Exhibit A

[>> Aimless Vacationing - NetSquare.]

Passing through the telepad, Eternalis and Aurora found themselves in a wide open area in the middle of a Netfrican savannah. An arch loomed over the entryway, displaying the words "NETFRICA NET VIRUS ZOO" prominently in decorated letters. Animated banners promoting the "Metavirus Exhibit" hung from its sides, with the main focus of the exhibit, the "Splatter", displayed on the banners in a hopping animation. Under the archway itself, it seemed like the place was getting quite busy -- an assorted crowd of Navis was constantly passing in and out through the entryway.

Suddenly, a small window appeared in Aurora's periphery, and shortly after, the display was cloned for Eternalis as well. A short examination revealed exactly what the window was for.

"Huh... they transmitted us a map of the area," said Aurora, her eyebrows raised with interest, while Eternalis examined the areas in the map. It seemed like the areas were divided by virus type, with the main exhibits in the middle of the establishment. The whole place was radially arranged around the central exhibit. What was more, as he surveyed the display, an interactive cursor seemed to follow where he was looking at, displaying further information on the section he was looking at. An impressively constructed map, if anything, he thought. As he looked at the advertised "Metavirus Exhibit" section, he noticed that it seemed to be composed of three different species, including the one that had been advertised before.

"I thought it was just going to be the one exhibit. Seems like they've got a lot of different ones here. Nice, I'm surprised," commented Eternalis. He turned towards Aurora, who was still examining the map with what looked like intense concentration, muttering something to herself. He thought Aurora would have been the first to object to the odd suggestion of leaving their operator to, of all things, run around aimlessly, given how practical she was. Then again, wasn't that essentially what they did most of the time when they would go out virus busting? What they were doing now was just a similar activity, with much less battle stress... Maybe it wasn't such a bad idea after all.

"So... where do we start?" he tentatively asked.


A small delay followed before Aurora looked up from the map. Her response seemed like it had just pulled her out of a daydream, as if she just barely registered that Eternalis was addressing her. "Eh? Huh? O-Oh, I guess we can just... follow the main path?" she said, turning away to look at the main road, where a group of Navis was going through. Some were also on a small platform with a couple of rows of seats, which zipped slowly along a sunken rail in the middle of the pathway. Aurora's eyes lingered on a couple of NormalNavi models sitting on the platform, colored green and pink respectively, talking animatedly to each other.

"You okay, Aurora? Something on your mind?" inquired Eternalis. Aurora had been less talkative as soon as Harke left them to their own devices. Perhaps she was uncomfortable being unoperated.
"No, no, nothing! It's nothing, so let's go!"
"H-Hey! Wait, don't pull on me! Slow down!"

And thus, their day started.
Walking through the area, the two started looking through the exhibits offered throughout the zoo. Various strange mixes of viral species were put up on display, roaming in little mini-habitats created just like little slices of other networks. Some of them were even open to interaction with the visitors, and these were the most crowded. As they approached the main attraction, they saw a wide variety of Navi designs from all walks of life, to the point where the zoo's visitors themselves seemed to be an entirely separate exhibit. Earlier on, Eternalis seemed a bit hesitant to walk about, due to his monstrous appearance, but after passing by the first few displays and their visitors, the atmosphere between the two noticeably loosened, and he was walking with a bit more spring in their step between the exhibits.

After all, it was difficult to feel out of place, when all around him were monstrous designs that seemed much more frightening than a simple slime monster. A towering lizardman walking side by side with a small child, a hulking demon covered in black scales, a tiny wobbling octopus-headed UFO, a round insect running on a black bomb. All of these and more were strolling at a leisurely pace in front of him, some of them even conversing with each other. Eternalis sighed.

Walking beside him, Aurora perked up. "Something wrong, Eternalis?"

Eternalis turned to Aurora, before waved his hand with an awkward smile. "Ah, no, no. Just that... I don't know, I thought I'd be a little out of place walking next to you. Most of the Navis we've met so far looked more or less human."

Aurora giggled. "Is that all? You've never worried about that before. It's not like you're any more monstrous than before."

Her partner halted in front of the virus exhibit. The "Splatter"-type metaviruses that were hopping about also stopped when he approached, curiously looking up at their new visitor. Barely more than a foot tall, they left trails of their slime when they hopped about, though with the size of the enclosure, some of them were hopping in another Splatter's trail, enlarging the slime trails into puddles. Eternalis knelt down and hugged his knees, observing them over the small fence that the zoo had put up. Apparently, it was some kind of special one-way enclosure that would only restrict viruses from exiting, but left anything else to pass by in any direction. The sign next to it indicated that it was one of the habitats open to interaction, and Eternalis could see some of the other visitors happily playing with some of the Splatters.

Their little rabbit ears made of slime swayed gently as one of them made a curious squeaking noise and tilted its head, though it already comprised most of its body, so in effect, it was just leaning its entire body. "Yeah, I guess it was a silly thing to be worried about," he said, smiling as he reached out to pat one of the little blobs on its head. It cooed warmly at his touch, wiggling its ears and nestling up against his sticky fingers. His worries started to wash away with the bunny-blob's purring, and a few others began to approach his hand as well. It almost looked as if his hand was merging with the Splatter's body, though one could still distinguish between the two if they tried. Retracting his hand, he then stood back up to move aside.

Or, well, he tried to, at least, as his hand stayed attached to the Splatter's head. "Wait, huh?" he said, looking down at his overstretched arm that extended out to the little Splatter, looking like a piece of blue-colored taffy.

"Ahahaha! I think they like you," laughed Aurora, as Eternalis struggled to pull his hand away from the sticky viruses. Unfortunately, all that did was stretch his gooey arm even further, as the Splatter clung tightly onto its end. More of them were now excitedly swarming it, being quite interested in their newfound friend. Though he was clearly in distress, Aurora found herself too preoccupied with laughing her heart out to do so. She also didn't notice a lone Prog floating over to them from behind, which quickly made its presence known.


With the blaring announcement made directly from behind her, Aurora nearly jumped out of her skin, yelping in alarm as she turned around. "Oh, it's just a Prog. Just about scared me half to deletion," she sighed. Behind her, she could hear Eternalis chuckle, just before an Official-model Navi came running over to them. His chest was stamped with the zoo's logo, and his head was topped with a hat that looked slightly like a ship captain's.

"What seems to be the trouble here?" the Navi said, though judging from how he was looking at Eternalis and reaching for something at his belt, the question was merely a formality.

"Er, sorry, I was petting these and they're just kind of stuck now," explained Eternalis, right as the zoo official extracted some form of collar restraint.

"All right, just stay still and I'll get them off," the Official said, unlocking the restraint before putting it around Eternalis's wrist, revealing it to be some kind of cuff instead. The cuff shrunk down onto his wrist before emitting a strange humming sound. Suddenly, the little viruses all retreated from his hand, allowing him to retract it back towards his body, after which the cuff emitted a short beep and fell off of his hand.

The device never hit the floor, however, as the zoo official swooped down to catch it. "Oops, these things come loose way too easily," he mused, putting it away. Adjusting his cap, he turned back to Eternalis. "Alright, that should be it. Sorry for the trouble, these things normally don't do that, but for some Navis they just like them a little too much. Try not to do it again," he said, laughing as he walked off. The two watched the Official Navi leave, before Eternalis turned to Aurora again.

"Well, this is the last exhibit, I guess this is the last one. How about we get out and see what else there is to do?" he said.

"Hmm..." thought Aurora, propping her chin up as she immersed herself in thought. Eternalis's previous words went through her mind, and it wasn't long before the metaphorical lightbulb lit up. "Oh! Wait, I think I've got just the place for us to go to next. Let's get out of here, I think I saw it on our way here," she said, walking ahead towards the entrance.

"Heh, all right, lead the way," he said, following Aurora's lead by her side.

[>> Aimless Vacationing - NetSquare.]