The Final Stop

Mark had drifted off on the boat on the way over, and his eyes began to peak open as the waves near the shore of the island became slightly rougher, and the boat found it harder to keep a steady movement. The well dressed operator stood out from the others on the ferry, most decorated in flamboyant beach gear and flower covered shirts. He stretched his arms behind his head and checked on Trent, who was doing mild training exercises to keep himself limber and warmed up. The navi preformed a fast series of pushups, curl ups, and jogging in place while awaiting work from Mark.

"Are you ready for this last one. We don't know what to expect here. There is no bomb the viruses won't be apart of. Which means the environment here could be anything."

Trent responded with a nod. This action alone shocked Mark. Trent's normal reaction was a short glare, or a dismissive scoff. This type of reaction was both exciting and terrifying territory for Mark. With a new proud hiccup in his step, Mark made his way off the boat and unto the volcanic island. His leather shoes becoming a dark grey dusty color as he advanced the path. There were several ways around the island, with many of them weaving in and out of the others.

"All Roads led to Rome," Mark muttered under his breath as he walked down one of the paths before him. "This place was built for netbattling, it shouldn't be too hard to advance to the machines, even if the paths are intentionally confusing," Mark said as a reassurance to himself.

The path he was on started to dive deeper into the island, with caves upon caves opening up on the paths before him. Mark wasn't sure where to go, but kept finding some way of marking his way back out, just in case this area really was untamed and uncut through. A certain pattern of rocks here, and special nick in the rocks there. Just minor things to keep his own steps in check as he moved down, using the PET as a light whenever there was none.

The paths opened into a large chamber, with several other paths all connecting into it. The netbattling machines stood in the center of the area, with a few other battlers at the stations. The largest of them was easy to spot. Its dimensions were at least a few feet larger on each end and it resided in the middle of the floor. Mark cautiously approached it and pulled out the PET. "Ready?"

Another simplistic nod was given in response as Trent was connected to the network, the PET screen flashing bright white before showing a view of the netbattling machine. "Lets see what we have here," Mark said trying to inspect the area.

As Trent's summoning light faded he looked around, drawing a dagger slowly for a simple defensive stance.

{Jack into the Netbattling Machine}
"'ve finally made it. Excellent!" A black colored HeelNavi appeared inside the machine, his armor well worn by...well, presumably battle, but who knew the exact cause? "I'm pleased that you managed to advance this far! Come, come, jack in! No need to be frightened!"

Not that there was any choice at this point. Into the NetBattle machine's cyberworld...

Mark withdrew Trent from the net, grasping the PET of his navi firmly as he celebrated the victory in his own way. Mark turned around and observed the area near him, trying to figure out the fastest way back out of the labyrinth of caves and tunnels that lead to the battle room to begin with. Once he thought he had found the path, he withdrew his headphones from his bag. Buds secured and microphone in place, he spoke with Trent. "Any clue for what you would like to do with the SP once you get it? Any ideas for a companion so far?"

Trent held a short silence before answering, "Not really."

Mark stopped to check the wall to see if he had been down this path, he had. He took a step down the right tunnel and then said to Trent, "I have a few ideas. Another military style entity would be effective. Maybe a sniper or a fellow squad member? A very special knife would be a great idea too."

Trent's ear perked at the thought of the knife. That idea was indeed appealing to him. "That might work." Trent said while stretching after his fights.

Mark started to drift off into his own thoughts about the SP, the rewards from the virus training Navi, the GNA money as well. This would hopefully be a very good deal for the two of them. As Trent exited the caves he pulled up the internet on the PET, searching basic military and SWAT training ideas for something to spark Trent into picking something for the SP.

"Squad members, a knife, commanding officer, a dog? Anything?"

"A kuvasz."

"A Ku-what?" Mark answered. He took his seat on the ferry, which was maybe ten minutes from making yet another trip to the mainland and said, "This I have to see." While searching for the pictures he was after, Mark sent his cousin Leo an email. It contained info on the most recent developments of Trent, along with the SP. Mark would most likely need help getting the SP base up and running, he wasn't the strongest with the whole programming thing.

"Why one of these?" Mark asked as the ferry started to leave. "What's so special about them?"

"They can be trained for combat and defense. Think of what they'll do for us. Tracking, smelling, advanced hearing, loyal to a fault. It seems simple but I think it's best. I wouldn't want another squad member."

With that the ferry took off.

{To the Beach}

Once at the beach, Mark wasted no time in taking a sharp left from the ferry dock and heading to the nearby train station to return to the Scilabs area. He checked his PET, due to a new email on the screen. It was from Leo. The SP was a go, but he wouldn't be able to meet up.

'Email me the data and the description and I'll work it out soon. SP's are generally easy to get a good individual aspect out of. You'll have it back in a few hours.'

Mark checked the BBS forum where he posted the information about the completed mission, to find a quick replay with all of the goodies awaiting him and Trent, as promised. "Check out all of this Trent!" Mark said while retrieving all the data on blank chips for later use. Trent was fairly proud of himself for these rewards.

"Send the SP base to Leo please, Trent. Attach what you would like from it with it. You know better than I here."

Trent nodded and agreed as Mark stepped unto the train. Good thing he had a few hours to burn before getting back to the Scilabs area. He wouldn't need any upgrades yet, but it wouldn't be long before Trent was ready for more of them. A ding pinged from the PET as the email was sent to Leo. Mark put in his headphones and relaxed on the train, basically working on sleeping those hours away.

{To Scilabs}