Navi Net-Shop

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.
A Mr. Prog bobbed into the Net-Shop. In a departure from the typical design, this one was gunmetal-grey, with vaguely-canine features that mostly boiled down to two triangular points sticking from the top of its head, and a ':3' face in place of the usual wide grin. More notable was the Navi, clad in a red skinsuit and armour the same shade as the Prog, holding onto its shoulder and following it inside with unsure steps. "NOW ENTERING: TEMPOMAN'S NAVI NET SHOP, BARK BARK!" the GuideProg announced cheerfully, complete with fully voiced onomatopoeia.

"Thanks," ScorchMan replied, tinder-dry. The noise of the shop's bustle was impressive, though confusing; he kept hearing the same voice jump wildly around the store, sometimes speaking in two places at once. The store was warm with activity, rife with impressions of a tide of body heat coming and going. He suddenly realized he had no way of knowing where the front desk was, short of stumbling around feeling for something.

The thought made ScorchMan want to cringe. He edged over to the wall and listened hard, casting for anything that would give away the shopkeep's position. Maybe the register would make a noise? Could he just listen for other Navis listing their orders? There were so many voices...

To Hades with it. The blind Navi waited until he heard someone thank someone else and walked over; surely even a shelf-stocker would be able to help if he told them what he wanted, right? That part, at least, he'd done his research on. Stepping as surely as he dared, ScorchMan summoned a zenny chip and a typed list and gave his best smile, nevermind that he probably wasn't looking the right way and his helmet covered most of his face anyhow. "Hello there, I've been told this is the right place for amateur NetBattlers to purchase upgrades? I'm in need of some basics, I did the math and this should cover it." He held his hand out palm-up, gesturing for whoever he'd found to take both the list and the datachip, and perhaps kindly direct him to the actual counter.

[Purchasing:
- HP Memory x1 (1000z)
- PowerUP x1 (1000z)
- Element Shot (500z
- Process Upgrades v1-5 (1500z
- Total: 4000z]
After entering and listening for a short while, ScorchMan eventually reached out to find a shopkeeper using some fairly safe quick deduction. He was somewhere just shy of the middle area of the store, by his best guess, but the voice the responded as he made his enquiry was helpful and profession.

“Hi there, just one moment sir...” There was a pause of about a second or two, and the sense of the navi nearest him moving slightly; small sounds of small objects contacting and sliding against larger displays followed before he had the sense of the other navi giving his attention more fully to him.

“Well, as you say, this is your first last and only stop for any navigator needs. Not just new battlers, but experienced virus busters and grizzled veterans alike as well. We stock everything you could need for navis of all capabilities.” There was another pause as, presumably, the speaking navi assessed ScochMan properly; the list and chip was received and accepted out of his hand.

“That ought to be no problem at all, if you'll just step this way...” ScorchMan was able to sense the close proximity of the navi moving near him, though the shop-keeper didn't ever actually reach out or touch him directly. “Just left here sir... that's right. And here we are...” A short digital registry and transfer sound followed, before a slim data loop rested neatly over one of ScorchMan's hands; it immediately communicated itself as a short tether to a number of products whose signatures matched his requests.

“Everything is in order there. Do have a good day.” There was another short pause, but the shop navi spoke up again after clearing his through quietly. “I know this might be out of place, sir, but I feel I ought to mention it, just in case, but as well as navigator supplies we do also handle a number of deeper system processes, repairs and recovery operations for navigators who suffer long term detriments – permanent crashes of various systems, that sort of thing. Your operator would have to make a more formal appointment, of course, but there is a lot we can do. I apologise; I don't know your circumstance. Many newer navis aren't aware that we offer those services though, so I felt it was worth mentioning. Either way, good day to you, and do come again!”

==

ScorchMan GET: HPMem 1, PowerUp x1, Element Shot, PU v1-5
ScorchMan LOSe: 4000z
That, ScorchMan thought, had been remarkably painless. Even the shopkeeper's advice hadn't felt at all obsequious, for all that he usually couldn't stand unsolicited comments on his condition. "I'll keep that in mind, thank you," he said quietly, surprised that he meant it. "Could I...well, anyway, I should talk to my Operator. Have a good day."

He'd kept track of the directions the shop Navi (TempoMan?) had guided him through. When he made for the door, collecting his GuideProg on the way out, he only missed the door by a little bit, catching the frame in his hand and patting his way out. A crimson datastream announced his exit a few seconds later, along with a, "JACKING OUT, BARK BARK!"

<(To Kotobuki Fire Station)>