Base-16 Busting

A sudden influx of static announced Hex's arrival on the Net, blurring a round section of panels beyond recognition and likely causing a few maintenance Mr. Progs no end of grief. A pool of near-opaque protoplasm remained once the static ended, and Hex's half-humanoid-half-robotic body rose from its depths, immediately walking away from his jack-in point. "Jack-in sUccCESsful, commencing search," the Navi intoned, fritzing at the edges a little bit as he moved, protoplasm seeping from the cracks in between the various separation lines on his mismatched body.

"Umm, Hex?" Arch asked, packing his pipe anew, "just what the hell are you searching for in the first place?"

This got the man nothing but silence; whether it was from misinterpretation, assumed rhetoric, or Hex himself not knowing, he had no idea. He just sighed, opened a window to the Net on his laptop once more, and waited for something to happen.

<(Ready for Battle #1)>
Hexadecimal appeared on a field of gleaming Solar panels. A pair of round turrets popped out of the ground upon noticing the Navi's presence, but had yet to open their protective shell to fire at him. An electrically charged flying statue flew into view between the two Hardheads. And a humanoid virus with lightning rod arms ran up to complete the foursome of doom.

Oh, and behind Hex was a green crystal. Well away from the battle about to be waging in front of him.

Billy: 80HP
HardheadA: 60HP [Immobile] [Guarding: Iron Body]
HardheadB: 60HP [Immobile] [Guarding: Iron Body]
Megalian-E: 130HP [Omnishoes] [10HP Elec Aura]


100% Solar

Hexadecimal.EXE: 160HP

~Battle 1: Start!!~
<(Note to mod: I've just undergone a full Rebirth; HP is now 160, FirstBarrier is now active, Battlechips and Sig Attacks significantly altered, etc)>

"Viruses found, commencing busting operations," Hex announced, rather unnecessarily in Arch's opinion; the viruses were there, plain as day...and a little more variable than the ACDC fare, at least upon first glance.

"Well, how do you want to go about this?" Arch asked, mostly just following his Navi's lead as he traced the edges of his little arsenal. Looking at his Navi, he noticed the Navi's head kept compulsively twitching sideways like a tic. "You alright, Hex?"

"Debating...debating comPLEte; primary target is Megalian-strain." Hex's voice encoder froze, along with the rest of him; all passive activity in his shambling body ground to a halt. Arch swore a blue streak and opened up a diagnostics window on his laptop. The usual bugged mass of code was present in its entirety, but there was something else:

A little flashing icon, one he'd missed in his original sweep. It was little more than a to-Operator query, the sort you'd get with most computers. The words made little sense to Arch, but there was something about the message that sent a chill down his spine.


His finger hovered over the keyboard, heart racing and with no idea why. Arch swallowed heavily, looked to his frozen Navi (no, not frozen, he realized, awaiting input), and slammed a shaking digit down. [Y]

For precisely three seconds, nothing happened, as though a capricious god had frozen time. Hex didn't move, Arch didn't breathe; it was as though the rest of the world didn't exist for a brief instant. Then Hex, still frozen, spoke up, "Print to screen: I FEEL STRANGE."

The three seconds passed, and all hell broke loose.

To Arch, it looked as though both his PET and his Navi had simultaneously gone berserk. While numbers flashed with no rhyme or reason on every diagnostics Arch tried to open, Hex was screaming and writhing about. "C-C-C-CONVERGING!" he struggled to cry out, a massive number of Navi pieces flooding through the pool. Arch barely heard the Navi speak, as intent as he was on having a full-scale freak-out as things he'd never even heard of flashed down the screen: Speed Upgrade? Process Upgrades? Just where was it all coming from?

To Hex, it was as though a torrent was flooding into him, stretching the levies of his fragile consciousness. At the same time, data was flooding out of him; a sizable data-packet, having until then been locked tight and buried in his systems, escaped into the PET. Processing power he'd thought himself utterly incapable of blinked into existence, as he found himself assimilating the sudden outpouring of empty shells without even meaning to. He felt his body going out of control even as it was in control; a glitch took the time to come to life, pouring through his systems and changing him somewhere inside...

Finally, the chaos stopped; Arch watched the Zenny counter fritz for one final moment before settling itself on a number very nearly ten times the original denomination. Peering at the screen that viewed the battle, he saw Hex...or rather, Hex's new body. The robotic/organic hybrid he'd arrived in was slumped forward; Arch could see a long thin transmitter of some sort protruding from its back, producing a faint energy shield around the new body. Hex had fused himself atop a gruesome beast, seemingly completely constructed of Navi parts. An entire body hung limp from each side of Hex's waist, arms dangling towards the ground. Where Hex's legs had originally been, there was now a twisted trunk of torsos and limbs, capping off with two more bodies crushed against the ground, taking the place of legs. The nightmare then spoke, somewhat out-of-place for its body, "REQUESTING: CORNSHOT1."

"...the hell?" Arch frowned, looking down at the PET; they had a whopping six chips, and nowhere among that number had he noticed a CornShot1...whatever that was. His confusion was further compounded when he saw the [NEW DATA ACQUIRED, PLEASE SLOT IN A BLANK CHIP] sign flashing on the holographic screen. Opening the window, he was treated to a view of an arsenal of chip data that definitely was not the same meager six he'd last seen. Deciding he was not nearly high enough to deal with this, Arch just sighed, glanced down the list until, sure enough, he found a CornShot1, and manually loaded the chip data.

The armoured Hex raised one of the corpse-arms; both arms remained limp, but the head made a noise almost like choking as its neck was stretched out straight; the mouth split at the seams as an engorged cannon barrel forced its way out. The gestalt Navi took a moment to steady, then with a thundering recoil that vented from the many holes in the corpse-arm's body, sent an engorged CornShot screaming through the air towards the Megalian. The grinning virus head almost looked as though it was laughing as it flew, on a suicidal collision course with the Elec-type virus. Then, just as it looked like its momentum was going to peter out, whether it had hit its original target or not, the CornShot hit the ground, and inexplicably peeled out in a series of rapid spins. The extra momentum sent it airborne once more, sailing straight between the Hardhead turrets towards the lightning-rod virus that had appeared in behind.

Not even giving Arch the time to process what had just happened, Hex was already lifting his left arm. This body did not scream, but instead writhed as the protoplasm holding it to the rest of the gestalt went into overdrive. Sharp tendrils sprang from every orifice on the humanoid head, and a great many more appendages punched through various places on the body to join them. Winding the body back just as he would have his own arm, Hex threw the shell-arm forward; despite the lack of ordinance, there was a sound somewhere between a sonic boom and a whipcrack as the tentacles streamed through the air, fully intent on punching straight through the iron armour of the Hardhead. Arch recognized the attack as the same move Hex had used back in ACDC Net, but just looking at it, he could tell the comparing the two would be like a wolf and a whippet; one was utterly superior to the other.

As the nightmarish body took to moving, cutting a slow arc around the virus group so as to keep attention off the mystery data, Arch took the time to wonder just what the hell had happened in the last span of seconds to make Hex such a more refined virus-busting machine. A few seconds of this later, he decided he'd been doing way too much speculative wondering over his Navi lately, and decided to use the time instead to just take a long draw on his pipe and watch the battle; it was, after all, pretty fun watching, so long as Hex was doing well.

-Turn Summary-

*FirstBarrier active (10-HP Barrier)
Passive: Hack [Glitch to self]
1. Converge [2-hit Shield, 30 Strengthen]
2. CornShot1: Megalian-E [(50 [color=green]Wood[/color] + 30 Strengthen) x 2 = 160 {A}, Trick Shot Spread1: Billy [50 [color=green]Wood[/color] x 2 = 100 {A}]]
3. Infect: HardheadA [80 [color=grey]Null[/color] {A}, Break, Glitch]
4. Movement: Strafe around virus group, get away from GMD
[Note: Modifications made.]

The world turned upside down for a moment as Hexadecimal went through a mid-life crisis. All sorts of barriers and shields and strengthenings and stuff happened as the viruses looked on with horrified expressions. The Billy immediately turned tail and ran some distance away, leaving the other three to deal with the fear-inducing Navi.

The Megalian-E launched its head at the Navi as the Navi launched its CornShot1 back at it. It misses the Megalian-E but its explosion fired another bullet at the retreating Billy, who surprisingly dodges it (5% Movement chance, rolls a 2 on a 1d100). The Megalian-E's head, on the other hand, strikes the barrier and causes it to collapse. Hex is unharmed.

The two HardHeads continue to defend in their shells. Which didn't save one of them from popping like a balloon when Hex Infect[ed] it with chaotic data. The other one then came out of its shell, pointing its cannon at the Navi as he moved away from the GMD.

Billy: 80HP [1 Movement Away]
HardheadA: DELETED
HardheadB: 60HP [Immobile] [Attacking!]
Megalian-E: 130HP [Omnishoes] [10HP Elec Aura]


100% Solar

Hexadecimal.EXE: 160HP [I DON'T KNOW WHAT I AM ANYMORE!? (Glitch)] [2-Hit Shield] [Barrier Broken!]
The many Navi bodies comprising Hex's gestalt body were soulless, mindless shells, but they were all still physically complete, code-deterioration notwithstanding. With the number of voice encoders present in the twisted colossus, it was only natural that the sequencers comprising them could blind-fire, if hooked up to a powerful Navi core. It was even possible that they might be able to leech a bit of sentience from their host, and by proxy information such as language.

None of these facts and speculations did a thing to comfort Arch as he watched the Hex-nightmare groaning with what sounded like at least eight voices simultaneously; it had already been unnerving enough upon its creation to scare...but now the body was speaking.





The last voice, to Arch's relief, sounded much more familiar, and very obviously came from the original body. The contortions eased off as the original Hex, from his place welded into the neck of the converged body, announced, "Subjugation complete. Requesting Battlechips: FireHit1, Boomerang, ElecReel1." The mouths of the various Navi bodies stopped moving, replaced with identical, white-eyed blank gapes that reminded the man watching way too much of zombies for him to feel truly comfortable with his Navi.

Said Navi was, in that same moment, experiencing a feeling of intense internal discomfort. Emotions that had long-since been locked away were rushing into his self-lobotomized consciousness, voicing disorientation and pain and confusion and so many things that he could not allow himself to feel, lest he fall back into himself and wind up somewhere far beyond salvage. And so, he brutally subjugated his emotional routines, snipping the threads binding them to him and locking them back up; they would regrow, and they always had, but the pain they caused was enough to warrant halting their spread at any cost.

Arch, of course, had no way of knowing any of this, and simply searched his list for the requested chips without any questions. He figured there would be time for questions after the viruses were taken care of. The chips were found, and sent with little more than a quiet, "Good luck, Hex."

"Affirmative," came the reply, and Arch let himself relax, just a little.

Even with the subjugation, Hex's systems refused to cease rebelling against his Navi core; even as he loaded the FireHit, immolating the Navi corpse tipping his arm, he continued to mutate, pulsing as though his entire body was a walking, beating heart. Even so, he persisted, drawing his arm back. The same holes that his own virulent attack had pierced in the Navi body were now spewing flame, perpetuating a shimmering aura. As Hex punched forward, the humanoid figure of fire went flying forward, screaming towards the Hardhead even as it prepared to attack in kind.

Fire continued venting from the now-charred shell, and when Hex gauged the FireHit data, he found it capable of fueling a second attack. Even so, he dismissed the chip, flames guttering out and reducing themselves to little more than smoke. In its place, the Boomerang was loaded up; the head of one shell quickly became overgrown with leaves like a nature film in fast-forward, helmet splitting open as a preternaturally-sharp wooden blade grew from each end. The head-cum-boomerang was flung by the former cranium's own body, hands within a hand gripping the blade and, in a feat of dexterity surprising for a virtual corpse-puppet, managed to fling the Boomerang in a relatively straight line, straight for the Megalian; both Elec viruses had dodged the previous chip, and this was Hex's second shot at the matter. The same chip arced near the end of its line, angling to hit the farther-away Billy as it cowered. Finally, it reached the end of its journey, and the headless body caught the improvised weapon, letting the Boomerang drop away to be absorbed by the protoplasmic pool.

The crushed Navi bodies that served as Hex's feet were lifted and pressed to the ground one at a time, as the gestalt nightmare advanced on the faraway virus with all the looming gruesomeness of an executioner. The Billy was the condemned with their head on the block, and Hex raised the executioner's axe; the final chip in his current arsenal revealed itself; as the Navi watched a series of lightning rods grow out of one body, some strange sensation of nostalgia overtook him for a brief instant. Then, his automatic reflex kicked in and excised the emotion with surgical precision, and cold machine logic set the lightning rods charging, making the body they were attached to twitch as deadly electric impulses surged through it. When the charge had built to the point where he was satisfied with the output, Hex withdrew the lightning rods in one instant, and re-routed them all through the gaping void where there had once been a head. A crack split the air and the virtually-emulated scent of ozone pervaded as Hex set an Elec chip to eradicate an Elec virus, just in case the Boomerang hadn't quite destroyed it.

And thus, the air was silent, but for the noises of several Navi bodies fused together and attempting to move as a singular unit; Hex surveyed the battlefield, looking for survivors that might try to perpetuate the fight.

-Turn Summary-
Passive - Hack: Self [Glitch]
1. FireHit1: HardheadB [60 [color=red]Fire[/color] {A}, Impact]
2. Boomerang1: Megalian-E, Billy [60 [color=green]Wood[/color] x2 (type-advantage) x2 (terrain) = 240 {B}, Group Attack (Arc) (should pierce Aura)]
3. Movement: advance on Billy
4. ElecReel1: Billy [80 [color=orange]Elec[/color] {B}, Spread3]

<(Should the first three attacks leave 1 or more alive, the ElecReel is hopefully to be targeted at survivors)>
Hexadecimal's body continued to morph in a semi-liquid state. As such, his chaotic movements were both a blessing and a curse. It was harder to hit any specifically vulnerable part of him to cause damage, but his ever-changing state reeked havoc of on his motor functions.

His body quickly wreathed in flames and he punched the Hardhead virus into fiery deletion before it could get its shot off.

Then he threw... his own head. Wreathed in wood energy and empowered by the Solar radiation, he sliced through the evasive Megalian-E, root and stem. Its crackling Aura proving no match for this superior attack.

The Billy lobbed a ball of electricity at the mutant Navi as it advanced on the virus. And the Navi retaliated with his own bolt of electricity. But they both missed.

Billy: 80HP
HardheadA: DELETED
HardheadB: DELETED
Megalian-E: DELETED


100% Solar

Hexadecimal.EXE: 160HP [Glitch - Liquid Body: Passive +10% Evasion and -10% Accuracy] [2-Hit Shield]
Hex found himself in the most peculiar strait of having both his protoplasmic body and his armoured shells in liquid form. The many parts of his Converged body began melting together, only working to increase the nightmare factor as faces blurred and twisted beyond recognition. Moving, especially in a body so large, would be difficult.

The gestalt Navi was about to make another request for chips, when he stopped, and gave his list of innate abilities a proper looking-through; systems unknown to him had automatically compiled the new data into programs, and while two of them had been used thus far, both uses had been through sheer instinct. Three remained unused; one looked to be a mass infection, one was a regenerative effect, and one...

Hex activated the last program, recoiling at the unpleasant feeling of a glitch, his natural state of being, stopping completely in its tracks. His body ceased melting as the healing pulse shot through it, yet did not self-repair back to its original state. His armour remained as it was, half-melted together like a painting with blurred lines...and somehow looking all the more frightening for it. "Fine mobility fully restored," the Navi announced at-large; as his body pushed itself back fully upright, several melted-together portions of him cracked apart like old scabs, protoplasm oozing from the wounds. "Requesting: ElecReel1," Hex intoned, lightning rods still left jutting out of the headless body that capped his arm.

When Arch didn't hear, as encased as he was in a mild trance watching the thin shaft of sun peeking between his heavy curtains, Hex was forced to repeat himself. The third command finally got through to the intoxicated man, who fought his way back upright. "Alright, that's enough for today, that's enough," he murmured, flopping himself forward to look through the holographic menu. "Alright, ElecReel, ElecReel...okay, here ya go. Don't kill yerself, erright? Erright." And with that done, he slumped back in his chair, exhausted by the simple task of sitting up.

Hex slowed his body's movements down as the many lightning rods sparked back up, humming with electricity. The Billy had dodged three attacks, each one fully capable of destroying it in a single blow; whether this was due to fear or a naturally strong dodge reflex, Hex did not know. All he could do was to focus as much on a single attack at a time as possible, with the hopes that this would be the attack that connected. That being said, Hex had no natural accuracy-augmenting abilities, meaning that any enhancement to his chances of connecting with the ElecReel had to be done manually.

And that was precisely how it was done; Hex's arm raised up, tracking the little virus' movements, while the core body atop the converged nightmare-body did its best to paint the Billy with as many targeting vectors as possible; this was made more difficult by the body's lack of terribly fine control with the bulky 'limbs' of the armour. Eventually, Hex gave up trying to aim with his arm, instead withdrawing the many lightning rods from the hollow stump of a neck on his arm-body. In substitution, the ElecReel exploded straight out the front of his chest, the holes punched by each rod weeping protoplasm down the tangled trunk of limbs and assorted body parts.

Hex began to walk, taking one slow step after another, never taking his targeting bead off the Billy as he advanced towards it. When he was satisfied that there was nothing else to be done, the glitch-Navi fired, a bright yellow bolt of lightning blasting from his chest, traveling parallel to the ground on a crash course with the lone virus.

Hex stood tall like a gruesome sentinel, lightning rods finally retracting from his torso. Should the virus survive or escape deletion yet again, there would be nothing for it but to repeat the process with another chip. This was, of course, assuming that his Operator was of sound enough mind to send any more chips, but that line of thinking would not be put into effect until the verdict was cleared on the virus' fate.

-Turn Summary-
1. Signature: Reboot [Remove Liquid Body]
2. Take Aim: Billy [+1 Accuracy]
3. Movement: Advance towards Billy
4. ElecReel1: Billy [80 [color=orange]Elec[/color] {B (+1)}, Spread3][/color]
And thus was the Billy taken out by the very elemental force it was attuned with. Irony!~

Now, all that was left to deal with was the very shiny data behind the Navi. Dare he open it...?

Megalian-E: DELETED


100% Solar

Hexadecimal.EXE: 160HP [2-Hit Shield]


Reward: 450z, Wrecker BattleChip data
GMD Opening: Y/N?
Arch had never truly understood the old adage 'the silence was deafening' until that very moment that the battle ended. In that very moment, the steady motion of the corpse-beast Hex was occupying stopped utterly, swaying limbs and gaping half-melted faces freezing in time. The pool beneath the giant body crept outward, widening to account for the width of the bodies-come-shoulders. And ever so slowly, Arch watched for the thousandth time the spatial paradox that was his Navi divesting of his armour, an entire giant's body disappearing utterly into what appeared to be a gelatinous, be-tentacled puddle on the ground.

The protoplasmic pool slid across the ground, motion appearing somewhere between a rippling slime-wave and a marine echinoderm, almost solid but not quite. It made a journey back across the solar battleground, appearing right where it had started by the Mystery Data. Appearing almost right beneath the crystalline structure, a new body formed out of the pool, distinct from the organic/cybernetic hybrid that had originally jacked into the net. Tall, daddy-long-legs-esque spider legs spread out under a feminine torso, encased in stark-white form-fitting armour; one eye in the girl's head tracked, with the other obliterated by a large hole that pierced straight through the head and took out most of the face. From out of the girl-Navi's back, another torso protruded, this one male, with head and limbs dangling down limp and dead.

A very distinct shudder ran down Arch's spine, making him wish he weren't watching his Navi almost cradle the Mystery Data as he accessed it; maybe it was just the shock of seeing one of his rare failed female projects, he thought, that reminded him that his Navi was very simply an unknown dataform that had decided to play poltergeist with his junk-pile of soulless bodies.

<(GMD Opening Y)>
The GMD opens up, revealing...two red eyes! Wait, no, that was just two small bits of junk data that'd gotten mixed in. The real contents were just a chip.

Hexadecimal GET: IronShield1 BattleChip data
"New Battlechip data acQUIRed; please insert a blank chip," Hex announced automatically, chip data being sent to the PET, to join the rest of the data still requiring blank chips.

Arch hit the OK buttons on all the alerts, pausing when it came to attention that his chip folder (or HexFolder, as he'd apparently decided to call it one day) was full-up in capacity...and compared to Hex's current natural power level, a lot of the contents were just a little bit underwhelming. Grumbling to himself, Arch sat up at his laptop, minimized the Net window and started doing some cursory research on chip prices. "Okay, okay, gotta find a way to get rid of these chips...Hex, you know any places I could sell some of these?"

"Soryu's Chip Shop, location ACDC Town, maintains high-traffic online C-C-ccchip Trader BBS; recommending opening trading thread, negotiating trade of low-tier Battlechips for Zenny. Observation: market resale value commonly estimated at approximately 3/5 - 3/4 of original retail price," Hex's voice buzzed out, independent of either of his head's static mouths. For a long time, there was silence as Arch worked and Hex stood in the empty grounds of whatever corner of ElecTown Net he'd landed in. Then, finally, Hex piped back up, "Suggesting filing mission request offon Mission BBS, location Internet City. Reason: SP Bases obtainable as reward."

Arch looked up from his writing, busy as he was in creating his little online shop. "SP Bases? What the hell are those?" Hex didn't reply with words, simply sending a link over for his Operator to read. A little ways into the tech spec page, Arch stopped to clarify, "Let me get this straight. You want a little cyber-buddy, and you'd take a mission with the Netpolice or whoever needs their laundry done or whatever to get one...dare I ask why?"

There was another long period of silence while Hex's processors attempted to churn out a reply. When it came time for him to speak, all he had to say was, "Speculation indicates further self-ActUALizATIon becomes feasible through usage of SP Base."

It was a load of gibberish to Arch, but that wasn't new; the strange part was Hex actually showing a desire for something. Man and Navi fell into silence, until Arch suddenly commanded, "Get back in the PET." When Hex looked up, optic registering the man as in a state of rapid sobering. "I know you can probably go straight to Internet City from where you are, but I'm going to write the request for you. Plus...the mission probably means I'm gonna have to leave the apartment, so I'll have to head out anyway. So come on, jack out and we'll get you your cyber-buddy."

And that was all there was to it; Hex's conjoined body sank back into its protoplasmic pool without another word, and the pool simply faded away in a cloud of static, leaving no sign on the Network that he had ever existed.

<(Jacking out)>