Navi Net-Shop

Nodding at Tempoman, Asymptote waved back as he slowly lumbered his way out of the area, he had a few upgrades to make.

Something brushes against the underside of the Net.

The broad tip of a very long arm scrapes along the backs of the panels, tasting the topography. It feels where the concentrations of data are flat and empty, good for opening windows; so too can it taste the rivers of traffic notched into the city, enriched into beings ripe for growth. As always, the potential is promising enough for it to consider opening a window right underfoot.

It does not do this. The white has some capacity for thought, and it knows those that watch from the tower. It knows not to pick this battle.

Something shines like a star to its senses. A small dome, rife with foot-traffic, impossibly rich with stored data, even
familiar somehow. This was rare, for there was much Hex knew but could not remember. It chooses to investigate, and gnaws open a window.



A glistening patch of sludge grew in the corner of the shop. Veiny cilia reached up from its off-white depths, spreading out clusters of branches. The atmosphere of the Net caught against the surface. In tasting the Net, Hex caught that note of familiarity again, somewhere amongst the signatures. Here, a large, angry displacement of [sparking/abrasive/altered]; there, distant snatches of [rippling/reactive/divergent]. It's so close...but its interest is diverted.

The taste of resources, ripe for the taking, was rich in here - one might say heady, if the greasy pool had anything resembling one. It crept towards it - and stopped upon sensing the other presence. This, too, was a battle it would not pick. Acquisition by force would not be possible - other avenues had to be explored, avenues that required thought.

Hex prepared its Administrator: from its depths rose what looked like shards of a broken china doll. The child, for arms so small could belong to nothing else, lay on the floor in a pile; somewhere in its head, Hex thought of replication. Its directives called for it, and yet nothing was written on improving further reiterations. New directives would need to be written; for now, it processed until it understood the rules to the swift Navi's data. To acquire resources itself required resources - this, Hex knew.

A thick tentacle slithered out of Egomorph's head. A cluster of veins ferried a glittering chunk of data from out the pool's depths, through her body and spat it out on TempoMan's spotless countertop. The tentacle spoke in a wreck of a voice, [Resources required: HP Memory; NaviCust Expansion; PowerUP; PowerUP; Process Upgrade; Process Upgrade; Process Upgrade; FastArmour; FirstArmour; FirstArmour; FirstArmour; FirstArmour]

It stopped moving, and waited.

<(Buying:
HP Memory - 1750z
NC Expansion - 2000z
PowerUP x2 - 3000z
Process Upgrades v10-12 - 3300z
FastArmour - 5000z
FirstArmour x4 - 10000z

Total: 25050z
Remaining: 305z)>
As... something... made itself known in the net-navi shop, Tempoman observed it with caution form behind the counter. Whatever it was was unnerving, but if it was a hostile virus or some kind of attack, the store's systems would have purged it already. About to put a call through to someone more trained to fix a mess like that, the server paused when a figure, or parts of one, bubbled to the surface. Other patrons were giving the mass a wide berth now, but TempoMan had a job to do.

"Er... can I help you... uh... miss?" He ventured, leaning across the counter a little, but still not daring to get too close to the dubious mass. He flinched back as it extended and deposited a mess of data on the counter. Slowly, like a person at hold up, TempoMan nodded and retrieved the parts, gingerly sliding them across to the tendril. He used a quarantine mitt to recover and encapsulate the 'payment', for now.

"Okay... that, um, all seems correct, uhh, miss." He leaned away, trying to keep a calm expression. "Have... a good day...?" He ventured, hoping that whatever this was would depart after a single transaction.

==

Hex Get: 1x HPMem, 1x NC Expansion, 2x PowerUp, PU 10, 11, 12, FastArmour NCP, 4x FirstArmour NCP.
Hex Lose: 25050z
Tendrils waved in unsettling pulsing patterns, equal parts organic and asymmetric. There, there was that tantalising glimpse of familiarity - Hex felt the signature fizz on its surface: vital; heartwood; fragmented; growth. Something once-known, rediscovered.

Feelers writhing, the foulness reached into the Net and grasped at its fabric, stretching out towards its new target. Egomorph was yanked into the pool without ceremony, and without a word more to the proprietor, the entire mess disappeared, as though sucked down an invisible drain.

The zenny remained behind. At some point, a tarry black vein had been left behind, and now spread itself across the data packet. The money, it seemed, needed slightly more than laundering today.

<(To The Hunt Renewed)>
Floating into the shop for a navi, a prog with a brown sack between it’s ears would dump said small sack of zenny onto the counter, 2900z in total. “Excuse me, mister Tempoman! I come on behalf of my owner’s giant, fatass of a navi, Kemix.exe, a level 3 Aqua/Shield navi! She would like for me to bring back the following: The Knockback Buster Shot upgrade, HP memory Number 1 and Processor Upgrades 2 through 4! The sack contains 2900 zenny and should be sufficient for the process of buying upgrades!” The program would speak, bluntly.

Buying for Kemix.Exe: PU2-4 (200+300+400), HP Upgrade 1 (1000), and Knockback Shot (1000)

Have: 3250z
Cost: 2900z
Remainder: 350z
The helpful prog had to wait a moment before he was greeted; it had approached TempoMan himself, and the navi was just finishing up a separate call, a small data screen in front of his eyes.

"No, the store is safe. No-one was hurt. Yes, I think there might be at least one navi in danger. Of course, I'll have the store security footage forwarded. Of course. Thank you." After another moment, the opaque screen slid away and TempoMan turned to the prog.

"Sorry about that. What can I do for you?" He nodded at each request in turn while the prog relayed its orders. "That's right. One moment." The store-navi quickly retrieved the requested upgrades and passed them across to the hovering prog after he did a cursory check of the payment. "There you are. thank you for shopping, and do let your owner know that their business is always appreciated." With a last nod, he concluded the transaction and waved the prog on its way.

==

Kemix Get: HPMem 1, Knockback Shot, PUv2-4
Kemix Lose: 2900z
“Will do! Thank you, good sir!” The program would speak before taking the upgrades and floating out of the store. One more stop for the “fatass” navi Ava had before he could go elsewhere.
A piercing black light slammed into the network, the resultant particles quickly reforming into a fluid, black form. A luminous blue globe followed from the sky, crashing into the inky black form in a burst of brilliant azure light. A moment later, a slender blue-and-white netnavi took her first wobbly, uncertain steps into Suitachi’s online navi shop.

Tem frowned, her focus entirely on staying balanced in this unfamiliar body. She flexed her fingers on her right hand experimentally - first individually, then all at once - before suddenly tightening them into a fist. Instantly, a small display burst into existence next to her right arm, containing a list of navi components and a note from Suien. She sighed with exasperation as she read the hastily-typed communique.

Tem, tbh I’m a lil buzzed rn. I figured out the SP stuff, but I trust u to do shopping 4 Rass. Stay out of trouble and return to PET if u rnt feeling good

Well at least gesture commands seem to work she thought, closing the window with a snap of her fingers, Honestly, when I told Suien I wanted to practice my movement subroutines while the main body was still in stasis, I was hoping for a slightly less… public… debut.

Looking for all the world like Tempoman’s intoxicated booth-babe, the former subsystem stumbled over to the storefront. Leaning into the counter for support in an unintentionally alluring way, she waved down TempoMan with her free hand.

“Greetings, TempoMan.EXE, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance,” she said in a bright, chipper tone, “I am in the market to procure a number of upgrades and was hoping that you might be able to assist me.”

Buster Upgrade 7: 7000
Buster Upgrade 8: 8000
Phasing Shot: 1500
Navicust Expansion 1: 1000
Navicust Expansion 2: 1250
Process Upgrade 11: 1100
Process Upgrade 12: 1200
Process Upgrade 13: 1300
Process Upgrade 14: 1400
Process Upgrade 15: 1500
First Armor x5: 12500
Fast Armor: 5000
Process Edit: 140

Total: 42,890Z
By the time Tem had tested out her new autonomy and made her way to the counter, TempoMan had zipped across to greet her with a smile. Despite the open field on her unintentional posing, the shop-keeper retained a professional focus on her face, except where he was obviously checking to make sure she wasn't going to fall and hurt or break anything.

"Easy there miss, welcome!" He opened his mouth as though to continue some kind of longer greeting, or maybe to ask what she needed, but Tem was quick to respond with a well ordered list of parts and with a level of clear articulation that seemed to catch the store-navi off guard, juxtaposed against her unsteady demeanour. He nodded instead.

"That won't be a problem at all. One moment." He ducked behind the counter briefly, then returned with several small data packets. "Starting from base level expansions today? What number process firmware does you navigator need? Oh, and if it's all for the same navigator, you don't need to worry about the process edit at all - one comes built into every process upgrade as standard these days, so you're already all set for that." A few other small questions followed as TempoMan discerned what version numbers of different parts Rass was up to, but after an efficient back and forth Tem was presented with the neat stack and her payment taken.

"There you go! Some hefty defence there. Good luck out there, and come again if you need anything else!"

==

Suien LOSE: 42750z ((NB: Process edit not necessary, so not deducted))

Suin GET: Buster Upgrades v7 & 8, Phasing Shot, NaviCust v1 & 2, PU v11 through 15, Fast Armour NCP, First Armour NCP x5
Tem blinked. TempoMan’s courteous response and prompt service caught her completely off-guard. Despite her syrupy tone, she had expected some sort of pigheaded comment from the cobalt-blue shop navi and had taken the liberty of preparing a number of cutting retorts in advance. When no such comment came, she found herself staring at TempoMan instead, a slight blush coloring her cheeks.

Catching herself, she quickly shifted her body and pushed off the counter with a stumble. “I, uh… thanks,” she muttered, her upper body swaying as she managed a small wave, “I’m sure we’ll be back before too long.”

As she turned away and started walking toward the exit, the former subsystem felt warmth in her face, the corners of her lips drawing upward into an involuntary grin. Touching her cheeks with her gloved hands, Tem furrowed her brow in contemplation, which, surprisingly, failed to suppress her smile.

That’s… new. she thought, as she initialized a jack-out command and disappeared in a stream of black light.