Outsourced Adventures in Netfrica

After a rather uneventful flight, which followed Na'im's setting of a new land-speed record to the chip shop and back, the boy, girl, and spoony bard arrived at the portside city on Netfrica's east coast. The streets were bustling with activity, as would be expected of any decently populated city, but it was at the same time a strange sight to behold. Just at a glance, one could tell there were just as many Electopian foreigners running around as there were Netfrican locals, meaning that the network overhaul that Mill, Rania, and Na'im were here for was already well underway. Finding the operations center was no hard task since that's where most of the people were going to and coming from, and a quick chat between the foreman and Mill sent the trio on their way. In short, it went something like:

"You hardware or software?" grunted the foreman through a thick beard.


"Nevermind, gimme yer PET." ordered the foreman, who had already taken Mill's PET before he actually finished saying that. He gave a tough, judging stare at Anyis, who stared back at him before making a rude gesture that will not be defined here. "...Yer Navi's got spunk, go down da main hallway, third door on da left fer software systems. Dem pansies down there are gettin' der asses handed to 'em by viruses."

"... Uh, okay." nodded Mill hesistantly, before retreating back towards Rania and Na'im. "What the hell were you thinking?!" hissed Mill quietly at his Navi, referring to her interactions with the foreman.

"He was testing me, and I gave him the answer he was looking for. You don't understand people as well as I do, Mill." explained Anyis proudly.

There were so many things Mill could say in response, but ulimately, Anyis managed to impress the foreman simply by insulting him, and there was no countering that fact. "... Well, anyway. This seems like it'll be easier than I thought, since they just want us virus busting right now... I think." he said to his friends. "Both of your Navis ready to go?" asked Mill, though he really felt like he didn't even need to ask in MeleeMan's case.
Rania was still so excited from her first trip overseas that she barely heard a thing Mill or the foreman said in their exchange. MeleeMan, on the other hand, was feeling slightly disappointed that Anyis had gotten the chance to flip the guy off or whatever. Not getting to enter a competition of insults was just like being beaten! "Hmph," he grunted to himself, clearly bored.

The place was a little rough looking, but Rania had done some volunteer work in rougher before. She figured she'd be alright, but the situation certainly called for her to at least pull off her sweatshirt. Not only was it not climate appropriate, but all of these gruff working types might find the "FIGHT 4 LOVE" message a little out of setting. Beneath it, she wore a simple white t-shirt with short, black sleeves. "Don't ask him if he's ready, he'll probably give you an ear-full," Rania tried to warn Mill, but it was too late.

"Yeah, I'm ready. Ready to climb out of my PET and punch you right in face if you ever ask if I'm ready to fight again! I've never not been ready for a fight!" he contested, beating his chest with one fist. All of this was partially just to get himself out of a state of boredom and into a warlike condition suitable for combat.

"Busting with a navi like this is probably worse work than a lot of the product construction activities, eheh," she laughed, keeping her voice low so as not to insult all of the product construction workers nearby. "Anyways, I'm all set. Where do we jack in? I'd hate to get into the wrong terminal here, although they're probably all linked."
Na'im had just been strolling along with the others once they reached Netfrica. He figured that he could do his own duties once he actually went to the hotel where he had gotten a room. He looked with interest at the vocal exchange between Mill and the foreman, always curious about the way people acted. Same mattered to Rania, as Na'im noticed her changing her attire for something lighter. Personally he was used to the warmer climates of the world, in fact he felt more at home with these temperatures, but even so it was ridiculous to be walking around Netfrica with a scarf.

He wrapped his scarf around the keyboard section of his PET and tied a knot in it so it wouldn't fall off, figuring he wouldn't need to play any music in this situation. He looked up once the question fell if the Navis were ready. With his PET in his hands, he glanced at the screen of Djinni to see if this was the case.

With her hands pressed against the screen, her eyes curiously going around as she had been looking around while the PET was on Na'im's back, she was now staring directly at Na'im. "Oh," she uttered before moving away from the screen, "Should I ask what we're actually doing here?"

"I'm honestly not sure either," Na'im replied. He then nodded at Mill, "But let's just say Mill is our employer for the time being."

Djinni just stared at Na'im for a moment. She then narrowed her eyes and began to talk to her Operator, "Who is Mill? Is this another young girl you've been chatting with?" Turning on her holographic image, she stuck her head out of the PET's screen to look around and then noticed the one figure she didn't recognize. "Oh, nevermind. Pretend I said nothing," she said, quickly hiding in the PET's screen again.

Na'im looked at Mill and nodded as he held his PET in his right hand against his side, "We are ready. Djinni will get up to speed once we enter the network, but she's prepared for battle." He then began to walk towards the hallway that was mentioned earlier. "Third door on the left, was it?" he asked, glancing over to Mill.
"Yeah, third door on the left..." answered Mill to both Rania and Na'im as he approached it. Inside was... well, a server room. That probably should've been expected. Multiple arrays of industrial-size servers lined the walls to handle the massive amounts of data processing needed for the network overhaul, so the only real oddity in sight was the high number of people already present. Presumably, they were also assigned to the virus busting task as Mill and friends, though he couldn't help but noticed that some of them seemed a bit stressed. Just to get a clear idea of how things were playing out, Mill approached one of the stressed guys and asked, "Hey, what seems to be the problem here?"

"...? Oh, uh..." stuttered the man answering, before realizing what was being asked. "The ones who seem really calm just have it easy; they're the virus busters dealing with the Normal Net paths. I'm in the Rogue Net assignment, so you can imagine how much harder that is..."

"Ahh, that makes sense. Thanks." nodded Mill before stepping back and letting the man continue being stressed out. I guess that makes us in the Rogue Net group too...? I don't know about Na'im's Navi, but I can't imagine MeleeMan having much patience for a Navi that couldn't keep up with him. Anyis would probably go straight into Rogue Net regardless, anyway... Having realized his total lack of control for where they went, Mill just went ahead and jacked into the nearest server to let Anyis and Magna do their thing.

(Jack In, Netfrica Rogue Net)
With her question now answered, Rania took a seat in the cramped space and crossed her hands at her lap. MeleeMan detected the network and jacked himself into the net while Rania pondered over the fact that this would actually be her first visit outside of the Normal Net. The idea of having a strong navi capable of handling such challenges had once been very exciting to her, but she hadn't seen MeleeMan sweat in so long that she was pretty sure he'd be able to handle even this challenge fairly easily.

MeleeMan was just as sure, smiling smugly as he initiated the transfer. "I hope Anyis is ready to see how much more powerful I've become. I won't lose to her like la-" he started, then, realizing what he was about to say, revised his sentence. "I'll never lose to her!" he boasted, beating one fist against his chest.

((Heading to Netfrica Rogue Net))
"Systems OK," Djinni said once Na'im and the others had entered the room. On the screen of the PET was a kind of silly image as Djinni was wearing her cape at her front instead of on her back. Her hands and parts of her arms were sticking into the inside of the cape. "We are ready," Djinni answered before she corrected her wardrobe and slammed her fist into her open hand, "Let's help these guys with the clean up."

Na'im took his sunglasses off and looked around the room with his narrow eyes before sitting down on a chair by a table. Setting his massive PET in front of him on the table, he intertwined his fingers with each other and stretched his hands out. An eerie cracking sound came from his fingers as he did so and put his fingers on the keys of his electronic keyboard. "Well, we already know what we can expect from MeleeMan." Na'im's eyes gazed over Rania as he said, this, then slid his focus onto Mill. "Let's see what your Navi will bring us."

"Djinni signing in!" the Navi exclaimed before vanishing from the screen in a flurry of data, getting sent into the network.
As all the Navis returned to their PETs, the server room became with chatter as the other people tried to figure what the next step was. Before Mill could actually ask the same, though, the gruff foreman from before came stomping down the hallway, shouting "Just file a report in logistics before ya leave!" or something of that sort. He did leave out the key detail of where logistics was, but thankfully Mill noticed the entrance to it on the way to this room. By a bit of conventional wisdom from the organizers, the logistics department was in the smack front and center of the whole complex and thus the same distance from every other department.

"Sounds simple enough..." muttered Mill, before pausing on the realization that neither Rania nor Na'im had much of a clue on how to file a technical report. Granted, Mill hadn't actually done that before either, but he had found some stored away in the shop a while back and looked them over. "I can take care of that myself in just a few minutes, if you two want. Since Na'im said he's staying here for a few days, Rania, could you go on ahead to the airport and book two seats for a flight back?" said Mill as he both offered and asked a favor before heading for the exit.

"Forgetting something, Mill?" hinted Anyis from her PET.

"... Oh, right!" nodded Mill, snapping his fingers. "The service fees should be sent directly to your accounts within 2 days of the report being filed. And... thanks a lot for helping me out on such short notice, both of you." Okay, now he was out for real.

(Returning to Electopia)
"I guess it's time to go then. It's nice seeing that our work make a difference, though. It's sort of refreshing to do a job well," Rania smiled, rising up from her seat and then brushing it off, as was her habit. "We're flying back together? Well, that's nice, at least, but it's a shame Na'im won't be coming with us. It might be a dull trip back without his rhymes to entertain us!"

"Psh! A girl with a PET and the greatest navi in the world doesn't think she can entertain herself for a short flight home. You kids really are spoiled," MeleeMan sighed. Damascus gave a rare nod of agreement. "Then again, I guess Twiggy isn't the best conversationalist; probably won't do much in the way of entertainment. Maybe I can't blame you."

"Cut it out, guys," Rania sighed, hoping Mill didn't take her navi and SP seriously. He probably put up with a lot of it anyways, given Anyis, so she doubted it'd affect him. "If you don't mind, it'd be great if you'd fill out the paperwork. I've done some at the hospital before, but this looks more complicated..."

After turning and checking her shoe-laces, Rania gave a short wave to Na'im. "Let's hang out again sometime soon, Na'im. Hope you enjoy the rest of your visit," she finished, giving him another deep bow. "I'll be at the airport, Mill; just meet me there when you arrive. If you can't find me, send me a message and we'll find each other." Rania walked the rest of the way out, then broke into a brisk jog as she made her way back to the airport.

((Leaving to Electown))
He was hearing the other two talk pretty clearly and he nodded absentmindedly once in a while, but he was mostly focusing on the information screen he had on the screen of his PET. Information on Fhyre flew over the screen in a rapid pace as Na'im tried to make sense of it.

"Any news?" Szand asked to the Operator. He and the two ladies were in the background of the screen, although Djinni was tending to the lifeless Fhyre.

"It's hard to say," Na'im muttered, only to raise his head and realize the other two had already gone for the airport. "Szand, you take the job for a moment, OK?" Na'im said as he stood up. He rubbed the corners of his eyes as he raised his sunglasses and mentioned, "My eyes hurt..." He smiled and nodded at the foreman, figuring that Mill had gone all paperwork for them, as he left the room and eventually the building. His PET was on his back, the strap around his body, and while the light of its screen was off, activity was still going on within.

"She'll be fine, won't she...?" Djinni asked quietly. She was caressing Fhyre's core carefully while holding one of her hands. The flames that formed Fhyre's limbs were still flickering with activity, but that was all they did.

Szand was sitting not too far away from Djinni, having a floating window in front of him with the same details Na'im had been looking at. "Can't tell," he mentioned, "But it's not too hard to guess what the cause is."

"Djinni," Na'im suddenly spoke up as he looked over his shoulder, conversing with his PET, "Call the hotel. I won't be coming over. We need to head home first."

((Leaving to Hades Island))