Training The BeastOUT Within

Tennisman took his first step into the network after navigating his way through the NetSquare. The first thing he noticed was the sudden and drastic drop in temperature. He could see each of his breaths, which was a first for him. He shivered and rubbed his arms in an attempt to get warm but nothing was helping. It wasn't exactly a painful experience but it was harsh and unpleasant.

"How's Sharo Net?" asked Desmond.

Tennisman gave the obvious answer, "Cold."

"Really wish you bought that OilBody program instead..." Deuce grumbled.

"Hey, I didn't want to come here. If it was up to me, we'd be at the hot springs hunting for guppies." Desmond jeered.

"That's nice." Deuce replied gravely.

Tennisman figured it'd be easier to warm up if he sprinted and took off in search of something to spar against.

((Folder Edit
-Boomerang1 out
-Binder1 in))

((Battle 1))
TennisMan sprinted forward, but found himself in the harsh blizzard Rogue Sharo had to offer. Wondering aimlessly, his vision was completely shut off as the blanket of snow was too much...and then, it vanished. The navi found himself on the shore of a completely frozen lake, watching as the sky was bright and clear from the blizzard.

The scenery was something to take note of, however, two Penguin viruses slid across the lake and came near the shore while a mysterious blob suddenly emerged behind TennisMan!

PengaA: 130 HP [On Ice] [Ice Body]
PengaB: 130 HP [On Ice] [Ice Body]
Slimer: 150 HP [On Normal] [Behind TennisMan]

Terrain: 20% Normal (Shore), 80% Ice (Frozen Lake)

Tennisman.EXE: 490 HP [On Normal]
Deuce: 180 HP

"Alright, Tennisman! BeastOUT!" Desmond commanded.

The navi turned to face the Slimer and attempted to call forth the same power that had nearly driven him to madness before. Instead, he came up empty-handed. There was no response, as if no such program even existed in his system. Looking at the virus, he had to do something instead of standing there idly.

"ElecShock." He said and went for the direct approach.

In the previous invocation of his latent ability, he had been attacking feverishly, leading him to believe that fighting might be the key to activating his beastOUT. He wasn't really sure why it wasn't working but that's why he was here; to test his limitations and to train himself. Desmond slotted in the chip and the bland data reconfigured itself into a build-up of lightning in the navi's body. Tennisman inhaled, arcing his back and puffing his cheeks as the Elecshock threatened to leave his lips prematurely. When he felt adequately charged, he darted his head forward like a snake and exhaled streams of pure electricity around the Slimer in a raging vortex. The panels around the virus began to crumble and shatter under the violent barrage of sparks. He turned again to face the Pengas as the taste of static left his mouth.

"Anything?" Desmond asked.

Tennisman tightened his defensive perimeter, but felt no change since the battle started. He continued to stick with his theory and wanted to keep up his offensive, not ready to give up just yet.

"New chip. Ironshell." Desmond said, slotting it in, "Think this one's an object."

Not quite what he was hoping for, Tennisman used the chip quickly to keep what little momentum he had going. Summoning the IronShell with an outstretched hand, a large metallic wheel plated with thick tire treads materialized in front of him. There wasn't much else to the chip and its use seemed pretty straight forward. He gave it a slight tilt to aim it in the proper direction, trying to line it up with the Pengas. The thing looked sturdy enough to fend off attacks and he patiently waited for the right moment before sending it off. Sensing an opportunity, he delivered a smashing serve into the Ironshell, sending it rocketing towards the two icebound viruses. It barely clanked or rolled as it skidded across the frozen surface after being struck with such unbridled force.

"Firehit!" Tennisman shouted, still trying to get in the mood.

"Sorry, took those out." Desmond said.

"BigHammer!" He shouted again.

"Traded that away." Desmond added.

Tennisman grew despondent, eventually asking, "...What chips do we have?"

"A lot of kunais." answered his operator.

"Very well," Tennisman relented with a sigh, "Kunai."

A cluster of daggers filled his hand for a brief moment before he flicked them at one of the Pengas apathetically. So far, his beastOUT training wasn't going as well as he would have hoped.

Deuce - Armour Junction (180 HP Casing)
1 - Elecshock Slimer (80 damage + cone + panel break) x2
2 - Rally Defense + Reinforce (6-hit shield)
3 - IronShell (40 HP ironbody object)
4 - Take Aim (while hiding behind IronShell)
5 - Out! (microburst) Ironshell PengaA, PengaB (70 damage + break + self-slow) x2
6 - Kunai1 PengaB (3 x 30 damage) x0
With Deuce protecting the tennis-themed Navi, he charged forward and unleashed a high-voltage breath on the Slimer virus. It's bulbous, sluggish body was no match for the amplified power of the attack, and literally popped like a balloon. The Pengas prepared to counterattack to avenge their squishy comrade, but they were quickly bowled over by the large, rolling IronShell. The shell knocked one of the Pengas out of it's path, but then teetered and fell on the second. Splat. The first looked back at it's flattened comrade, then looked back just in time to receive a face full of Kunai.


Terrain: 20% Normal (Shore), 80% Ice (Frozen Lake)

Tennisman.EXE: 490 HP [On Normal] (5-Hit Shield) (180HP Casing)
Deuce: 180 HP (Armor Junctioned)
Rewards: 1500z, 22 BugFrags
"So what?" Desmond asked, "Still nothing?"

Tennisman wasn't sure but something about that battle seemed to rejuvenate him. He curiously attempted to perform his transformation one more time on command, but it was still out of his grasp.

"Maybe you're in some kind of recovery period." Deuce mused.

Interested in the theory, Desmond blurted out, "What? What do you mean?"

"Think of it this way..." posed the racket, "Have you ever seen Tennisman use his Ace Serve or Netplay twice in a row?"

Desmond thought long and hard for a moment before answering slowly, wary not to be tricked into making a fool of himself, "Noooo..."

"That's because there's a 'cooldown period'." explained Deuce, "Otherwise why wouldn't he constantly use Ace Serve on every enemy he encountered?"

"I always thought it was because he kept running out of balls." Desmond replied bluntly, "I know it happens to me all the time."

Deuce was stunned speechless but continued regardless, "...Riiight. Well suppose the beastOUT operates on a similar level, except instead of a short period of time like seconds or minutes, we're dealing with a longer duration of cooldown, like days or weeks."


After the ringing from the microphone stopped, Tennisman came to his racket's defense, stating, "It was a hypothesis. However, this 'cooldown' period may be reaching its end sooner rather than later."

"You mean it?" Desmond asked.

Tennisman turned and walked along the shore of plain tiles to continue the experiment.

((Battle 2))
TennisMan continued his journey in Sharo to contain the power within. Getting past the frozen lake, he now came across a serene plain that was covered in pure-white snow as far as the eye could see. Each step created a crisp sound as the snows compacted and a gentle breeze fluttered a handful into the air. However, TennisMan was again reminded that he was traveling in the dangerous Rogue Network as five viruses emerged out of the snow!

...Also, there was a small green point that was just sticking out from the layer of snow between TennisMan and the viruses. I wonder what that could be?

OctorA: 200 HP
OctorB: 200 HP
LowBlowA: 140 HP
LowBlowB: 140 HP
LowBlowC: 140 HP

GMD: 30 HP [Between TennisMan and the Virus Group]

Terrain: 100% Snow

TennisMan.EXE: 490 HP
Deuce.SP: 180 HP

The crunchy feeling of wading through snow was an interesting experience that Tennisman never had the chance to try until now. He imagined it would be difficult to play tennis on a field covered in this soft material as it seemed to slow his progress and made it difficult to run.

"OH WICKED! MYSTERY DATA!" Desmond exclaimed, spotting the green crystal poking through the white blanket.

Just then, something in Tennisman pulsed abruptly, reverberating through every part of his being. He could instinctively tell that his beastOUT was ready to be activated again. His body began to let off tell-tale steam trails as he prepared to release his inner demon and finally begin his training.

"Wait, you're doing it NOW? What about the data!? THINK ABOUT THE DATA!" pleaded his operator.

Tennisman winced as he tried to keep himself in check. The mist slowly faded away and his expression quickly returned to its usual calm state. He was worried about going berserk while in beastOUT again and having the mystery data positioned directly between himself and his enemies was the worst possible spot for it. He planned on dashing behind his enemies and attacking from there but the splash of his attacks could then hit the data anyways. He considered asking for close range chips and wondered if he could even manage to retain that simple shred of mental capacity. He took in a deep cold breath and decided to simply go for it.

"I will move behind them and attempt my beastOUT there." Tennisman said and pushed his heels into the snow, compacting it into a small hill.

Tennisman vanished behind an explosive white puff and skidded as he reappeared behind the Lowblows, gouging a scar into the fluffy terrain. He was almost at his limit and released his beastout while still in motion. A blue spiral of water burst up from his feet and shrouded him completely for a moment before splashing out in a low tidal wave, covering and melting the snow. When he finally came to a halt, Deuce was gone and Tennisman had already transformed.

"TENNISMAN!" Desmond shouted.

The navi growled chaotically in response but stopped mid-breath and grabbed his head as if pain-struck.

"D-Desmond..." He said in a low garbled voice.

"Holy crap... TENNISMAN! TAKE CONTROL!" his operator ordered.

Tennisman fought every urge to tear into the viruses with his claws, but he could still think for himself for now. He tried to remember who he was and what his goals were. Clinging to those memories, an image of a battlechip flashed in his mind. It was an Elecpulse. He had thought about it before going into his beastOUT and he needed to say the word and request it as he done with so many other chips.

"GRARRRGHHH..." he roared again before slowly letting the word slip out of his mouth, "...Elec... Pulse."

Desmond smiled knowing Tennisman was getting through and cheered him on while slotting in the chip, "ELECPULSE! SLOT-IN! GO TENNISMAN! Go!"

However, the cheering was unexpectedly having the reverse effect as the beastOUT seemed to feed on the excitability of Desmond's loud voice. The chip data transferred through normally, leaving Tennisman not sure how to proceed. He tried to remember how he had previously used this chip but his thoughts were being drowned out by his operator. Enraged and unable to control himself, he reached into the sea and tossed his arms in the air, forcing a large wave to rise up. It spread out and sparked with electricity, having accidentally been infused with the chip. The water's data then shattered into blue fragments, only leaving behind the magnetic ripples that had been trapped within.


Another thunderous roar cut off his operator as the navi managed to shout, "DESMOND STOP!"

"What? What'd I do?" Desmond asked confusedly.

The quiet lull in his operator's dumbstruck wait for an answer allowed Tennisman to think again. He couldn't come up with a strategy at all but he could still explain himself.

"No cheering..." He grunted, "Chips... Only."

"Uhh... Alright," Desmond said and slotted in something new, "Bubblestar. Makes bubbles."

The chip information channeled into the navi's body and relative silence followed, allowing him time to interpret the data. Inhaling deeply with his collar's gills, Tennisman spat out a trio of slow bubbles that glided across his little lake and headed for the Octors. Watching the fragile spheres waft through the air calmed Tennisman down considerably.

"Two chip combo:" Desmond added next, "Put the Remotebit behind you and then N.O.Beam. That's how it works."

Tennisman nodded as usual and was even able to think one step ahead. He skimmed across the water and lined up the two Octors, making sure not to catch the mystery data in his sights. Generating the Remotebit behind himself, he then aimed straight ahead and steadied himself to use the next attack. While the Remotebit satellite took its time floating down, The N.O.Beam drained away some obscure data from the control tower without needing any time to charge. Without warning, an image of Tennisman composed entirely of luminescent energy broke free from his body and charged down the row of panels in a frenzy. Water parted in its wake while his unstoppable avatar obliterated a path of sheer destruction. Tennisman was able to follow his doppleganger with his enhanced senses and was terrified at what he saw. The Satellite dropped a bolt of lightning, snapping Tennisman back out of his horrified revelation.

Tennisman let out one more howl, allowing the beastOUT's extraneous additions to his uniform to turn transluscent. When he finished his breath, the add-ons fell apart as if they had been made of water, returning Tennisman to his normal form.

1 - Split Step behind Lowblows (teleport)
* - BeastOUT (Unsummons Deuce and heal 50 or 50 HP barrier)
2 - Flood Court (1/3 - 2/3 sea terrain + movement)
3 - Elecpulse LowBlowA, LowBlowB, LowBlowC (100 damage) x2?
4 - BubbleStar OctorA, OctorB, LowBlowC (35 damage + bubble trap)
* - Movement to line up Octors
5 - Remotebit behind self (100 HP)
6 - N.O.Beam1 OctorA, OctorB (200 damage + beam)
Remotebit - Attack LowBlowB (80 damage + panel break) x2?
* - Deactivate beastOUT
Establishing a position behind the Lowblows, TennisMan activated his BeastOUT, succumbing to the primal urge with him. Luckily, he avoided succumbing too much and was able to keep control of his thoughts. In a burst of speed, TennisMan executed a fatal flurry of devastating techniques that gave the enemies little time to think or act. The Lowblows found their repelling technique as they were smashed under a wave of electric pulse. In no time at all, the viruses were wiped out. As the navi released himself from the hold of his BeastCross, he found the watery field empty and barren... Devoid of all life!

But luckily still containing that mystery data! Boy, sure would have been awful if that endless N.O. BEAM hit it, huh? Guess it's time to see what's inside!


GMD: 30 HP [Between TennisMan and the Virus Group]

Terrain: 50% Sea, 50% Snow

TennisMan.EXE: 490 HP (50 HP barrier)
Deuce.SP: 180 HP


GET: 2700z, 0 Bugfrags

Mystery Data open!

GET: Aquaneedle2
"You okay, Tennisman?" Desmond asked.

His navi turned and nodded, now vividly aware of what he was like once in his beastOUT form. It would take a while be he vowed to control it someday.

He stuck out his hand and called his support program back to the field, "Deuce."

The racket took shape in his hand and began with, "Desmond, take note of the time."

"What?" the operator replied.

"The time," Deuce repeated, "Take note of it. Write it down if you have to."

"...Aight. 3:42." Desmond said.

"We can use this time as a marker and when Tennisman is able to perform his beastOUT again, we will know the duration of his recovery period." explained Deuce.

Tennisman seemed awed by the simple idea, but it was a good one. He was taking steps in understanding his strengths and limitations.

"Also, chip data? Awesome." stated Desmond happily, "Anyways, we gotta go to this place now."

"Where do we need to go?" Tennisman asked.

"I signed up for a mission while you were walking around. Figured it'd pass the time and we can still practice your stuff too. Two stones with one bird, right?"

"The phrase is 'two birds with one stone'." corrected Tennisman.

Desmond followed along, "Right, two birds with... Whatever. Let's go."

((Resummon Deuce))
((Mission Start!))
((Aim modlock))
"Actually I just thought of something." noted Desmond, breaking the monotony of walking to the site, "This is a serious ass mission and we've... Kinda been fighting criminals and stuff."

"What's your point?" Deuce asked.

"I think you need a secret identity." Desmond said with smile creeping up along his lips.

"Why would I need that?" Tennisman asked.

"Well, you know, just in case we ever piss off the wrong people and they try to jump us while we're not looking or whatever." explained Desmond, "And like while we're doing missions, we'd be all undercover and no one would know who we were, right? Right?"

Tennisman wasn't following his operator's logic but continued to listen regardless.

"...Plus it's cool." Desmond added.

That was apparently the goal all along. Not having any real issues with it, Tennisman nodded in compliance.

Desmond loaded up a program and added, "Anyways, I already drew up the outfit with the Graphic... Moe."

"A GMO?" wondered Deuce.

"Yeah, yeah. That. So like get ready for the new you!" Desmond announced before activating the new GMO.

Similar to his beastOUT transformation but not nearly as jarring, his shadow stretched up and wrapped around his body and Deuce's before popping like a balloon. Instead of his bright white and teal uniform, he was covered with black clothes, leaving only his eyes untouched. Deuce had also been altered to look like a long sword, reminiscent of what was displayed on the Katana chip.

Pulling down the cloth covering his mouth, Tennisman asked, "Is this the reason you have been collecting Kunai chips?"

"...Maybe." Desmond replied cheekily.

Tennisman passed a look of disappointment before covering his mouth back up and double checking his bearings.
After garbing himself in appropriate ninja gear, TennisMan proceeded further into the net, attempting to locate the person that he was assigned to help for his GNA-given mission. Unfortunately, the trek was a little more extensive than the GNA seemed to have figured it would be. He felt that he was lucky to come upon the client without running into a pack of viruses first.

The navi wasn't at all hard to spot, since her bright golden outfit and wings stood out so clearly against the drab gray and snowy landscape of Sharo Net. Standing in the middle of the snowstorm, she stayed midair using her enormous shimmering wings, streaming down sparkles of gold as they flapped slowly. She gave a look of surprise as she noticed, him, flying over to meet him slowly while taking in his appearance. It occurred to TennisMan that she may have been given some sort of description of him and was expecting to see him in that form, rather than dressed up as a ninja.

"Hello. My name is Roc. Seeing as we've met out here in the wilderness of Sharo Rogue Net, I'd guess that you are the escort sent by my employer," she spoke in a voice that fairly obviously washed over a very violent personality. It seemed somehow out of character for her not to growl as she talked. "That's funny. Why is your name TennisMan? You don't seem to have anything to do with tennis," she murmered, revealing a little bit more of that disagreeable undertone in her voice. As she came closer, TennisMan could see that, despite her graceful appearance at a distance, her mouth was full of sharp fangs and her hands were hooked into giant, bird-like claws. Here eyes were hidden behind a beak-like and sharp golden visor. The effect was rather unsettling, like encountering a mythical creature renowned for beauty only to find that it was some sort of snarling monster.

The navi set her feet upon the ground, looking at TennisMan with a frown that thankfully hid her atrocious jagged teeth. "Since I imagine you don't care about my circumstances, I'll ask that you simply follow me to my destination. If you have any questions, I'll answer them; if not, just try to keep up," she barked, turning and ascending once again with her back to TennisMan. It would seem that he'd ended up with a pretty crabby client.
It hadn't occurred to him yet with everything that have been happening up until now, but Tennisman had no idea what he was doing here. Up until Roc had mentioned it, the mission's purpose had been neglected in favour of first figuring out how to get to this location. Now that he was here, his mind began to wander and Roc's appearance gave him plenty to think about; specifically, how rough it would be if he needed to fight this woman. Considering he had recently brought down a shark the size of a building, that was saying something. Still, the mystery behind the mission specs continued to bother him. He thought about what she had just said and if the full details had been available and she assumed he had reviewed them, she wouldn't have offered to explain herself. There was also reason to believe that Desmond didn't know much about what was going on either and just signed up for the first thing that came up.

"What exactly are you looking for?" Tennisman asked, his voice slightly muffled by his mask.

Another thought passed through his mind as he chased after Roc's monstrous form, "I still can't perform my beastOUT yet..."
"Oh right. I've got somebody I've got to meet out here and I'd like your protection from virus attacks if I should happen to encounter any," Roc explained, sounding extremely out of character. The proud jut of her lower lip, her confident flight, and her powerful aura all seemed to suggest she could easily handle herself out in Sharo's Rogue Net, even if she faced a type disadvantage. This explanation could only serve to make a navi more suspicious of his client's intentions.

Still no viruses. It was almost as if somebody had cleared them out in preparation of their coming...

After a bit more travel, the two came upon a hunched figure standing by himself in the snow. The figure slowly turned around, revealing a wrinkled face with a curled white mustache and a very tight lower lip. A twinkling monocle adorned his left eye. The most curious feature of the man's apparel, however, was the cap he wore in the design of a book, spreading out in a wide rim around his head and allowing a red silk bookmark to cover one eye. His black navisuit was mostly covered by his cloak, which split at the side and was held with a large silver clasp, making it look something like a locked journal. The man's face was disturbingly inexpressive, as if frozen into the sort of smile that a tutor gives his student who has just figured out something the tutor had been trying to teach.

"This... This is the guy." Unmasked animosity dripped from Roc's voice as she spoke. Her haughty lower lip quivered and she bit down to stop it, despite her sharp fangs. TennisMan imagined she might have even drawn blood. "His name is ChronicleMan."

The old man's smile widened a bit; he seemed to be showing none of the same animosity of Roc outwardly. "Welcome, my boy. Please, tell me your name, if you would. At the same time, I will answer any questions you have before Roc and I speak privately," he spoke plainly, somehow clear and audible despite his age. "We have a bit more business with you, so please, don't go anywhere just yet."

"TennisMan. That's this guy's name. Let's cut the crap and get down to business," Roc growled, looking behind her to face TennisMan. He may have been imagining it, but that violent look in her eyes did not seem to have gone away as she stared at him.

"Oh, you've let my intentions out a little earlier than I'd planned. Very well, this is going to take a while to explain, but please try to stay attentive and don't interrupt until I finish," the old man laughed, showing a bit of his lower teeth beneath his bushy mustache. He stroked his chin with one gloved hand briefly before continuing. If ChronicleMan really was going to spend a long time talking, it annoyed TennisMan to imagine it, because the navi was far from a fast talker. "I am the navi of a famous writer, you see. I'm acting out here on my own to collect stories for him. The best stories, I find... come from powerful navis with unique experiences. Traversing the depths of the net, they encounter all sorts of wondrous beings and places; these encounters are etched forever into their minds. Sadly, most of these navis don't realize how the world stands to suffer if they keep these stories to themselves... so, for a mild finder's fee, I collect these stories from them and share them with the world. Of course, such an enterprise would not be possible if it were not for my fine feathered friend here. We share a... mutually beneficial partnership, her and I." Roc cringed, indicating that she did not agree with the sentiment.

"Now, you're probably thinking two things currently. One: why do I not simply jack out and escape? You can of course, I won't stop you. But if you do, know that there will be consequences for Roc here... consequences that, I suppose you could say, she really doesn't deserve at all. Yet, she will receive them for the greater good, should you try to elude me. The second thought that has crossed through your head: perhaps I will delete this ChronicleMan and free Roc from this partnership she so obviously loathes. That is inadvisable, as I hold the only key to a treasure she is fighting hard to reclaim,"
he said with a cunning smile, looking back to Roc. She looked aside, snarling with her fangs bared.

"So, what is your remaining option? You will serve me in three ways. First, you shall surrender your name and appearance to me. Once you do, they will be my creator's own ideas; you are never to lay claim to them again and shortly nor would you be able to. Second, you must provide me a down-payment of 10000z or stock equivalent, that I may be able to ensure quality publishing. Third, you must leave and never tell anyone that you saw me. If I obtain word that you have let our little secret out, Roc will never receive that treasure." Smiling wider, he put both hands back into his cloak as he awaited TennisMan's answer.

Despite his "choices" TennisMan saw another option that seemed to have eluded ChronicleMan's thinking. ChronicleMan had made no mention of the possibility that he might be able to fight his way out of this. TennisMan realized that there must be a way to turn the situation around, to get the scenario in his favor so that he would have time to do the questioning himself.

Alternatively, was Roc really worth saving from her fate? After all, that "treasure" could simply be something worthy of a greedy sell-sword. Perhaps there'd be nothing wrong with simply jacking out, naming the mission defunct, and then collecting his reward.
This was an unexpected outcome. Tennisman had no idea how to deal with this situation and found Chronicleman's demands outrageous. Briefly entertaining the idea of simply leaving as the navi had so eloquently allowed him to do, the guilt of leaving Roc to suffer would weigh too heavily on his conscience, regardless of how little he knew about her. On the other hand, attacking Chronicleman would merely force him to EJO and if it were that easy, Roc looked powerful enough to have tried that on her own. It wasn't going to be that easy. Tennisman had no intention of sacrificing his identity either as he didn't trust anyone who was willing to resort to extortion.

As another unexpected twist, Deuce was the first to break the silence, "Well first of all, my operator does not possess the 10000z that you are requesting."

Tennisman didn't know what to say and continue to let his support program speak on his behalf.

"And secondly, how exactly would your 'writer' convert a name and appearance into a story?" the sword asked, "You could easily get that information from us without having to resort to these complicated theatrics."

Desmond spoke to Tennisman on a private channel, "Dude! What the hell is Deuce doing?"

Tennisman secretly replied back to his operator, "I do not know, let him speak."

"Perhaps we can come to another, previously unexplored option..." cooed Deuce.
"My intention was that you'd tell me your life details and I would use those to craft a story. But fine, we'll push that option aside, if you really want to. How sad... It would have been my first catch since Roc here. Her's was a truly wonderful tale," the old man replied, stroking his mustache musingly as he spoke.

As Deuce continued, he nodded, indicating that he agreed to hear the rest of Deuce's proposal. "I'm sure you've realized by now that I rather enjoy speaking with interesting fellows such as you two. Speak your proposal then, Support Program," he finished, crossing his arms behind his back beneath his tremendous journal-coat.
"Before I give my proposal, I would appreciate it if you explained the situation you seem to have Roc... Hm, shall we say 'bound by'?" Deuce said.

Tennisman didn't approve of the underhanded undertones that his support program was making and how friendly he was getting with Chronicleman. Still, it bought him time while he considered other options.

"You said you had something of hers that she wants back? This fact intrigues me and I wish to know exactly what this precious thing is. If I better understood the circumstances of her obligation to you, I would hope to avoid a similar fate." Deuce chuckled to himself, clearly unconcerned with what Roc thought, "I have no qualms with providing you with what you are ultimately seeking, however while our well-being is in question, I feel as if the terms we decide upon could be all too easily swayed by your whims."

"Where did he learn to talk like that?" Desmond whispered, "He sounds like a lawyer or something..."

"I do not know." Tennisman answered, wondering the same thing himself.

Tennisman had not moved or spoken aloud since he arrived at the scene. He continually processed numerous solutions in his mind, most of which seemed to end in failure. He wondered if he could somehow reclaim what Roc had lost and return it to her, hopefully exempting her from the equation while he dealt with Chronicleman. She might possibly even assist in his capture, though deletion was more likely considering the implications of what he had done. The remainder of his plan hinged on what had been taken and Deuce's innocent inquiry could net that vital piece of information. Tennisman eagerly awaited Chronicleman's reply.

"Hesitation is unbefitting of you..." Deuce added. Had he a face, Deuce's would have been covered with a smirk.
"Fine, I suppose it will not hurt you to tell why this woman is forced to endure such an insufferable relationship bound to me as my servant. But do not set your expectations too high, for even once I tell you, it is not something that you can simply wring out of me. Knowledge truly is the most impressive resource, although I'm partial to cash as well," the old man chuckled quietly. "This will require further lengthy narration. I hope you will be content to sit and listen."

"One of the primary sources of income that I've always relied upon was the profit I gain by selling the stories of unoperated navis, whose life stories could never be traced back to them. On occasion to gather further such stories at an unoperated navi shelter, disguised as a simple storyteller, I entered a small Internet City establishment. I observed something unusual, however, and was amazed to find combat taking place outside in the square. In this conflict, I noticed particularly the fighting of one black-winged navi, who was EJO'd during the fight. Committing all of the details any other sources I could to memory and pad, I watched in great anticipation to see the battle's outcome. Strangely, I seem to have entered a dream-like state near the battle's end and have thus forgotten some of the story's most crucial details... but that's another matter entirely."

"Shortly after, I happened to discover where a navi, who we both now know as Roc, was looking for her sister. Imagine my surprise when I discover that her sister is the very one that I saw fighting that day! After meeting her, I quickly devised a plan for her entrapment. Until she has met my full expectations, which I admit are many, I will not release the remaining information to her. The information I have yet refused to disclose could play a critical role in locating her sister. It's profitable, however, VERY profitable for me if it remains right where it is for as long as I can let it: known only to me."

Finishing with a smile that would look mild and compassionate if it weren't for all that the pair now knew about the navi, ChronicleMan turned his eyes upward to meet theirs. "Now, if you would grant me your proposal?"
It was only information. Tennisman was hoping Chronicleman had been holding something more readily obtainable or at least tangible such that he could steal it back, but that was not the case. Another plan lost. However, information itself was malleable and there was a chance that Chronicleman was lying about knowing where Roc's sister was. Being provided with only a description wasn't much to go on. Given the lengthy amount of time she had been used by him, discovering her sister's location was was not a life-theatening issue, which had been Tennisman's concern all along. He was now prepared to use more exorbitant methods at solving this dilemma.

"My proposal..." Deuce trailed lightly, "Was that I hand over myself."

"WHAT!?" Desmond snapped, "OKAY! TOO FAR!"

Tennisman was also taken back but wasn't about to cut Deuce off now.

"As a support program, I have been following... 'Tennisman' for a long time and have bore witness to his exploits and adventures, all of which I have recorded in my memory perfectly. I was willing to temporarily abandon my post, so to speak, in order to regale you with stories and encounters that really do need to be shared with the world."

Even now, Tennisman continued to wait for the dénouement of Deuce's master plan to unfold, and it did.

Deuce words picked up speed as he matched Chronicleman's tone mockingly, "...However, that was before I realized that you have no hold over us, are lying about knowing the location of Roc's sister and using her until you find a suitable means of disposing her."

Tennisman smiled lightly behind his mask as he gripped Deuce tightly and immediately abandonned the diplomatic method in favour of planning out a battle strategy.
"I thought this would be the likely outcome," the old man sighed, drawing his hands back into his cloak. "Guess we'll have to get money from player killing the old fashioned way. That works just as well, I suppose. Roc, prove your worth to me now as we destroy this opponent together. Perhaps we'll get lucky and there will be enough in his battle technique to spur a new story anyways," he muttered, bringing a large, thick book from beneath his blue cloak.

"Rrrrr... Nothing personal, but this is the only lead I have to go on. Don't take it too hard when we kill you," the flying navi's voice rumbled as she swiped her claws together, producing a threatening sound like two razors, each scraping the sharp blade of the other. She seemed powerful, but TennisMan was acquainted with the unique aura of a BeastOUT now; the navi hovering before him did not have it. She quickly summoned two smaller firebirds, which appeared as though they may be SPs.

"Do you have power to match Roc's? It will be interesting to see," ChronicleMan chuckled, flipping through his book of spells as he spoke.

Roc: 350 HP
FirebirdyA: 60 HP
FirebirdyB: 60 HP
ChronicleMan: 250 HP

TennisMan: 490 HP
Deuce: 180 HP

100% Snow

"Awwwwwwww yeah!" Desmond cheered, "Stick it to him!"

Tennisman wished he hadn't so recklessly used his beastOUT as he really could have used it now. It was too soon since he last accessed that power and he didn't need to be reminded of how infrequently it was available to him. Perhaps it was for the best as he didn't want to grow too dependent on that power.

"Alright! Time to live up to your name, er- appearance!" his operator said, "Slotting in three Binders! Use them as cover and Split Step with the Fightersword! Go!"

Desmond really seemed to be enjoying the ninja get-up his navi was wearing and even had strategies planned out, which Tennisman found to be odd. It was an interesting change of pace that he was willing to embrace and so he followed along. He readied his defenses and prepared to follow through with the plan Desmond had laid out.

"Oh, and extend your index and middle finger..." Desmond added as a passing note.

That order was extremely weird, but it still wasn't something that would interfere with anything and he simply did as he was told. Bringing his free hand up to his chest, Tennisman held the two fingers up as if in prayer. The Binder chips queued up in his memory and were deployed nigh-simultaneously in a sudden swarm of fake Melody viruses that appeared in large puffs of data. Behind their bloated, hopping bodies, Tennisman subtly shifted his weight and leapt while his image had been temporarily hidden from view.

"NICE! NICE!" his operator, who had actually lost sight of his navi but still slotted in the next chip.

Having disappeared from the battlefield, there was only one plausible place left to look: up. Striking silently from directly overhead, Tennisman deftly wielded Deuce as he dove upside down, driven by gravity. Deuce had already adapted the Fightersword into his frame and had lengthened considerably as a result. With a sweep of his arm, Tennisman slashed the blade straight down over Chronicleman's head.

Deuce - armour junction (180 HP casing)
((Casing has Brace - half damage against first attack used against it))
1 - Rally Defence + Reinforce (6-hit shield)
2 - Binder1 FirebirdyA (4 x 60 + random)
3 - Binder2 Chronicleman (4 x 80 + random)
4 - Binder1 FirebirdyB (4 x 60 + random)
5 - Split Step straight up (teleport)
6 - Fightersword Chronicleman (100 damage)