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Powerdown


By: Julia_Cat and Fedira


Note from the authors: This was basically just a for-fun fic we thought up while in a serious case of cabin fever during a power failure. It's so long, because the power was off for over one hundred hours. If you don't like it, don't flame us, but if you do, by all means, feel free to let us know. It certainly cured our boredom.

Rating: PG

-------------------------

It was a very ordinary day in Mainframe, in the middle of winter. After four long days of celebrating Bob's return, the now very famous and very well-loved Guardian was back to his usual routine: sitting lazily in Dot's Diner, slurping noisily on an energy shake, while Dot, as usual, had about twenty vidwindows open in front of her.

Dot, frustrated, closed every single one and went to sit beside Bob. Bob casually flung an arm around her shoulders. "You know," he remarked, "You should really--"

The Diner doors abruptly swung open, almost coming off their hinges. All conversation stopped as everyone turned to look towards the door.

There, in all his angry glory, stood Matrix. He had an angry glint in his eyes, and wore a sneer on his face. He walked to the bar and yanked one of the stools from the floor, placing it gently down by where Bob and Dot were seated. He grabbed an energy shake on the way. Cecil came up to him and snapped in that annoying French accent, "Hey! You have to pay for zat!"

"Shut up!" Matrix bellowed, smacking him as hard as possible (which is pretty hard, knowing Matrix), sending his turning around and around the Diner, arms flailing.

Bob leaned even closer to Dot (if that's even possible) and whispered, "What's his problem?"

Dot turned to Bob and explained, "He was supposed to meet AndrAIa at Floating Point today." She looked past him, out the window. Ice rain was pouring down all around the system, coating everything.

***

Meanwhile, AndrAIa and Frisket were in the Principal Office looking at the city's power levels worriedly. It was slowly diminishing, and AndrAIa was worried about Matrix.

"Phong, if we lose all the power, what's going to happen?" AndrAIa asked.

"Well, my child, if the power ceases to function, causing Mainframe to shut down sector by sector, there will be no heat, and, seeing that it's the middle of the winter, the temperature will slowly drop. Everyone will have to find a partner to stay warm and cuddle with, and we'll need to wear layers and--"

"Phong!"

"Hm? Oh! I'm sorry, my child. Right. As I was saying, the power loss, I am afraid, will cause a panic. We must be prepared. We must tell Bob."

***

"Dot? Dot!" Bob was trying to tear her attention away from the window.

Dot shook her head and returned her attention to Bob, leaning against him.

"You have a call," Bob said.

Dot took the vidwindow, and looked at it. It was all static.

Matrix slammed his fist against the table and stood up. "This is ridiculous! I'm going to find AndrAIa." With that, he left.

Bob looked at Dot, alarmed. "Dot? I think we'd better go see Phong."

Dot smiled playfully. "We can go see Phong later," she said, tossing the vidwindow away.

Bob, not realizing what Dot meant at first, was just watching the storm out the window. Then, it hit him. He turned to face Dot. She was smiling at him. His jaw almost hit the ground. "Why, Dot," he said, smiling in turn, "I never would have guessed."

Dot, still saying nothing, wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed him Bob was in heaven. Only then did he realize how good a kisser Dot really was. He wrapped his arms around her waist, enhoying the moment. He was relaxed and happy. Dot was too.

Suddenly, a huge crack, then a crash completely shattered their moment. They jumped, and very reluctantly pulled back. They looked out the window, openmouthed. There lay a whole tree, too weighted down to stand any longer. Lying beside it was the "D" from the "Dot's Diner" sign.

A few moments later, AndrAIa ran into the Diner. Seeing the pair of sprites, she sighed in relief. She briefly explained what Phong had told her and led them to the Principal Office.

On their way, Bob already saw the city losing power. The numbers on the information superhighway were flickering menacingly, and, as a few numbers went out, an entire street went dark. A few stray binomes walked into a rather decrepit shelter, shivering. It was going to be a long night.

Dot followed his gaze and smiled grimly. This was worse than she had ever seen. She then squinted and pointed to a red heap of metal on the ground with an entire tree lying casually on top of it.

"My car!!!" Bob screamed.

"It never worked anyway," AndrAIa pointed out.

Dot grabbed Bob's arm and kept him going forward, saying, "Leave the car alone."

The small group ran into the Principal Office, not looking where they were going. They almost tripped over Mouse and Ray, who were sitting in the middle of the floor, Mouse in Ray's lap.

"Ah tripped," was all the said, shrugging.

AndrAIa looked at the perfectly smooth floor and shook her head. Ray was smiling ear to ear.

Phong walked (rolled?) in and bid them to follow him. Everyone followed Phong into the main room where they gathered around the map of the city. Sector 31 was flickering on the map, and soon it would be completely dead.

***

"Al!" hollered Al's Waiter through the kitchen doors.

"What?" was Al's response.

"I think the sector is shutting down!"

"What?

***

"It looks like we just lost Level 31," Bob said, pointing to the now very black portion of the map.

"Gee, what gave you that idea?" Matrix retorted.

"Enzo!" Dot exclaimed.

Matrix went in the corner, grabbing a stool from under a binome, and sulked.

After they had turned back around, the little group looked back to the map of Mainframe.

Ray looked intently at the map and asked, "So, what sector are we going to lose next?" The answer was evident when Beverly Hills flickered and died.

Outside the P.O., thousands of gold-plated zipboards fell out of the sky. A lone binome caught one and leaped for joy, raving about how rich he had become.

The binome that used to be sitting on the stool where Matrix now was, turned around to the crowd. "Ten units says Kits is going down next!"

Suddenly Kits flickered and died.

"No. My apartment!" Bob gasped.

"Yes! Ten units!" the binome cried.

Dot grunted and managed to dig up ten units from her pocket. Before the binome could make another bet, Dot added quickly, "Ten units says you leave!"

"Works for me!" the binome said while taking the money.

Everyone watched as Wall Street went dark, soon followed by Bob's favorite sector, Lost Angles, home of the nulls, and, yes, let's not forget, Hexadecimal. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. There were now only two sectors left. Everyone waited to see just which one it was going to be. (Look! I'm a poet and I didn't know it! :D) Their question was answered when sector G-Prime powered down.

***

In Megabyte's Tor, or the Mainframe Historical Museum, as it was now called, a single binome who had strayed from his tour group was caught without a flashlight, and only his camera. Unbeknownst to him, Mike the TV was also prowling the halls. The two crashed into each other, and, neither having a flashlight, were scared half-to-deletion. Mike turned on his screen, and, being surprised that it was a binome, screamed, scaring the binome (again) who screamed also (again).

Flashes of light flickered all over the place. The two simultaneously stopped screaming and turned towards the flashing. They saw a rather large group of Japanese-type binomes (sorry for the stereotypes, it just fit), cameras in hand.

Once again, the two screamed and ran off in opposite directions.

***

Back at the P.O., everyone was starting to get just a little worried (ok, so "little" is an understatement, leave me alone!). There was only one more sector to go before the Principal Office was shut down.

"Sorry, Dot, looks like Baudway and the Diner are going down next," Bob said regretfully as he swung his arm around her. Baudway flickered on and off.

"It is not going off!" Dot shouted as she pushed Bob away. Baudway lit up again, brighter than ever.

"It'll go off eventually, Dot. You have to face the facts. Look at what happened to the other sectors!" Bob said, getting annoyed. Baudway dimmed again.

"Bob! The sector practically supports itself, it has so many businesses. It's the sector that uses the least of the Core's power!" Dot retorted. The power went on again.

"Dot! It doesn't matter how much power it uses up. The Core has no more power left! It's drained, face it!" Bob exploded. The power in Baudway flickered, then died, finally for good.

***

At the same time, in the Diner, a zero binome with a green cap (sound familiar?) sitting at the bar muttered to himself, "I'll bet they're fighting again, aren't they?"

***

Dot, angry, turned her back on Bob. Then it hit her. "Wait a nano," she said, "If the Core has no power, then how--" But before she could finish her sentence, the power in the Principal Office went off.

Bob touched what he hoped was Dot's shoulder. "Um, Dot? Where are you?"

"Here," Dot answered from behind him.

"But… if you're there, then who…"

"Hey, mate!"

"AUGH!!"

"Nice to see you, too."

"Dot? Where are you?" He felt a hand on his shoulder and sincerely hoped it was Dot's. It was. He turned and put an arm around her, this time, knowing he had gotten it right. He hugged her and whispered, "I'm so sorry, Dot."

"I know. I'm sorry too. I guess I was being a little stubborn. It was my fault. You were trying to be reproachful and I took it the wrong way. I'm so sorry."

Dot tried to guess vaguely where Bob's lips were, missing, of course, and locking lips with his icon. Luckily, it was so dark, that no one could see what Bob was wearing. He rebooted wearing baggy jeans and a gray sweatshirt. He quickly tapped his icon back and tried his luck at the whole kissing bit. Both the authors of this story are happy to report that, yes, he was better at it than Dot. Let's just say that they vividly forgave each other.

Ray was looking for Mouse everywhere and finally he found her and put his arm around her. Gee, he thought to himself, she is a lot taller than I thought she was, and a lot more muscular, too. Suddenly, it struck him and he turned his head to be met with a glowing red eye. Smiling nervously, Ray thought up an excuse, fast. "Hi mate. Just thought I'd make sure you guys were alright." He had noticed that Matrix had been holding AndrAIa in his arms, and the couple had been interrupted by him. Ray ever so slowly took his arm away from Matrix, and began to inch away. As he turned around, he found himself right in front of Mouse, only an inch away from her. "Mouse!" was all he could think of saying.

"Who did ya think it was? Matrix?" she blurted out.

"No, uh, of course not. H-how could I mistake you for Matrix?" he said while nervously scratching the back of his head.

"So, what are you waiting for? Kiss me."

Mouse swung her arms around him and they kissed. Seeing as how she was the one who had started the kiss, Ray wasn't too sure what had happened, but boy did he catch on fast.

***

A few days later, there was still no power. Bob was sitting on the cold floor of the Principal Office, and it suddenly hit him that Dot was alone in her office, working. He decided to check the heat gauge. He was really glad he had, because, as indicated by the thermometer, it was five degrees Celsius in there!

He gasped and ran into her office. Dot was sitting there, in her battle armor, working, and also shivering.

"Hi!" Bob said with a smile. "I thought you might like some company."

Dot smiled gratefully and got up.

"You know," Bob said, "It's a lot warmer in the rest of the Principal Office."

He led Dot outside her office and held on to her tightly, trying desperately to get her warm again. "So, what are you working on anyway?" Bob inquired to Dot, wondering how it was possible to do anything without power.

"I-I wa-was just try-ing to f-figure out wa-when the p-power is go-ing to come ba-back on," Dot finally managed to say without too many mistakes. Then she showed Bob a piece of paper (something you don't see much in Mainframe) that was covered with numbers.

"So, um, when is it supposed to come back, Dot?" Bob wondered, hoping the answer would mean they wouldn't be left in the dark forever.

Dot, realizing this, looked to the ground, then to her paper. "We-well, if the freezing r-r-rain st-stops immed-immediately, and our en-entire clean-up crew s-s-starts now and Phong f-fixes what e-e-ever is wrong in the…"

"Dot," said Bob, a little impatient, "can you just tell me when it will be?"

"Three days if everything goes perfectly, b-but I know th-that won't happen," she looked up at him, "It will probably be a-about a we-week."

Bob grabbed the paper from Dot's hands and took a quick glance at it. Not understanding anything written on it, he looked back at Dot. "Are you sure it will take a week? Mainframe won't survive that long without power!"

"Yes. I'm sure, Bob. Look, all the calculations are right there on that paper." She pointed down at the now very crumpled sheet of paper in his hands.

Bob looked at the paper again and, thinking he was looking at it the wrong way, he turned it upside down. No, he thought, it looked better the other way, and so he turned the paper back around. Finally giving up, he handed the paper back to Dot.

The two walked down a few long, twisting hallways and stopped at a door. Upon opening it, they found themselves in a room with a fireplace, and a couch. "Um, Dot?" Bob asked, "since when was this here?"

"I don't know," Dot said, still shivering, "but I'm happy to be someplace warm.

She and Bob sat down on the couch.

"A week, huh?" Bob asked, "Well, we did say that we wanted some time alone together."

Dot laughed. She leaned against Bob and he put his arm around her. "Very true," she said happily.

"You warmer now?" Bob asked her over the crackling of the fire.

Dot snuggled closer to Bob. "Yes, thank you," she said, nd kissed him softly to show her gratitude. "Yeah?"

"I just wanted to say that I lo--" but before she could finish her sentence, Bob was already kissing her.

***

Matrix and AndrAIa were walking hand in hand around the P.O., exploring its various rooms since they didn't really have anything better to do. Opening the first door, they came across and stepped into the room.

"Hey, I remember this room," AndrAIa announced, Matrix didn't seem to hear. (The room they are in is the room from "Nullzilla" with the turning furniture.) Matrix sat on the couch and AndrAIa joined him. Turning on his side, he leaned over to kiss her. He was half an inch away from her when the couch flipped over, sending the two of them sliding down a tube.

They landed in a very large room. Matrix hit the floor first, then managed to stand up just in time to catch AndrAIa. He gently placed her on the ground and they looked around. They saw five robots or rather cars that looked like the bugs. Over in the corner, they saw an absolutely gigantic case and in it was a large, strange-looking axe. On the glass in bold letters it read: "In case of giant null monster attacking city, break glass", and way, way, way up in the left hand corner in barely readable letters carved into the glass, it said: "Mainframe Glass Inc. In Association with the Mainframe Joint Venture, Owned in Part by Dot Matrix. ă Dot Matrix".

"Go figure," Matrix retorted upon seeing his sister's name.

"Enzo? What doesn't she own?"

"Well, she didn't used to own the Principal Office, but, considering the fact that she's now the Command.Com, scratch that. Oh, wait! She doesn't own Hex's Lair… that is until Hex moves out…"

"What do you mean 'until Hex moves out'?"

"Let's just say Dot has dibs on it if Hex ever does move out."

The two of them moved around the room till they came to another glass case, but this one was very small. The writing said, "In case Mike the TV's remote is ever found, break glass now". Inside was a simple pair of batteries. Behind this case was a much larger one, bigger than the one that contained the axe. The glass was not see through, making it impossible to see what was inside. On the front in enormous letters there was writing.

"In case of freak accident… Oh dear. I hope that glass never has to be broken," AndrAIa told Matrix who was looking a little concerned, himself.

"Yes," Matrix replied mechanically, "Let's hope that never arises. Imagine the chaos, the riots!" He shuddered, suddenly feeling very cold. He and AndrAIa backed out of the room very slowly. They went to look for Mouse and Ray, wondering what they were doing…

(If you want to find out what was written on that case, you can find out.)

***

Meanwhile, in the armory, where candles had been strategically placed for optimal lighting, it sounded as though Beethoven's Fifth Symphony was playing.

"I think those missiles are better than those bombs," Ray announced.

"Maybe that's what ya think, honey, but Ah can tell ya that it's a fact that those bombs could beat your missiles any nanosecond!" Mouse shot back. "Besides, what would you know about weapons, surfer-boy?"

"Hey, do you have a problem with surfing? I was even thinking about taking you with me the next time I go."

"Ah can't believe you… you were thinkin' of takin' me?"

Mouse knocked Ray down in one of those Enzo tackle-leap type moves. Ray was trying extremely hard not to fall further back, and had a very strange look on his face. "Um…. Mouse, could you get off of me?"

"Why, sugah, do you have a problem?"

"Well, I'm on top of a button and am about to fall on top of it."

"Ah think the button'll live."

"No, no, no. It's the button."

"Oh," Mouse finally realized what he meant.

Under Ray was a very large red button underneath which was written, "Press button to begin Mainframe's self-destruction sequence". Mouse moved away causing Ray to lose his balance and fall on the button anyway.

"You have just pressed Mainframe's self-destruction button. Mainframe will be destroyed in 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1." This was followed by a very long pause.

*sniff* *sniff* *cough* *cough* *cough* *scratch* *scratch* *scratch*

The two sprites shifted around nervously, looking at each other.

"Considering the fact that Mainframe has no power to send its self-destruction program, your request has not only been aborted, but it was denied before it even started. Thank you for trying anyway and have a nice day."

"Gee that annoying voice must work on batteries," Ray announced to Mouse.

"For a nano I thought I'd lose ya, sugah," Mouse muttered as she wrapped her arms around Ray and he did the same to her. They began to kiss and kiss and…

***

Meanwhile, Matrix and AndrAIa were walking down a hall when they came to another door. Then they discovered what had happened to Bob and Dot. They were both enjoying the moment, while kissing in front of the fire. Matrix so politely cleared his throat as loud as he could, making sure everyone could hear. Bob and Dot looked up, both looking a litle annoyed becaue they had been interrupted.

"Have either of you two seen Ray and Mouse?" AndrAIa asked the two on the couch.

"The last time I saw them, they were talking about missiles and heading to the armory," Dot said, hoping this would get them to go away.

"Thanks," AndrAIa said. Then, as an afterthought, "Sorry for interrupting you two. I know you've been wanting some time alone for some time now."

"You're forgiven if you get out of here is 1.5 nanoseconds. Of course, since I'm in a really good mood, thanks to your sister, you should be glad I'm letting you off the hook. Now get out of here before I change my mind," Bob said with a pleasant smile. He then turned back to Dot, wrapped his arms around her, and went back to happily kissing her.

Matrix and AndrAIa edged out of the room and somehow felt their way to the armory. They stopped dead in the doorway.

Matrix turned to AndrAIa. "Gee, doesn't this look familiar?" he mused.

Mouse and Ray were still kissing, apparently having a good time of it.

This time, it was AndrAIa who stepped forward. She slowly and hesitantly approached the couple. "Um, Mouse? Ray? So, um, *cough * *cough* how have you been toughing it?"

"We've been, uh, checking out what kind of missiles they have here. Missiles, yeah! Even though they're not as good as those bombs over there," Ray said, grinning at Mouse who smiled back, "I mean, look at all the good artillery there is in here! You should really have used this stuff in the war against, um, Megabyte, yeah!"

Matrix and AndrAIa just looked at one another and shook their heads.

"So, uh…" Matrix said, changing the subject, "Is anyone hungry?"

***

 Our "heroes" were all gathered around a barrel with a fire burning brightly within it, toasting s'mores (mmmmmm s'mores….) over it. Suddenly they heard a loud thud (not normal) and a very fast chugging sound (even less normal). Finally, every light in Mainframe lit up. Phong stood up and declared, "I'm blind! I'm BLIND!!"

Dot tapped him on the shoulder. "Uh… Phong, we now have power. Wait a nano. WE HAVE POWER!!" She jumped on Bob, literally knocking him over. "We have power!!" She then promptly kissed him.

Bob's response was a simple "Wow. It's even better when the lights come back on!"

From that day forth, Mainframe was plentiful in power and, well, pretty much the same.

"WAIT! CUT!!"

Hey! We narrators don't like you interrupting these happy endings to our stories!

"Tough cookies. That was pathetic! What about the results? What about the heart of the story?

Shut up, kid! *WHACK*

END

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