First Encounters

<<< From ACDC Area: Hospital Isolation Wing <<<












A whirl of blue blazed into a small patch of the network as the newly batched data landed on the ground and constructed the image of the newly born network navigator. A cloud of white, azure and royal blue began to take shape, building the dress first, then filling it with her body. Her medpack formed on her back, as her facial figures began to finalise. The final form to take shape was a sudden eruption of azure hair from her head, which seemed to go forever until her back was completely protected by a blue wall of fine hair.

Taking her first breath, she scanned the area around her. Tested her hands, rolling her fingers to ensure the motor skills program was working. Legs next, taking a few skips forward to work out her balance and strength. Finally, she twisted her neck to take in the scenery. Nothing noteworthy in the area.

Wow, you're what that was? a voice resonated in her head.

Who's this? the girl asked, not sure where the voice came from.

Who, me? the voice replied again. I'm right here!

Turning around again, and then looking up, Ameliorate began to suspect that the voice wasn't coming from around her, but rather it was an internal voice. Can you show yourself?

Umm, how do I do that? Is that one of the buttons? the voice asked, with a distinct lack of certainty.

Not sure that the voice was even intelligent, the blue-haired girl began to walk off in search of a reason for her existence.

The ACDC nets were in a pleasant mood as a brand new navi found herself awakening and self-identifying for the first time. The first sight to greet her eyes was a broad rolling plain, with long grass that rose to her knees, and a blue sky overhead. The ground was slightly hilly, but nothing arduous, and there was a gentle breeze blowing across the area from her left, ruffling the grass and making it sway. It carried the scent of salt, and the sound of slowly rolling waves. Off to the right, there was a small cluster of what looked like houses, though it was hard to tell much more than that they were structures, from this distance.

All in all, it would have been a wonderful place for a freshly actualised navi to open her eyes to for the first time, if not for one minor detail. Amidst the serenity of her location, a furrow in the tall grass was moving swiftly towards her. It only took a few moments more for it to reveal itself as a trio yellow-capped metools parting the grass at a quick run, though they spread out into a line when they drew nearer. It took the three an additional few seconds to stomp flat enough grass so that she could see them all clearly without losing sight of them, but once that was done, the two on either end held their pick-axes up high. There was a moment of flickering, before a small holographic sign formed between the two weapons, reading "Welcome to Life!" in a somewhat childish, rounded script.

The middle Metool lifted its own pick to interrupt the display, causing it to change into new words, which read "Now Die!" It promptly hurled its pick directly at Ameliorate, but fortunately, the opening shot veered off to her left by a wide margin. In a way it was rather tragic; a new navi setting out for the first time to find her purpose, and what should the healer encounter, but fighting?

-=The Traditional Welcome=-

MetoolA: 40Hp
MetoolB: 40Hp
MetoolC: 40Hp [All three in a neat line, in front of Mel]

-=Taking Her First Steps=-

Ameliorate: 100Hp

-=The Rolling Field=-

100% Grass

-=Battle 1, Start=-
Ameliorate was taken back by the sudden appearance of the three helmets. Surely those weren't there a few seconds ago? When two pickaxes were waved into the air and the welcome message was displayed, she couldn't help but smile. However, there were more important things to be concerned about.

As her gaze lost focus on the trio, she began to run her diagnostics.

Where am I?
Can I request more information?
Why not?
#!#%$#@#^@#$$#%#^@^#@#%$^@%#$ HASHING TABLE ERROR. NO ENTRIES IN COMP.BAT.
That doesn't mean anything to me.
So download some. Don't I have network access?
So fix it.
UGH! So What can you tell me about those... things then?
You mean you don't know that either?!
Hostile? They just welcomed me to their area!
What does that even mean?

She didn't have to wait long for an answer; at that moment the object the middle "Metool" was holding moments ago went flying past her and off to the left, skittering into the grass and disappearing. Ameliorate had half a mind to go collect it and give it back, but it suddenly reappeared in his hand. That didn't look like an accident though; it looked like it was winding up for another shot.

The "Now Die!" sign was also a good tipoff to their intentions.

What do I do? Should I just run away?
Fight? Them?
No, I won't do that. My inventory shows I was made to help and heal, not fight.

Ameliorate took a forward stand and trained her right hand towards the Metool who had attacked her. I don't want to fight you! she yelled, and fired one of the smaller blades from the dispenser tacked onto her right inner arm. The aim was not perfect, and she didn't expect it to even make its target, but it was more a warning shot than retaliation. If she could avoid a fight, she would try, but she wasn't going to be the victim of an axe to the face, so she kept her gaze trained onto the helmets, waiting for their move.


1) Small Scalpel [Buster, 10 Damage @ MetoolB]
2) Evasion Preparation
3) Evasion Preparation

Ameliorate: 100 HP
A couple of things happened as the middle Metool threw its weapon, none of which were in line with what the little virus had really had in mind. the fact that he missed wasn't so bad; that happened. Beside him, though, the right hand metool was so startled by his companion's sudden violence, not to mention rather rude disruption of his sign, that it flinched, and hid underneath its helmet instinctively.

On the other side, the left metool turned to it, waving its own weapon back and forth, then promptly began to bap the more violent one on the head, making scolding, chattering noises as it did. Striking down on top of the aggressive one's helmet meant that it didn't, ultimately, do him any harm, beyond pushing him down to cover level for a few moments; long enough for Mel's blade to bounce harmlessly off it, though. the scolding one waved its weapon again and made more agitated noise, until the central metool peeked back up at it and made a small, slightly sheepish viral sound back. The first one shook its head, which for a metool really encompassed shaking its whole body in a rather over-emphasised and cute manner, and the middle virus looked down at the grass and shuffled one foot, making a sound that could only really be embarrassment. Neither seemed to have noticed Mel's cautionary attack, small and ineffective as it had been, but at least one of them didn't seem to be particularly violent.

While the scolding was going on, none to the little viruses seemed to be paying that much attention to Mel, for the time being. What she wanted to do with that situation was up to her.

-=The Traditional Welcome=-

MetoolA: 40Hp [Facing MetoolB]
MetoolB: 40Hp [Facing MetoolA]
MetoolC: 40Hp [Guarding]

-=Taking Her First Steps=-

Ameliorate: 100Hp

-=The Rolling Field=-

100% Grass

The scalpel bounced off the helmet of the center Metool, but it didn't seem to care at all. It was having an interesting conversation (if you can call it that) with the Metool to its right. The final Metool wasn't even paying attention, hiding under its shell.

Ameliorate took this in. They had turned their attention away from her and were bickering amongst themselves. Should she try to sort it out, or should she just run and leave them to fight amongst each other? Her own conversation with her BIOS came to mind, reminding her that these beings were supposed to be hostile, but watching them carry on as children, how could she possibly fight such creatures?

Earlier she had noted that there were structures to the east. Maybe she could make some progress on her purpose there. It wouldn't be wise to turn her back to her previous attacker, but they were somewhat in the way, partly between her and her new destination. Maybe if she moved slowly she could sneak around them and not engage them any further.

That voice in her head needed to be addressed too. Surely it too has a purpose. More questions that needed answers. Get to the buildings first and find someone who can help.

That was the plan, anyway.

1) Start moving around the Metools
2) While monitoring their next actions
3) And hope they don't notice

Ameliorate: 100 HP
While the trio of viral entities were distracted with scolding, being scolded, and hiding, respectively, Mel opted cautiously, and without any sudden or startling movement,s make her way gradually away from them. Mostly, things looked to be going well, and she had more or less made her way around them, and could begin heading to the distant structure, but alas, it wasn't to be quite as clean or neat as that.

As she edged away, the metool that had been scolding his comrade for attacking noticed that the young girl was walking away. It squeaked, turning around to face her, and the other two metools followed suit. They looked at her quizzically, then took a step forward. If Mel continued to back away, the strangely curious viruses would continue to follow, but any confrontation or stopping simply led to them stopping as well, and watching the navi to see what else she would do. Soon enough they had formed a neat line to follow after her.

On one hand, it looked like Mel was free to head in the direction she wanted to, if she still wanted to... but on the other, it appeared that doing so would see her trailing a peculiar duckling line of metools along for the trip.

-=The Traditional Welcome=-

MetoolA: 40Hp [Behind MetoolB]
MetoolB: 40Hp [Following Mel]
MetoolC: 40Hp [Behind MetoolA]

-=Taking Her First Steps=-

Ameliorate: 100Hp

-=The Rolling Field=-

100% Grass

-=Battle 1... suspended?=-
Ameliorate wasn't prepared for this. Granted, she had no experience to even draw on to know what was considered normal behaviour or not, but already she had been advised by her internal systems of a cold truth that had been anything but. The idea of thinking of them as children crossed her mind again, watching them line up after her. Although she had never seen any, her limited memory banks told her this could be a motherly instinct, created by the mercy she had shown. Suddenly she felt bad for firing the small blade, even if it didn't do anything.

The buildings were still on her mind, calling out to her as it seemed. Although she didn't want the Metools following, she didn't feel justified in fighting them either. Turning back to the three helmets, Ameliorate sighed. Look, I can't stop you from following me, and clearly you're not scared of me. I'm heading towards those buildings, so if you're coming with me, come with me, but if you cause me trouble, or you attack anybody, I won't be so forgiving next time.

With that she began to walk away, continually glancing over her shoulder to see what the viruses would do. The buildings were far away, and would probably take an hour to get there.

1-3) Attempt to leave area, head towards buildings.

Ameliorate: 100 HP
As Mel tentatively made her way towards the structures in the distance, the metools followed, stepping along behind her in a neat line, apparently quite content to simply follow wherever she led. Occasional glances over her shoulder as she went showed that, as they traveled, the trio ended up trailing after her quite close, the leader only a step away, but all three seemed to have relaxed into a state of happy obliviousness as they wandered along, rocking slightly from step to step. What on earth was a navi to do? Busting school never mentioned anything like this...

For better or worse, Mel and her unexpected acquisitions drew closer to the structures before overly long. The sounds of the surf had faded, and for a while there had been little besides the rush of the breeze moving through the long grass, but as she got closer, something more worrying began to make itself clear: smoke. It was coming from the small array of structures, which, closer now, seemed to be low domes of simple construction, and though a couple of them had chimney vents in the top, the smoke that rose over the cluster of buildings wasn't coming from any of them. The scent of burning in the air grew stronger the closer she got, and by the time Mel arrived at the entrance to the remote village, it was clear that something bad was going down here.

The small domed buildings were arranged in a rough circle, and seemed to be made out of a sturdy, fibrous material that left them a dull yellowish shade, though most of them had an eye-catching green ring painted around the middle, meeting up at a small green cross on the front. The ground around them cleared and flattened and there was something that looked mostly like a wellspring in the middle. More importantly, there was something that looked like an ancient rusty house stove blowing a gout of flame into the open doorway of one of the houses, and a second one applying a similar line of fire against the wall of another, launching the searing flames right from its open grate. A small wolf-like creature was running back and forth, barking madly, and breathing small globes of fire every few moments, seemingly at random, though a good many of them were finding their way onto the short buildings as well.

In the middle of this confusion, two metools were just off to the right of the well, running around each other in a tight circle, pickaxes waving futilely and eyes wide. They each looked to bear an almost cartoonish panic emote above their heads as the ran, and were clearly flustered. On the other side, a third metool was making its way slowly from the well to the nearest burning building, awkwardly carrying a large bucket of water that wobbled and frequently caused the little guy to stop and rebalance himself before continuing. It he was trying to douse the fires, the poor thing wasn't doing a very effective job of it.

Mel's three followers peeked out from behind her on either side, and started with obvious worry.

-=Viral presence=-

OldStoveA: 50Hp [Torching Dome D][Normal]
OldStoveB: 50Hp [Torching Dome A][Normal]
Spikey: 90hp [Behind the Well] [Normal]

MetoolVillagerA: 40Hp [Right of the Well][Normal]
MetoolVillagerB: 40Hp [Right of the Well][Normal]
MetoolVillagerC: 40Hp [Left of the Well][Carrying Water][Normal]

MetoolFollowerA: 40Hp [Behind Mel][Grass]
MetoolFollowerB: 40Hp [Behind FollowerA][Grass]
MetoolFollowerC: 40Hp [Behind FollowerB][Grass]

-=The Navi In The Crowd=-

Ameliorate: 100Hp [Grass]

-=The Scene=-

20% Grass [Outskirts of the village area]
80% Normal [The village grounds are clear of grass]

-=The structures=-

DomeHouseA: 80Hp [Wood][On Fire!]
DomeHouseB: 100Hp [wood]
DomehouseC: 90Hp [Wood][On Fire!]
DomeHouseD: 60Hp [Wood][On Fire!]

Well: 200Hp [StoneBody][Centre of the area]


On Fire!: This is on fire! It will take 5 burn damage each turn, which will double for Wood-element targets. If an object burns to 0Hp, it will turn the ground beneath it to Coal

((This is not being treated as a formal battle yet; if Mel decides to make it one, it will be her new Battle One, however, direct combat is but an option, not an absolute))
Ameliorate watched as the scene unfolded in her mind. Her limited experience was able to tell that the domes not only resembled houses, but that their obvious similarity to the Metools both following her and in front of her meant that this was possibly their home. Three fire wielders were torching the place, although she wasn't sure why.

Are all viruses hostile?
Yeah, we've already had that discussion, I'm not deleting these ones. Why would the red ones attack homes of another kind?

Ameliorate looked at the two Metools helpless to save their village, and the third not even able to carry the bucket properly. She turned to stare at her three... allies?... and their matching expressions confirmed her suspicion: this wasn't supposed to happen.

How do I fight?


Phil had been watching the screen for the last two hours, his eyes fixated on the blue girl and her companions. Something about the whole scenario, a world he had never seen before, contact with people other than his sister and nurses and the way she had handled the situation while not having a clue herself, had him mesmerised. So much so, that when Beth came in for her morning check up, she smiled a little when she saw him not move an inch to greet her.

That's more like it, she chuckled as she walked over. Remember anything yet?

Phil didn't exactly ignore her. Ignore would imply that he had heard anything at all and made the decision to not acknowledge the source. No, Phil was so deep in his fixation that the sound was like air, passing over but having no effect. It wasn't Beth's repetitive request for attention, or even the punch to his shoulder that snapped him out of his spell, but the threat of having the blue box pried from his hand that instinct finally stopped and reality kicked back in.

Hey, I was using that! he yelled, a little loudly for a hospital.

I can see that. What are you doing with it? she asked.

The blue girl, do you know her? he replied, still staring at the box rather than Beth.

What girl? She turned the screen to meet her gaze and was shocked to see the scenario unfolding. Did you do this?! she growled, hoping she didn't have to cover over yet another outbreak of crazy.

No, the red things did! They're attacking the yellow things! We have to help her! he said with an obvious level of concern in his voice.

Beth hadn't seen this side of him in a long time, concern for anything other than himself. It was good to see, even if it was for the sake of a digital lifeform. Beth grabbed Phil's shoulder and pushed him over to the right side of the bed, then sat down next to him.

Well, let's see if she can respond first, she answered as she began to tap at some screens.


Ameliorate fiddled with her hair. Indeed, it could be stripped from her hairline, but it would grow back at an almost instantaneous rate. The pads in her hand could call forth different battle designs to aid her in rendering assistance to the troubled pack.

Can you hear me?

Ameliorate stopped to listen. A voice sounded like it was coming from the same place as beforehand, but this one sounded feminine, not masculine. Who is this?

My name's Beth. I'm the sister of your operator.

Ah, so I was right, those voices in my head are operators. While listening to the BIOS instructing her how to fight, he had mentioned that battlechips can be received and used if an operator sends them to her. Are you able to send me battlechips? she asked.

Umm... Beth hadn't busted a virus in years. Normally she left that to Phil, and watched over his shoulder. Beth was confident she could handle this on her own, but it would be interesting. Sure. I don't know what we have to offer though.

The smoke was getting thicker as the houses continued to burn. It can't wait, just send whatever you have to me if you think it'll help. Turning to the trio she met back at spawn, she dropped down to their level. If you want to help save your friends, I won't hurt you. But you need to know that I can't necessarily protect you. She reached into the medkit on her back, pulled out a small white disc and applied it to the helmet of the front Metool. Don't do anything stupid, okay? she ordered as she turned around.

The first order of business was to help put out the existing fires. Three houses were on fire, and one was already halfway towards rubble. The Metool with the bucket had the right idea, but not the strength or speed to back it up. Ameliorate dashed up to the Metool, grabbed the bucket and threw it at the aforementioned house before passing the bucket back to the Metool. Good work, get more! she commanded as she turned to the stove making the damage.

Okay, so I haven't done this in a while... Beth mumbled as she went to open the case. Phil spotted the chips inside and immediately grabbed all four, looking intently at the different pictures on them. Give those back! Beth barked at Phil, getting lost in the moment.

No! I want to do it! he snapped back, almost acting like a child.

Beth was going to demand the chips back, but if they really were going to help the newcomer, it was important they do it fast. Fine! Pick one and push it into here! she commanded, pointing to the slot on the side. Phil took two seconds to choose the gun symbol and push it into the side.

In the digital world, Ameliorate was surprised to feel some changes occuring in her right sleeve. Upon raising her arm, the sleeve slid back to reveal a silver tube that had taken the place of her right hand and forearm. It felt dangerous, and she immediately felt guilty in taking pleasure from the power it exuded. I don't want to fight... she whispered to herself as she lined up the stove blowing fire at the half-levelled house, and discharged the cylinder to expel a round of high-velocity projectiles. But I must assist those in need...


#) Attach IV to MetoolFollowerA [+5HP per action]
1) Dash over to MetoolVillagerC
2) Remove bucket from MetoolVillagerC, empty bucket onto DomeHouseD, return bucket
3) Shotgun (50 DMG + Spread 1, A, Normal) => OldStoveA

Ameliorate: 100 HP
The trio of metools following Mel turned their startled gazes from the conflagration that was their little village, to look up at her instead when she began to address them. It was that unfortunately melting kind of gaze that begged the navi to fix everything for them, somehow. Between them and her operator, at less than a few hours old, Mel was forced to be the most mature individual on the scene, apparently. In response she gave the first one an IV pack, and despite flinching hesitantly in the moment that she reached out to it, the leader turned its eyes to try and look up at the addition to the top of its helmet, before looking back to Mel and giving something that could almost have been a nod.

The other two took precious seconds to pause and look at the IV pack as well, standing in a small circle with the first, while Ameliorate herself dashed into the fray, but then they followed after, trooping swiftly into the village as well. While Mel grabbed the bucket to help douse the most burned home, two of the following mets ran over to the panicked pair, and began chittering quickly to them. They stopped circling each other and, while they hadn't exactly calmed down, there was some sort of hurried, unintelligible conversation going on in their garbled viral chatter.

The water-toting virus was momentarily stunned by Mel grabbing the bucket, and simply started at her. It took it a few more moments to process that she had, in fact, helped it do what it had been aiming for, and much more efficiently that it had managed alone, so when she gave the bucket back, it turned and made its way back towards the well, dragging the pail behind it.

Having just doused the flames that the large OldStove had caused, the notably more destructive virus turned towards Mel instead, swinging its grate open as it prepared to roast her instead, but fortunately Mel was quicker, and her aim true enough to rend the stove into inoperability before it could launch another attack. the second stove virus turned around and launched a new column of roaring flames against the side of a different house, setting it ablaze, but the Spikey noticed that there were new players in this fight and set its sights on the metool that had been carrying the water previously. It launched a globe of fire, but as it did so, the IV-bearing met that had followed Mel darted in front of it, skidding down to a guard position under its helmet just as the fire shot reached it. The delightfully impervious nature of the metool's helmet protected the little guy from the blast, and by chance, the shot managed not to damage the IV pack either, just barely.

-=Viral presence=-

OldStoveB: 50Hp [Torching Dome B][Normal]
Spikey: 90hp [Behind the Well][Normal]

MetoolVillagerA: 40Hp [Right of the Well][Normal]
MetoolVillagerB: 40Hp [Right of the Well][Normal]
MetoolVillagerC: 40Hp [Left of the Well][Carrying Water Bucket][Normal]

MetoolFollowerA: 40Hp [Between VillagerC and Spikey][IV][Guarding][Normal]
MetoolFollowerB: 40Hp [Talking with Villagers A and B][Normal]
MetoolFollowerC: 40Hp [Talking with Villagers A and B][Normal]

-=The Navi In The Crowd=-

Ameliorate: 100Hp [Normal]

-=The Scene=-

20% Grass [Outskirts of the village area]
80% Normal [The village grounds are clear of grass]

-=The Structures=-

DomeHouseA: 70Hp [Wood][On Fire!]
DomeHouseB: 60Hp [Wood][On Fire!]
DomehouseC: 80Hp [Wood][On Fire!]
DomeHouseD: 60Hp [Wood][Doused]

Well: 200Hp [StoneBody][Centre of the area]


On Fire!: This is on fire! It will take 5 burn damage each turn, which will double for Wood-element targets. If an object burns to 0Hp, it will turn the ground beneath it to Coal

Doused: This object has been doused in water. It will no longer ignite from fire damage.
Watching the smoke turn to steam was satisfying. Totally drenched from top to bottom, that house would be safe for now. There were other problems to attend to.

Ameliorate quickly brushed through the fragmenting data that was an old stove and moved to the group of Metools. They all seemed to be okay, so she focused on the remaining viruses instead. There was still another stove igniting the final house, and the Metool was still gathering more water. That meant it was time to try another attack. That was great, got another? she asked.

Looking at the three remaining battlechips, Phil shook his head. Sorry, we don't, Beth answered, but we have other options. We still have a cannon, and what looks like a set of claws.

Claws. That would require me to get closer to the enemy. Ameliorate considered that for a moment. I'll take the cannon one, she decided, and felt awkward once again as her right arm shifted shape. The end result was similar, but with a few obvious differences. The hole was larger, and the barrel stunted compared to the previous weapon. It still felt just as dangerous, but she wasn't taking any chances. With her left hand she molted some hair and morphed it in her hand into four thin spears. Taking aim at the surviving hunk of metal, Ameliorate fired her cannon. Without wasting any time, she shifted the cannon data out of her arm, took hold of the spears and turned her attention towards the Spikey. It was a fast target, but Ameliorate did her best to predict where it would be and threw the four spears in quick succession.

The wolf was still out there, but the bucket-toting Metool needed her help. Ameliorate quickly ran back to the well, taking out another one of the white discs while she moved. Upon reaching the Metool at the well she began to assist it in retrieving the next bucket of water. There were still three houses on fire, and at this rate at least one would burn down before they were all doused. As the bucket came back to the top, she placed it in the Metool's hands and comtemplated her next move.

1) Cannon (60 DMG + Knockback, A, Normal) => OldStoveB
2) Splitter (4 Hits of 5 Damage, Normal) => OldStoveB
#) Attach IV to MetoolVillagerC [+5 HP per action]
3) Assist MetoolVillagerC in getting bucket of water prepared

Ameliorate: 100 HP
Upon the destruction of its ally, the other OldStove stopped blasting fire at the house nearest it, and turned instead towards something more lively. The cluster of mets by the well drew its attention and it opened its grate to let out a wall of flame that washed over all four of them before Mel's cannon shot crashed through it and deleted the hostile soundly. She'd destroyed it, but had she been too late? When the fire cleared, it revealed a quartet of little domes, all hunkered down and smoking slightly, but otherwise unharmed on the baked, cracked ground. One popped up, then another, and they began exchanging faster, more determined sounding chitters than they had before. Apparently the sudden fire had galvanised the frightened villagers to action.

Without slowing down, Mel took another quick succession of shots with her needle-like hair lances, just as the Spikey bounded towards her, mouth dripping fire. The first spear hit it square on, making it yelp as it loosed a fire ball towards her. The shot went wide, and two more of her three hair spears made contact with the Spieky and set it yelping in a small circle for a moment as it pawed at its nose. Unfortunately for Mel, it stopped after a loop or two and made moves to come at her for another go.

While this was going on, however, Ameliorate was handing out more healing packs, and helping the water-bearing met with his bucket. On the other side of the well, the other four nodded to each other, then made for the well quickly as well. Where one had struggled to be effective at all, four proved a surprisingly well-oiled machine: Two jumped onto the helms of the others, then up to the lip of the well. the two on the ground shifted the second bucked by the side of the well and passed it up as the first to took it, climbing one atop the other again to attach it to the hook and let it drop. When the bucket splashed, the top-most metool on the well's lip raised his pickaxe and took the rope, then leapt off, dragging it down to the other two, and all three swiftly pulled it up, for the fourth to lift free and pass down. All four carried the bucket swiftly to another of the burning houses.

While Mel helped the other villager to refill his own bucket, the plucky little follower that had shielded him before popped up and darted between Mel and the Spikey, throwing its pickaxe at the wolf and clocking it in the head again, before stealing a look back towards Mel that might have been a nod.

-=Viral presence=-

Spikey: 65hp [Side of the Well][Normal]

MetoolVillagerA: 40Hp [By DomeHouseB (about to Douse it with water)][Normal]
MetoolVillagerB: 40Hp [By DomeHouseB (about to Douse it with water)][Normal]
MetoolVillagerC: 40Hp [Left of the Well][Carrying Refilled Water Bucket][IV][Normal]

MetoolFollowerA: 40Hp [Between Mel and Spikey][IV][Normal]
MetoolFollowerB: 40Hp [By DomeHouseB (about to Douse it with water)][Normal]
MetoolFollowerC: 40Hp [By DomeHouseB (about to Douse it with water)][Normal]

-=The Navi In The Crowd=-

Ameliorate: 100Hp [Normal]

-=The Scene=-

20% Grass [Outskirts of the village area]
70% Normal [The village grounds are clear of grass]
10% Cracked [The Line of the OldStove's attack, to one side of the well]

-=The Structures=-

DomeHouseA: 60Hp [Wood][On Fire!]
DomeHouseB: 50Hp [Wood][On Fire!]
DomeHouseC: 70Hp [Wood][On Fire!]
DomeHouseD: 60Hp [Wood][Doused]

Well: 200Hp [StoneBody][Centre of the area]


On Fire!: This is on fire! It will take 5 burn damage each turn, which will double for Wood-element targets. If an object burns to 0Hp, it will turn the ground beneath it to Coal

Doused: This object has been doused in water. It will no longer ignite from fire damage.
Teamwork. More evidence they weren't all hostile toward all. Not only were they working together, but these two nearest to her were not only defending each other, but herself by extension. With two buckets of water now in play, things were beginning to look up.

The Spikey was still lurking about, the final combatant in this invasion of the Metool village. Taking a pickaxe directly to the face would have been painful enough, but having scored a few spikes into it first, the wolf looked furious. This battle had to end quickly, before the Metool's luck ran out.

She stroked her hair with her left hand as she weighed up her options. It truly was amazing how something so simply could be molded into something lethal, although one might argue four tiny pricks wouldn't really amount to anything. Time to try another of her core attacks.

Quickly ripping out a large chunk and charging it into a coil, the pads seemed to separate the bundle into a long chain that wrapped around her hand, with four large sections making it weighted enough to throw as a snare. Ameliorate began to whirl it around her head, gaining momentum as she prepared to launch the bolas snare at the wolf.

With a final push she halted the circular motion and launched the trap forward, hoping to catch it out. The attack if successful would be doubly effective; if water could put out the fires, then surely a energy-sapping saturation attack would work twice as well on a foe seemingly on fire.

Ameliorate was running out of options though. Got anything else I can use? she asked.

Beth stared at the final two chips in Phil's hands. A recovery chip and the claws. We can send you the blades, Beth suggested.

Ameliorate looked at the ground. While it wasn't in her direct path, there appeared to be considerable damage to the ground in one part of the village. The claws could work, but she'd have to risk heading into that part of town to ensure if the Metools were indeed attacked, she could try to defend. Not just yet, she replied. Ameliorate thought to herself; if the wolf wanted to hurt the Metools and me, by getting us all in one location it would risk getting mobbed by our team. It would have to risk picking us off one by one. I hope. The area had to be fixed first though. Let's give this a go, she muttered as she focused on the cracked area needing repair. Her feet began to glow, emitting a bluish white light that left her feet and transferred to the cracked zone. There was no time to waste to see if it was effective though; Ameliorate dashed across to the zone to assist, defend, and prepare for what could be the final assault.

1) [Sig] Glaciator (20 Life Drain, Aqua : 1 TCD) => Spikey
2) [NC] Reset Stage (Activate Panel Return once per battle)
3) [Act] Move into zone to protect Metools & enter melee range of Spikey

Splitter: 1 => 0 [Ready!]
Glaciator: 0 => 1 [Used]

Ameliorate: 100 HP
While Ameliorate swiftly weighed her options, the Spikey wasn't waiting. It sent a ball of fire towards them, which connected with the leader of her little followers as it stood before her. The little guy reeled back, then slammed his pick-axe into the ground, sending a shockwave tearing back at the wolf while he regained his balance. A moment later, Mel's recovery IV pulsed, patching up some of his burns.

Meanwhile, the group of four heaved their bucket over the dome they were at and turned around to begin heading back to the well quickly, skirting around the cracked area. Two down, two to go. The villager that worked alone with his bucket was struggling slowly and carefully towards another house while Mel busied herself with the remaining hostile. Her swiftly spinning hair snare flew true, wrapping itself tightly about the Spikey and delivering a very soggy constriction to it. there was a loud hissing and a rise of steam as the fiery virus yelped in pain.

In the window of opportunity this provided, Mel sent out a potent restoring command to the damaged ground, causing ripples to spread in all directions as the terrain righted itself and normalised. It went far enough to just barely reach the edge where the grass had been cleared to, but didn't actually replace any of the grass itself.

While Ameliorate put herself between the group of four while they readied another bucket of water, the Spikey rolled over on the ground once or twice, then picked itself up with a shake, barking furiously at the navi while it slowly relit its fire breath. Having seen that Mel herself was dealing with the Spikey, the leader met turned to begin helping the other villager with his bucket instead. The smoke was quite think in the air by this point, but at least it was more smoke than fire, now.

-=Viral presence=-

Spikey: 15hp [Side of the Well][Normal]

MetoolVillagerA: 40Hp [By Well, getting water][Normal]
MetoolVillagerB: 40Hp [By Well, getting water][Normal]
MetoolVillagerC: 40Hp [Near DomeA][Carrying Refilled Water Bucket][IV][Normal]

MetoolFollowerA: 30Hp [Between VillagerC and Spikey][IV][Normal]
MetoolFollowerB: 40Hp [By Well, getting water][Normal]
MetoolFollowerC: 40Hp [By Well, getting water][Normal]

-=The Navi In The Crowd=-

Ameliorate: 100Hp [Normal][Near Spikey]

-=The Scene=-

20% Grass [Outskirts of the village area]
80% Normal [The village grounds are all fixed]

-=The Structures=-

DomeHouseA: 50Hp [Wood][On Fire!]
DomeHouseB: 50Hp [Wood][Doused]
DomeHouseC: 60Hp [Wood][On Fire!]
DomeHouseD: 60Hp [Wood][Doused]

Well: 200Hp [StoneBody][Centre of the area]


On Fire!: This is on fire! It will take 5 burn damage each turn, which will double for Wood-element targets. If an object burns to 0Hp, it will turn the ground beneath it to Coal

Doused: This object has been doused in water. It will no longer ignite from fire damage.
Ameliorate's experience was limited to only a few hours, but already she had experienced a variety of emotions: confusion, aggravation, resistance, defiance, reluctance, and a sense of duty. Watching the Metool get hit by the wolf's burning shot awoke two new emotions: anger, driven by vengeance.

The four Metools returning to the well could fend for themselves. Looking at her defender as it whimpered softly at taking a hit, Ameliorate started planning her next moves. Send me the last two chips, she requested.

In the real world, Phil took the PET from Beth, who was still surprised by Phil's level of attention to the situation, as well as his willingness to do as he was told (for once). Which one do you want first? he asked. This took Beth by surprise; had he realised that strategy would be important, or was he just confused about how to complete his given task?

In either case, how Phil had realised order was important was of no relevance to Ameliorate. Recovery first, she decided while moving forward to the bruised virus. When the whirl of white data presented itself in her hand, rather than apply it to herself, she moved her hand over the Metool and allowed it to absorb the healing powers. It seemed to be effective, but rather than wait for confirmation, she began to run at the wolf, who was extremely close by.

Her right hand shifted from a five-fingered appendage to a elongated three-blade weapon, ready to cut apart anything in its way. This was good, because the blue haired girl was wasting no time in lunging forward and slashing towards her final predator, with a slightly wild look in her eye. Is this what her path was, to fight?

*) [P-A] Medical Mastery (All healing actions gain +20% HP healing)
1) [BC] Recover30 (30 36 HEAL, S, Healing) => MetoolFollowerA
2) [Act] Evade/lock onto target
3) [BC] RageClaw1 (40 DMG + Slashing, B, Normal) => Spikey <5/6 Uses Remaining>

Glaciator: 1 => 0 [Ready!]

Ameliorate: 100 HP
The slightly scorched met had mostly shrugged off the Spikey's attack by the time Mel turned her attention to him, aided in part by the soft pulse of its IV pack, but all the same, it blinked in surprise a few time as the white energy surrounded it, then glanced up towards Ameliorate. Its gaze was hard to read; it knew she'd done something, and that it felt better, but it wasn't quite sure how to react to such a direct gesture of kindness. After another moment its eyes shifted into happy little arches, before returning to seriousness, and it scurried to help the lone metool with its bucket.

The Spikey, meanwhile, barked again at Mel and loosed another bolt of fire. The freshly vengeful navi managed to duck around the shot as she closed to return a rake of her claws, silencing the final hostile on the scene soundly. Across from her, the group of four managed to douse another building working together, while the leader met and the lone villager succeeded in putting out the last of the flames on the other side.

The conflict was over for now, and with the last of the flames hissing out, something approaching quiet settled over the little village. The smoke from the smouldering buildings was joining with the gradually growing cloud-cover above as the soft breeze picked up to a wind that blew Mel's hair about. Between her three followers, and the three villagers, six little helmets looked around. The damage wasn't as bad as it would have been, if the unexpected navi hadn't shown up; all four of the dome houses were intact, mostly, though none of them has escaped the fire completely.

Even so, they seemed quite pleased that their little corner of the net had been saved, and the six of them clustered around Ameliorate, chattering and bouncing on their toes happily, even if she wouldn't be able to understand a word of it.

As the remnants of the hostile viruses broke down into junk data, a small amount remained by, shedding away until what remained was a small amount of zenny, and, from the broken hulk of one of the stove viruses, a small packet of data that could easily be taken and stored as a new chip.

-=Viral presence=-


MetoolVillagerA: 40Hp [All the metools are gathered around Mel, or nearby]
MetoolVillagerB: 40Hp
MetoolVillagerC: 40Hp

MetoolFollowerA: 40Hp
MetoolFollowerB: 40Hp
MetoolFollowerC: 40Hp

-=The Navi In The Crowd=-

Ameliorate: 100Hp

-=The Scene=-

20% Grass [Outskirts of the village area]
80% Normal [The village grounds are all fixed]

-=The Structures=-

DomeHouseA: 50Hp [Wood][Doused]
DomeHouseB: 50Hp [Wood][Doused]
DomeHouseC: 50Hp [Wood][Doused]
DomeHouseD: 60Hp [Wood][Doused]

Well: 200Hp [StoneBody][Centre of the area]

-=Battle 01, Victory!=-

Spoils: 180z, FireBurn1

Quote (FireBurn1)

Damage: 50 + Line Attack(3)
Accuracy: A
Description: Looses a stream of fire that can penetrate enemies and keep going.
Duration: Once
Element: Fire
Special: Line Attack(3): Attacks up to 3 targets in a straight line.
As the battle finally ended, Ameliorate took a deep breath and relaxed her shoulders a bit. The immediate threat was gone, now she could return to putting out the fires. Her aid was unnecessary, however, as the Metools had finished putting out the fires while she had been busy finishing off the wolf.


The command took her by surprise. Did this mean it was going to learn as she did? How could she be ready for every threat on the network if she didn't know what was coming her way? Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of high-pitched chattering as she realised that the Metools had surrounded her. A smile appeared on her face, unable to stay hidden.

Meanwhile, Beth's attention was on a small patch of junk data left behind by one of the stoves. She got off the bed and straightened out her coat. I'll be back in 5 minutes she advised, and before Phil could ask why, she'd already left the room. He stared at the navi on the screen.

That. Was. Amazing. he spoke with admiration in his voice.

Ameliorate picked up on the first voice from before. she was about to reply about how he could have been more help when she realised that it was a compliment. Thanks, she replied, not sure what else to say to that. What's your name?

Phil. It's short for Phillip, but I like Phil better, he answered in a matter-of-factly tone. What's your name?


Phil struggled with that. A lot of syllables in a foreign order. He tried to replicate it. Melon-aid. No, that wasn't it. Mellate. Try again. Meloright.

Ameliorate may have been offended if she hadn't detected that the struggle was genuine and Phil really was struggling. It might be easier if you just call me Mel, she suggested.

This seemed good to Phil. At that moment Beth came back with more battlechips. She passed them to Phil, who was excited at first, but then got bored when he saw they were all just blank.

Not all battlechips start out the same, she laughed as she took one and placed it into the PET. Can you transfer that data? she requested.

"Mel" walked over to the random scraps and grabbed the glowing core. Activating a command that had suddenly come to life inside her, the data was melted into her hand and seemingly emitted away somewhere. Back in the PET a small chime sounded and the new FireBurn1 battlechip was ejected. This will help a little, Beth said as she began the recovery process on the other four chips.

Mel turned to see the region once more. Not content to explore, Mel decided to stay near the village. Surely those three viruses weren't alone, and her new companions may need backup.
Yes, she would wait to ensure their safety.

0z => 180z
Get Battlechip: FireBurn1 (50 DMG + Line 3, A, Fire/Gun]
Level Up! Battlechips x5 | 0 => 1

[Requesting Battle #2: Defender of Metts]
While Ameliorate moved about the village commons collecting her spoils and transferring the new chip, the small gaggle of yellow helmets ambled after her, still making small enthusiastic chatter as they followed. The one that had been her first follower; the metool that had showed the most pluck and decisiveness in the recent conflict calmed from its celebration sooner than the others, its simplistic features returning to something more serious.

It broke off from the others and hopped up onto the lip of the well, so that it could look at Mel more clearly, though even then it was still looking up at her. It waved its pickaxe side to side, trying to get her attention, and provided it could, spoke something clearly meant as communication to her. It was in unintelligible viral sounds, but after a pause it tried again. The leader met realised this wasn't going to work, and closed its eyes, apparently concentrating, before a small text window popped up alongside it. Unfortunately, this attempt was little better: the dialogue box filled up with a couple of recognisable letters, but was mostly still scrambled and scattered with incomprehensible code and odd symbols. The little guy looked at the window then waved his pick through it in frustration.

It jumped to the ground, and put its pick to the dirt instead and began to draw simple straight lines, pausing to think every few letters. What it eventually wrote in careful, yet still crude, capital letters was: "LEARN" followed by a gap, then: "DEFEND". After that, it had shuffled backwards to drop a line, and added: " = > FOLLOW" When it was done, it turned back to Mel and tilted its head to one side at her, questioning. The action basically involved a tilt of his entire body, an was remarkably cute, despite his serious features, but in an effort to be succinct, the virus had perhaps been too much so; it was kind of vague exactly what he was asking.

While she was free to ponder this, the other metools settled down somewhat, and began moving about the village area, assessing the damage and bringing out some materials that they might be using to repair the more pronounced issues to their little domes. Several seemed to have exchanged their pick-axes for hammers instead.

A small amount of time passed easily while Ameliorate remained in the village, making sure nothing else came to threaten it. The other mets were apparently very quick to forget their past worries, and seemed generally more simple-minded than the leader one, which had remained on look-out with Mel. the sounds of happy industry filled the air, with many little viruses going about patching up their domes as though noting at all had happened. the clouds overhead had spread, though, and darkened, and the soft breeze was picking up into something more fit to be called wind. The first droplets of a soft spit of rain began to fall.

Remaining on watch seemed to be the smart move, though, because as the rain began to fall, more shapes could be seen moving towards them through the grass. The leader met looked towards them, then back towards the other villagers, apparently about to call them to arms, but he hesitated and looked up towards Mel. If he had had shoulders, he might have squared them resolutely. Instead, he nodded once to her, then headed out into the grass to meet them.

Provided Ameliorate went too, what she would find that the long grass did as good a job of obscuring her short-statured ally as it did the other viruses, though from her own perspective, she'd still be able to pick out the top of his pick-axe peeking about the grass. The less friendly shapes turned out to be a small bush-like virus that seemed far more at home in the obscuring grass than it would have in the open, as well as a pair of fish-like, streamlined creatures that dashed rapidly through the reeds, hovering a small way above the ground. The fourth shape cracked and sparked, then jumped up to look around, as though it couldn't see properly. It revealed itself to be a small rounded critter, with electrical prongs for ears.

-=With the Wind=-

Shrubby: 50Hp [Centre Field][Long-Grass]
Bunny: 50Hp [Centre Field, right][Long-Grass]
FishyA: 90hp [Back Right, 1 Movement away][Long-Grass]
FishyB: 90Hp[Back Left, 1Movement away][Long-Grass]

-=Toeing The Line=-

Ameliorate: 100Hp [Long-Grass]
LeaderMetool: 40Hp [Long-Grass]

-=The Field of Reeds=-

90% Grass
10% Normal [Edge of the village clearing, behind]


Long-Grass: Grass terrain, but long enough that it can act as partial cover and concealment. dodging is a little bit harder in the grass, but accuracy is also slightly hampered. It is concealing enough that foes which rely on cover do not feel exposed while in it.

-=Battle 2, Start!=-
Mel couldn't understand the command. LEARN DEFEND => FOLLOW. Was it saying he would learn, or that he would be her teacher? Her confusion was broken by a few cold drops of water on her face. Looking up, she could see that it had begun to rain. She spread her arms back almost instinctively and aimed her face toward the sky as the rain began to descend from above. It felt natural, like it was better than the air, almost pleasurable.

What are you doing? That thought snapped her back to reality as she realised she had been daydreaming. She turned to face the Metool on the well, but he was not there. She glanced into the grass outside the village to see the helmet disappearing into the grass. At first Mel was curious as to his current action, but as four lines in the grass began to blur into sight and make their way towards the village, she began to have a bad feeling. She brushed her hair out of her face and began to run to catch up to the Metool, trying to see what was coming as she did so. I think we have incoming, she warned her operator duo.

Phil was staring at the grass while Beth was more concerned with the moving targets. Can you see what they are? she asked.

The long grass did well to hide the appearance of the new entities. Not yet, but I'm getting closer.

Beth turned her attention to Phil once more. You seem pretty hooked on this, am I right?

Phil nodded his head. This was the most exciting thing he'd been a part of since he could remember. Literally. Are you going to let me keep it? he asked, more begging than asking.

Beth wasn't sure it was the best idea, but then a thought rose in her: if the navi could train him to think logically, and act as a conscience of sorts, maybe she could get him certified as Competant, and I can get him out of this hospital. She handed the PET back to Phil. You can keep it, but on two conditions.

And they are? Phil asked hesitantly.

Number one, if the girl asks yo-Mel. The interruption caught Beth off-guard. What?

Her name is Mel, Phil repeated.

A little dumbfounded, Beth started again. Number one, if MEL asks you to do something, you do it. I'll teach you the basics of Netbattling, and you-What's Netbattling? Getting angry that she had been interrupted again, Beth kept her calm and tried once more. Netbattling is what we were just doing. Stop asking questions. And number two, you have to look after this, and she motioned to the PET, and Mel. Agreed?


Three quick beeps turned both their attention back to the screen. Mel had moved close enough that the virus sensors had picked up four new entities, and was searching Mel's database. Not to Beth's surprise, the database returned nothing but blanks. Actually, make that three conditions. The third condition is that you have to give this back to me so I can get Mel updated with the necessary information. My guess is that she doesn't even HAVE a database to glean from.

Mel was listening to this, and felt a little humiliated by this statement. It wasn't her fault, but she still felt stupid to hear those words out loud. Three sets of eyes (four if you counted the Metool by her side) surveyed the new viruses.

The first one to come into view was a small bush. Beth stared at its green foliage, but nothing came to mind about its strengths and weaknesses, other than the fact it was clearly a virus of the Wood element. Two fishes came into view next, and Beth was beginning to feel like she had no right to criticize Mel for her lack of virus knowledge, when she herself was clearly behind the times. These two looked to be fast moving, and looked to be of the Aqua element. Beth figured this was the same element as Mel, but hadn't had the opportunity to ask yet. When the final virus popped into view, that question needed an immediate answer. Mel, do you know what element base you are? she asked, very poorly masking her own concern.

Umm, I'm not sure, but I can find out...

What is my element?
Not this rubbish again.
...Provide a detailed report about me?

That seemed to work, as line after line began to stream past her. What would have taken a human half an hour to process was processed and dissected within five seconds by our blue friend. The information she was looking for was right near the beginning though, so that was good. My elemental base is Aqua. That makes sense actually, why I'm enjoying the rain.

Beth was now worried about the final virus, a Bunny. Bunny was an Electric-based virus, Mel's bane. That made it the primary target of Beth's assault. You need to watch out for that yellow one. It's attacks will deal some massive damage to your core if you let it, Beth warned.

With the Metool by her side, Mel took a quick glance back at the village. Yes, it was making a straight line for the village. It couldn't have been up to good, as the Mett by her side was in a state of preparedness, as if it was waiting for Mel's first move. Noticing the first recovery disc had run out of power, she quickly removed another medical disc and applied it to the Metool's back, knowing that a four verses two battle would not go well in their favour, but even less so for the somewhat vulnerable pickaxe wielder. Alright Beth, what do you have that's fast?

Phil grabbed the Shotgun chip. This worked well last time, he suggested. Beth gave him a nod, and Phil passed it through the reader. Shotgun on its way.

The long silver tube nudged itself out slightly from her long sleeve as it took shape. A smaller target was going to be harder to hit, but if it really was the biggest threat, it had to be taken out first. Not liking to leave herself vulnerable, Mel took aim with the barrel stretched out, not wanting to waste the time or power given to her. Satisfied that her aim was true, she launched the energy blast of twisted metal, bouncing back slightly from the recoil.

The shotgun dissolved away from her arm and was quickly replaced by the fatter, shorter Cannon. Sending Cannon, Phil acknowledged, not aware his advice was way too late and therefore wasted. Mel once again lined her shoulder up with her gaze and targeted the next closest virus, which in this case was the small bush that had first burst onto the scene. Hopefully its quick entry would be followed by a quick exit, as Mel blasted the cannon fire towards its body.

Not knowing what to expect from the rest of the pack, Mel took her stand by the Metool who didn't have a name, and prepared for what may come next. The grass made for some good cover, but as they were all in this longer grass, the enemy had that advantage too.

Steady. Focus.

*) [P-A] IV (Attach a healing pack to an ally, +5 HP per action until broken) => LeaderMetool
1) [BC] Shotgun (50 DMG + Spread 1, A, Normal/Gun) => Bunny
2) [BC] Cannon (60 DMG + Knockback, A, Normal/Gun) => Shrubby
3) [Act] Dodge


Mel: 100 HP
As her operator and temporary assistant operator looked on and Mel surveyed the situation, the enemy viruses squared up and readied themselves to attack. Her little ally looked up as she attached a fresh IV to the back of his helmet, then let out a soft 'Meep!' of thanks. It was a sound more or less similar to the other viral noises he and his brethren had been making, but a little more naturalised, and less guarded. Perhaps he was growing more comfortable around Mel. Either way, He stepped forward to engage, just as the shrubby teleported closer and launched a long, broad log towards the pair. The Metool ducked, hunkering down under his helmet just as the log reached him, shattering to either side as it struck.

While her ally protected them both from the broad attack, Mel, was trying to line up a clean shot on the virus that presented the greatest danger to her Despite the difficulties of seeing clearly through the long grass and sighting on what was really quite a small target, she still managed to nail the sparky virus as it paused to charge its own attack. Fortunately for the aqua navi, it never got the chance to launch it. It wasn't the only one attacking, however, and both Fishies dashed in from either side, making frightfully rapid assaults on Ameliorate as they coursed through the grass. Lucky for Mel, though, a combination of their own haste, and the obscuring nature of the grass itself, led to them both missing her completely, by not insignificant margins.

The shrubby had taken a moment long than it might otherwise to survey the scene, feeling relatively safe and sheltered in the grass, and Mel took the opportunity to sent a cannon blast towards the virus. Unfortunately, the variables in the situation didn't go her way, and the heavy round veered to the side, missing the bush and causing it to scuttle back slightly with a start.

-=With the Wind=-

Shrubby: 50Hp [Centre Field][Long-Grass]
FishyA: 90hp [Near Mel, to the Left][Long-Grass]
FishyB: 90Hp[Near Mel, to the Right][Long-Grass]

-=Toeing The Line=-

Ameliorate: 100Hp [Long-Grass]
LeaderMetool: 40Hp [Just ahead of Mel][IV][Guarding][Long-Grass]

-=The Field of Reeds=-

90% Grass
10% Normal [Edge of the village clearing, behind]


Long-Grass: Grass terrain, but long enough that it can act as partial cover and concealment. dodging is a little bit harder in the grass, but accuracy is also slightly hampered. It is concealing enough that foes which rely on cover do not feel exposed while in it.