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Chapter Three


She awoke the next morning to a pitch-black room; unaware of what time it was because the room had no windows. Sitting up, Dot rubbed her eyes and yawned. She slept very well, which surprised her because she wasn't in her own room, or even in Mainframe. "Spike, time." she called quietly, not wanting to wake Bob, who she could feel sleeping beside her. "The time is 6:07am." Spike's voice said from the other side of the room where she had left him the night before. Great. I still have a while to go before everyone gets up, and knowing Bob, he won't be up for hours.

Pushing the covers back, Dot carefully crawled over Bob, trying not to wake him up. He made a little noise and shifted positions, but stayed asleep. Dot stood up and felt around for Spike on the table. Locating him, she attached the keytool to her gauntlet, but decided to leave the organizer there. As her eyes adjusted in the dark, she realized that she was wearing the same clothes from yesterday. Pressing her icon, she changed into her blue camouflage. Better. She thought in satisfaction. Heading to the door, she opened it with as little noise as possible, and slid out into the hall.

The passage was dead silent, all the Defenders still sleeping. Dot made her way down the hall and to the room at the end of it, the pool room. Like the rest of the base, she found it silent, only the energy splashing softly against the walls broke it. Closing the door, Dot walked to the ledge and put her fingers in, testing the temperature. She thought it was going to be cold this early in the morning, but to her delighted surprise, it was very warm. Sitting down at the egde she removed her boots and put her feet in, splashing happily. When was the last time I went swimming? she thought to herself. It hadn't been for a long time because she was always too busy, and during the war it had been impossible.

Suddenly Dot was alerted by the sounds of footsteps and men's voices in the hall, and they were coming in her direction. ôSo Res, you're sure no one will find out about this?" a deep man's voice asked, a hint of concern in it. "For the last time, they will never know. Those Defenders are too busy worried about saving their precious Super Computer than to bother with guys like us. Don't worry, I have this covered." "What if someone hears us?" the first man inquired nervously. "Then we delete them. We can't have anyone knowing about this. There's too much at stake here."

Dot sucked in her breath, knowing she was in trouble. She looked franitcly around for a hiding spot, but the room was empty except for the energy. Better than nothing... Dot took Spike off her arm and placed him in the corner knowing the energy would ruin it. She slid into the energy and flattened herself along the wall. She heard the door open, and two sets of footsteps entering the room. Dot waited, hoping they wouldn't see her.
"Alright, but if they find out, you never met me." The other man sighed. "Yeah sure Eprom. All you have to do is give this information to the Guardians and we're off the hook. Can you handle that." There was a sarcastic snort from the first man, and Dot heard the sound of a disk changing hands. "So, by giving them this, they promised they wouldn't delete us in the attack?" The man, Res responded confidently. "Yes, that's the way it works. Now lets go out of here be-" He stopped talking. Dot held her breath. "Look. Some basic Defender left their keytool here." Dot almost gasped out when she heard the man bend down and pick it up. Without her keytool, she had no way of defending herself. "No one would just leave their keytool lying around. Maybe the person will come back soon, or," Eprom hesitated a moment. " maybe they're still here!" Dot closed her eyes, wanting them to just go so she could get out of here.
"Hey!" an angry voice called. Dot looked up, knowing she had been found. The man above her aimed his keytool at her, snarling in hatred. Dot ducked under the energy and pushed off the wall, kicking desperately to get away. She knew as soon as she emerged, she was as good as deleted, so she stayed under as long as she could.

On the surface, Res pushed his friend's arm down. Don't fire that thing in here- they'll hear it! Besides, they would be a little suspicious if they found a floating corpse in here. Take her prisoner, I know just where to put her." His friend nodded.
When she couldn't hold it anymore, and her lungs felt like they were going to exploded, she surfaced again. "If you move again, this is going to get messy." Res' voice explained evenly. "Get up here, and we might let you live." Dot glared at them, and slowly swam to the edge. Dot pulled herself up and stood before them, dripping wet. Res, who Dot now saw was the guard from the first day, took her arm and pinned it behind her back roughly. Eprom (a light green skinned sprite) pointed his keytool at her in a hostile fashion. "Walk." Ordered Res from behind her. Dot glared at him but started out the door and down the accommodations hall. As she passed her room, she looked longingly at the door, hoping that by some strange coincidence, Bob would wake up. She considered calling out, but the keytool pointed at her forehead was very convincing. She kept quiet, but regretted it afterwards. As she was led through the main room and past the guard point, she wondered why the person on duty wasn't there. Because, you basic sprite, Res is the guard who is suppose to be on duty!

Down the stone passage she went with the two men, until they came to the split in the tunnel. Instead of going straight like Dot assumed they were going to, they turned down the hall, which led to the Oublier. When it occurred to her what they were going to do, she gave a small cry and pulled back, resisting them with everything with all she had. Though the war had made her very strong for a woman, she was no match for two men, who pulled her ever closer to the pit. "Let go!" she cried, elbowing Res in the stomach. He let go of her arm to clutch his middle and Dot tried to get away. She barely got anywhere because Eprom grabbed her wrist and yanked viciously, sending her reeling backwards, mere centimetres from the edge. She fought to regain her balance, but she knew she was losing. Res regained his composure and strode deliberately forward. He grinned cruelly and pushed her, sending her toppling backwards. There was not even time for her to scream if she had wanted to.

Chapter Four

 

Bob slowly opened his eyes. What a night. He though, recalling the planning he had done with Turbo. I wonder if Dot slept well. When he had finally gone to bed the night before, Dot had been sleeping soundly against the wall.
Remembering Dot, he put his arm out, but it just flopped back onto the bed. She wasn't there. Bob sat up, wondering where she was. Probably off with Tor again. He thought, somewhat bitterly as he remembered where she had been last night. Flopping back down he tried to get some more sleep. He had almost fallen back asleep when there was a knock at the door, and Tor's voice floated through. "Come on you two, if we don't get to the caf soon, all those pigs will take your food!"

Bob sat up instantly. "Tor!" she pushed the door open slowly. "Everyone decent in here?" Bob didn't even bother giving her a response. "Where's Dot?" She looked at him strangely. "She's not here?" Bob shook his head. "When I woke up she was gone." Tor looked around the room. "Does she normally leave her organizer behind?" Bob got up, pressing his icon to change into his downloaded armour. "No."
Vector sighed. "We have to find here. Maybe if we're lucky she's still in the base." They left the room and began searching the entire base, even missing breakfast in the process. After about a nano of looking and asking everyone, they still had not located her. "She must be outside the base." Tor thought out loud. Looking at Bob, she said, "Let's go." The whole trip down the tunnel Bob felt a terrible feeling in the pit of the stomach. What if something happened to her? This isn't like her at all. As they walked down the hall, Bob noticed the other path. "Where does that go?" he asked, wanting to look everywhere. Tor, who had walked past it, looked back over her shoulder. "That? Oh she would never go down there, I showed her yesterday." Bob stopped, intending on looking down the hall anyway, he had a strange feeling about it. "Okay." Tor stated, and led him down the dark passage until they reached the pit. Tor knew Dot well enough to know she would never go down here willfully. Tor shone Path's light into the hole, and the two sprites gasped.

At the bottom of the Oublier, Dot lay in a crumpled heap. "No." Tor whispered, putting her hands to her mouth. Bob said nothing, just taking his zip board from his side and stepping on. He flew down and carefully manoeuvred between the spikes. A few nulls squee'd in terror at his sight and slid to the far corners of the room. Bob got off and bent over Dot, unbelievably grateful that she had not landed on a spike, but had fallen in between them. She was lying in an awkward position, something even the most flexible sprite could not accomplish. Her wrist was hyperextended in an unnatural way.
Bob bent down and sighed in relief when he saw her shallow breathing. Not much, but she was still complied. Bob hated to move her in case something was wrong, but he couldn't leave her in the pit alone. He picked her up and stepped back on his zipboard. He flew back up to see a concerned Vector. "Does the base have any medical supplies?" he asked gravely. She nodded, and they started off for the base as fast as they could.

Dot opened her eyes slowly. The first thing she saw was the floor racing by underneath her. She then realized she was being carried. Before she could remember anything, she slipped into unconsciousness again.

When they reached the main base again, Bob went to his room and put her down gently on the bed. Tor sat at the base of the bed and removed one of the stars from her leg. Bob held Dot's arm as she painstakingly ran the sharp edge along her friend's metal gauntlet. Moving her arm, Tor did the other side and the metal armband fell off in two pieces, revealing a badly swollen wrist. Tor winced at the sight of it. "I'll go get some ice. Keep it elevated." She then got up and left. Bob wasn't alone for long because Turbo entered quietly. Tor must have told him. Bob realized. "Do you have any idea of how or why this happened?" he asked with genuine concern. Bob shook his head. At that moment, Dot's eye fluttered open, and she looked around. She attempted to sit up, but Bob pushed her down. "Don't move. Other than your wrist, is there any other place that you hurt?" She tried to nod, but closed her eyes in pain. "Yeah. I have the biggest headache." She stopped and scanned the room. "Where are they?" Bob and Turbo glanced at each other in confusion. "Who?"

"There were these two Guardians and I accidentally overheard them saying they were going to give the location of this base to the head Guardians." Turbo ground his teeth together, not wanting to accept the possibility that some of his defenders had betrayed him. "If you saw them again, could you name them?" Dot smiled slightly. "I can name them." After Tor had come back with the ice, the two leaders of the Defenders began asking Dot several questions. When Dot had told them all she remembered, Turbo got up and left saying he was going to organize a search party for the conspirators. Tor followed him, leaving Dot and Bob together. "Dot, I'm going to help them, so you have to stay here. I won't take that long." He stood, then looked at her like a teacher would to a trouble making student. "I mean it. Stay in bed. I don't want you getting hurt again." Just to test him, Dot looked at him mischievously. "What if I refuse?" Bob crossed his arms in an authoritative manner, grinning. "I'm bigger than you." Dot glared at him, which make him break out laughing. He turned serious. "I'm going to go before they leave without me. Please, just stay here." Dot sighed, but agreed. After giving her a kiss he left and shut the door. Dot smirked. "What he doesn't know can't hurt him." she said, wanting to get out of bed. "I heard that!" his voice said from the hall. Dot frowned and laid back down. In a few moments she was sleeping soundly.

Tor and Bob zipped down the main street of the Super Computer for what seemed liked the fifth time that day. They had been searching for three nanos for the conspirators who had tried to kill Dot, but so far they were having no luck. Tor opened her mouth to propose they go back, but she stopped, spying the two men on the other side of the street. "Bob!" she hissed, pulling him back by the arm. "What!" he snapped, rather iritated. He was tired of looking, but wanted to find the sprites so he could get his revenge. "Look Bob, those are the men we're looking for!" He followed her finger, seeing the guard from the day before and another man. Before Tor could stop him, he took off through traffic, thinking only of making them pay. "Wait!" she cried, but he was gone. "Basic impatient men." she said under her breath before starting after him.

Bob came up behind the two, staying as quiet as he could. Although the Web Riders had taught him that it was cowardly to attack from behind, that was the farthest thing from his mind at the moment. He cleared his thoat, causing the two to turn around. "Hi guys, remember me?" Res blinked in surprise. "Yes, you're that Guardian from yeste..." he trailed off slightly, recalling that he had come with the girl they had thrown in the pit. Bob grinned. "Good, now that we're clear on that, do you happen to remember who I came with yesterday?" Res looked around nervously. "Um, not really." he lied. Bob crossed his arms. "I came with a woman who had green skin, she was wearing grey armour. Now do you remember?" Res backed off. "Uh, yeah. Now I do." Eprom glanced at his friend, wondering what was going on and who the man in front of them was.
"She said that guys who looked like you were planning to betray the Defenders, and that you attempted to kill her." Eprom balled his hands into fists. "She's alive!" he shouted. "She was supposed to be deleted by now!" Bob narrowed his eyes in hatred, now absolutely sure these were the men. "That's all I needed to hear." Bob stated evenly, and struck out with all his strength, which was quite considerable. The last thing Eprom saw was his blue fist slamming into his face.

Res watched as his friend collapsed onto the ground, offline. Seeing Vector fly up behind the Guardian, he started begging to her, his hands raised in defence. "Tor, thank the User you're here! Tell this guy to back off!"
Tor looked at Res, and said calmly, "Nah."
He joined his friend on the ground.

Dot woke up, her eyes sliding open to see another set of eyes inches from her own. She let out a small scream in surprise, as did the other sprite. "MOUSE! What are you doing here?!" The hacker grinned at her friend's shocked look. "Just checking up on my second favourite sprite. Besides, the real question Shugah, is what you two are doing here?" Mouse sat on the end of the bed and crossed her arms, waiting for an explanation. Dot breathed out, her heartbeat going back to normal. She gave Mouse a look of apology, and struggled into a sitting position.
"A few seconds ago Bob got a message from Turbo. He said that the Super Computer was in danger from Daemon and they needed his help." Mouse raised her eyebrows, finally understanding. "And you decided that you had to go with him, leaving behind everyone else again?" Dot swallowed. When Mouse put it that way it made her feel so guilty.

"Mouse! I didn't want to, but if we told you, you would all want to come with us!" Mouse got a look of determination on her face, "Exactly!" she stated fiercely. Dot shook her head sadly. "I couldn't let you get hurt or deleted after I just got everyone back." Mouse smiled. "Ah probably would have done the same thing." Dot flopped back on her pillow. "So where's your better half, not to mention everyone else? Didn't they come with you?" Mouse shook her head. "Nah, Ray is Web surfing, but he promised to meet me here in a few seconds. Matrix and the rest are in Mainframe, and boy do they have some things ta say to you two."

Dot winced, wondering what they had in store for her. Mouse laughed at her friend and continued. "Matrix was set on going to find you, but AndrAIa managed to talk him out of it. He said if you needed him at all, you should contact him immediately. Oh, and by the way, you should see Enzo and Matrix. They get along so well, and Enzo loves him." Dot grinned. Who would have thought?

"So where's your Guardian?" Mouse inquired, putting her hands behind her head to get comfortable. Dot turned serious. "He's out looking for two conspirators. I think he'll be back pretty soon, though. Come on, let's go do something. I hate just sitting here." Mouse got up. "Why are you anyway?" Dot raised her arm, displaying her wraped wrist. She pushed the covers aside and stood, moving towards the door. "How in the Net did that happen?" Mouse asked with a worried look on her face, causing the tattoo on her forehead to scrunch up. Dot opened the door with her good hand. "I'll tell you the whole story in a moment. First, I have the biggest craving for some data." As the two sprites closed the door, Dot's voice could be heard fading as they walked down the hall. "So, how exactly did you get in Mouse?"

Chapter Five

Bob, Turbo and the other ex Guardians stood in front of the two traitors, who had regained consciousness. When Res opened his eyes he found a rather large circle of disgruntled Defenders glaring at him. He sat up, rubbing his face. When he took his hand away, he saw the blue Guardian staring at him with hatred. Res gasped and crawled backwards, not wishing to be on the receiving end of any more of his attacks. Bumping into a pair of legs he looked up to see an upside down Vector with her arms crossed. She looked at him in disgust. Turbo stepped forwards. "Do you have anything to say in your defence?" Res looked at Eprom, who remained silent. "Coward!" he hissed. He was rewarded with a smack on the back of his head by an aggravated Tor. "Answer him."
Res glared at the Prime Guardian. "No." Turbo did the same, stating to two guards, "Take them away." Res kept his mouth shut as he was dragged off. He wouldn't tell them anything. He still might be able to escape.

Bob watched as they were carried off, and then started down the hall to find Dot and check if she had improved. "Bob!" He turned at the sound of his voice. Turbo smiled at him. "Good job. I would have done the same had I been in your position." Bob grinned. It had felt good to punch out the two men.He started down the passage again, relieved that Turbo had not gotten mad at him for his reaction.

When he pushed open the door he discovered the room was empty, the covers pushed away. Dot, do you ever listen? he wondered to himself.
As Bob passed by the Cafeteria he heard the once familiar sound of Dot laughing. Back stepping, he peered into the caf to see Mouse and Dot sitting at a far table, polishing off a container of data. Mouse! What's she doing here! As he neared the two he could hear their conversation. "-and the cereal was all over the place. You should have seen the look on Matrix's face!"
Dot grinned, imaging the situation. Looking up, her eyes met Bob's as he walked towards them, and she instantly became serious. "Hi. What happened?" Bob sat on the bench opposite his friends and sighed. "Well, we got them, and right now Turbo is taking care of them. Mouse, mind telling me why you're here?" Before Mouse could start her explanation she was cut off by a very angry Turbo. "Yes Mouse, why don't you tell us why you're here." He strode over and stood behind Bob with his arms crossed.

Mouse glared at him. The two had never gotten along after the Web creature incident. "I don't have to tell you anything." she snarled. Turbo glared at her. "Fine, but if you don't tell me, I'll just throw you in the brig for trespassing."
"Why don't you just blow me up! Wouldn't that be easier?" Dot could see that the situation was going to get out of hand any moment. "Woah Mouse. Just explain to him why you're here." Mouse leaned back. She could never say no to Dot. "Alright." Turbo sat down at the table, waiting. "If you're wondering why I'm here it's because I wanted to help my friends. I was not going to let them fight a Super Virus alone. Don't fry a circuit Turbo, I didn't come here to hack into any of your precious codes." He looked at her, then at Bob. "Is she trustworthy?" Mouse snorted, seeing his distrust. Bob nodded.
"Fine Mouse. You can stay, but on the condition that if you do anything, anything to jeprodize this base or anyone in it, I'm throwing you in the brig." Mouse stood. "Fine by me. Come on Dot, let's go back to your place, I think I like the company there better." Dot looked apologetically at Turbo and followed Mouse out of the room.

"Don't worry, she won't do anything." Bob said confidently. He got up and left, wanting to spend some time with Dot and Mouse. He was already out of earshot when Turbo muttered, "I hope so."

When Dot and Mouse returned, they found Tor waiting for them. "Hi guys. I have some good news for you." Bob caught up to them and Tor continued explaining. "Since those basic idiots are going to be staying behind bars for quite a while, you can have their room. It's a little more spacious, but you three will still have to share it." She led the three sprites down the accommodations hall and stopped at a door. Entering the encryption code to unlock it, she opened the door, and the Mainframers found that the room was much bigger, with a bunk on their immediate left and a single bed directly in front of them. "I'll leave you guys to fight over them." Tor said with a smug grin and left, heading back to find Turbo.

"Great, ah have ta be stuck with you two. I get first pick!" Mouse announced, choosing the single bed and flopping down on her stomach. "Juvenile." Dot said sarcastically. Mouse promptly responded by sticking out her tongue. Bop and Dot turned to the bunk bed. "Ladies first." Bob said, motioning for her to take her choice. Dot considered her options, and decided on the bottom one, walking over and making herself at home. "I can't really climb too well." she said reasonably, showing Bob her bandaged wrist. By that time it was late, and Bob was getting hungry. Glitch informed him that it was 19:38. He looked at the girls, saying "I'm going to get something to eat. Want to come?" Dot got to her feet. "Sure, all I've had today is that container of data with Mouse. Are you coming too?" she asked her friend.
"I'm still hungry, but I don't really want to sit with Turbo. Pick me up something." she told Bob, who started for the door. "Oh yeah. No nulls Shugah." Bob gave her a sarcastic look and left.

They headed to the crowded caf and found Tor and Turbo sitting together at an otherwise empty table. Bob and Dot made their way over, joining them. "Hey guys. All the food is gone but I managed to save you some before he got to it." She motioned to an extremely large sprite at the next table who had three plates in front of him. "Thanks Tor," Bob said, gratefully accepting the two bowls of food. Dot poked at it with her spoon, making it bubble in protest. "This won't eat me, will it?" Dot asked, looking at Tor for assurance. Tor grinned. "I'm not sure, but if I were you, I would eat it before it gets the chance." Dot dug her spoon in and tasted it. When she had swallowed, Bob looked at her. "Edible?" he asked, looking at his own untouched portion. Dot thought about it. "Sure, if you like the taste of chalk."
"It's probably not that bad," he said. Sticking the spoon in his mouth, he realized she was telling the truth. After the meal, or what could be called a meal, they remained at the table talking with Turbo about Mainframe until a woman from the kitchen came out and addressed the crowd. "I'm sorry, but we have a shortage of data, so not all of you can have some. The crowd turned to the fat sprite who looked around helplessly. "What?"

Dot bit her lip and stifled a laugh. Tor stared at her, wondering what was so funny. She looked at Bob for an answer, but Bob just shook his head. They continued talking with Tor and Turbo even after the place had cleared out. Tor wanted to know it was like in Mainframe, and about Bob's trip to the web. After they had answered all her questions she stood up. "Thanks guys. Mainframe sounds like a wonderful place. If I were you Dot, I would have stayed there. You wouldn't have to worry about all the problems we have here. Well I have to go, I promised Sym I would help her with guard duties. Bye!" He made her way across the caf and out the door. "I better be going too, I have plans to work on." Turbo said. "Good night!"

When he had left, Dot stretched her legs under the table. "I wonder why Tor said that?" she asked, more to herself than to Bob. He looked questioningly at her. "Said what?"
"You know. That comment about staying in Mainframe."
Bob sighed. "Sometimes I wish you had stayed in Mainframe."
Dot shook her head, unsure if she had heard him right. "What was that?" Bob shrugged. "If you would have stayed there, you wouldn't have hurt yourself and it would have been a lot easier." Dot stood up, glaring at him. Bob seeing the look on her face, mentally chided himself. "Dot, I didn't mean it like that! Really!" Dot headed for the exit. "Wait!" he cried getting up and racing after her, blocking her from leaving with his body. "I- I just meant that it was too dangerous for you-" Dot pushed past him, going back to her room.
Bob covered his face with his hands. Smooth Guardian.

Dot slammed the door behind her as she entered her room. Mouse looked up from sharpening her kittana. "Dot honey, what's wrong." Dot sat on her bed, leaning against the wall. "That basic Guardian." Mouse began laughing at how true it was. She stopped quickly when Bob came through the door.
"Dot..." he pleaded. "I didn't mean it that way." She crossed her arms, unconvinced.
"Why are you making this so difficult!" he said with a hint of anger.
Mouse slunk back, knowing this might get brutal.
"Now you're blaming this on me?" Dot asked in amazement. He frowned at her. "I said I was sorry didn't I?"
"And that helps anything?"
"It should!" Bob said with a piercing look. "I'm sorry but it's true, you should have stayed behind."
There was a moment of silence with the two just glaring at each other. Mouse shifted uncomfortably. "Maybe ah should go..." Mouse said, not feeling comfortable. Dot got to her feet. "I have a better idea. Maybe he should have stayed in the Web." With those words she left the room.

Bob sat on the lower bunk and ran a hand through his hair, sighing. What did I just do?

Tor was busy talking with Sym when she saw an infuriated Dot walking towards her. "Dot, are you okay?" Tor asked. Dot just shook her head, and headed for the exit. Tor was about to stop her, knowing she wasn't very familiar with the Super Computer, but the look on her face told her now was not the time to mess with her. Vector reluctantly let her pass, hoping she didn't get into trouble.

Dot shoved the lid back over the tomb and looked around. It was dark outside, and the cemetery had an eerie air about it.

Dot ignored it, making her way to the gate and sliding though. She put her hand to her side, but she realized in her haste to leave she had forgotten her zip board in the room. She was not about to go back to get it, so she began walking. Dot had no idea where she was headed, she just wanted to be alone.

Part Three

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