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Chapter 1: First Visit
 (In Which Bob Meets New Friends & Enemies)


Bob wasn't sure what to do.  He had come to find Killabyte in his new
form, but for some reason he just wanted to stand there and reassure
the girl who cried on his chest.  Only he didn't know how to do that and
his feelings of protection turned to embarrassment.  It wasn't truly
his fault, but what explanation could he give her?  He had already lied
to her once.  "Guardian Bob," he thought to himself, "It's a little
early to be putting that on your return address so why did you tell her
that?"
"Bob, are you alright? he heard Turbo's voice ask a second time.  Bob
faced him and several guardians stepped out of a portal from the Super
Computer.
Somehow, in all the confusion, he managed to say "I'm fine, Turbo," as
the green teenaged sprite lifted her head and stepped away.
The Prime Guardian approached her.  "Excuse me, Ma'am.  We would like
to see your Command.Com."  His Southern charm didn't effect the girl.
She hesitated for a moment and took a deep breath.  "Yes, of course. 
Follow me."  She took the nearby toddler into her arms as he sniffled
loudly.  They climbed into her car where a red puppy waited in the
backseat.  She began to drive away from the rubble the other sprites
searched through for a scrap of their city.  Bob threw down his zipboard and
kept up with the little car, taking no notice of the fact that he was
riding ahead of Turbo.
The Principal Office was a large sphere in the center of the city. 
Inside, everything was smooth and gray.  Rolling through a set of doors
was an old sprite with a long neck and twisted beard.  He saw the girl
and said, "My child, what was the damage?"
She stared at the ground.  "It was horrible, Phong."  Looking up at
him again, she took on a very business-like air and added, "These sprites
are hear to talk to you and the Command.Com."
Turbo began to address the sprite, whom he assumed was the secretary
or some other high ranking position.  Meanwhile, Bob was feeling like an
idiot silently watching the young woman and her little brother as
everything that had happened seemed to register once more.
Just then, a female voice and a loud ringing echoed from outside as
the sky turned dark.  "Warning, incoming game.  Warning..."
The little sprite began to cry.  "No Sis, don't leave me."
"I have to go, Enzo.  We can't loose this game," she told him
sympathetically.
Enzo frowned, "Then can I come?  I've never been in a game.  Huh, huh! 
Can I?"
The game cube was urging the Guardians and cadets foreword, however
they fought the instinct so as to wait for Turbo's orders.  All of them,
except Bob who headed outside and caught the game before it landed.
The game's landscape was humid and green.  Everything was in 8 bit
color and all of the trees looked like a stacks of blocks.  A brown hill
with a black hole in the side sat in a pathectic end of the meadow
alone.  The sky overhead was a boring blue.
"Wow!" a voice said from behind Bob, "This game must be really really
really really really really really..."
"Enzo!" a female voice scolded.
"Really old," he finished.
Bob turned and saw the green siblings standing there with their red
puppy growling at him.  "What?!" he nearly shouted, "Why are you hear?"
The young woman stepped in front of her little brother and pointedly
said, "Well, somebody has to win the game."
Bob sighed, "Okay, fine."  Turning to the keytool on his arm, he
requested, "Glitch, game stats."  The object beeped a little and he read
aloud.  "This is the final level of a game called Count's Crusade.  The
User has to find the count's treasure in order to win.  This should be
easy enough."
Enzo excitedly jumped up and down.  Judging by the scowl on his
sister's face, Bob realized that the little boy wasn't supposed to be there. 
The guardian waited a moment longer as the two sprites stared back at
him.  "Well, let's reboot," he impatiently ordered.
"What's reboot?" the teenaged girl questioned.
Bob choked, "You don't know what rebooting is?!  How do you win
games?"
She reached behind her and took out an erase command.  With a smirk,
she told him, "I delete the User."
As Bob marveled over where she was keeping that command in her
dangerously tight pink dress, Enzo added, "Erasing doesn't always work."  His
sister glared at him.
"Oh boy," Bob commented as he slapped his hand against his face,
"Okay, double click your icon and say 'Reboot'.  Watch me."  He demonstrated
and tube of light fell over him.  The blue cadet uniform was replaced
by a brown tunic and pants.  A sword hung at his side.
Shrugging her shoulders the girl did the same.  A peasant's dress with
a red bodice appeared.  Her multicolored hair was crowned by a flower
wreath.  She helped her brother with his icon and his "I am 00" shirt
changed to a blue tunic.  "Alphanumeric!" he exclaimed.  The puppy became
a baby dragon who had decided he didn't like Bob and spit a flame at
him.
Suddenly, a block character came out from behind a tree, heading for
the nearest cave.  His costume was similar to Bob's only he wore a
feathered cap.
Glancing at Glitch, the Cadet told them, "The treasures are in that
cave."  The group ran into the darkness after the 8 bit character.  He
was only a little ways ahead of them since he couldn't move very fast. 
"I'll distract the User..."
"And we'll get the treasure," the girl finished for him with a little
smile, "C'mon Little Brother."  The two and their dog ran past the User
towards a lighted cavern.
The User didn't notice because of Bob drawing his jagged sword and
shouting, "Alright User, bring it on."  The User drew his own sword and
ran at Bob.  His pace was faster than the Guardian to be had anticipated. 
"Yikes," he said as the two gray rectangles met.  The battle turned out
to be less of a challenge as it progressed since Bob had more movement
than the 1-D character.  Eventually, he ran the User face first into a
wall.  The silly character continued to walk at the wall for a while. 
It took him so long to turn back around, that Bob grew bored and went
to help his new companions.  He shouted at the User, "Better luck next
time."
The chamber was very dull.  Nothing but a steep staircase that winded
up to a shelf where the treasure chest sat.  Hanging from the edge of
the staircase about a story up was the green girl.  Her feet were lost
in the petticoats of her dress.
"What are you doing?" Bob asked staring up at her.
She glowered at him.  "These stairs are hard to climb in skirts," she
explained as she pulled herself back up.  Without another word, she and
her brother walked up the rest of the steps and took the chest.  The
words "Game over" surrounded them and the game cube disappeared back into
the sky.
Enzo jumped up.  "Wow!  That was fun.  Can we do it again?  Huh?  Huh? 
Huh?"
"Enzo!" the girl snapped.  The little sprite settled down as he
noticed the fact that his sister had fallen onto the payment when the game
ended.  Bob leaned over to help her up.  "Thank you...I'm sorry, I can't
remember your name."
"Bob or 452 to my superiors."  It would have been the perfect
opportunity to tell her that he was only a cadet, but he chose not to.  It
wasn't like he would be seeing this girl every second for the rest of his
life.
"Dot Matrix," she told extending a hand to shake, "And this is my
little brother..."  She motioned to only find the sprite was gone.  "Enzo?"
A deep British voice came from around a corner.  "Listen to me, boy,
you will take me to whomever is in charge here..."
Bob and Dot edged over, peaking out to see the owner of the menacing
words.  There stood a dark blue creaure holding up Enzo by his shirt and
towering over any binomes who had run for cover.  "A virus?" Dot
whispered, "It can't be."
"I'm surprised you even know what a virus is," Bob scoffed.
She lightly punched him and defensively replied, "I'm not completely
basic.  It's just...there aren't any viruses in Mainframe."
Instead of saying anything more to the girl, Bob whispered, "Glitch,
Energy Coils."  He pointd the keytool around the corner and a rope flew
from Glitch.  It wrapped around the virus.  He dropped Enzo, who ran to
his sister's arms, only to turn around and stick out his tongue at his
former captor.
Bob talked into Glitch.  "Turbo, I found something.  Code 43.  I'm not
that far from the Principal Office."
Turbo's voice replied, "Alright Bob, Carden and Zero will be right
there."
"Are you going to delete me, Guaridan?" the virus said with a laugh.
Bob responded as he looked up from Glitch.  "I don't believe in
deletion."
"Pity.  I do," the virus growled, "I am Megabyte, Corrupt and Conquer. 
Who is in charge here?"
There was silence for a moment before Dot stepped forward.  "I guess I
am."  Her voice was strong and clear.
"You?"  As Megabyte spoke, they could see the rows of shiny tin teeth
inside of his square head.  He chuckled with sarcasm, "This must be a
great system to have a little girl in charge."
Dot glared deeply at the virus, looking ready to wrap her hands around
his thick metal neck and squeeze.  Luckily, Carden and Zero arrived.
"Thank you, miss," Carden said to Dot, "No more need to fear.  You can
go home now.  I'm sure that this has been a very emotional day for you
and..."
"Do they train you guys to be so egotistical?"  This made the cadet
pause.  She contiued in a firm voice that startled all three young male
sprites.  "I'm not going anywhere until I know what's going on."
Enzo spoke up with a tremor in his tone.  "Sis."
"Not now, Enzo," she replied without breaking eye contact with Carden. 
She wasn't ready to give up the challenge.
"But Dot..." he wined.
"I said not..." she turned and realized what he was upset about.  The
virus had escaped.
"Hey," Carden complained in a long drawn out moan that discredited his
earlier Dudley Doright act.
"Cursors!" Zero swore.
"Oh great," Bob groaned as they heard Megabyte's distant laughter,
"Well, Ms. Matrix.  It's official.  Mainframe has it's very own virus."
"Make that two viruses," Carden put in, "A chaotic calling herself
Hexadecimal has been terrorizing the sprites surveying the damage site. 
Turbo sent a team to check it out."
Dot let out an exhausted sigh, "I can't believe this is happening. 
Enzo go back to the Principal Office and wait for me."
"Dot..."
"Take Frisket with you and don't stop to talk to anyone," she
commanded, playing with the propeller his beanie.  "I need you to tell Phong
about what happened here.  This is a very important mission, understand?"
"Yes ma'am," he replied and ran off with the puppy close behind.
*************
After Bob and the others spent nanos searching for Megabyte, they all
headed back to the Principal Office where Phong and Turbo were still
talking in the old sprite's wood paneled office.
"Be assured that we will do all possible to help your system get back
on it's feet," the Prime Guardian said with confidence.
Phong only nodded and bid a farewell as Turbo opened a portal to the
Super Computer.  The cadets and Guardians followed him towards it. Only
Bob paused to glance back at the two Matrix kids.  Enzo had fallen
asleep on a short couch under a picture of a green sprite with the black
hair.  Dot removed her glasses and stared at the picture.  Bob had heard
a little of their father from eavesdropping on Turdbo's conversation
with Phong.  Welman Matrix was a great scientist working with portals
with the constant belief that there were other systems.  His children had
been by his side with every new idea.  Dot wiped a tear from her eye,
thinking no one was watching, and removed the picture from the wall. 
"Good bye, Dad."
Bob ran to Turbo.  "Wait.  I need to stay."  His peers stared at him
like he was holding a magnet up to his head.  "I mean...request
permission to stay."
Turbo shook his head.  "I know you're upset about Dixon, Bob, but you
can't sol..."
"Please sir," Bob cut in, "This system doesn't know what to do about
games and viruses."
The Prime Guaridan peered at little Enzo Matrix who blinked out of his
sleep with curious eyes.  With a sigh, Turbo said, "Zero, you stay in
Mainframe until further orders."
Neither Zero nor Bob looked very happy.  "But sir..." they both
called.
Turbo continued, "I will see you in my office first thing, Cadet 452." 
Reluctantly, Bob nodded and watched his superiors and peers step
through the portal.  Zero grumbling went to talk to Phong about sleeping
arrangements.
As Bob headed for the portal, Enzo jumped up and grabbed his blue
hand.  "You're leaving?" he asked in a sad little voice.
Dot stepped over as well with the purpose to put her brother back to
bed.  However, the question interested her and she stared at Bob.  Cadet
452 released a deep breath.  "I have to go, but I'll be back."  Dot
seemed doubtful and he directed his next words at her.  "I promise."

On to chapter 2.....