Into the Whiteout

The explosion of lightning that shot out of the Netsquare portal did nothing to warm the howling gale that whipped across the stark landscape of the Sharo network. Raiden landed easily on his feet, but was pushed a couple of steps forward upon touchdown by the furious wind at his back. He looked around, not paying attention to the snowflakes that were being driven into his eyes, looking for the others that were bound to show up soon. Pianissimo was nearby, he knew, but the shadowy Navi was all but hidden in the blizzard.

"So, what kind of personality have you got going here, schizo?" Anti asked, her voice sounding as though it was right next to his ear rather than in an entirely different world. Instead of answering, as he had always done, he turned back toward the portal and stared at it through the snow.

"Raiden, did you--"

"Yes, I heard you. Be quiet if you have nothing to say."


He didn't bother to think up a response. Instead, he simply waited for Titania and Teethman, letting Pianissimo show up if he wished to do so.
Almost as soon as the explosion of lightning faded, something stirred in the wind, and a silhouette was seen amidst the falling snow. Pianissimo stepped out, scarf still covering his face. The blizzard was worse than the last time he was here, even with the rain of ice-covered aquaneedles. He gave Raiden an inquisitive look, wondering what had brought on yet another change in personality, but didn't pursue the matter. This one, at least, didn't seem to talk much. He turned to look toward the portal as well, hoping he wouldn't have to put up with chattering noises once Teethman showed up.
Teethman crossed the portal, one heavy boot landing in the snow with a crunch as he evened himself out to keep balance. This must be the Net of Sharo... Teethman had actually never seen the phenomenon of snow before, and had to take a moment to take it all in before finally glancing around to try and spot his allies. He recognized Pianissimo almost immediately. The guy wasn't exactly the kind of Navi you just struck a conversation up with, though, so he began searching around to find out where Raiden was. If his mood had persevered, he might finally be able to kindle some companionship in this group...

Unfortunatley, one look at Raiden's icy new demeanor set an end to that train of thought. The cold weather didn't seem to have done much for his mood...

Teethman sat in the snow, his teeth chattering loudly from the cold. He activated the flames of his backpack to get some warmth, but even then it was mostly centralized where he couldn't feel it: he eventually gave up on the fuel-burning effort.
The Navi was near-invisible, a collection of white on white, as he came through the portal, but the sapphire jewel on his chest gave him away.

"Oberon here, nice to meet you," he said with a grin as a pair of blades the same color as his body materialized on his hands, held at the knuckles like oversized punching blades. "I look forward to training with y'all."
Raiden's frozen eyes shifted over to the two new arrivals. He had been expecting Teethman and Titania, but he had only gotten one of the two. Teethman had appeared on schedule, but some man referring to himself as Oberon had turned up in Titania's place. He recalled the female archer saying something about her 'counterpart', who supposedly bore the same name as Oberon, and figured that she had called upon her companion-of-sorts to fight in her stead.

"Are we ready to move?" he asked curtly, turning back towards the endless blizzard again. "If not, then you will be left behind."
"Already there."

Oberon took off at a run, intentionally staying ahead of the pack, glancing back to ensure that he wouldnt' be seperated from the group.
"So you made it, T-Oberon," Pianissimo said. He caught himself before saying Titania. If they didn't want to reveal that they were sharing one body, that was their business.

As they started to trudge through the blizzard, Pianissimo caught up with Oberon, scanners in the eyepieces of his helmet turned on. They wouldn't see through the blizzard itself, but at least they would detect viruses before they were actually visible through the blizzard, at which point they might be a mere few feet away.
Teethman arose from the snow, talking to Hal through his chattering teeth, which made his normally indecipherable voice complete gibberish. "H-Hal, p-p-roceed you b-belive that w-was O' Ba-r-ron?"

"Hmm... I guess it's quite possible. At least, the group doesn't seem to have any problem thinking that," Hal said, rapping his knucles against the wall as he began to look for a place to sit. "I guess it must be, although it's strange that he and Titania seemed to have switched off their roles like that. Do you think Mr. Kazuhiro is switching off with the fine lady?"

"I-It exists p-p-" Teethman began before crying out in pain as he bit his tongue. Not bothering with further words, he kept on after the group, not wanting to be left behind. If nobody was around, there would be nobody to take his frozen body back when they left.
The viruses enjoy raining on the little parade.


Teethman 100HP
Titania 150HP
Pianissimo 80HP
Raiden 100HP

Battle 1, Start!
"Your area of expertise, love."

Oberon closed his eyes and shut out the world around him, allowing the sealed voice inside him to take over. Her voice filled his head, and the world became colder, with him acutely aware of every tiny detail of the environment and his enemies. The snow around him became the cold inside him, and the fury in his heart was extinguished by the cool concentration in his head. He would take out a Misty first; that would be easy and Misties could be dangerous. He had an Elec chip but he would save it. The element of surprise would serve Titania quite well on this strike...

Oberon's figure was distorted as he summoned Titania's massive bow into his hands, brushed a lock of her long hair out of her eyes, then squinted against the wind that was pushing the snow-white strands of her flowing hair behind and pulling at the cloth that she wore over the front of her shirt. Three arrows flew in rapid succession, and Titania's gloves made the bowstring whistle through the air, unleasing a blur of projectiles without any fury-- only dealy precision and calm.

A light shone on his chest, and then Oberon's blades reappeared on his hands as he sprinted forward in the wake of three flying arrows. Oberon felt the heat of battle reclaim his body and mind, a heat that spread to the edges of his weapons. They flashed orange an instant before he plunged them into the heart of his target, a Misty.


Preparation [quick-shift]
Sudden Strike Vulcan1 [50+10+10 MistyA]
quick-shift RageClaw MistyA [40]
In life, no matter whether that life existed in the Real World or was just a packet of programming on the Internet, there were things that mattered and things that didn't. At the moment, the screaming gale of snow, ice, and cold that was being driven into Raiden's back didn't matter. Not even when it almost lifted him off his feet with one furious gust did it matter. What was important were the enemies that stood in front of himself and his supposed allies, just waiting for deletion.

That was all that mattered. Not the weather, not his 'friends'.

Oberon leapt forward, somehow morphed into Titania again, and unleashed hell on one of the Misties. That didn't matter, either. His eyes turned to the other Misty, and he could already feel the electricity collecting in the palm of his right hand. He looked down toward it, and watched it thrust itself outward in both directions to form a constantly shifting lightning bolt that hovered just beyond his grasp. He raised his head, raised his arm, raised his sights to the hand made of mist. Then, with one smooth step forward, a deep bend and an outstretched arm, the javelin of lightning was gone, disappeared into the whiteout. Now that its job was done, it didn't matter, either.

An airborne handkerchief swung into vision, and then was swept away by the snow and wind once more. Raiden nodded, and took off after it, the gale surging him along. Electricity sprung into being around his left arm, leaving a momentary afterimage in the dimness of the blizzard behind it, as he rushed toward the virus. Then it appeared just in front of him, like an oversized snowflake with its string-suspended hat being blown wildly about. However, the sudden discovery of the Weather didn't bother him the slightest bit. He simply swung his electrified arm forward, his fingers opened to grab hold of the virus and discharge every particle of the stored energy into it in one bright, searing second. Instead of stopping to survey the damage, though, he kept running. He was going to use the visual inhibition of the blizzard to his advantage, and make himself vanish from sight behind the walls of snow and hail. That mattered, too.

[1. Thunder God on MistyB, boosted (40 + 10 x 2 = 100 damage)
2. Thunder on WeatherA (40 x 2 = 80 damage)
3. Dodge]
The weather obscured the forms of most of the viruses, causing a small "platoon" of them to appear as only two. Pianissimo wasn't deceived, however, quickly spotting two other breeds. Quite a few of them, too. Seeing them only with his scanners, he immediately identified the hidden viruses as Weathers and Puffies, the abilities of which he remembered from his first sojourn into the frozen net of Sharo. He saw, Titania leap into the fray, assaulting one of the cloudlike viruses that had been immediately visible. Maybe not hiding it. Raiden started on the other cloud. Do they even know what else is hiding in here, he asked himself, resolving to take the other viruses out, hopefully before the other navis had the misfortune of finding out the hard way.

"Duke, I need a thunder and a sword chip," he whispered simply.

"Got it," Rigel whispered back, sending the chips.

Noticing Raiden's complete lack of bad-mouthing his operator at the moment, Pianissimo smiled inwardly. I don't know what the deal with his personality is, but I'm liking this side of it. Then he set to work. Drawing his katana and removing the sheath from his belt, Pianissimo clapped the two together, creating sparks that formed into a large ball of electricity, which he sent toward one of the weathers with a swing of his blade. Raiden had done the same to another one...that made four. Pianissimo clipped the sheath back to his belt and activated the next chip, the sword. The black katana suddenly glowed blue, and Pianissimo leapt at the remaining Weathers, using his scanners to locate them despite the atrocious visibility.

Three times he felt his blade connect with something. Whether it was Weather or mound of snow, however, was difficult to tell. His scanners could only give him so much information, and until their data fell apart and dissipated, it would be impossible to determine if he was successful. Pianissimo didn't take a chance. If the Weathers were still alive, then he was surrounded. He seized the chance to get away from a potential attack from all sides, jumping out of the center and landing in a particularly large snow mound. Half-buried in snow, he waited.

1. Thunder Weather B - 40 damage
2,3,4 Sword Weathers C, D, and E respectively - 80 damage)
Ability: Swordplay (Free dodge after 2 melee attacks)
Teethman rose from the snow as the viruses made themselves known, still rubbing his shoulders vigorously beneath their huge guards in an attempt to give himself some warmth. It appears that with his slow reaction time, all of his allies, barely visible in the blizzard that surrounded them, had begun to set to work on their enemies. "F-Fine, Hal... are we p-prepared toward recieve to-w-w-ward it?" his voice came in a rasp from behind teeth mechanically chattering teeth that existed in place of a face.

"I'm on it. There are a bunch of new viruses here," Hal said with a frown, "But with no way of seeing them through this snowstorm, that doesn't particularly interest me. You should be able to find them using your scanner, all the same. Now, a Zapring's coming in: I guess you take those to Puffies, since I think they're some kind of fish. After that, I'll give you a Rageclaw and let you decide what to do with that yourself."

"L-l-left... Every left, y-you d-d-depressed v-" he began, before a heavy sneeze interrupted his train of thought.

"You getting a cold?" Hal asked him, a bit concerned. He hadn't actually been aware up to this point that Navis were even capable of attracting illnesses. "Maybe it's some kind of bug?"

"Proceed n-never f-f-fret about me..." he responded. Holding his arm foreward, he recieved a much more simple transformation this time: the final block of his arm opened up, and two spiked prongs that extended from between began to cycle in the mechanical layer beneath the casing. Soon, a ring of electricity had formed from the motion. He took aim at one of the pufferfish (actually, the only one) that was visible through the snow, still sitting docile in spite of the ongoing battle. Leveling his arm with greater ease than the norm, the front block pressed back as the needles shot forward, releasing their payload as the ring broke free from their pull and zipped forward into the blizzard, which had even now obscured Teethman's previous target.

After this, Teethman began to scan the battlefield arbitrarily as his weapon formed on the right arm, releasing steam as the needles retracted and the block shifted and split to form the sturdy claw. He could see that a group of hanging viruses seemed to be getting a workout from his friends... he took his time and tried to count them in the snow. To his surprise, it seemed like one appeared and disappeared regardless of the blizzard... were they retracting themselves somehow? Teethman waited for one to appear in his line of vision, but he could see that one of the Navis had dived out. There might be greater trouble in there than he had thought. Without thinking, Teethman rushed forward for the first virus he could see. Diving at it with the claw, he attempted to graze it as he moved through the air and went tumbling through the snow himself. After this, he took a glance backward and prepared himself to dodge. Of course, dodging, at most, for him would consist of rolling over in the snow... he had put himself in a precarious situation.

Hal was surprised that his Navi had taken such a rash action to try and protect the other Navi, even when there was no hope he's be able to finish off his target... then again, he realized, that's how Teethman always was... how he used to be. Had his time in the business world changed him? "First impressions are important..." Hal reminded himself, "... but I can be better than that, can't I?"

Zapring to PuffyA [40x2, stun]
Rageclaw to Weather F[40+NPboost=50]
((Blargh! He didn't give the Misties full health. Also, kind of autohitting there, Kazu.))

Titania blasts the watery foe with three bullets from her VUlcan, the has her lover finish it off with a Rageclaw. Raiden zaps the other Misty, turning it into a puddle with his Elec attack. The Thunder of his then shocks the Weather so that it remains still. ANother is stunned by a similar attack from Pianoman. He then begins slashing at each Weather, though one retreats into the air to escape. Teethman wraps up the set of attacks by frying a Puffy and smacking a Weather. Two Puffies fire needles, one striking Oberon and the other being evaded by Teethman. A weather fires its deadly WOOD BREATH at Raiden, but he steps back in time to avoid its effects.


Teethman 100HP
Titania 120HP
Pianissimo 80HP
Raiden 100HP
Teethman finally managed to get himself shaken off, removing the snow that had begun to blanket around his eyes only to see a Puffy's needle projectile heading straight for him! Just in time, he drew back and spread his legs, causing the nearly lethal needle to land harmlessly, if unnervingly, just below its intended destination. Teethman got up with a slow motion, then glanced back down at the obscure snow angel he'd created.

Hal could see that his teammates had begun taking more hits for the team... Teethman would have to keep doing something useful. He had noticed earlier the others' preoccupation with the hanging viruses. Though he wasn't sure if this concentrated interest would remain with them now that the targets were diminishing, he'd like to keep up the effort and do his part. In the last assault, his effort against the blowfish-like viruses had gone fairly well. "Teeth," the operator decided, "Use your Rageclaw to try and get two of those fish together. Then, we're going to try and nail them with a Shotgun... I know in this visibility that won't be easy, but I'm counting on you. We're doing great so far!" Hal reassured his Navi.

"I'ma-ma-ma pl-pl-pleasssed t-tow-ward luh-listen-en-en it," the Navi stuttered, gathering himself and searching for the viruses. The Navis teeth chattered madly as he scanned the area. Spotting a pink blur momentarily in the raging snowstorm, he rushed toward it with speed. He knew that the virus wouldn't anticipate his arrival, so as soon as he got close enough he dove dangerously into the snow to try and shovel it up with the claw, producing a mound of snow that may or may not have contained his intended victim.

"... Doesn't it hurt to hold a blowfish like that?" Hal asked with mild concern.

Teethman shrugged in response and began to answer, but decided not to wade through the distorted chattering speech. Instead, he merely rolled his collected frosty payload into a ball and began looking for another pink target. "R-r-r-r-ecieve!" he called, tossing the sphere in a fastball toward the potential enemy. Without pausing for a connection, the Navi recieved more incoming chip data. The arm that had born his three-pronged claw whirred, releasing momentary heat that the Navi was all too glad to accept. Eventually, it came to its rested shape of the Shotgun weapon, and he fired it into the darkness of the storm.

Hal squinted into the vague landscape visible on the PET screen. "Uh... Teeth? Try using this Vulcan to finish out. I don't know there's anything left of them, but I don't want to take the chance." Teethman quickly accepted the weapon, the nozzle splitting into five parts. He leveled the rotating barrel with the presumed remains of his targets and opened fire, hoping to finish them off for good.

Rageclaw PuffyB into PuffyC [20 to each]
Shotgun to PuffyB [50(NPboost)+10=60+splash]
Vulcan2 to PuffyC [15x5, splash]
The deadly scowl on Oberon's pale face was made into strange shapes as it was partially obscured by the flurry of snow under his boots. He was a literal ghost, an unseen warrior, an echo from another time. His almost invisible expression momentarily intensified with every blow, and his arms swung and pumped through the air with as much precision and grace as Titania's arrows.

Oberon exhaled sharply as he thrust his blade into the Misty, a sudden explosion of breath that came out as a kind of huh sound, followed by a vocalized Hah! as he tore it away from the place where it had entered the watery monster's body, cutting its dissipating airy body from the center out at a 45 degree angle, then following an arc up through the air and back down, ending with his back facing the remains of his vanquished targets, and his gaze centered on the remainder of the virii.

Raaagh! A sharp projectile struck Oberon mid-run, extracting a shout not of pain or even surprise, but of anger. Without even slowing down, Oberon dismissed one of his weapons into the snowy air and tore the spike out of his shoulder, then continued running as the flat blade reappeared on his knuckles. The freezing Sharo wind howled furiously, blowing crazy ripples in his spectral clothing, but the blaze of passion in his heart staved off the cold. Every time the immaterial figure that was Oberon took another step, thrust another strike, or whirled in another quick-turn or round slash, the jewel on his chest flashed as if it was being shone upon by a blazing light. And yet, deep within, with a voice locked away behind the blade-wielding warrior's eyes, something was analyzing the situation for him, showing him the way to fight.

He zigzagged a short way, trying to make himself an unattractive target, then broke into a head-on sprint, covering the distance between where the Misties had been and the somewhat static location of an injured Weather in seconds. Another flurry of snow rose into the air under his foot as he launched himself into a fleche, a blade-first dive at a single target. It was typically a technique of desperation, but also sometimes a technique of unbridled aggression. 'Fleche' was French for 'Arrow.'

So the technique that was to drive Oberon's right-hand weapon into the enemy before him was neither desperate nor blindly aggressive: It was an arrow launched from a bow, a precise weapon poised to kill.

As soon as his feet touched the ground, Oberon didn't bother to look at the aftermath of his assault, but continued his sprint, leaving behind him a cloud of upset snow in the air, and a faint orange glow casting false color upon his body and the similarly-colored snow underfoot, eminating from the distilled fury coating his punching swords. He did not pump his arms as he ran, but rather held his arms in a ready position and moved only with his legs, feet pumping in an irregular, staggered step perfected from countless hours of training. Instead of plunging straight into the nearest enemy, Oberon suddenly cut to the side, then skidded slightly on a patch of loose snow as he made a U-turn and ran forward with both enemies directly in front of him.

He let out another sharp exhalation as he drove the blade directly into a Weather, using the widest part, near his hand, for maximum impact. His entire body went into the force of this blow, intended to send the woody virus flying into its comrade. The impact slowed Oberon's run, but he still followed-through by leaping into the air, then landing on the opposite side of the two enemies as before.

Both weapons disappeared from his hands, and their orange glow was transferred to his white gauntlets as he drove a seemingly flaming punch into the two of them.

Now Oberon's face was more than just angry: It was smug.

RageClaw [40] WeatherF
RageClaw [20+20 WeatherA into WeatherB]
RageClaw [20+20 WeatherB into WeatherA]
Two Weathers had fallen before his assault, Pianissimo realized as the data from the deleted viruses vanished. His third strike, however, had apparently hit a piece of wood blasted by one of the others, as his third target flew up to a temporary safety. Pianissimo was able to determine just how temporary it was when he felt new chip AreaSteal chip. With this... Pianissimo realized, I won't have to wait for this guy to come back down. Still hiding in the snow, he plotted an attack...he would teleport behind the Weather to attack, then land and strike one of those annoying pufferfish viruses.

Seconds later, Pianissimo leapt out of the snow, spun once, and vanished. Not even a second after that, he reappeared behind the Weather he had missed the first time around, katana held high above his head. Falling, he brought the katana down in a tremendous slash from right above the "head" of the strange puppet virus. As he landed...the data from his sword chip shattered, leaving only the ebony blade of the katana. Damn! he thought, hoping to easily dispatch the puffy as well. "I'm going to need more chips," he whispered over a private link to Rigel, along with a more specific request. Rigel shuffled through a pocket on the inside of his cape, pulling out the appropriate chips and inserting them into the PET.

Holding out his arm, Pianissimo focused the data for the first chip into it, and a large green cannon materialized on it, brimming with energy. His scanners focused on one spot in the net, where a Puffy came into view on it, untouched by the other's attacks. A shot was fired at that spot on the net, and the kickback almost caused him to fall back into the snow. Pianissimo activated the second chip as he swung his katana in a high arc. Three Puffy spines appeared along this arc, and were directed toward the same Puffy he had target earlier. Though he couldn't see the result of his attacks, he couldn't help but appreciate the irony of a Puffy being done in by it's own weapon.

AreaSteal to right above WeatherD
Sword WeatherD - 80 damage
Cannon PuffyD - 40 damage
Aquaneedle1 PuffyD - 20x3 = 60 damage
Explosions, projectiles, death. All three flew past, appearing and then losing themselves in the blizzard. The others had beaten him to the punch, and he was being left in their wakes. He rather seriously doubted that there was anything left for him to destroy.

"Raiden, take a check around to make sure--"

"No need."

He turned to look back at the rest of the group, but they were hidden by the snowy storm. They had done their part, but he felt as though their actions had shortchanged him from completing his. He made a mental note to lead the charge the next oppotunity he got, and took off into the snowsquall again. His navy and yellow was quickly assimilated into the blizzard, rendering him largely invisible to the viral and Navi eye alike.

[1. Dodge
2. Dodge
3. Dodge]
The puffys are set up by Teethmans rageclaw for the attacks, as his shotgun tears them both to peices. The Vulcan meets the last one as the attacks from Piannissimo come down and clean it up. The Weathers can only sway as they are cleaved to peices by oberons blades, and Raiden can only sit back and watch in awe.


Teethman 100HP
Titania 120HP
Pianissimo 80HP
Raiden 100HP


Rewards: 600z, Aquaneedle1 for all
"That was easy enough," said Pianissimo simply, before covering his face with his scarf once again, it had fallen off when he used the AreaSteal chip.

"Hey, Pianissimo. I'll be back in a minute. Need to get a few upgrades, including a few things that'll make you a little more efficient even when I'm out of or can't send you chips."

"Duke, I don't know if you noticed," said Pianissimo, not caring if the others could hear him, "but the viruses here are no laughing matter. We handled this bunch easily enough, but that's not to say I can handle them effortlessly without chips."

"I just said-" but Pianissimo cut him off. "What about while you're out getting them?"

"Nevermind," he finally said, "Just hurry back." Turning to the others, he asked, "So...are we going to keep going?"