Three's Company

"Next station, Beach Street. Next station, Beach Street."

The speedy light rail transit came to a whining halt as Harke walked out the sliding doors, and emerged from the underground station. He brought up his hand to shield his eyes momentarily from the blistering sun's powerful rays, letting his eyes adjust to the sudden jolt in brightness. After a few moments, his hand went down, and Harke walked across the street, making sure that no object of suitably large size was going to ram him down. Arriving at the other side of the road, he looked up to check that he was in the right place.

"Seagull Spot... yep," he read to himself out loud.

Looking around, Harke saw a few people chatting up at various tables, and found an empty table. The round table had four metal chairs around it, one of which he pulled and proceeded to take a seat in. Pulling out his PET, he activated the projection, allowing Eternalis and Aurora to come to life on the round table. Both looked quite eager to look around, and Eternalis immediately recognized the place.

"Hmm, Beach Street again, Harke?" the Navi inquired.

"Yeah. We're here to meet two of the guys from yesterday," Harke explained, as he looked around some more.

"Who's that, Harke?" asked Aurora, as she began to climb up Eternalis' back and sat on his shoulders, practicing some balance tricks.

"You'll see," said Harke, smiling as he relaxed in his chair.

[Waiting for Chardes and AR]
Eager to move into a new, refreshing location, Camillia wheeled herself into the fresh air of the Beach Street. "Theeeeeee beaaaaaaaaaach!" she exclaimed happily, two arms up in the air as if to stretch. Then realizing that weird gazes were on her, she quickly sulked and carted towards the string of shops, leaving behind her cousin as the sheer enthusiasm drew the redhead across the road. "There they are, Tsujsa," she pointed, two hands at the ready as her eyes roved towards the massive beach stretched out across the street. Within moments, Camillia was there, before the cafe named the Seagull Spot.

... Narrowly avoiding contact with vehicles.

Eyeing how Harke was clearly seated in one of the tables at the cafe and in clear sight of what might have happened from the entrance of the train station, she had her head low as she stopped before the operator and the two programs on the table. "... You didn't see all that, did you?" she mumbled in embarrassment.
Tsujsa stretched his arms out. Ahhh, the gentle breeze of the ocean itself. Nothing matched it's majestic beauty as it's sapphire blue ocean washed ashore with it's gentle waves, the seagulls flying overhead, and people enjoying themselves, in particular a disabled relative, at the beach itself.

It was refreshing to stay out of ACDC town occasionally, and Beach Street was always a great place to rest and relax, especially after the mission he had been involved in. Validus also seemed a lot more active, if not stronger, now.

Then his cousin immediately ran straight for the shop where their acquaintance sat waiting.

Without looking at the traffic.

"O...oi. Captain!"

Cursing, Tsujsa ran straight for Camillia, disregarding his own personal safety as well as he immediately grabbed the handlebars of the wheelchair and got out of the way of traffic. Panting, he gave a stern glare at his cousin's sudden disregard of safety, before mumbling "Don't do that ever again" in short breaths.

It wasn't long before he himself noticed that Harke was already sitting at the cafe. He only gave him a weird look, and muttered: "Why hello there." before resuming to catch his breath.
Lazily, Harke closed his eyes for a bit, before stopping to relax and recollect his thoughts about last night. Before he glanced at the clock reading five past midnight, he hadn't realized that he had worked on his project for several hours straight- and without food, at that. Some new record to forget, he thought jokingly. He mulled over his design, thinking on some of the flaws he had found earlier... before being jolted by a sudden exclamation from across the street.

As he was situated near the entrance of the cafe, he could see clearly the cousins from the day before standing (or in one's case, sitting) outside the Beach Metroline Station exit, and that the party responsible for the sudden interruption in his thoughts was a Camillia Ranbard, obviously ecstatic for some reason. He was about to stand up to signal to the two, when he saw Camillia's quick burst of speed in a daredevil show of eagerness. Taken aback for a bit, he visibly winced slightly when he saw a car barely glance the back of his friend's wheelchair by a couple of inches.

Struck without words for a few moments, Harke simply stared with a small crease in his brow before quickly changing face. ".... Um, if you're okay... I didn't see... anything," he replied with a grin, just as he saw the arrival of Tsujsa Reise on the other side of the road as well, breathless from chasing a certain cousin.

"Hey, Tsujsa. Your cousin seems very enthusiastic," commented an amused Harke.
"Eh, wasn't that kind of fun?" Camillia muttered, playfully slapping away Tsujsa's hand from the handlebars. Moving to get herself comfy at the table, she cleared her throat and smiled at Harke. "Yeeaaaaaaaaaaaaah you didn't see anything," she said sweetly, before turning to look at the breathless cousin. Pushing out the seat next to her, she motioned for Tsujsa to sit down by patting on the empty chair.

"Well honestly, I haven't been to a beach since, like, half a forever ago, so don't mind me, really," she added enthusiastically, very unlike her usual self. Or was this her real self? "I don't care if I get sunburns or anything, just being here is a relaxing experience, what with the breeze and all..." her ramble continued.

Oh, right, Rhea.

Grabbing her PET from her pack, she allowed Rhea to roam the small table as a holographic image. The Navi, in turn, blinked at the gigantic operators dumbly for a while, as if wondering why she was there. "Oh. Hello Eternalis and Aurora," Rhea greeted mechanically, giving a bow appropriate for a formal meeting at the fellow programs. The purple swordsNavi never once realized the abnormality of her operator being so enthusiastic, even if Rhea herself have not seen the spectacle before...

... Well, that was mostly because Camillia dropped her enthusiasm entirely when Rhea appeared, as if she was suddenly reminded of her deficiency when compared to a normal person.
Tsujsa didn't laugh nor even smile at Camillia's attempt to get out of trouble by acting cute. Instead he only sent an angry glare at her. "I'm serious. What are you going to do if you end up in a hospital because of that recklessness?" He said with a strict voice, before realising he was in the company of another individual. Coughing, he pulled his PET out and placed in on the table as well, before grabbing a seat himself. "Sorry for that." He added as he looked away from Camillia.

Validus himself appeared in a beam of light out of the PET, sitting comfortably on the edge of the PET as though it was a solid object, polishing and cleaning the rifle as he pulled apart the gun to clean the hard to reach areas. "Oh, hey there guys!" Validus said as he snapped the rifle together shut, placing every piece into one whole weapon again.

The Navi then shifted between the different weapon modes. First, it changed to a shotgun, before changing into a lance-gun hybrid weapon, and then changing into a weird, cheesy 80's alien rifle with orbs and rings at it's end, like a coil of some sort. "Ah jeez, captain. Can't you configure the coding to make this thing look a lot better?"

Tsujsa shrugged back at Validus, before turning to address Harke's comments on Camillia. "Yeah, but one'll have to separate enthusiasm from recklessness. I just hope she doesn't make it a habit. The last thing I want is her to end up in the ER again." He muttered grimly, trying suppress once bitter memories. He looked at Rhea, and only noticed how archaic the design for her was.

Still, nothing was going to be achieved by just moping about and earning an awkward silence. "So... how's things going on your end, Harke?"
Looking at his companions with a small smile at the corner of his lips, Harke was surprised at first in reaction to this new Camillia, cheerful and bubbly. He wondered if this was an abnormality or that this was Camillia's real side... that maybe, just maybe, he had seen a glimpse of Pre-Wheelchair Camillia Ranbard. However, the teenager did not get to mull over it for long, when Tsujsa cut in with his comments on the matter.

"Well, at least I can see you're concerned for your cousin here," commented Harke, replying to Tsujsa's worries. He didn't exactly think greatly of Camillia's outburst of excitement (or as Tsujsa put it, recklessness) but he didn't feel like reprimanding the wheelchair-bound girl either, seeing as she had already reverted into quiet mode; giving her a hard time would only depress her further, he thought.

Replying to Tsujsa's last question, Harke said, "Eh? I'm doing fine, thanks for asking. I'm almost done with that Support Program we got from yesterday's mission." As he said his last statement, Harke's eyes lingered towards the programs socializing on the the table, and his mind snapped to why they had gathered on that day. Snapping his fingers, he started, "Right, to the matter at hand. I was thinking about this network tour, and I've picked out several places we can visit. There's tropical Yumland to start with, then a trip into the Netfrica network's deserts and savannahs. Afterwards, we'll jump into Beach's network for a little sun before we head into the Sharo and Hades mountains. For the finisher, a little fun playing around in NetVegas. How's that sound?"

Meanwhile, Eternalis and Aurora greeted their new friends with enthused voices. "Hey." "Hi!" Standing near Rhea, Eternalis gave a small wave to return her greeting. "Hey, Rhea. You doing okay with Camillia lately?" Meanwhile, Aurora looked at Validus- more specifically, the firearm the latter was assembling. Intrigued, she jumped off her Navi's shoulders with a graceful somersault, landing in front of Validus. Crouching in front of the sniper Navi, she examined the rifle with deep curiosity. "That looks like a really pretty gun. How'd you change it like that?"
At the stern lecture of Tsujsa, she just lowered her head slightly in response. Well, it wasn't like as if she had anything else to lose... I mean, it's not like it can get any worse than losing the ability to walk, right? she thought inwardly, before raising her head slightly to look at the conversation going on. They were mentioning something along the lines of exploration and support program...

Oh, yeah, wait, support program?

Turning her head towards Rhea, she briefly recalled allowing Rhea the freedom to meddle with it, considering how she knew nothing about customization of programs and such. If Rhea was so free, that meant that the SP was ready already... But it was nowhere in sight. Giving the purple Navi the liberty to do as she wishes, the redhead took out a bottle of water to soothe her drying throat. She lit up when various locations were mentioned in their Netxploration itinerary for the day, but then realized that it was nothing compared to real world exploration... Paying no attention to her inability to perform the latter now. Nevertheless, Camillia observed how Rhea lit up from the idea as well, eager to know the many places of the Internet.

"I think both Rhea and I like that idea, Harke. It's excellent."

Rhea nodded at Eternalis as the much taller Navi addressed her, inquiring her about the relationship between herself and her operator. "We are fine," Rhea said quickly, eyeing the table left and right. "... I do not see your new support program," Rhea noted the obvious. To any person who was paying attention to the purple Navi's movements, it was pretty glaring a fact that Rhea was anxious and nervous in meeting new companions (she was swaying her head like a child eager but patiently waiting for candy)... Or perhaps was she eager to reveal her own?

Validus turned to look at Aurora, and tried to suppress his amazement at how nimble the SP was. "Well, it's just a piece of coding Tsujsa modified into my weapon. It made it simpler to distinguish the type of chip inserted into my rifle." He said as he slung the rifle across his back. "The weapon just has a cosmetic change, really. Nothing more than that." He added.

"A world trip-tour in the net eh?" Tsujsa remarked. "I like that idea. Let's go for it." The idea itself seemed like a great way to train up Validus as well, maybe it would make him far stronger than currently. Then, something crossed his mind. "Oh, right, speaking of support programs..." Tsujsa pulled out a small disc and inserted it into the PET. The PET's screen beeped green and turned into a loading screen.


Instantly, a small figure flashed out of the holograph projector and materialized into a human shape. The form then changed into the body of a female, and glowed brightly before materializing it's armor. As soon as the glow had finished emanating, a female navi, with the appearance of an 18-year old, appeared in front of the group of navis.

"Hi there!" the navi chirped as it saluted Validus.

"Validus, meet Markerlight. She'll be operating as your spotter to maximize your sniping capabilities." Tsujsa said. Validus only gave a weird look at the operator. "Wha? Do I really need an assistant for that...?"

"Hey! I'm not an assistant or anything like that! I'm supposed to act as your spotter!"

"That's right. She's going to pinpoint targets of importance for you. Since I'm in meatspace, I can't really see the whole combat from my area, except for a small screen. With Markerlight, she'll be able to determine targets that I designate, while you focus completely on shooting them."

"So, the group here is my team? Nice to meet you all!" The SP added with a smile as she gave a salute gesture to the rest of the team.
Watching Rhea's head bob and sway to the sides was somehow hypnotic to the water Navi standing at the table, and he was momentarily distracted from the actual person standing in front of him and started doing it himself unconsciously. "Huh, wha?" Eternalis said as he replied (sort of) to Rhea's question. Taking a while to process the question, he started, "O-Oh, Support Program...?" Then, taking another few seconds to process the answer to the question, he continued, "Ah, right. Harke didn't finish it completely yet, he said. He's driving me nuts with all his secrecy about the whole thing, I can hardly wait!" Unconsciously, he crossed his arms, and he began rocking himself with his boots, forward and backward.

Aurora let out an impressed "Ooooooh~" at Validus' gun, and stood back up. She crossed her arms, and tilted her head sideways as she appeared to examine Validus' rather imposingly crimson eyepiece and the blue helmet that came with it. Then, realizing it to be rather impolite of her, she ceased her examination with a start, just as Markerlight made her entrance. Her eyebrows raised and eyes widened as her visor immediately began to analyze everything she could about this newcomer. Of course, that included measurements, and upon glancing at the values projected on her visor, Aurora's face started to screw itself up tight for an instant before she suppressed the chuckle. S-Steady, Aurora... it wouldn't be nice to do that... she thought to herself.

She then lifted her hand in a small wave and mustered her best smile possible that didn't look like a grimace. "Hey, Marker! I'm Aurora. The blue guy over there's my Navi, Eternalis. Nice to meet you, too!"

"All right, glad to see that we're all in agreement," said Harke, grinning happily. He looked at his PET, and initiated the jack-in signal finder. He quickly found the nearest access point, and initiated wireless-access jack-in. "Well, no better time to start than the present. Et, Aurora, I'm jacking you guys in. Ready?" In response, the two programs raised their heads simultaneously, and gave the affirmative signal of a simple thumbs-up.

"Ready!" "OK!"

"All right, first stop, Yumland! Jack in, Eternalis.EXE, Transmission!" With that little announcement, Eternalis and Aurora turned to their respective conversation partners and gave them a two-finger salute before disappearing into beams of light.

[Destination: Yumland Net]
"Markerlight... It is good to meet you," Rhea said briefly, wondering the oddity of such a name. It did not seem logical to name a support program as such, though the Navi suspected that it might have something to do with Tsujsa's naming sense-- which meant that she shouldn't comment on the matter. "My designated name is Rhea.EXE." ... Her introductions were always so short.

"Oh, right, let's jack in, Rhea," Camillia noted as Harke seemed to be eager to start the netjourney, already throwing Eternalis and Aurora into the cyber world. Rhea turned to look at her operator in the eye, before nodding and disappearing in a flash (and a thunderclap). "... Maybe I shouldn't have picked a sound effect like that..." the redhead muttered, scratching her head.

[[Jack-in, Rhea.EXE]]
"Right then. Get ready for transmission, Validus. You too, Markerlight." Tsujsa said as he prepped the PET for network transmission. The navi gave an okay signal as he disappeared into the world network. Markerlight followed suit soon after. "I'm looking forward to working with you all!" she said before disappearing in a blue beam of light.

[Yumland NET: Jack-in]
"Well, that takes care of that," Harke said to himself, relaxing in the chair as he propped up the PET on the table. Looking at the table itself, Harke snatched up the menu of the cafe with one hand, operating the PET with the other. Flipping through the pages, he looked put on a disinterested face at the selection. His stomach betrayed the look on his face, however, as it made a low rumble, though it wasn't loud enough to be heard by anyone except himself.

"Tch, be quiet," he mumbled.

Still, nothing looked that great on the menu, until he came to the desserts section. A small grin appeared on his face as he contemplated the choices. After some time, he figured out which one he was after, and put the menu back on the table. Leaning back on his chair, he continued to operate for a bit as he thought of something.

"Hmm, I'm still a bit hungry... oh, hey, Cam, you want anything?" he said, pushing the menu on the table towards the wheelchair-bound girl.
"Eh?" Camillia said, her attention deviated when Harke addressed her. She placed her PET down and took the menu, burying her head behind it as she evaluated her choices. "Umm, I think a drink is nice. Let's see... um... orange juice?" she noted, pointing to at the menu while looking for permission of some sort from the other teen.
Packing up his stuff into his bag, Harke stood up, and threw it over his shoulder. "Well, later, guys. Again, sorry I couldn't stay. Hope we can meet up like this some other time, alright?" he said, waving as he turned to leave. Walking out of the shop, he headed for the Metroline across the street, and went down the stairs. Oh, wait, he could stop by Suitachi's on the way home. A fair amount of zenny had landed itself conveniently into his card, and he was anxious to get some new gear.

[To SciLab]
Camillia waved at the leaving Harke, she pocketed her PET and turned to her cousin.
"I'll see you around then, Tsujsa, Validus and Markerlight-- I'll try to be home soon," Camillia told them, bowing as she could from her wheelchair before carting herself towards the metroline.

[[To Scilabs]]
Noticing the other two had already left the scene, and replying to each with a simple goodbye gesture, Tsujsa decided to pay for whatever Camillia and he had ordered during the course of their stay.

With nothing else left to do, Tsujsa opted to leave to purchase upgrades for Validus with the (mysteriously obtained) funds from virusbusting.

[[to Scilabs]