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Chapter Six

Mouse got up and sat beside Bob on the bottom bunk. He looked crushed. Her words had stung him badly. "Why did I say that?" he asked her. Mouse just shook her head. "Bob. Dot will get over this, just give her a bit of time. Everyone says things they don't mean." Bob flopped back with his arms spread on the bed and covered his face. "I hope so."

Dot wandered along the dark main street of the Super Computer, not even caring where she went. Stopping, she glanced up at the endless row of skyscrapers. Why did I come? I wish I were home. The sound of zipboards behind her broke her concentration. Looking over her shoulder she almost cried out in surprise. The two Guardians from the bar, Bryce and Link, were coming straight for her, and they appeared none too happy to see her.

She began walking away from them as fast as possible without being too obvious. "Wait, we have to talk to you." Bryce said with an evil look on his face. Dot broke into a run, but it was of no use, they were on zipboards and easily caught up to her. Bryce stepped off his board and put his arm around her waist, leading her into the nearest alley. Dot clenched her fists together, getting ready for a fight. He released her when he reached the end of the dark ally. Looking around Dot found she was trapped. Walls surrounded her on each side, and the two men glared at her and prevented her from escaping. "So, where's you friend?" Bryce asked. Dot narrowed her eyes at him. "What do you want?"
Bryce grinned at her. "I think you know. We know you work for the Defenders. You used us to get information about Daemon. Now you have to answer some questions for us." Dot stepped back, only bumping into the wall. "What if I refuse?" The Guardian raised his arm, pointing his keytool directly at her. "Than we will take you to Daemon, and you can answer them for her." Dot smiled, remembering AndrAIa's favorite line, which seemed to suit the situation. "Tough choice. Bring it on." Bryce just stared at her in amazement that she would dare defy a Guardian. Dot saw her opportunity and ran towards them as fast as she could. Bryce and Link reached out to grab her, but at the last moment, she ducked down and used her momentum to slide right under their legs.

Not even missing a step, she raced back out into the street, searching for some kind of cover. The few binomes and sprites just looked at her as she ran by. They were used to seeing Guardians chasing down rebels. No help there. Dot thought in contempt. She could hear the two men as the zipped closer. "This would be much easier for you if you just stopped running?" Link shouted from behind her, gaining fast. In fact they were almost upon her. "Hey," Dot said, still sprinting, "Maybe you're right." She ground her feet into the ground, skidding to a stop. The two men flew past her, trying desperately to do the same. Dot grinned at them sarcastically. "Actually, I prefer my way." She turned the other was and sprinted hard down a side street with no street lights. She almost laughed as she heard Bryce's enraged cry.

I can't keep running, this is getting me nowhere. Dot thought, trying to plan what to do next. The street was almost pitch black, but ahead she could see a bridge. Instead of passing over energy, it past over a deep chasm. Please work. she thought to herself as she climbed over the railing. Griping the railings with all her strength, she lowered herself down hand over hand until she was hanging over the gap. Her body hung freely below the bridge. Dot could hear the men coming closer. "That basic girl, Daemon will erase us if we don't find her."
"Hey, she's not basic." Link spoke up. "She got away from us before didn't she?" Dot heard Bryce snort in response. "Let's just find her." Dot sighed in relief as the sounds from their zipboards faded into the distance. By this time, her arms were shaking painfully. She slowly pulled herself up and swung herself over the railing again, breathing hard.

"Got ya!" Bryce cried triumphantly from behind her as Dot felt a stasis field engulf her, pinning her arms to her sides. Dot didn't even bother to struggle, she knew it was useless to try and get out. "We gave you the opportunity, but you didn't take it. Daemon won't be as forgiving as us. --- stun!"

Chapter Seven

"But, mistress Daemon! I tried, please give me a secon-" Daemon glared at the groveling sprite in front of her. "I already gave you one chance, and you failed. There are no second chances." she said in a cold voice. She stood up and walked over to the man who was kneeling on the floor, shaking visibly. Daemon placed her hand on the mans forehead and let loose an energy blast. She then stepped back to watch the show. The Guardian looked at his body, which had begun to smoke. He tried to scream, but it came as a strangled gasp and blood dripped down the corner of his mouth. He fell to the floor and, in a short time, was reduced to a smoldering pile of ashes, burned from the inside out. Daemon smiled, enjoying her work. As she made her way back to her chair, several binome servants scurried to the remains and began to clean up the mess. They were used to the chore by now, and quickly finished, scrambling to get out as soon as they finished. Daemon sighed. With all the Guardians in the Super Computer infected, she often found she had nothing to do, and was almost always bored.

Daemon was a rare breed of virus, a Super virus, more powerful than ten normal viruses, and her intelligence matched her power. She had black metallic skin that made her appear as though she were just a gap or hole. Her hair was long and gray, and her eyes were the same cold colour. The strange thing about her eyes were they were totally gray, giving the misleading appearance that she was blind.

Another and perhaps the most interesting power Daemon had was that she had the ability to morph, or shape shift into any living creature she wished. There was one main condition, and that was that the creature she had taken the form of had to be alive. If the being was destroyed while she was in their form, her disguise would desolve, and she would revert back to her viral figure. She only stayed in her sprite form when it suited her, or when she was recharging.

The silence in the room was broken when two Guardians barged in, one with a female sprite slung over his shoulder. He took her off his shoulder and put her on the floor face down. "Daemon, we have obtained the sprite which you asked for." Daemon stood and made her way to the figure on the ground. "Leave me." she ordered, flicking her hand in the direction of the door. The two quickly departed, one glancing back over his shoulder before the door slammed shut.

Daemon circled the sprite, watching her for any movements. The only sounds in the room were Dot's shallow breathing and Daemon's footsteps as she paced on the solid floor. When she had walked completely around the green sprite, she sat down in front of her crossed legged. She was surprised to see a keytool on her arms. Taking her wrist, Daemon touched the keytool and placed it in a viral stasis field, making it impossible for her to use it.

Putting her hand across her forehead, she released more energy, but this time instead of deleting the sprite, she only did it enough to wake her up.

Dot slowly opened her eyes to find herself on a cold hard floor. Pushing herself up, she stopped when her eyes fell on a woman sitting in front of her. Dot clumsily sat up, the effects of the stun still heavy on her mind. "Were you the one asking questions to my Guardians?" the woman asked her, not waiting for her to totally recover. Dot blinked, not sure what was happening. "Who are you? What's happening?" Daemon glared at her. "I am Daemon, and I will ask the questions." Dot stared at the Super Virus knowing she was in trouble. "You are working with the Defenders, are you not?" Daemon said, though it was more like a demand than a question. By this time Dot was more composed. "What if I am?" she asked. Daemon grinned. "Then you will be a great help to me."

Dot edged away, anxious to get as far as she could from the virus. "How?"
"First you must answer some questions for me. Where is the Defender base?" Dot set her jaw. "I'm not telling you that." Daemon stared right at Dot, her silver eyes piercing her own. "Somehow sprite, I believe you. You will not willingly tell me. This will required a more drastic measure." Dot returned her gaze. "I'll never tell you." Daemon laughed, her voice echoing off the walls. "What's so funny?" Dot asked, slightly annoyed by the virus. "You will have no choice." the virus stated, getting up and walking back to her chair.

Dot quickly jumped to her feet and raced for the door as fast as she could go. She had almost reached it when she felt something grab her ankle, and she was thrown violently backward. She landed on her back, hitting the ground hard. "You are a determine one. I hate that. Therefor you will have to be contained." A red cord appeared around her ankle, the other end attached around one of the pillars. Dot pulled, but it didn't move. She was stuck.

Daemon leaned down next to her and placed her hand on her arm. A glowing red light surrounded her, and suddenly the figure of the virus was replaced with an exact duplicate of Dot. She stood and looked at her new form. "Rather primitive, but it will have to do." Daemon said in Dot's voice. Dot gaped at the sight, realizing what she could now that she looked like her. Then another thought hit her. "You may look like me, viral trash, but you still don't know where the base is." Daemon grinned at her. "See, that's the interesting part. Not only did I obtain your form, but your memories as well."

Dot stared at her in disbelief, but after a moment the feeling gave way to one of pure anger. Dot lunged at her, but the rope around her ankle was only so long, and Dot fell to the floor, landing just short of Daemon.

"Stay frosty." Daemon said cruelly, and left out the doors leaving Dot tied to the pillar in the empty room.

As soon as the door slid shut, Daemon frowned. It was true she had the ability to read the memories of those who she had taken the form of, but there were several restrictions. She liked to avoid it if she could because not only was it completely exhausting, it was often difficult to find what she was looking for.
Daemon closed her eyes and concentrated on the woman's memories. Suddenly she found herself in the sprites mind. Now all I have to do is find the location of the base. she thought. Sifting through all her memories, she saw images of a small system, a blue virus, and countless different people. There were two that were the most prominent though, a small green boy and a man with metallic hair and blue skin. Daemon also noted he had a Guardian PID. I have never seen him before. He must be the one with the clean codes! And how convenient, they seemed to be attached. This is almost too perfect.

Finally after what seemed like eternity she discovered the location of the base in her mind. So that's where it is! Very clever, but now they are doomed. All I have to do is find that Guardian. Daemon grinned and set off, the memories still fresh in her mind.

Chapter Eight

"Bob! For the thousandths time! Dot is a big girl." Mouse said to her friend, who had his face buried in his pillow. "I'm sure she's fine. Just give her some time. She'll forgive you."
Bob heard the door slide open, and peered out from under the pillow to see who it was. "Dot!" he cried, sliding off the top bunk to the floor. He rushed up to her. "I didn't mean it and I'll never say it again." He took her hands and looked at her apologetically. "I'll never do anything to hurt you again." Daemon smiled, seeing this was the Guardian with the uninfected codes. "It's okay, I forgive you. I'm sorry too." Daemon said, playing along. Bob smiled and wrapped his arms around Dot in a hug. Daemon hugged him back, though it was a little awkward for her. "Awww. Isn't that cute." Mouse commented. "A Photoshop moment. I'll leave you two alone." The hacker left, giving them a small wave.

The moment they were alone Daemon turned back to the Guardian. This is going to be easier than I thought to infect him. she thought. She needed to get his PID, and the infection of all the Guardians would complete.
"Dot, where did you go? I was about to go looking for you." Bob asked. Daemon faltered, trying to think of an excuse. "Um, nowhere really." Bob gave her a strange look, but shook it off.

Suddenly Daemon felt a surge of nausea from the sprite's body. It was trying to reject her. Unfortunately for the virus, some bodies didn't take to being controlled by her, and some tried to get rid of her. She had encountered it several times before with strong willed beings, but never quite as strong as this .

Daemon sank to her knees and gripped her head, trying to make the feeling stop. "Dot!" the Guardian cried, and bent down to help her. By that time, Daemon was able to control it again, and she forced the feeling back under. "I'm fine." she said, slowly getting to her feet, but she stumbled and would have fell back to the ground had the sprite not caught her. Bob picked her up and put her on the bed. "What's wrong?" he asked. Daemon smiled, getting back into character. "Nothing. I'm okay." Bob frowned at her. "You're always so stubborn, Dot. At least let me check. Glitch, scan." Daemon flinched as he scanned her, waiting to see if he could pick up the viral signal.

Bob looked at Glitch who showed that she was in good health. Bob realized something. The results said that Dot was viral! That's impossible! he thought in shock. *Glitch, what's with the readings?!* he asked in interface to the keytool. *Nothing, they are normal.*
*But, you're saying Dot is viral!*
*She is.* he answered simply. Bob looked at her with dread. Glitch had never been wrong.

Bob stepped back, staring at her with a confused look. "I don't know how or why, but you aren't Dot."
Daemon glared at him. "Finally figured it out did you. It took you long enough." Daemon changed back into her viral form, revielved to be out of that body. Bob's eyes went wide with shock as he realized who it was. "Daemon! What did you do with Dot!? "The virus smiled at him. "She has been taken care off." Daemon lied.
Bob stared in disbelied at her.She's gone. Daemon had taken away everything that he lived for. His sadness instantly disapeared and was replaced by hatred in the purest form. He lunged for her, wanting to kill her for deleting Dot. Before he hit her, Daemon laughed and disappeared. Bob almost hit the wall behind her. "NO!" he cried, and raced out the door. He had to get to the principal office to erase her. She had to pay...

Dot strained against the stasis rope, but it only dug into her armour, causing her leg to burn. It refused to snap. After finally realizing it wasn't going to move, she gave up and lay panting on the floor.

The silence was broken by the sound of the door sliding open and Daemon storming in. Dot saw the look on her face and blurted out sarcasticly, "What's the matter, didn't work out?" Daemon whirled around and fired an energy bolt straight at the sprite. Her disguise was up, so it didn't matter if she killed the woman or not. Daemon marched up to Dot on the floor and raised her hands to delete her, but Dot saw the shot coming and dove behind the pillar. The blast slammed into the column and the area where it impacted blew up. Dot covered her head as small chips and fragments of rock rained down on her, some cutting her arms. Daemon saw that she had lived, and was about to fire another shot when a bright light appeared from behind her and a portal formed. An enraged Bob stepped through. Daemon forgot about Dot and turned her attention back to Bob.

Bob was too infuriated and focused on erasing Daemon he didn't see Dot. The two raced for each other, each wanting to erase the other. Daemon sent a shot straight at Bob, and the shot would have killed him had it not been for the shield he created. The blast bounced off and ricoched back, hitting Daemon under her right eye. She screamed in pain and put her hands to her face, which gave Bob the chance to knock her to the ground.

Dot watched in horror as the vicious battle ensued. She wrapped her hands around the rope and pulled with everything she had. I have to help him, or he'll be deleted!The rope cut into her armour and into the skin, causing blood to drip to the floor but she kept pulling. She was not about to lose him again.

Bob tried to pin her down, but the virus was amazingly strong and she knocked him off, swiping at him with hers nails. She grinned in satisfaction as she felt in dig into his skin.
Bob cried out in pain, backing off. They glared at each other for a moment, then before Bob could prepare for another attack she pounced for him. Bob had only enough time to fire off a single shot from his hands before she took him down. Dot turned to see the two on the ground fighting for their lives. The two both released blasts at the same time, and an explosion of light surrounded them. As the light dissolved, it showed a terrible scene.

The ground was covered in black and red liquid, and the two combatants were sprawled on the floor, both thrown backwards by the force. Daemon's body was flickering, threatening to be erased at any moment.
Bob was on his back, unmoving. Dot cried out in frustration, tears running down her face. The more she pulled, the more it sliced into her leg. By this time she didn't care anymore, she just wanted to be free so she could see if Bob would be okay. Her blood spilled onto the floor, staining the already slippery surface.

Suddenly Daemon's fading body disappeared. The Super Virus had been defeated. The cord that had been holding Dot back also vanished, and Dot fell forwards. Quickly getting to her knees, she crawled forward to see Bob.
He was covered not only in his own blood but Daemon's too. Dot could see several scorch marks on his body, and a deep cut that ran from his forehead to his jaw. "Bob? Can you hear me? Daemon is gone." Dot asked, picking up his hand. He didn't move. Dot put her fingers to his neck, looking for a pulse. There was one, but it was fading quickly. "Bob, I didn't mean what I said. I'm sorry I got mad at you, you were right. Please wake up. Mouse will never forgive me if I don't bring you back in one piece." Dot wiped the burning tears from her eyes, still refusing to believe he was going to be erased.

"Bob you promised!" she cried, growing angry at him. "Wake up you basic Guardian! Please." she whispered the last word. He still didn't move.
Suddenly his body flickered, then disappeared. His PID and Glitch clattered to the floor.

Dot peered at the items blindly. She slowly picked up his PID and stared at it. "Not again." she said to the empty room.

Chapter Nine

Mouse paced around her small room. They had been gone for ages, and she was beginning to get nervous -something that didn't happen often. There was a knock on the door which startled Mouse badly. That must be them. She stormed to the door and swung it open expecting Bob and Dot, but Vector stood at the door with a concerned look on her face. "Have Dot and Bob come back yet?" Mouse shook her head negatively. This wasn't like her friends at all. Something must have happened to them. "I'm going to find them." the hacker said determinedly.
"Then I'm coming with you." Tor stated flatly. Mouse looked at her seriously. "No, you stay here. If they do come back, just contact me. There's no point in both of us going out there."
"Good point. Come back soon." Mouse walked past Tor and headed to the door. She had a very good idea where they were, and she didn't like it one bit.


Mouse stood in front of the massive Principal Office. The heavy security was enough to intimidate even the best spies and hackers. Not Mouse though. She knew the security loop holes and weak spots because she had often gotten through. "Easy as pi." she said taking out her kitanna and grinning broadly.


Dot sat on the floor in the same spot holding his PID in her fist. Her life had just fallen apart again, and this time it was her fault, not Megabyte's. She put her head down. She felt as though everything in her life had just been stripped away, and she was completely empty. The only thing that kept her from joining Bob was the thought of her family, mostly little Enzo.

Suddenly the door slid open and a figure stepped though. "Go ahead. Delete me." Dot said in an uncaring tone. When the sprite stepped into the light, she was shocked to see it was Mouse.

Mouse looked with pity at her friend. She was used to seeing her depressed, but not to this extent. "Where's Bob?" Mouse asked, fearing she already knew the answer. Dot held the PID up for her friend to see, and Mouse gasped. There was a terrible silence, then Mouse snapped out of it. "I'm so sorry Sugar." Dot put her face in her hands. "Come on, Dot. We have to get out of here before the Guardians discover us." Mouse told her quietly.
Dot shrugged. "Does it really matter." Mouse glared at her friend. "Maybe your deletion doesn't disturb you, but it does to me, and to your family. I have to get you out of here." Dot pulled herself slowly to her feet and walked up to Mouse.

The door suddenly slid open again and in walked the two men, Link and Bryce. Dot stepped back in surprise.
"Where's Daemon!" roared Bryce in fury, looking for the virus.
"She has been erased." Dot answered calmly, hatred evident in her voice. Bryce turned his attention to Dot and raised his keytool. "You did this!?" he questioned. Dot nodded. Bryce growled and sprang for her, but his body suddenly flashed in light, and by the time it fell to the floor it exploded into nothingness. Link stood behind him with his arm raised, looking at the place where his friend had just been.

"Link, why did you delete him?" Dot asked shocked. Link looked up and stepped towards her. "Because. The infection changed him so much that he changed. He was so bent on how great Daemon was, and wanting the Guardians to take over the Net. He turned into a totally different person than before. Besides, I couldn't let anything happen to you." he said, adding the last part quietly.
"Thank you." she said, grateful for his help.

"You two better get out of here. The Guardians are about to attack the Defender base. The battle might have already started."
"Thank you again." Dot said, and gave the man a grateful hug. He had been a great help to them.
"Come on. I know the fastest way out." Mouse told her quietly. Dot held the PID tightly in her hand and ran after her friend, trying to block what had just happened from her mind.


Tor blinked and shook her head. She had almost fallen asleep at her post. She sighed. What a boring job. she thought rubbing her face. She stopped when she heard a noise from down the hallway. What the...That sounds like people. Lots of people! She grabbed a star from her leg and stood in a battle stance. "Sym!" she called to the sprite next to her, "Go get Turbo! This is it!" The young girl took off as fast as she could. Vector raced to the door control and slammed her palm on the close button. It slid down and shut with a thundering bang. It was just in time. Tor stepped back as the sound of laser blasts bounced off the thick wall. It wouldn't take long for them to get through, and when they did...
We're in trouble.

Chapter Ten

By the time they had zipped back to the cemetery it was almost morning. Dot wasn't even paying attention to where she was going, just following Mouse. When Mouse stopped suddenly, Dot almost hit her. "Why did we stop?" Dot asked. "That's why." Mouse pointed in front of her. The gates of the cemetery were smashed down, several graves were destroyed and there were blast marks evident on them. The Guardians! They found it! Dot thought. Mouse held her kitanna in front of her and they both flew slowly to the mausoleum. The inside was totally demolished, leaving just a huge hole in the floor. "Not a real smart bunch, are they?" Mouse said. Dot couldn't agree more.


The Defenders watched in tense horror as the doors began to give way under the heavy fire. "Get ready." Tor commanded as calmly as she could, though she was about to burst with anxiousness. The noise abruptly stopped. There was a deathly silence in the room, and the sound of nervous people shifting replaced it. Turbo looked at Vector, who shrugged.

Suddenly the doors were blasted backwards with a metallic grating sound. Even before the doors hit the ground the Guardians began storming the room, crying out in rage. Tor gritted her teeth and through a star as hard as she could. The star flew across the room and embedded itself in a guardian's neck. The unfortunate Guardian grabbed her throat and fell to her knees. Tor didn't have time to see what happened to her because she had to deal with a particularly large Guardian who was coming straight for her. Taking her blaster from her other leg, Tor pulled it out a fired it at the man. He was fast and dodged it easily. "Frag!" Tor cried and ducked as he aimed a particle beam at her from his keytool. She kicked out and successfully managed to trip him as he ran for her. Tor fired, and soon she was off to help Turbo, who looked like he could use some help.


Dot and Mouse looked through the doorway to see a huge battle taking place in the once peaceful Defender base. "I hate Guardians!" Dot growled. Before Mouse could stop her friend, she was rushing right into the middle of the room. "Great, she's gone kamikaze. That's all I need." Mouse muttered. Normally the other woman was a total pacifist, but Mouse had sensed something different in her on the way back. Mouse expected some kind of reaction, but not like this. She sighed and raced after Dot.

Dot took out three guardians with her blaster, and was anxious for more. Sensing a presence behind her she spun around ready to fire. Instead she saw Vector with a concerned look on her face. "Where's Bob?" she asked as she took out a Guardian attacking from the side. "Deleted." Dot answered strangely calm. Tor looked at her in shock, letting her guard down for a brief moment. During that time, an infected Guardian saw an opportunity and shot her in the leg. Tor gasped and doubled over in pain. Dot saw what had just happened and glared at the man. "Spike, cutter!" The blade shot out and neatly dug into his chest. When the cutter returned it was covered in blood. "Thanks," Vector panted, still clutching her leg.
It was blatantly obvious that the Defenders were losing. They were badly outnumbered and the dwindling numbers of Defenders being deleted at an alarming rate. "Retreat!" called Turbo from the other side of the room.
"Come on, follow me!" she said racing for the back wall. When they got there the rest of the remaining Defenders were already there, still attempting to hold of the Guardians. "What are we doing!?" Mouse shouted over the noise. Tor motioned to the wall behind her and put her hand through what should have been a solid stone wall. "It's our emergency exit."

"I'll cover you, just get them out of here!" Tor shouted to Turbo, motioning to the rest of the Defenders." Turbo nodded and began herding the sprites through the wall. Dot and Mouse stayed with Tor as she tried to force back the Guardians, but it was of no avail.
"Vector, we can't keep this up much longer! They outnumber us twenty to one!" Dot cried as she stepped back. "I know. That should have been enough time for them to escape, let's go!" The three plunged through the holographic wall and into darkness. The moment they were through Tor turned and fired a shot above the doorway. The impact caused the ceiling to collapse, and stones and debris came raining down, sealing the entrance. "Spike, light."

The three found themselves in a fairly narrow passage with no visible end. Mouse coughed and waved her hand in front of her face. The dust from the collapse floated everywhere, more getting into their lungs with every breath. "That should hold them for a little while. Follow me, this place is full of traps." The did so obediently, making their way in silence for a long way. After what seemed like seconds to Mouse, they arrived in a large circular room with three passages that branched off. "Which one?" Mouse asked looking at each of the possible solutions. Tor shook her head. "None of them." She pointed to an orifice above her. "That way, the others are decoys." They pulled out there zipboards and flew up through the hole. They found a tunnel very much like the last one they had just been in. The three sprites started down the new tunnel which seemed to slope downwards a little. "Where did the others go?" Mouse inquired of Tor.
"The one on the left and in the center and the same one, the just go around in a loop. The other one leads to a pit. One so deep no one has ever located the bottom of it." Mouse thought she saw Dot shudder out of the corner of her eye. Her friends was being quiet, too quiet, and it was worrying Mouse.

Suddenly Path lit up and Turbo's face appeared on it. "Vector! Don't come this way, the Guardians have discovered us and th-" the message was suddenly cut off. "Cursor!" Tor hissed. To make matters worse, the sound of approaching voice was becoming increasingly louder. Tor looked panicked for a moment, then turned to the two Mainframers. "We're pretty well surrounded, so I don't have any other choice. There's a small tunnel up ahead. It may be our only chance of losing these guys." Mouse nodded, though she would rather fight than hide. Tor started jogging up the passage, Mouse and Dot joining her.

After a little ways, Tor stopped and bent down. "This is it. Dot, go first, then you Mouse. I'll go after you."
Dot bent down and put her hand out to find it was another hologram. She put her left arm through so Spike could light the passage. Taking a deep breath she went through.
The tunnel was big enough for her to crawl through, but not to stand so she moved as fast as she could. The tunnel began to grow smaller in diameter and the rock was scraping her arms, but she compensated by crouching lower. She could hear Mouse behind her complaining. "How narrow does this place get Sugar? I'm not sure I can fit through anything smaller than this. I might get stuck." Tor's voice spoke up in an amused tone. "Don't worry, Path has a good cutter." That seemed to speed up the hacker.

Spike's light seemed to spread out in front of Dot, and she soon found that she could stand again. The cavern in front of her was about ten meters across, and very tall. The air was stale and smelled musty. The walls were made of jagged rock, which, as Dot observed, might make good shelter against blaster shots.

Mouse came up behind her. "Whew, I'm glad that's over."
"So am I." Tor said poking her head from the tunnel. "I'm not sure if I could be stuck behind your bitmap and longer." Mouse glared at her, but Tor grinned at her with feigned innocence and stood up, brushing herself off. Checking out her wounded leg, she found that it looked worse than it actually was. "It might be a while before those Guardians leave, so make yourself at home." Vector said darkly.

Dot walked to the other side of the room and slid against the wall to the floor. She hugged her knees and put her head down. Tor sighed. Poor sprite. She's not taking this too well. Tor sat beside the entrance with her blaster, on guard should someone discover their hiding spot. Mouse sat down beside her and looked at her leg, knowing Dot would want to be alone for a while. "Does it hurt that much, honey? "Mouse asked Tor, poking at the wound. "Ow!" Vector hissed, swatting Mouse's hand away. "It does when you do that!"

Dot stared at the PID in her hand, biting her lip. I can't believe this. If we hadn't gotten in the basic fight, he would still be alive. I never should have said that. She swallowed and put the PID away, she couldn't stand looking at it anymore.
For the next half a nano, they sat in silence except for the occasional conversation between Mouse and Vector. Both sprites didn't know what to say to her, so they preoccupied themselves by talking quietly or pacing around the small cavern.

Chapter Eleven

As plan slowly evolved in Dot's head. She looked at Spike, then at Glitch who was attached to her right gauntlet. Could that work?she thought. Right now, she was willing to try anything to get Bob back, even if it meant her deletion. She had nothing to lose. Dot wiped her eyes and pushed herself to her feet. Mouse glanced up, wondering what she was doing.What if this doesn't work, this could delete me. a voice said in her head. Then another part of her mind responded with "So what?"
"Spike," she commanded in a wavering voice, "Download." She closed her eyes and braced herself. She began to feel the keytool working, circling around her. It was a totally new feeling, and one that she would never experience again. There was one final bright flash, and when she opened her eyes, she discovered that she was no longer in her gray armour, but in armour not unlike Bob's had been. She peered at herself, totally astonished. Hello. greeted Spike from inside her head. Dot was surprised at first, but quickly got over the shock of having another being in her mind.

Mouse stared at her friend in astonishment. "Dot! What in the Net..." She stopped, for once in her life she was speechless. Suddenly she understood what she was trying to do. Tor elbowed her and shot her a perplexed look, but Mouse just smiled.

Dot opened her fist and looked at Bob's PID. Carefully placing her hand over top, she released a flow of energy into it. She concentrated as hard as she could on his codes, hoping that somehow, this might work in the same way Bob had healed Hex's mask.

There was an immense surge of light and energy, and Dot was knocked backwards, which aggravated her sore wrist when she landed, but by that time she didn't care anymore. When the light subsided, she looked in total shock.
The figure of Bob was laying in the same position he had been in, though this time he had no visible wounds on him. Dot scrambled to her feet and raced over to him. It worked! Bending over him, she was just in time to see his eyes open. Dot cried out happily and wrapped her arms around him.

Bob felt the blackness vanish, and he opened his eyes, though his vision was slightly impaired. When his vision cleared, he found Dot leaning over him. It was one of the most wonderful sights he had ever seen. "Dot! I thought that Daemon had deleted you!" Dot shook her head and pushed some hair out of his face. "Why did you do that Bob! I almost lost you for good!"
Bob grinned." You know me." He reached up and hugged her back.

After she released him he sat up rubbing his head, and looked down at himself, expecting to see his wounds still there. To his astonishment they were gone. He looked back at Dot and noticed for the first time she was wearing downloaded armour. "Dot? You and Spike..." She grinned at Bob, then at her keytool. Bob looked at her with new respect. "You did that for me? You could have been deleted!"
"I wouldn't have mattered." she answered. Bob got to his feet and helped her stand. He wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed her. Once they had broken apart Dot smiled at him. "If you ever do that again, I'm selling your car."
"If you ever do that to me, I don't know what I'll do." Bob answered, for once completely seriously.

Mouse and Tor stood with their mouths open looking at Bob. "But, he- you. Wow." Vector mumbled, still in shock.
"You said it Sugar."

Part Four