Lightning roared out of the clear sky, ripping the world to shreds with an overpowering light and a furious crash. Raiden dropped out of the lightning bolt and landed squarely on both of his feet. One arm swung down to brush its fingers against the tiles in order to keep his balance from going flying. The lightning bolt was sucked back up into the inky blackness high above, leaving him alone on the network. Raiden straightened up.

"First we're in ElecTown, sockin' hospitals, and now we're back in the boonies?" he called up. Anti squeezed her eyes shut to supress her frustration. She had been expecting to have at least a couple more seconds of silence before he got started. It seemed as though his synthesis with the networks was becoming more rapid.

"Yeah, I know. I just need somewhere to put you for a minute. Might as well be somewhere constructive."

"Well, I can think of places that are a whole lot more constructive than this--"

"Just shut up, all right?"

"Maybe I don't want to shut up."

Anti loomed over her PET screen until her scowl filled the entire window. "You'll shut up when I tell you to shut up, so shut up."

"Got it, General." Raiden saluted sloppily and hustled off deeper into the network.

[Battle 1, plox.]
Virus Attack!

MetoolA: 40
MetoolB: 40
BunnyA: 50
BunnyB: 50

Raiden: 140

Battle 1 Start!
[Benchmark Passbreak roll: 5]

His walk slowed to a halt. He planted his hands on his waist and took quick stock of the viruses that had been presented to him. His quicksilver eyes roved across the Metools and the Bunnies; easy, easy targets. Why was he here again? He still had no idea.

Wind swirled together into a cocoon of solid air before him. It bent in half, forming a boomerang shape that floated in the ether in front of him.

"Oh, you are paying attention, are you?"

Anti made a rumbling noise that was probably meant to be one of consent.

The wind was growing stronger. It dragged the very life out of the network itself. The tiles and the sky were going grey as the chip gathered enery from the network rather than Raiden himself. Tiny fragments of tile were ripped up by the gale and gathered together in the weapon of wind that was being composed in front of him.

Raiden reached out and grabbed hold of the half-formed Boomerang. He swung the weapon around behind his back even was more panel pieces were attracted to the cocoon of wind by virtue of its hurricane-like suction.

With a powerful step forward to transfer his weight through the throw, Raiden hurled the Boomerang as hard as he could toward the two quick-moving Bunnies. The tall, sharp-edged weapon whistled through the air like a sawblade with a green streamer of light trailing behind it.

The hurl left Raiden almost doubled over with his hands near his shins. Between his fingers, a point of white light formed, slurping even more colour from the network. He straightened his back so that he was facing the pack of viruses again. His Boomerang had embedded itself in the panels behind the Bunnies, and it still emitted a faintly green aura. Raiden raised the sphere of blazing light that he harboured in his cupped hands, wound up, and threw it with all his might at the first of the Metools.

The Boomerang, stuck in the ground behind the viruses, exploded into its separate panel pieces. Instead of falling to the tiles, though, the bits of panel soared through the air toward him again. Raiden was already running toward the pack of viruses. He swung out his right arm as far as it could reach in order to catch the storm of panel bits that were flying toward him. Instead of crashing into him in a wall of wall of tile bits, they pulled themselves together into a shell that encompassed his entire arm. The casing of broken panel clicked roughly into place, and three long talons of laser light shot out of the end of his arm.

Raiden launched himself into the air with one strong kick of a step. With a wordless roar, he brought the Rageclaw in a tall arc that soared over his head and slammed down toward the final Metool. He landed squarely with his Rageclaw leading. The tips of the talons dug into the ground from the sheer amount of force that he had put behind the blow.

"Well, you're still as sharp as ever," Anti grumbled as she flicked through her remaining stock of chips.

[1. Boomerang (60 x 2 = 120 damage) BunnyA, BunnyB
2. Cannon (40 damage) MetoolA
3. Rageclaw (40 damage) MetoolB]
The boomerrang chews through the bunnies and each met gets popped with a cannon. One round deletion!


Raiden: 140

Rewards: Zapring, 175z
"Oh well. Good way of warming up, I guess."

The Rageclaw exploded off his arm, and the panel fragments dropped carelessly to the ground. Raiden wiggled his fingers to get the circulation of data going in his arm again.

"Off we go. Into the wild blue ACDC, to do battle with the horrible creatures lurking there whose only wish is to tear me limb from limb! Oh, the horror! The humanity! How will I ever survive?"

His act was met with an unusually silent response. Raiden craned his neck upward to see what Anti was doing. The view of Anti's room that his PET's camera provided had gone black, with the words ACQUIRING SIGNAL scrolling across in white. She'd left the house's wifi range, which didn't extend much further than the sidewalk in front of the house. Weird.

It looked like she actually trusted him enough to let him try and take care of things on his own. Shrugging, Raiden continued down the road that bridged the black eternity of the abyss below, on his guard against the next viral assault.

[Battle 2, no Operator.]
Virus Attack!

SeedbatA: 50
SeedbatB: 50
SeedbatC: 50
Spikey: 90

Raiden: 140

Battle 2 Start!
[Benchmark Passbreak roll: 5
This round's Passbreak roll: 5



"Anti! I've got viruses! A couple of chips would be very nice around now!"




"Aw, geez." Raiden lowered his eyes from the dark heavens. The three Seedbats and the Spikey filled his vision. A pack of Seedbats and no Anti--just what he needed.

Raiden began running data through his systems, looking for a few pieces that would be potent enough to glue together for a Signature Attack. One of the fragments of data tumbled out of the stream that passed through him and slid neatly into the keyhole that sealed his lower systems. To his immense surprise, the fragment fit the password perfectly, and the seal broke open.

His entire body seemed to explode.

His hair burst into flame that streamed behind him and licked at the sides of his face. His torso morphed into a roiling thundercloud that spawned little arcs of lightning every other second. His legs transformed into pillars of water with bones of ice down the centre to keep him upright. His arms turned to solid stone inset with unmined gems.

His systems deck was having a nuclear meltdown. This had never happened before. The lower levels of his systems were supposed to be kept shut at all times, in order to preserve his delicate vital programming. If even so much as a single slash inside the lower systems were to be altered, there was no telling what kind of glitchy alternate version of himself he would become, if he even survived the change. There was a massive amount of power flooding out of the unlocked lower systems. It pooled like a lake of fire on his combat platform, threatening to burn right down through his systems deck if it wasn't burned off immediately.

Something akin to panic rose inside Raiden. If we kept this newfound energy in his systems for a moment longer than he could handle, he would probably overload and completely delete himself. He needed somewhere to channel the power to in order to get it out of himself—

--the viruses, duh!

Racing forward, he swung his stone arms above his head and slammed them down into the group of hated Seedbats. The excess energy was immediately expelled from his systems deck. The visual result was a massive blast of every element know to Navi that traveled down his arms and into the midst of the viruses. Lightning leapt along stone and fire raced along water in one tremendous shockwave that traveled outward on a ridge of air that roared across the network, away from himself. The flaming hair, the stone arms, the stormcloud body and the watery legs all vanished; he was left the normal old Raiden, just the guy he wanted.

However, not all of the unlocked energy had been expended in the blast. He could still feel a puddle of the blazing power lurking on his combat platform. Hey, maybe something in that small of an amount could help him out with these goons.

Raiden quickly backpedaled to put a safe distance between himself and the Seedbats. He resumed the process of skimming data across his systems deck, quickly gathering enough good pieces to form another one of his specialty attacks.

A single spark wormed through the air in front of him, and rapidly solidified into a long, slim lightning bolt. He reached out, grabbed hold, and reeled the quickly-swelling bolt behind him. The puddle of leftover power responded gleefully to the Signature Attack he was preparing. Without waiting for him to tell it to, the excess energy hurried across his combat platform and dropped itself into the attack's folder. Raiden's midsection immediately burst into thunderous cloud again, which spat out tiny versions of the lightning bolt he was holding faster and faster as the Signature Attack gained energy.

Picking out the lone Spikey to be his target, he snapped his arm forward and down, releasing the lightning. It shot through the air with a roaring crack of thunder and smashed into the ground with all the ferocity of its Real World counterpart. His stormcloud torso collapsed inward on itself, the last of its energy spent, and the power that had risen from his lower programming winked off his systems deck.

[1. Passbreak (35 Normal damage) SeedbatB; (15 Normal damage) SeedbatA, SeedbatC, +10 to all elemental attacks for the rest of the round
2. Dodge
3. Thunder God (60 + 10 from Passbreak effect boost= 70 Elec damage + possible stun) SpikeyA]
Raiden uses his power to blast through the seedbats, doing severe damage to them, before dodging one of their attacks and sending quite a few volts through the Spikey's system.

SeedbatA: 35
SeedbatB: 15
SeedbatC: 35
Spikey: 20 (Stun!)

Raiden: 140
The PET's microphone was picking up footsteps on the hall stairs. The door creaked open, and when Raiden looked up toward his window into the Real World, he could see Anti taking her seat at her desk again.

"Oh, thanks for coming back!"

"You're still alive, I see," she responded, with more than a touch of manufactured disappointment in her voice. "That's a shame."

Raiden waved dismissively up at her and turned back to the viruses. They had all managed to live somehow. Annoying.

A couple of chips turned up on his systems deck. With a grin, he realized that one of them was his well-worn Flameline. The other, he found, was the Sword that he had won from the defeat of the Mafia goon. He spent a second thinking, and quickly decided on the best course of action to take with the pair of chips.

At a mental command, Raiden's systems deck opened up the Flameline's data packet and put it into motion. The lines of programming latched onto the massive blocks of coding that kept the network together. The panels' colours immediately started to warp and shift as the chip's data took effect. Red began to leach out of its proper places and collect in three small circles beneath the surviving Seedbats.

However, Raiden wasn't paying attention to that. He was down on one knee, his right hand flat on the panels underneath him. A burst of white light flashed up through the cracks in the tiles, and a long piece of the panels broke off entirely. Raiden closed his hand around the vaguely sword-shaped fragment of tile and straightened up. White fire raced down the blade from his fingers, setting the whole sword on fire.

Raiden started at a slow walk toward the Spikey. The virus had been shocked in place by the sheer amount of electricity that he had forced through its systems. The Spikey's body was starting to quiver, though; it wouldn't be long before the effects of the electrocution wore off, and Raiden would have to put up with a mobile Spikey again. Raiden's pace increased slightly as he raised the Sword into a better striking position. He kicked off into a full run and swung the Sword down. The blade trailed an aura of white flame as it cut easily through the air, aimed at the Spikey's midsection.

He barely managed to catch his balance before the Sword could slam into the tiles and send him flying. There was an irritating sort of beeping on his systems deck, coming from the Flameline data that was still residually hanging around on his combat platform. All off the required pieces were in place, and all the chip needed now was his command to activate. He willingly gave the go-ahead to the subroutine, and watched as three pillars of fire--the proper red, orange and yellow colours, not the white of the stuff on his Sword--roared upward through the air underneath the Seedbats. Cinders and ashes fell from the towers of flame as they ran out of network data for fuel and began to collapse inward upon themselves.

Raiden edged backward, still gripping the Sword tight in both hands. He was ready to get moving in any direction required to keep himself alive, but he somehow doubted that he would even have to lift a foot after that sort of assault.

[1. Sword (80 damage) SpikeyA
2. Flameline1 (70 x 2 = 140 damage) SeedbatA, SeedbatB, SeedbatC
3. Dodge]
The enemies are defeated, but the prizes are just out of reach. Looks like you'll have to lift a foot to get to them, after all.


Raiden: 140

Prize: 350z
Anti hmmmed to herself, flipping a stray Battlechip over her fingers and tapping one corner against the surface of her desk. "All right, that'll do."

"What!?" Raiden protested. "Oh, come on, do you even want me to get into any kind of groove here?"

"I got what I wanted."

"And what is it you wanted? My enduring love?"

Anti, uncharacteristically, was taking all of this in moderate stride. "Know that Chip I set up a trade for?"

"You mean the Chip that we set up a trade for."

"All you did was give away a free Chip, you dolt. I sent you to ACDC to look for Guards. I don't see why Mets wouldn't drop them."

Raiden threw up his hands. "Oh! I thought that there had been some kind of larger plot, like world domination or something! Guards, is that all? Boring!"

"That's nice. Shut up. Go find the link to Yoka's network."

"What kind of chips do they have there?"

Anti rolled her eyes at great length. "Just sock it and go."

"For someone as polite as you, I'd go straight to the jaws of Hell and back!"

Whistling in an outrageously cheery manner, Raiden skipped off as if he were bound for his grandmother's house with a basket of desserts for her enjoyment. Anti would have thrown her chair at him if she could.

[Leaving area. Thanks to the mods.]