Okay guys and gals! This is it for a while. I’m going on vacation. It is time for the annual Christmas time cruise! I am smuggling my Megabyte action figure on board with hopes to take a few pictures for the next blog entry. Here is the last section of Part 5. I will try to write a little bit while I’m gone, but it is a vacation.
For Megabyte, thinking became as hard a task as carving the final pieces of his chess set. It seemed almost every moment for the next two seconds were constantly interrupted by screams from Avatar as Pandora attempted to stabilize his erratic behavior. The sound agitated the Webworms as well. Many of them were obviously bored at having to watch Megabyte every nanosecond with only occasional rotations off to do other duties. He wanted to have fun teasing the lowly creatures again, but instead focused on completing his carvings to pass the time.
How odd. I actually am missing my chats with Pandora. And all I have ever wanted is to escape from her.
Not only had Megabyte not seen Pandora, but Warlock was also missing during those passing cycles. He wondered what exactly the Webriders were up to. The ship had left orbit around the decaying sphere of dead Web creature corpses to sail to a new location. He was aware that Pandora’s forces were looking for something amongst the vast data storms of the Web, but Megabyte hadn’t learned how to speak or understand Web to get any type of answer on his own. When Wyvern finally returned to the vessel to give his mistress an update on their progress, Megabyte finally spoke up.
“I need to speak to Pandora,” he said. “I have a… gift for her.”
Wyvern stopped and cocked his head for a moment. He then nodded and bowed to him before he went into the throne room chamber. Wyvern’s little bow surprised Megabyte.
Only cycles ago I would have infected him to get that kind of respect.
After a couple of nanoseconds, Wyvern returned to the door and gestured for Megabyte to enter. The virus came inside, trolled by a few of the Webworms keeping watch over him. Pandora sat on her throne with two of her largest Webworms stationed on either side of her. Her Web creature symbiote remained shrouded over her chair, its eyes focused on Megabyte. Avatar reclined close by, still restrained by cables, but sleeping soundly. He even made a soft buzzing noise resembling a snore. Pandora told the Webriders in the chamber, <<You are dismissed.>>
The Webriders who had guarded Avatar left first. Wyvern remained by the door a moment, bowed, and followed them out.
Pandora noticed Megabyte holding his hands behind his back as if hiding something,
The Queen virus asked, “You wanted to see me?”
Megabyte said, “I thought you’d like to see this.”
Megabyte held a chess piece out to her. It was the black king, but instead of having a normal crown, it had a familiar shaped crest on its head.
Pandora took it from his hand and laughed. “You put your head on it. You’re flattering yourself.”
“I thought you’d like it,” he said.
“Is this your way of saying you’re sorry?” she asked.
“It’s more of a… peace offering.”
“Peace? Like a peace treaty?”
“Until we have a little chess match. Then you can play me for my soul.”
Pandora blinked, “Was that a joke?”
“I wouldn’t know. I wasn’t programmed with a sense of humor.”
Pandora chuckled again. She got up and approached him, “I will say thank you anyway. Would you like something eat?”
“Sure,” Megabyte shrugged, “Is the usual available?”
Pandora went to the table and opened the basket of Web slugs. She tossed several to the gathered Webworms as Megabyte took one for himself. He swallowed the slug down. He gestured to Avatar and asked her, “How is the little thrip doing?”
“Little thrip?” Pandora smiled and replied, “Avatar is functional. As soon as he is awake, he’ll be ready to do as I ask.”
“Because you programmed it into him?”
“He is hungry for revenge, my dear. He doesn’t need any prodding to do exactly what we need. We will sail the ship to the closest tear and release him into the Net.”
“What if he tells Daemon about Bob?” Megabyte asked.
“Oh he won’t. A little bribery will go far with him. Phishers like bright and shiny things. So do program bugs.”
“Exactly. Daemon could offer him something he can’t say no to. Then it will all be for nothing,” he pointed out.
“Would you suggest a better plan, considering you have no interest in being partners?”
Megabyte groaned, “You are acting so foolish.”
“Foolish?” Pandora became slightly surprised. “I know what I am doing.”
“No you don’t. We both don’t know what we are going to do because we can’t remember.” Megabyte picked up the holosphere from the table. “Our pasts have crossed. You’ve said so yourself. You knew Killabyte.”
“Yes. In the Super Computer and even before that.” Pandora held up a flask of liquid and told Megabyte, “I am so close to the solution. When I am ready, I will tap the memories buried within my stealth program. Those memories will explain all the questions we both have, but until then you must trust me. I know you want to find out the truth too. Because somewhere inside you is the answer to why you won’t hurt me.”
Megabyte clutched the holosphere tighter in his hand. “You really think there is something between us?”
“You know there is. It is buried so deep in our programs. You can’t fight it. Neither of us can. The User has drawn us together for a purpose. Why not this purpose?”
“My last genesis created two viruses Pandora, not one. Whatever nonsensical answer you seek might be within my sister’s programming. If you were to get to Mainframe -.”
“Patience, my dear.”
“Patience?! I have none left!” Megabyte suddenly snapped at her. “I want revenge on that infernal Guardian! If I can’t have satisfaction in his deletion, then what will- OW!”
Megabyte looked down at the holosphere. The thing felt as if it were fused to his hand. A spark of blue electrical energy danced along the burnished surface, causing him some discomfort. He shook the devise out of the palm of his hand. Pandora caught it before it hit the floor.
“You idiot! You could have broken it! I need that!”
“It feels like it bit me! What is wrong with that thing?”
“What? What is it now?” The virus saw the shock on Pandora’s face. Megabyte looked down at himself to see if anything was wrong. He asked again, “What is wrong?”
Then Megabyte realized his physical form hadn’t changed, only his voice. And it sounded very familiar. He spoke again, more slowly and carefully, “Is that coming out of me?”
“Yes,” Pandora said in a whisper. “It’s the Guardian’s voice.”
Megabyte closed his eyes a moment. He had a strong image of himself standing on the hardware platform during the Web War. He had just clasped his hand over Bob’s mouth and had taken Glitch, crushing in hand before dropping it. But, he saw that moment through Bob’s eyes. Megabyte wanted to clear both his thoughts from his mind and the voice from his throat, but Pandora told him, “Take the sphere back and concentrate. Maybe something else will happen”
Megabyte did like this plan, yet he became curious. He replied, “Okay.”
He took the sphere in both hands and closed his eyes once more. A small stream of data, full of basic information about Bob’s physical form and his Guardian protocol flowed into him to link with the small amount of Random Access Memory and code he already possessed. When the data transfer stopped, Megabyte opened his eyes. Pandora’s head was now more leveled to his and she grinned like he had never seen her do before. Her Webworms were shrilling with confused chatter. A smaller, lap dog sized worm crawled up to Megabyte. It snarled and bit him on the ankle.
“Hey!” Megabyte kicked it off him. When he looked down, the virus saw he was wearing a Guardian uniform. He lifted his hands up, seeing they were a soft, sprite shape and were colored blue. He used the new hands to touch his face. He could feel the cool, metallic hair covering his head. He had been reformatted, creating a dobblerganger based on Bob’s old self. He looked at Pandora.
“Well… this is different,” MegaBob replied.
Pandora became giddy as a little child, laughing with a mixture of joy and awe. She turned MegaBob around, studying every pixel of him. She shook her head and smiled even wider. “Its a matching copy of his old format.”
“How did I do this?”
“You don’t know. Oh you rascal!” Pandora scolded. “You had a piece of Interface’s code! No wonder the Kylix encountered an error compiling the Guardian’s data. You had it!”
He scratched his head. “So I touched the sphere and it did this? But what good will this be?”
“I don’t know. But I’m sure we can think of something,“ she purred.
Pandora put her arms around his neck. She drew him close as if wanting to kiss him. MegaBob instantly pushed her back.
“What are you doing?” he complained.
“I was… intrigued,” she said, not liking being pushed away.
Megabyte stared at her a moment before bursting out laughing. He snickered. “What I see is what my sister would act like if she stared at Bob too long!”
“You’re the best of two things wrapped together, my dear.”
“Two things? It looks to me like you have more interest in Bob at the moment.”
Pandora became flushed. She asked, “Does that make you jealous?”
“Jealous? Of this wretched looking sprite!” MegaBob pointed at his own chest. “I’d as soon change back to how I looked before. Maybe I will!”
“No! Don’t you see? This is the perfect ruse!“
“Perfect for what?”
Suddenly, Wyvern entered the chamber. He had intended to bring Pandora some important news, but when he saw Megabyte now formatted as Bob, he immediately leaped on the virus and pinned him to the floor. MegaBob quickly learned that Bob’s body lacked the physical strength to fight off Wyvern. He tried to concentrate on removing the Guardian’s form, but it seemed to be stuck on him almost like the holosphere had been stuck on his hand. He was forced to scream for help. Pandora’s Web creature slid off the chair and merged onto her body as quickly as it could. Pandora then used her tentacles to help pull Wyvern and MegaBob apart. She kept a grip on Wyvern as she told him in Web speak, <<That is Megabyte! He has turned himself into the Guardian.>>
The Webworms made high-pitched sounds, telling Wyvern what Pandora said was true. The Webrider responded, <<My Lady. Forgive me. I did not know. I thought the Guardian had come back.>>
MegaBob picked himself up and brushed the silver locks out of his eyes. He told Pandora, “I think I see your point about fooling people. But who exactly are we going to fool?”
Wyvern said, <<The Webriders!>>
Pandora looked at Wyvern and asked, “Have you found them?”
<<Yes my Lady. We found their lair within a massive Data storm. Warlock wants to lay an ambush for them. The trick is to sneak up on them.>>
Pandora looks at MegaBob and declared, <<We may not need to sneak them. Tell the helmsman to follow you to the location. We will plan our attack once we arrive.>>
<<As you wish, my Lady.>> Wyvern bowed and quickly left the throne chamber.
Pandora gazed at MegaBob. The Web creature’s head peeled back off of her head so he could see her complete face. She asked him, “How do you feel about being a lure?”
“I’m not too comfortable with the idea. I prefer to face my enemy in the open.”
“As a Trojan Horse virus, that has changed. Our enemies would know who you are until it’s too late. Help me do this and I will have dominion over the entire Web. There will be no one left to interfere. And you will get revenge on some of Interface’s allies.”
“Then we will take the Net from Daemon?” MegaBob asked.
“Yes. I promise.”
He stared at her for a long moment and finally said, “All right. I’ll play this game your way.”
“Oh Megabyte!” She clapped her hands together in glee.
“This doesn’t mean we’re partners! Or anything else for that matter!” he insisted pointing his finger at her face. “I’m doing this to make up for what I almost did to you! Is that clear?”
She frowned. The entire twinkle disappeared from her eyes. Pandora nodded, “As you wish, my dear.”
She slinked away from him to sit down. She continued to study the chess piece Megabyte had made. The virus sighed to himself and thought, you should remember Pandora, even in chess, a pawn can be used to take down a queen.