He had a lot to do on the real world end, now that some of his virtual problems had been solved. Money wouldn't be as hard pressed to find from here on out.
Mark had on a pair of yellow kitchen gloves and a stack of clean dishes next to him when the ping rang out into the room. The thread he posted on the GNA job board had been responded too. Looks like there was a suitable request out there for this part. Mark had been scrubbing away at the counters, floor, and sink of his kitchen for the past hour. It had been a while since he could focus on this and with his spirits high from the potentially bright future, he was more than in the mood to get his clean freak nature back in check. There was still much work to be done across the entire apartment, but that would come later.

Two lour snaps echoed in the large apartment as Mark quickly pulled them off and tossed them into the kitchen sink. "Looks like a hit," Mark said happily as he sat back down before the holographic displays of the PET. Trent was already reading and checking the posting when Mark arrived. "What can you make of it?" Mark asked.

Trent's silence was his response, his unsure response. Mark, however, had a fast idea of what it could have been. "Zombies. Hands down this is a zombie fight." Trent was unable to tell if he was serious. Mark connected Trent to the given network and location without responding to the GNA thread. "Let us get started on this then. If its zombies we have our work cut out for us."

Jacking into Internet City