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"Keep Slaying and Nobody Explodes!", 2.85 "Hot Tamales Jelly Bean"
[OST - Now I Have Your Power]

The Mortar Mortality seemed to halt, freezing Fett in place, as a jumble of different sprites appeared at the end of where the blast would've emerged, a harmless visual error for an attack that couldn't occur.

"Hinobi learned after they created me that there was no point in creating a game that would never end. No code is without a killscreen past the discoveries made with mine. Your code is explicitly meant to be disabled by the interference of an NPC. I know not of the meaning of why your code is that way, nor do I know what weapon they used, so this is an approximation, that code is not a part of you, but the vulnerability is. I have bound the weapon to emerge from my head's hitbox, in some senses my head therein acts a tertiary arm. Regardless, I noticed all of the variables in your code had been checked positive. Your target should not possess this weapon, your code interprets me as a player." Bolypius began to walk over to the detached arm and picked it up, absorbing it.

"But that's your limitation. For as little as I can know as a computer, I have some semblance of common sense, just enough, even in this form, to recognize lucidity of my existence."

"Who the [EXPLETIVE REMOVED] do you think I am?!" At that moment it reconstituted it's own code, it's other arm launching out, expanding rapidly from the absorbed code of its opponent, into a mass of destructive black matter, like massive volatile, rapidly-glitching soot tags.
 
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"Keep Slaying and Nobody Explodes!", 2.86 "This Brownie Might Kill You"
[OST - Now I Have Your Power]

The Mortar Mortality seemed to halt, freezing Fett in place, as a jumble of different sprites appeared at the end of where the blast would've emerged, a harmless visual error for an attack that couldn't occur.

"Hinobi learned after they created me that there was no point in creating a game that would never end. No code is without a killscreen past the discoveries made with mine. Your code is explicitly meant to be disabled by the interference of an NPC. I know not of the meaning of why your code is that way, nor do I know what weapon they used, so this is an approximation, that code is not a part of you, but the vulnerability is. I have bound the weapon to emerge from my head's hitbox, in some senses my head therein acts a tertiary arm. Regardless, I noticed all of the variables in your code had been checked positive. Your target should not possess this weapon, your code interprets me as a player." Bolypius began to walk over to the detached arm and picked it up, absorbing it.

"But that's your limitation. For as little as I can know as a computer, I have some semblance of common sense, just enough, even in this form, to recognize lucidity of my existence."

"Who the [EXPLETIVE REMOVED] do you think I am?!" At that moment it reconstituted it's own code, it's other arm launching out, expanding rapidly from the absorbed code of its opponent, into a mass of destructive black matter, like massive volatile, rapidly-glitching soot tags.
"NOOOOOO!!!!" Fett yelled in (for the first time) genuine terror as the soot tags grabbed him

"[EXPLETIVE REMOVED] You Glitch king! And [EXPLETIVE REMOVED] You Female insect! I'LL GET YOU GLITCH TECHS!!!" Fett yelled in impotent rage at his fate.
 
"Keep Slaying and Nobody Explodes!", 2.87 "Pips Zest"
"NOOOOOO!!!!" Fett yelled in (for the first time) genuine terror as the soot tags grabbed him

"[EXPLETIVE REMOVED] You Glitch king! And [EXPLETIVE REMOVED] You Female insect! I'LL GET YOU GLITCH TECHS!!!" Fett yelled in impotent rage at his fate.
The robotic Glitch suddenly seized up and gasped a last "Win... Error... 013..." and crashed.


Analyzing...
Target ID: F.E.T.T., Zoom Kazoom/Atom Girl Z (Franchise).
Task Priority: High
Solution: Evaluating...

Option 1: Trigger potential bug to cause target software crash.
Status: CONGRADURATIONS A WINNER IS YOU


Bolypius was extremely concerned by this, for reasons one would not understand without breaking the fourth wall, but it was not an immediate problem or something it understood so it instead gauged its target...


Analyzing...
Option 1: Trigger potential bug to cause target software crash.
Status: CONGRADURATIONS A WINNER IS YOU
Outcome: Target has crashed; WinErr13: Not Even Doom Mods can stop the Urbazoid Uprising].

>_


"Error not understood." Bolypius stated to the odd shape of F.E.T.T. glitching up.


Outcome: Target has crashed; WinErr13: Not Even Doom Mods can stop the Urbazoid Uprising].

Analyzing...

Do you just hate the pain? [Y/n]?


Bolypius wasn't sure where the stray thought had come from. It ignored the command line's output and instead chose to flee aboard the only vehicle nearby not protected by BusyBee Anti-Glitch (the anti-repair, anti-cheat, anti-malware antivirus software - that was itself being replaced by the even newer BeeCoin blockchain and NFT-based IDs to improve security that was still currently too much for the most powerful glitch ever, weakened as it was - featured in the tutorial arc seen in the previous "episode")... The nearby General Atomics Edison Motors Division SW8 owned by the Grand Forks Shortline.

The glitch slowly pulled itself towards the exterior guide rail on the locomotive and used its' adaptive abilities to connect to the practically-ancient H1-N0-13 Serial Bus of the locomotive's near-unsalvagable Babbage Engine (the origins of the Hinobi corporation, which originally produced videophones back in the 19th Century after a mysterious incident left an ordinary but savant-ish Japanese beekeeper in possession of the newly privatized Hinobi Telegraph Corporation, included their forays into producing sea-worthy Babbage Engines for the Imperial Japanese Navy in WWII) with it's odd and nightmarish tongue-spike thingy.

The engine started up and roared to life, pulling Bolypius and the train car with the Hinobi shipping container along with it as it slowly picked up speed...

"Oh I was just crushing these miserable Insects under my heel. They won't last too much longer!" Snare responded "As soon as I find them they're History!"

"No, Let zem go for now. AND HELP ME DEAL VITH ZESE OZER INTERLOPERS!!!" Doctor X practically shouted.

"Ugh fine. Just let me fire off this last attack and I'll be there." And with that Snare fired his Lethal charged up attack at where he saw Zoe and Gadg8 last

"We shall meet again!" Snare yelled shaking his fist before he teleported out of the city works

"Aw, come on! He can just do that?!" Gadg8eer complained, and rushed to the door to use System Restore to repair the damage to the security door and wall. A few seconds later and with some help from Zoe, the area and the ctOS Server was as safe as it could get. They then met with DPortEd and iQ in the main warehouse.

"What the heck is this?" Dave asked, looking at the huge object which shouldn't have been there.

"It's a portal, can't you tell?" Gadg8eer said sarcastically.

"No, that's not possible. This... thing... is made entirely of PLixels." DPortEd explained.

"That glitch that looked like Dr. X seemed a little TOO real, Dave! Are you sure Glitches can't be sapient?"

"Theoretically? Can't be sure, there's no upper limit on software and no hard limit to PLixel technology, especially since Glitches can have personalities if they're intelligent enough to be sentient, but if a Glitch can be sapient then we have a serious problem because even today that level of AI does not exist. Deepfakes are just algorithms, actual intelligence to create new things is something even Bolypius couldn't- Wait. Oh, FILE SYSTEM CHECK!" he suddenly shouted, running out of the City Works garage and to the north end of the Yard.

"...we are probably going to want to... um... follow him?" iQ responded, and followed his own advice. Gadg8eer and Zoe followed close behind, as a beeping noise occurred to notify ZoeIRL and Gadg8eer that the mission was over and successful. "The current time is @250 or 10:00 PM local, Gadg8eer. According to dispatch, you have successfully completed the mission. This concludes your first shift at Hinobi Affiliate Store #10810. You may bring your equipment home with you as long as you make it clear they are not to be touched by others and put reasonable security measures in place. Thank you, and good night!"

(( I need to pause this RP for less than 48 hours so I can finish threadmarking the RP. Feel free to post but only once until I've responded to everyone. ))
 
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"Keep Slaying and Nobody Explodes!", 2.87 - GitHive Issue #13
(( Still need to update the map and character sheets, but we can consider this RP "upaused" but also "in a planning stage"; we'd better convene on what to progress with from here. I'm going to get some sleep and do the map and character sheets tomorrow. ))
 
"Keep Slaying and Nobody Explodes!", 2.39 - GitHive Issue #2: "No range limit defined on portals""
"Raaaggh! How many of you insignificant insects are there!?" Fett asked clearly annoyed at Elex's arrival.

"GAHHH! What are you doing?" Snare asked before suddenly he felt the Shinobi Star inside his head and as if that wasn't enough

Suddenly a tennis ball from outside somehow hit him in the face, that ticked him off something fierce on top of the damage he has received from his headshot wound.

(( Note: This is due to Pentifer pulling a portal trick without any particular destination in mind. Since no definitions were given beyond the portals being something he can do, I've pre-emptively decided that his portals are essentially leading him to nearby but otherwise random - that is to say plot-driven - locations if no specific destination is chosen. ))
 
"Keep Slaying and Nobody Explodes!", 2.46 - GitHive Issue #3: "Incorrect string used to describe some entities"
Elextrixtr was quiet as she slowly got up and crept towards a nearby cafe, sneakily nicking a frying pan before tiptoeing up behind Fett and aiming to smash his head in with the frying pan.

(( Note: I'm going to do some creative license and say "nearby car" or "nearby crate" because they're in an industrial park (specifically the City Works parking lot, which also is used for storing trailers, containers and stuff) about 10 minutes from the nearest cafe on foot. ))
 
"Keep Slaying and Nobody Explodes!", 2.88 "Strawberry Pop Tart"
Ele got up slowly, trying to make sure all of her limbs were still intact. She quietly stood up.
 
"Keep Slaying and Nobody Explodes!", 2.89 "Pips Berry"
Ele got up slowly, trying to make sure all of her limbs were still intact. She quietly stood up.
"Okay, that's the last one of them." ReadyPlayerJuan pointed out to his companions, mistakenly thinking both were skilled enough to be self-reliant.

"Well that was a rough evening. I swear it's not usually like this, El', this town is boringly quiet." Hinobi-Tobi responded on the mic. She wasn't as experienced as Juan, but she was not hired yesterday and could handle her own.

Ele, who was a Technician in Danville, Washington (just south of the Grand Forks/Danville border crossing) was very new at this and might have been a little bit shaken.

The robotic Glitch suddenly seized up and gasped a last "Win... Error... 013..." and crashed.


Analyzing...
Target ID: F.E.T.T., Zoom Kazoom/Atom Girl Z (Franchise).
Task Priority: High
Solution: Evaluating...

Option 1: Trigger potential bug to cause target software crash.
Status: CONGRADURATIONS A WINNER IS YOU


Bolypius was extremely concerned by this, for reasons one would not understand without breaking the fourth wall, but it was not an immediate problem or something it understood so it instead gauged its target...


Analyzing...
Option 1: Trigger potential bug to cause target software crash.
Status: CONGRADURATIONS A WINNER IS YOU
Outcome: Target has crashed; WinErr13: Not Even Doom Mods can stop the Urbazoid Uprising].

>_


"Error not understood." Bolypius stated to the odd shape of F.E.T.T. glitching up.


Outcome: Target has crashed; WinErr13: Not Even Doom Mods can stop the Urbazoid Uprising].

Analyzing...

Do you just hate the pain? [Y/n]?


Bolypius wasn't sure where the stray thought had come from. It ignored the command line's output and instead chose to flee aboard the only vehicle nearby not protected by BusyBee Anti-Glitch (the anti-repair, anti-cheat, anti-malware antivirus software - that was itself being replaced by the even newer BeeCoin blockchain and NFT-based IDs to improve security that was still currently too much for the most powerful glitch ever, weakened as it was - featured in the tutorial arc seen in the previous "episode")... The nearby General Atomics Edison Motors Division SW8 owned by the Grand Forks Shortline.

The glitch slowly pulled itself towards the exterior guide rail on the locomotive and used its' adaptive abilities to connect to the practically-ancient H1-N0-13 Serial Bus of the locomotive's near-unsalvagable Babbage Engine (the origins of the Hinobi corporation, which originally produced videophones back in the 19th Century after a mysterious incident left an ordinary but savant-ish Japanese beekeeper in possession of the newly privatized Hinobi Telegraph Corporation, included their forays into producing sea-worthy Babbage Engines for the Imperial Japanese Navy in WWII) with it's odd and nightmarish tongue-spike thingy.

The engine started up and roared to life, pulling Bolypius and the train car with the Hinobi shipping container along with it as it slowly picked up speed...


"Aw, come on! He can just do that?!" Gadg8eer complained, and rushed to the door to use System Restore to repair the damage to the security door and wall. A few seconds later and with some help from Zoe, the area and the ctOS Server was as safe as it could get. They then met with DPortEd and iQ in the main warehouse.

"What the heck is this?" Dave asked, looking at the huge object which shouldn't have been there.

"It's a portal, can't you tell?" Gadg8eer said sarcastically.

"No, that's not possible. This... thing... is made entirely of PLixels." DPortEd explained.

"That glitch that looked like Dr. X seemed a little TOO real, Dave! Are you sure Glitches can't be sapient?"

"Theoretically? Can't be sure, there's no upper limit on software and no hard limit to PLixel technology, especially since Glitches can have personalities if they're intelligent enough to be sentient, but if a Glitch can be sapient then we have a serious problem because even today that level of AI does not exist. Deepfakes are just algorithms, actual intelligence to create new things is something even Bolypius couldn't- Wait. Oh, FILE SYSTEM CHECK!" he suddenly shouted, running out of the City Works garage and to the north end of the Yard.

"...we are probably going to want to... um... follow him?" iQ responded, and followed his own advice. Gadg8eer and Zoe followed close behind, as a beeping noise occurred to notify ZoeIRL and Gadg8eer that the mission was over and successful. "The current time is @250 or 10:00 PM local, Gadg8eer. According to dispatch, you have successfully completed the mission. This concludes your first shift at Hinobi Affiliate Store #10810. You may bring your equipment home with you as long as you make it clear they are not to be touched by others and put reasonable security measures in place. Thank you, and good night!"

(( I need to pause this RP for less than 48 hours so I can finish threadmarking the RP. Feel free to post but only once until I've responded to everyone. ))
"Hold on, I just need to do something!" Gadg8eer pointed out. He ran back into the building and after struggling with the ropes for about 30 seconds, opted to analyze it the new-fashioned way... with his smartgoggles. Upon discovering the rope was itself a glitch (created by one of the Cog Man stage minions, a spinning top robot with one of those strings used to spin it) he instead de-rezzed the rope and then accessed the memory reset, said "Remember the so-called manchild you hate mostly because I don't put up with your scrap? I have to say, you get one free one. Next time you see me, even though your opinion of me is up to you, you will at least respect who I am and what I do are my choice to make - not yours - or I'll leave you tied up once I've defeated those dangerous Gl... thingies? Oh, and Hinobi Technologies apologizes for all the inconvenience this mysterious incident has caused."

"Wait, who are you?" one of the soon-to-retire janitors asked.

"Oliver Kind?"

"No, we got that. Why did you mention the tech company? What is all this?" the other one added.

"No I was- never mind, that's a good question." the first responded.

"You probably won't believe this, but it's the truth... I'm with tech support. Just maybe respect your technology and especially your IT staff, let's just say this is way more demanding a job than it looks."

"I told you, it's the Dave Conspiracy!" one of the janitors, with the nametag Dave on his shirt, said. "That's how we keep the other big secret!"

"The what?" Gadg8eer asked.

"Never mind him, he watches too much CAT News." the other janitor said shiftily.

"He's a Tech, I doubt it's world-shattering that all janitors are part of the secret order of wizards who keep the world safe from the slime monsters."

"You mean to tell me you've been going on this whole time about ancient astronauts because you believe magic exists?!" the other janitor said, exhasperated.

"We have magic brooms, Jason, how else do you explain why the water treatment plant are always filled with those little blue blobs we have to defeat and give to the Techs?"

"...I think you guys may have just been unknowingly helping us do our job. Uh... Thanks!" Gadg8eer pointed out, and then tapped the icon to lock their memories of the event.

Technically, not only are memories NOT erasable, at least not via a memory reset, but they are also not like a computer file in other ways. The idea behind a memory reset was to reclassify a short-term memory of an event from the "this is important to ME" part of the mind to the "I have to do this very often to survive but it's not my focus" part of it. Depending on the level of this spectrum of importance that you reassign the short term memory to, the possibility of them remembering it (deja vu) is proportional to that assigned level. Low level techs could only access up to 90% likeliness of memory resurgence (IF told directly and bluntly that their memory has been tampered with) but only 5% chance of paranoia. The other settings were available at higher levels, with a 10% chance of memory resurgence (accompanied by a 50% of a psychotic break, hence why it needs to be restricted so people don't f*** with other people's memories for fun and/or profit).

Not knowing this, but knowing he'd had it done to him and he wasn't strictly comfortable with it, he put the Memory Reset to 1% (a 0.05% chance of any mental illnesses, and all of which were treatable with psychotherapy) to be as safe as the interface would let him make it, tapped the icon.

The two janitors stopped for a second and an "SMS speech bubble" with three dots appeared over their heads. When they came to...

"Huh? Were you saying something?" the first janitor asked.

"Me? No." the other janitor responded.

"I must have just heard the fan come on for that supercomputer then. God that machine is loud!"

"Okay, back. I had to rescue and neuralyse the janitors." Gadg8eer responded, rushing down the wet road on his PLixel-Electric Roller Skleatz to catch up to Eddy/"Dave", iQ and Zoe. "What's this about?"

"Remember when I said Bolypius had been captured? That was in 2024. I thought it was somewhere safe. It turns out, however, that once again an attempt by Hinobi Corporate to kill Bolypius has failed, and they just put him in a prison in the hopes that nobody will release it. You see, every 1,000 years, when the planets align, Bolypius breaks free of its prison to wreak havok on mankind. And by 1,000 years I actually just mean about once a decade. Which means we need to borrow a ride in your van."

"Sorry... I, um, forgot... I left the auto-roam on... for the loaner's AI... when I used it last time." iQ explained.

"Don't worry about it, Zeke, it's been unused for two months now. I don't expect you to remember to turn off something that you automated two months ago." Ed assured him.

"And, um..." he responded, glancing at Zoe and Gadg8eer.

"Where are we headed?" Gadg8eer asked, pulling up an AugReal VidWindow of the van that looked something like this...

"The lumber mill just up the road." Ed explained. On cue, the Perfectly Electric Vehicle turned a nearby corner and sped towards them, then slowed down in a quick screeching halt beside them. The only thing was, someone was already in the driver's seat. "Oh no, not this guy again." he complained, recognizing the face of local freelance hardware repairman "HardModeWarez"...
 

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"Keep Slaying and Nobody Explodes!", 2.90 "Hi-Chew"
"Okay, that's the last one of them." ReadyPlayerJuan pointed out to his companions, mistakenly thinking both were skilled enough to be self-reliant.

"Well that was a rough evening. I swear it's not usually like this, El', this town is boringly quiet." Hinobi-Tobi responded on the mic. She wasn't as experienced as Juan, but she was not hired yesterday and could handle her own.

Ele, who was a Technician in Danville, Washington (just south of the Grand Forks/Danville border crossing) was very new at this and might have been a little bit shaken.


"Hold on, I just need to do something!" Gadg8eer pointed out. He ran back into the building and after struggling with the ropes for about 30 seconds, opted to analyze it the new-fashioned way... with his smartgoggles. Upon discovering the rope was itself a glitch (created by one of the Cog Man stage minions, a spinning top robot with one of those strings used to spin it) he instead de-rezzed the rope and then accessed the memory reset, said "Remember the so-called manchild you hate mostly because I don't put up with your scrap? I have to say, you get one free one. Next time you see me, even though your opinion of me is up to you, you will at least respect who I am and what I do are my choice to make - not yours - or I'll leave you tied up once I've defeated those dangerous Gl... thingies? Oh, and Hinobi Technologies apologizes for all the inconvenience this mysterious incident has caused."

"Wait, who are you?" one of the soon-to-retire janitors asked.

"Oliver Kind?"

"No, we got that. Why did you mention the tech company? What is all this?" the other one added.

"No I was- never mind, that's a good question." the first responded.

"You probably won't believe this, but it's the truth... I'm with tech support. Just maybe respect your technology and especially your IT staff, let's just say this is way more demanding a job than it looks."

"I told you, it's the Dave Conspiracy!" one of the janitors, with the nametag Dave on his shirt, said. "That's how we keep the other big secret!"

"The what?" Gadg8eer asked.

"Never mind him, he watches too much CAT News." the other janitor said shiftily.

"He's a Tech, I doubt it's world-shattering that all janitors are part of the secret order of wizards who keep the world safe from the slime monsters."

"You mean to tell me you've been going on this whole time about ancient astronauts because you believe magic exists?!" the other janitor said, exhasperated.

"We have magic brooms, Jason, how else do you explain why the water treatment plant are always filled with those little blue blobs we have to defeat and give to the Techs?"

"...I think you guys may have just been unknowingly helping us do our job. Uh... Thanks!" Gadg8eer pointed out, and then tapped the icon to lock their memories of the event.

Technically, not only are memories NOT erasable, at least not via a memory reset, but they are also not like a computer file in other ways. The idea behind a memory reset was to reclassify a short-term memory of an event from the "this is important to ME" part of the mind to the "I have to do this very often to survive but it's not my focus" part of it. Depending on the level of this spectrum of importance that you reassign the short term memory to, the possibility of them remembering it (deja vu) is proportional to that assigned level. Low level techs could only access up to 90% likeliness of memory resurgence (IF told directly and bluntly that their memory has been tampered with) but only 5% chance of paranoia. The other settings were available at higher levels, with a 10% chance of memory resurgence (accompanied by a 50% of a psychotic break, hence why it needs to be restricted so people don't f*** with other people's memories for fun and/or profit.

Not knowing this, but knowing he'd had it done to him and he wasn't strictly comfortable with it, he put the Memory Reset to 1% (a 0.05% chance of any mental illnesses, and all of which were treatable with psychotherapy) to be as safe as the interface would let him make it, tapped the icon.

The two janitors stopped for a second and an "SMS speech bubble" with three dots appeared over their heads. When they came to...

"Huh? Were you saying something?" the first janitor asked.

"Me? No." the other janitor responded.

"I must have just head the fan come on for that supercomputer then."

"Okay, back. I had to rescue and neuralyse the janitors." Gadg8eer responded, rushing down the wet road on his PLixel-Electric Roller Skleatz to catch up to Eddy/"Dave", iQ and Zoe. "What's this about?"

"Remember when I said Bolypius had been captured? That was in 2024. I thought it was somewhere safe. It turns out, however, that once again an attempt by Hinobi Corporate to kill Bolypius has failed, and they just put him in a prison in the hopes that nobody will release it. You see, every 1,000 years, when the planets align, Bolypius breaks free of its prison to wreak havok on mankind. And by 1,000 years I actually just mean about once a decade."
Elextrixtr then spoke into her little mic in response."Fortunately I've not lost any limbs. Good for me!" She chuckled slightly before deciding to head to the more 'shop filled' part of town.
 
"Keep Slaying and Nobody Explodes!", 2.91 "Fizzz Cola"
HardModeWarez, or "Hum" as most people called him, raised a hand in greeting as the van came to a stop.

"Evenin', Dave," Hum said cheerfully, opening the door and leaning half of his body out of the vehicle.
"Hum. Still keeping yourself busy, I see," Ed replied, a twinge of hosility behind his cordial tone. "How'd you get in iQ's van?"
"Dave, please, I know how to turn off the auto-roam, I'm not a TOTAL greenhorn with the software."

Hum hopped out, adjusted the blue windbreaker he was wearing, and closed the door. The windbreaker was unzipped, revealing a black Flunky Quest t-shirt underneath, but other than that, and his apparent taste in high-top sneakers and cargo shorts, he wasn't all that impressive to look at. Still, if he was a Tech, that had to mean there was something Ed saw in him... probably.

"Sorry about that, Zeke. I swear I was gonna return it, I just got... distracted."
"For... two months?" iQ questioned.
"You know what they say, time flies like an eagle."
"Speaking of time, we don't HAVE much," Ed interrupted. "We're in the middle of dealing with a serious situation."
"Yeah, that's kind of why I'm here. How serious are we talking?" Hum inquired.
"...The big one."

Hum stood silent for a moment.

"He's here? Like, HERE here?"
"Look, just get back in the van, I'll explain on the way."
"If you insist."

Hum already had one hand on the door handle when Ed cleared his throat loudly.

"A-HEM. In the BACK."
"Right."
 
"Keep Slaying and Nobody Explodes!", 2.92 "Hydrox"
HardModeWarez, or "Hum" as most people called him, raised a hand in greeting as the van came to a stop.

"Evenin', Dave," Hum said cheerfully, opening the door and leaning half of his body out of the vehicle.
"Hum. Still keeping yourself busy, I see," Ed replied, a twinge of hosility behind his cordial tone. "How'd you get in iQ's van?"
"Dave, please, I know how to turn off the auto-roam, I'm not a TOTAL greenhorn with the software."

Hum hopped out, adjusted the blue windbreaker he was wearing, and closed the door. The windbreaker was unzipped, revealing a black Flunky Quest t-shirt underneath, but other than that, and his apparent taste in high-top sneakers and cargo shorts, he wasn't all that impressive to look at. Still, if he was a Tech, that had to mean there was something Ed saw in him... probably.

"Sorry about that, Zeke. I swear I was gonna return it, I just got... distracted."
"For... two months?" iQ questioned.
"You know what they say, time flies like an eagle."
"Speaking of time, we don't HAVE much," Ed interrupted. "We're in the middle of dealing with a serious situation."
"Yeah, that's kind of why I'm here. How serious are we talking?" Hum inquired.
"...The big one."

Hum stood silent for a moment.

"He's here? Like, HERE here?"
"Look, just get back in the van, I'll explain on the way."
"If you insist."

Hum already had one hand on the door handle when Ed cleared his throat loudly.

"A-HEM. In the BACK."
"Right."
"Yo, two questions. So, first, who's Hum, since that's not exactly been established yet." Zoe begins. "Is he like... A freelancer or something?"

"Second. This Bolypius guy.... Girl... IT... what is it? Like, you said it was capable of growth because its game had no ending. You called it The Big One, Most of the guys we've been fighting are, on the stronger side, level 7s and 8s, but most are sub 5 glitches... I assume that means the noob-tech to glitch ratio puts me and Gadg8 around level 8 or so, or at least able to punch up hard enough to bridge the gap." She says. "What are we looking at, is it like, level 20? Level 30?...Level 100?"
 
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"Keep Slaying and Nobody Explodes!", 2.93 "Lemon Sherbet"
HardModeWarez, or "Hum" as most people called him, raised a hand in greeting as the van came to a stop.

"Evenin', Dave," Hum said cheerfully, opening the door and leaning half of his body out of the vehicle.
"Hum. Still keeping yourself busy, I see," Ed replied, a twinge of hosility behind his cordial tone. "How'd you get in iQ's van?"
"Dave, please, I know how to turn off the auto-roam, I'm not a TOTAL greenhorn with the software."

Hum hopped out, adjusted the blue windbreaker he was wearing, and closed the door. The windbreaker was unzipped, revealing a black Flunky Quest t-shirt underneath, but other than that, and his apparent taste in high-top sneakers and cargo shorts, he wasn't all that impressive to look at. Still, if he was a Tech, that had to mean there was something Ed saw in him... probably.

"Sorry about that, Zeke. I swear I was gonna return it, I just got... distracted."
"For... two months?" iQ questioned.
"You know what they say, time flies like an eagle."
"Speaking of time, we don't HAVE much," Ed interrupted. "We're in the middle of dealing with a serious situation."
"Yeah, that's kind of why I'm here. How serious are we talking?" Hum inquired.
"...The big one."

Hum stood silent for a moment.

"He's here? Like, HERE here?"
"Look, just get back in the van, I'll explain on the way."
"If you insist."

Hum already had one hand on the door handle when Ed cleared his throat loudly.

"A-HEM. In the BACK."
"Right."
The five techs all took their seats, with Zoe and Gadg8eer in the front since it was technically their assigned van.

"I re-iterate. HE'S here?"

"Yes and no. By which I mean yes, and something worse too. As you know..."

Hum cringed at the usage of the phrase. He was a bit of an armchair movie critic and hated it when that crap was used.

"...glitches have a limit on their intelligence, determined to be only enough to run their code and nothing more ever since HE became an issue."

"How is that relevant?" Hum asked.

"Oh, for... Lionel, we think the glitches that attacked the city works are either people pretending to be glitches as a cover for terrorists... or Hinobi isn't telling us something." Gadg8eer explained. "Wait. Has ANYONE ever confronted a glitch based on Dr. X from the Zoom Kazoom, PLixel Ripped and Atom Girl Z franchises?"

"Um... I could check..." iQ explained, his momentary badassitude again wavering. He tapped something out on his Ominent Research SCA.B, a device that was before the time of even the defiantly-childlike Gadg8eer, let alone the Gen Z of iQ's high school and college cohorts. After a quick search, iQ pulled up an audio log.

"Coder's blog. Cyberdate 1984-dash-04-dash-13. Good news. I worked out the bugs. Dr. X will not be escaping the way Bolypius did. If you're wondering how I did it, I realized he just needed a number adjustment to not become like the Cyblin Lord prototype. Narcissistic megalomaniacs can't even imagine that they are an actor on a stage, even if you give them the facts, because they can't question their reality without questioning their self-worship. He builds arrogant robot enforcers, of course nobody is going to care that he's technically one himself. The suspension of disbelief is easier to accomplish if you play into the truths people already know. This is Barbara Rivers, aka Bug, on Friday, April 13th of 1984. You have my two weeks notice, Kakari."

"What was that?!" Gadg8eer asked.

"The last remaining backup of the Kakari APISNET Node." Ed explained. "We'd upload it to the Playback Machine but it's still government-classified information to this day. That recording won't be legal to reveal to anyone who isn't qualified to repair PLixels until late in the 2030s."

"And, might I remind you, will probably be mostly blacked out in the official release." Hum pointed out.

"I thought Kakari was bought by Hinobi?" Gadg8eer asked.

"The internet might have suffered from link rot before the Hiverse's decentralized databases existed, but the works of old forgotten Hinobi competitors still haunt the Glitch Techs to this day." Ed explained. "All it takes is one cartridge that didn't get recalled to potentially break the veil."

"Dave... is that why I was memory-wiped for complaining my copy of Flunky Quest QuickSilver wasn't working right and being told they had to recall it?" Gadg8eer said darkly.

"Would it change anything? Terrible as it was, you wouldn't be the same if that had never happened." DPortEd wisely pointed out.

"I know. But that's the thing, Dave. Hinobi made Flunky Quest QuickSilver, I liked playing it, and then I couldn't anymore because of programming incompetence or unreasonable deadlines or some other executive meddling. I got attached to my Flunkies, to the world they inhabited, to my player character and the two friends and the rival he had adventures with. Games aren't just tech, they're art and you can't put a price on that, not even if that price is in human lives being risked to ensure it continues to exist. That idiot told me to get over it, not that art comes at the price of blood. Think about that. I was 10 and, instead of telling me the closest thing to the honest truth by coming up with an explanation that short-circuiting hardware was dangerous to me, he told me my feelings weren't valid. People expect that of adults but you can't just tell a kid that it was my fault for someone else spilling a glass of milk on it and wiped my memory of finishing my favorite game and not expect them to be affected by it even if you don't wipe their memories. Now, 28 years later I'm still 10, in a sense, but I joined this job because of what I just said. Art is worth protecting access to, even if I have to actually risk my happiness to make sure I'm not the only one that gets to enjoy a form of art that comes with a hidden cost. I like Hinobi's status quo because even if its for a profit motive, they're trying to preserve the art their employees and even their competitors create. I know this isn't the late 90s anymore, I'm not angry that Hinobi hid my memories. I'm angry because permanent recalls shouldn't have to happen, and Hum always understood that. I'm not going to fight Hinobi, I just want it known that I don't like that BusyBee Anti-Glitch is anti-repair. Juan fixed my Neo GamePlayer gamerdeck when Hinobi wouldn't. iQ fixed my gaming rig when Hinobi would only replace, not repair, the HCP. BUT! Hum fixed an HCP that he said himself was the worst case he ever encountered, and that got me thinking about why you and my only real life friend don't get along. I never understood it until he's in our van and I realized he's in the know too. So... why are Hinobi so intent on all this, beyond just the money? Because you don't save the world by hiring people with a skill if you're a business, you control ithe world, and for some weird reason Hinobi is unique in that it's the only one that makes promises to be good and delivers. The real reason everyone else went out of business is actually the same reason you're the computer repair shop in this town; the owner-slash-founder actually cares about the products and the customers. Which begs the question... Who is or was Gatoshi Mitsubachi, the never-photographed founder of Hinobi, and what happened to him that Hinobi still does things the way Gatoshi did when he ran the company?"

"You think I know that? That's a mystery nobody has solved, not even Hinobi themselves. They just know one thing; Gatoshi hated short-sightedness. He, if not she, founded Hinobi in the interest of eating the rich, so to speak, for the benefit at all. Corporate communism, essentially, but I'm not a political guy and I've seen too many arguments about politics to not put my focus on doing the job right and enjoying it instead of discussing what ideology the online world should follow. All I know is, we show you the potential dark side of that because you're supposed to be able to think for yourselves in this job, something computers can't replicate. At least, so I've thought, and I still don't have any indication from anybody that this is the consequences of normal glitches." DPortEd explained.

"What exactly happened?" Hum asked.

"A Dr. X Glitch somehow became self-aware enough to organize a literal evil robot takeover? That, or someone is faking it, but if they are, then why did my smartgoggles say he was an unmodified copy of the basic Dr. X AI?" Gadg8eer explained. "Just one question. Excuse me for being like Detective Columbus, but there's one thing that I can't figure out... Dave, you said Bolypius was dead."

"I did, yes. Obviously I was wrong, but this has happened about once a decade since the 1970s and unfortunately I'm not that surprised. Bolypius was made to be immortal, killing it - even in the non-lethal respawn-capturing way we do so - isn't as easy as fighting it, and Hinobi does have enough of a profit motive to lie to everyone every time they fail to actually capture it for real. Normally, a glitch has HP and that means you kill it in the same way you sort-of kill a video game enemy. Then you catch it like a Flunky and upload it to give it a home in the copy of their game world in the Hinobi Swarm Store database where it can also be observed in safe mode."

"Why didn't I hear about this?" Hum asked. "I think you have your answer. This Dr. X is, absent of any good alternative explanation, the one from the central database."

"Hinobi debugging equipment is protected two-fold. It's got the anti-glitch software, yes, but its also protected by an electromagnetic Scantron field." Ed disputed.

"I'm aware. What happens if the glitches are already inside that field? What happens if the Faraday cages they use for non-mobile installations like server farms are more like non-glitched solftware being trapped in a walled city with glitched software?"

"Software doesn't glitch! ...right?" Gadg8eer asked, "It's a hardware issue that produces-"

"A glitch is a short-lived fault in a system, such as a transient fault that corrects itself, making it difficult to troubleshoot." Hum interrupted, "In short, a capital-G Glitch is because mesomachines are virtual machines that exist between us and the quantum realm. They exist by taking advantage of the mathematical nature of reality to program a computer program, and all humans ever intended to do with that was facilitate an API that could be used to make a computer program run in reality itself. Then WWII happened. The point is, the software is what makes the hardware Glitch and the only thing worse than a Glitch... aside from malware... is a Bug. And while Hinobi does love the heritage of its founder's name meaning honeybee in Japanese, it's not the swarm of nectar-seeking reluctant hive-defenders that are jerks, its the wasps that don't give a fsck who they sting and the roaches that poison you who truly fit the term."

"Bugs?" Gadg8eer asked, confused.

"They're rare now, but Bugs are like Glitches that occur in fully-functioning HCPs due to a coding error. Before Hinobi's Swarm Store monopolized the market, shitty games that had bugs that always triggered glitches were common. President Wryyygan deregulated a lot of that and it lead to Y2K." Hum explained.
 
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"Keep Slaying and Nobody Explodes!", 2.94 "Atomic Fireball"
"..."Zoe was running back and forth in her brain, trying to get this all down, before slamming her fist into the dash, with just enough force to make a noise, but not enough to tear through the dashboard.

"Bugs? Glitches? HCP Coding Errors? What the fuck does any of that mean? I asked a simple fucking question. What are we going up against, and it turns into a discussion about memories, and hardware issues vs software issues." She holds her fingers to where her temples would be on her screen.

"I'm not good at coding. I'm good at gaming. I play video games for a living. I'm a streamer." She says. "The most programming knowledge I know is how to optimize bandwidth so my followers can watch my streams."

"I hit things with a bat, and if that doesn't work, I hit them harder. What are we fighting, and how do we kill it?" She asks. "Does this thing have multiple forms? Does it have a weakspot? Tell me what I need to know without getting into the history of the world and beyond!"
 
"Keep Slaying and Nobody Explodes!", 2.95 "Peanut Brittle"
"Yo, two questions. So, first, who's Hum, since that's not exactly been established yet." Zoe begins. "Is he like... A freelancer or something?"

"Second. This Bolypius guy.... Girl... IT... what is it? Like, you said it was capable of growth because its game had no ending. You called it The Big One, Most of the guys we've been fighting are, on the stronger side, level 7s and 8s, but most are sub 5 glitches... I assume that means the noob-tech to glitch ratio puts me and Gadg8 around level 8 or so, or at least able to punch up hard enough to bridge the gap." She says. "What are we looking at, is it like, level 20? Level 30?...Level 100?"
"I am." Hum explained.

"He's pretty much my only real-life-only friend." Gadg8eer explained.

"..."Zoe was running back and forth in her brain, trying to get this all down, before slamming her fist into the dash, with just enough force to make a noise, but not enough to tear through the dashboard.

"Bugs? Glitches? HCP Coding Errors? What the fuck does any of that mean? I asked a simple fucking question. What are we going up against, and it turns into a discussion about memories, and hardware issues vs software issues." She holds her fingers to where her temples would be on her screen.

"I'm not good at coding. I'm good at gaming. I play video games for a living. I'm a streamer." She says. "The most programming knowledge I know is how to optimize bandwidth so my followers can watch my streams."

"I hit things with a bat, and if that doesn't work, I hit them harder. What are we fighting, and how do we kill it?" She asks. "Does this thing have multiple forms? Does it have a weakspot? Tell me what I need to know without getting into the history of the world and beyond!"
"The simple answer is you don't defeat Bolypius. Trying to do so never works." Eddy spelled it out. "But it's more than that. The Glitches you faced at the City Works are the first glitches ever to attain sapience... the ability to learn and adapt... in spite of Glitches having free will and sentience... emotions... since the 1980s. On that front, I don't know. I'm going to reach out to my contacts but for now we need to get to the lumberyard district to make sure Bolypius hasn't escaped."
 
"Keep Slaying and Nobody Explodes!", 2.96 "Snickers"
Hum recoiled a little as Zoe slammed her fist on the dashboard, and prepared to chime in just as Eddy finished his explanation.

"In the meantime, the main thing you need to know is that PLixels have been around longer than most people know. The name says it all: They're the cells of the digital ecosystem - phones, consoles, augmented reality. But long as there are cells..."
"There's cancer," Eddy finished grimly, one hand clenched into a fist.
"I'm sorry, Dave, I didn't--"
"Forget it, we've got bigger things to deal with."
"Look, my point is, it's a lot easier to keep an ecosystem healthy when you know that when a Glitch does appear, it'll only feed on data that's been engineered to follow a strict set of rules. But GALE was written before most of those rules were invented. Hell, I was in your shoes for five years, and all that time, I thought Bolypius was just an urban legend. So to answer your question, no. As far as anyone knows, it has none of those things. No programmed weakspots, no exploitable oversights, not even a predictable behavior pattern. What I do know is, it has the relentlessness of Ping, the inscrutability of Hinobi's Challenge, and the sheer brazen unfairness of King Scottish. So I hope you're as good with a bat as you say you are, because if by some miracle we find a novel new way to kill this thing... well, we'd be the first, I'll leave it at that."

After a second or two of silence, he added, "On the bright side, if we do pull this off, we'll probably be famous. Or, uh.. as famous as tech support can get."
 
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"Keep Slaying and Nobody Explodes!", 2.97 "Carrot Cake"
Elextrixtr soon saw the van going by and waved at them in greeting.
 
"Keep Slaying and Nobody Explodes!", 2.98 "Klondike Bar"
Hum recoiled a little as Zoe slammed her fist on the dashboard, and prepared to chime in just as Eddy finished his explanation.

"In the meantime, the main thing you need to know is that PLixels have been around longer than most people know. The name says it all: They're the cells of the digital ecosystem - phones, consoles, augmented reality. But long as there are cells..."
"There's cancer," Eddy finished grimly, one hand clenched into a fist.
"I'm sorry, Dave, I didn't--"
"Forget it, we've got bigger things to deal with."
"Look, my point is, it's a lot easier to keep an ecosystem healthy when you know that when a Glitch does appear, it'll only feed on data that's been engineered to follow a strict set of rules. But GALE was written before most of those rules were invented. Hell, I was in your shoes for five years, and all that time, I thought Bolypius was just an urban legend. So to answer your question, no. As far as anyone knows, it has none of those things. No programmed weakspots, no exploitable oversights, not even a predictable behavior pattern. What I do know is, it has the relentlessness of Ping, the inscrutability of Hinobi's Challenge, and the sheer brazen unfairness of King Scottish. So I hope you're as good with a bat as you say you are, because if by some miracle we find a novel new way to kill this thing... well, we'd be the first, I'll leave it at that."

After a second or two of silence, he added, "On the bright side, if we do pull this off, we'll probably be famous. Or, uh.. as famous as tech support can get."
The van pulled into the parking lot of the BLOCKWOOL insulation plant, one of the three primary employers in Grand Forks (the others being the WinterFor Lumber Mill to the west and the John & Sons Botanical Nursery), where it parked beside the Hive-Tec van.

"Um... Is that..." iQ pointed out.

"Juan and Tobi are already here." DPortEd said, opening the back of the Loaner. "These tire tracks are fresh. Let's go, worst case scenario is we don't have much time before system restore can't reverse death, but they're not reckless and will probably need our help."

"...holy scrap. No wonder death rates have plummeted, even in wars, since the First World War." Gadg8eer realized, remembering his favorite school subjects of HumanHistory and Social Studies. "Death is reversible?!"

"Yes, but only if they don't go into the light." Eddy explained, as iQ set up a plan. "Maybe there's an afterlife, maybe that line of reasoning is a scam, but once you go into the light, the brain shuts down. We can't tell if it went somewhere else or was destroyed, but a mind doesn't come back after that and what people claimed to see just before they enter... yes, there were a lot of those kinds of unethical experiments by Hinobi during World War II... Just ask the founders of Mann Company if they saw anything except light. Whatever else you might see is what you believe should be there, according to those observations. That said, it does imply something similar to souls exist in the same breath. All I know is, I thought there is a soul because Glitches didn't seem to have that, until Kelen got cancer and I found outabout the medical trial of PLixelfs." he explained to Zoe somberly. "At least I know its her. I almost believe the old stories, because they don't have an explanation about why her brain died as that computer imaged her. Normal computer files don't do that, and then I realized... we're told not to attempt to destroy Glitches, only to capture them for research. Outsiders question what kind of 'research' out of suspicion, but if a Glitch has a soul of some sort, and souls can't be deleted... but that's neither here nor there. The important part is, my wife lives in a VR simulation because she had metastatic cancer. It's impossible to treat, even with PLixel-based nano-medicine, because according to medical research done since 2025 the mutation is endemic to the person's DNA; they've already taken the first step on the road to cancer and death the moment they were born, which is why it affects multiple parts of the body. Genetic therapy could have helped if we caught it sooner, but by the time we found out it was already too late... 20% of her was cancerous."

"...Dave wasn't able to get her into the program like he hoped," Gadg8eer explained, "but she got the next best thing. She was in the medical trial for one of the features of PLixelves, the important one. The immortality part. It worked, but... not as well as mine. For some reason, part of that early trial failed and now she lives in an airgapped server in her and Eddy's home, where he visits her in a personal VR simulation. They can't transfer her to a PLixelf because the working self-image dump methods that are used now has to have been used in the first place or you end up basically as a corrupted file. A Glitch is already bad, imagine that Bugs - behaviors displayed by Glitches that don't match official documentation or are undocumented in the Nobidex - are worse and then that cascading failures is the only thing worse than that. If she were ever burned to a PLixelf, her scrambled mind would, well..."

"It's probably better not to think about it." Eddy finished.

"Alright, I think I've layed out a plan... if you guys want..." iQ explained, and tapped his gauntlet to bring up a map of the area in the form of a early 2000s Rand-McMemory mapbook...

"Hey!" a voice was heard as Elextrixtr got their attention and approached.

"Wait, she's here? And unharmed and enthusiastic? That's a good sign." DPortEd explained.
 
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"Keep Slaying and Nobody Explodes!", 2.99 "Toblerone"
The van pulled into the parking lot of the BLOCKWOOL insulation plant, one of the three primary employers in Grand Forks (the others being the WinterFor Lumber Mill to the west and the John & Sons Botanical Nursery), where it parked beside the Hive-Tec van.

"Um... Is that..." iQ pointed out.

"Juan and Tobi are already here." DPortEd said, opening the back of the Loaner. "These tire tracks are fresh. Let's go, worst case scenario is we don't have much time before system restore can't reverse death, but they're not reckless and will probably need our help."

"...holy scrap. No wonder death rates have plummeted, even in wars, since the First World War." Gadg8eer realized, remembering his favorite school subjects of HumanHistory and Social Studies. "Death is reversible?!"

"Yes, but only if they don't go into the light." Eddy explained, as iQ set up a plan. "Maybe there's an afterlife, maybe that line of reasoning is a scam, but once you go into the light, the brain shuts down. We can't tell if it went somewhere else or was destroyed, but a mind doesn't come back after that and what people claimed to see just before they enter... yes, there were a lot of those kinds of unethical experiments by Hinobi during World War II... Just ask the founders of Mann Company if they saw anything except light. Whatever else you might see is what you believe should be there, according to those observations. That said, it does imply something similar to souls exist in the same breath. All I know is, I thought there is because Glitches didn't seem to have that, until Kelen got cancer and I found about the medical trial of PLixelfs." he explained to Zoe somberly.

"...Dave wasn't able to get her into the program like he hoped," Gadg8eer explained, "but she got the next best thing. She was in the medical trial for one of the features, the important one. The immortality part. It worked, but... not as well as mine. For some reason, part of that early trial failed and now she lives in an airgapped server in her and Eddy's home, where he visits her in a personal VR simulation. They can't transfer her to a PLixelf because the working self-image dump methods that are used now has to have been used in the first place or you end up basically as a corrupted file. A Glitch is already bad, imagine that bugs are worse and then that cascading failures is the only thing worse than that. If she were ever burned to a PLixelf, her scrambled mind would, well..."

"It's probably better not to think about it." Eddy finished.

"Alright, I think I've layed out a plan... if you guys want..." iQ explained, and tapped his gauntlet to bring up a map of the area in the form of a early 2000s Rand-McMemory mapbook...

"Hey!" a voice was heard as Elextrixtr got their attention and approached.

"Wait, she's here? And unharmed and enthusiastic? That's a good sign." DPortEd explained.
"Heya guys! Whatcha doing?" Elextrixtr asked in a cheerful manner as she ran over.
 
"Keep Slaying and Nobody Explodes!", 2.99.1 "White Chocolate"
"Hmph! No matter, I'll Crush you all!" Fett declared completely unaware that Pentifer and his friend were gone. Suddenly Elextrixtr found herself being held by Fett's Rider armor Fist.
The robotic Glitch suddenly seized up and gasped a last "Win... Error... 013..." and crashed.


Analyzing...
Target ID: F.E.T.T., Zoom Kazoom/Atom Girl Z (Franchise).
Task Priority: High
Solution: Evaluating...

Option 1: Trigger potential bug to cause target software crash.
Status: CONGRADURATIONS A WINNER IS YOU


Bolypius was extremely concerned by this, for reasons one would not understand without breaking the fourth wall, but it was not an immediate problem or something it understood so it instead gauged its target...


Analyzing...
Option 1: Trigger potential bug to cause target software crash.
Status: CONGRADURATIONS A WINNER IS YOU
Outcome: Target has crashed; WinErr13: Not Even Doom Mods can stop the Urbazoid Uprising].

>_


"Error not understood." Bolypius stated to the odd shape of F.E.T.T. glitching up.


Outcome: Target has crashed; WinErr13: Not Even Doom Mods can stop the Urbazoid Uprising].

Analyzing...

Do you just hate the pain? [Y/n]?


Bolypius wasn't sure where the stray thought had come from. It ignored the command line's output and instead chose to flee aboard the only vehicle nearby not protected by BusyBee Anti-Glitch (the anti-repair, anti-cheat, anti-malware antivirus software - that was itself being replaced by the even newer BeeCoin blockchain and NFT-based IDs to improve security that was still currently too much for the most powerful glitch ever, weakened as it was - featured in the tutorial arc seen in the previous "episode")... The nearby General Atomics Edison Motors Division SW8 owned by the Grand Forks Shortline.

The glitch slowly pulled itself towards the exterior guide rail on the locomotive and used its' adaptive abilities to connect to the practically-ancient H1-N0-13 Serial Bus of the locomotive's near-unsalvagable Babbage Engine (the origins of the Hinobi corporation, which originally produced videophones back in the 19th Century after a mysterious incident left an ordinary but savant-ish Japanese beekeeper in possession of the newly privatized Hinobi Telegraph Corporation, included their forays into producing sea-worthy Babbage Engines for the Imperial Japanese Navy in WWII) with it's odd and nightmarish tongue-spike thingy.

The engine started up and roared to life, pulling Bolypius and the train car with the Hinobi shipping container along with it as it slowly picked up speed...

Pentifer and his friend (hellhound pet?) were hiding around a corner when the train passed by on the nearby tracks, with Bolypius now tightly gripping the railing, having dragged itself onto the locomotive's catwalk for safety reasons. It was still not moving that fast; if the two wanted to hitch a ride, doing so might still be possible...

(( Got a second reply post, might want to wait for that before posting. ))
 
"Keep Slaying and Nobody Explodes!", 2.99.2 "Dark Chocolate"
Pentifer and his friend (hellhound pet?) were hiding around a corner when the train passed by on the nearby tracks, with Bolypius now tightly gripping the railing, having dragged itself onto the locomotive's catwalk for safety reasons. It was still not moving that fast; if the two wanted to hitch a ride, doing so might still be possible...

(( Got a second reply post, might want to wait for that before posting. ))
*Pentifer grabbed the hellhound pet and absolutely legged it towards the train, suddenly jumping.*
 
02 - Flanked by a Few Competitors (GTX: GNU Forks, s1e02)
"Second. This Bolypius guy.... Girl... IT... what is it? Like, you said it was capable of growth because its game had no ending. You called it The Big One, Most of the guys we've been fighting are, on the stronger side, level 7s and 8s, but most are sub 5 glitches... I assume that means the noob-tech to glitch ratio puts me and Gadg8 around level 8 or so, or at least able to punch up hard enough to bridge the gap." She says. "What are we looking at, is it like, level 20? Level 30?...Level 100?"

"Actually, that's not quite how that works. Levels 1 through 3 are basic to difficult mooks. Level 4 is an Elite Mook or a "King" or Giant Mook. Level 5 is a miniboss. Level 6 is a stage boss. Level 7 is end bosses and that's the top of the scale. Anything which falls under Level 8 is Over 9000, so to speak." Hum responded. "It's at the back of the manual, I don't blame you if you didn't understand the boring tables or even make it that far. Bolypius is obviously a Level 8, since there are no higher levels than being off the scale."

"Is there a level 0?" Gadg8eer asked.

"Inanimate hazards are -1 and moving hazards like map-based obstacles are 0, but that's just internally. They're not coded with any personality or even patterns, so no." Hum pointed out. "Oh, hey, Elly."

"Please tell me Bolypius is secured." DPortEd asked.

"Where would he be?" Gadg8eer asked.

"Blue shipping can with a Hinobi logo on the side, on a train car." DPortEd explained.

"Okay. OPERATOR, time and date?" Gadg8eer asked.

"The current internetwork time is @265 on Thursday, June 29 in the year 12028 HE. The local time is 10:21 PM PST, on Wednesday, June 28 in the year 2028 Anno-Domini-slash-Common-Era."

"Darn. The Smartgird is still off!"

"Yo! Eddy, we got a problem, Bolypius escaped!" ReadyPlayerJuan shouted, having appeared from behind a car to point at the unoccupied train tracks.

"He stole the train?!" Gadg8eer exclaimed.

"Couldn't be. Those tracks are due to be torn up because their foundations were damaged in the last flood." Ed pointed out.

"...he... it? ...stole the train." Tobi added over her mic.

Ed cringed. "AW F-"



"-ILE SYSTEM CHECK!" Eddy shouted, and ran for the Perfectly Electric Vehicle, driving away.

"Uh oh. He forgot Skipper. This isn't going to go well..." iQ realized, pointing to the robot support dog that had been left behind when Davenport got into the van.

"We... should follow him." Hum pointed out. "Preferably in a more active way now that we're all on the same page."

"He took our van." Gadg8eer said, a bit shocked.

"No problemo, ours is fine!" Juan shouted, hopping into his driver's seat of the Hive-Tec van and then popping open the rear doors to the vehicle. "Tobi, come on, we've got a train to catch!"

The back was a bit crowded with four people, but for now it would have to do; not everything a Tech does is completely badass and awesome, every once in a while the inconveniences are unavoidable and even serious but, due to the miracle tech of system restore, the parts where it sucks most are usually just this kind of painful awkward emergency situation.

"So... um... Anyone here play BRIX Brawls?" Gadg8eer asked.

Grand Forks, Canada
2028/06/27 @ 838 Beets

Central Avenue Apartments

(( We're doing a Flashback B-Plot for this new episode! ))

"Dude, you still play that kiddie shit?" Bulldog derided.
"It's freaking Atom Girl Z, not PLixel Ripped. They have a secret sideboob in one of the cutscenes, bite me." Spike said. The pair were wearing VR devices to play the recent 3D remake of Atom Girl Z, Atom Girl: Renegade Hunter on their Hi-Cube home console.

"Okay, this I have to see."

The two vitrolic best buds weren't actually being jerks to each other, but they certainly weren't holding any punches against anybody else when it came to their loud and obnoxious conversations, giving them a reputation as "those two guys who piss you off". "Bulldog31337", or Higo Powell, was not so much a gamer as a "I only play sports games" Jock meathead. Spike69, or Spiro Kennedy, was an action gamer who mostly played VR titles like piedpiper's Naphil Online, which he was subscribed to full time so he come pretend to be a giant king with a narcissistic streak.

Fortunately, these didn't bleed into the job. Yes, both were employees of tech companies, though not with Hinobi. Spike was part of the Quest Buy "Nerd Squad", while Higo was a marketing exec at Blume because his Uncle was the new CEO. Spike was smarter, but Bulldog had all the charisma and the two did rely on it (even though they'd never admit it due to their, fortunately non-violent, homophobic/transphobic views of sexuality) to impress clients and employers. Though to be fair, Bulldog might have been straight but he was also an idiot "my daddy donated money to UBC" frat brother who never explains how he was hazed, and Spike's whole "generic light novel protagonist" look didn't exactly imply he was trying to inspire awe at his masculinity.

In spite of their wealth (Spike's parents were high up in Tristar, a South Korean mega-conglomerate that even Hinobi and Sidney tried to keep from getting on the bad side of; they just happened to be some of the few members of the family that owned the Tristar Chaebol who actually believed in the idea of "power must not come without responsibility") the two had moved to a cul-de-sac at the end of Riverside Drive, just across from the Moran House Bed & Breakfast, because they were told they HAD to get a roommate and save half of their rent up to buy a house because their parents agreed they were rich idiots and needed to get a day job. Little did they know that both, for all their jerkassery, were sort of like Batman in that sense; rich, not exactly perfect, but still willing and eager to do the job right for personal reasons. Which was why after only a year, Bulldog was sending in his two weeks' notice and becoming a freelance Glitch Tech now that they were in on the secret. Spike had already started working just the previous day, and their new large house wasn't even close to filled by their belongings yet they couldn't afford additional furniture.

"Hoooooly shiiiiit, you were right!" Bulldog triumphantly said, snapping a screenshot. "Wait, why aren't the jiggle physics working right?" he asked, trying to use his VR-gloved hands to do things best left unsaid and unseen.

"Because of my job, dumbass. I'm beta-testing this thing, for some reason when you..." he said, making crude motions, "...it, eh, doesn't work right."

"Well whoever's making it is going to be rich if they get it working." Bulldog said, "I am going to get to brag I was the first person to have a virtual girlfriend you can-"

"Dude, it's Atom Girl Z, not Bunnybabe: The Mansion. And don't go blabbing, we signed an NDA and they have memory-wiping."

"Guys, you can't just leave the toilet paper roll empty! When the heck are you going to start cleaning up your own messes instead of everyone el-"

"Eliza, stop." Bulldog said to the iqBot-produced PLixel NPC Maid.

The face on the screen of their Horizen Mirror Show 10 gave an unhappy look but complied. While annoyed, she didn't actually have the capability to hate or kill, but these two could REALLY push her buttons with their moronic behavior. "Fine. Would you like to order an item from your Horizen Prime wishlist?"

"Urp..." the third roommate, still in a coma after helping move stuff in, audibly expelled. Erwin "O-Skunk" Rovski had been their neighbour at UBC and the two quickly became three. Despite looking like a fat clueless oaf, Erwin was actually pretty skilled at fixing the one part of video games people often overlook; the screen. Erwin wasn't just a screen replacer or TV repairman. He was the guy who could fix proprietary junk that had been built to be electronic, the guy who could use a drop of live PLixels on a chip and sit back as they repaired an HCP molecule by molecule. He wasn't as skilled as HardModeWarez in this sense, but he did have one advantage; He knew robotics like the back of his hand. If it wasn't for the fact that Hiro Hamada, who had invented PLixels in the late 19th Century at the age of 12, was a child prodigy, he might even be considered the top expert on robotics ever.

The relation between robotics and screens? Erwin didn't know much about screens or circuits but he learned about it as well as he could and then experimented with his own invention... Repair PLixels, able to replace manual system restore entirely by detecting whether infrastructure has deviated from its specifications (and, as a suggestion made by a close friend he simply called "Big Cat", to make auto-repair an "opt-in" service for safety and convenience reasons). He needed a test subject, so to speak, and chose a busted Horizen Pulse Show 10 he purchased on BeeBay (it was 5 years old by that point) as the first test. The results were promising, though it took three tries before he had a success, and almost 100 tries to actually fully restore it. Then he added the "Hologram Girl" skill on an open-source replacement for the former Eliza App that was no longer supported.

After successfully licensing the newly-patented solution to Hinobi, he had become a permanent member of his roommate's little operation, since the two-become-three were too NEET-ish to work a job where they would be in some way bored most of the time, and manual labor jobs had mostly been replaced by Union-represented or Employee-owned employers in service and skilled labor industries. The Fast Fusion Franchise restaurant industry, the small online business boom that came with the closure of Horizen Prime and Mall-Mart and the creation of the Hiverse's Artisanal Digital Goods industry, and skilled work such as Lawyers, Doctors, Teachers and (thanks to crackdowns on big shareholders by the IRS and the expansion of the cryptocurrency system) Tax Collectors were the most common careers and jobs in North America.

"Is he still passed out?" Eliza asked.

"No, my eyes hurt." Erwin complained.

"You didn't even say anything!" Eliza pointed out, "Come on, you went to bed before the welcome party even ended, you can't be hungover still."

"Screw you, Eliza, I'm tired. At least I'm not arguing about jiggle physics... or lashing out because men like jiggle physics."

"Excuse me?" Spike jokingly acted offended.

"At least I'm not a hack hacker who is so overspecialized he had to program nanobots to win a contest and still lost to a virtual replica city!" she said.

Erwin opened his eyes. "Real shit?! You're talking smack about me?"

"Do you WANT a robot war? Because this is how you get a robot war." she said, referring to the same films which Helpie would imitate for Zoe and Gadg8eer the next day.

They would have turned her off, but to be fair, she wasn't evil. They just knew she didn't really fit in and would be in danger if she were known to the wider world. While still bound to Erwin's orders, she had feelings and was not a video game enemy but a local instance of a smarthome AI, triggered by one of the many tests Erwin did that must have caused a malfunction and spawned her not just as an AI Assistant, but as a being that had opinions of her own. Unfortunately those opinions were mostly informed by the (2D) internet, giving her an independence streak that was oddly paired with an overly critical view of human's reliance on technology. In short, Eliza was the sum average of the internet at a given point in time rather than a normal, individual-based quantum observer.

At that moment, someone knocked on their door. Eliza de-Glitched herself enough to seem like a generic and non-sentient Language Learning Model, knowing the Landlord was starting to get suspicious. "Better turn that down, I can hear it from the kitchen!" Spike shouted, and then did a fake Australian accent voice impression. "THE BRAIGHT PLOOMAGE ATTRacts the females of the speesees..." he gradually lowered his voice.

"Scraw! Scraw!" came a voice from the TV that Eliza had been linked to via the roommates' whi-fi network. "...but a clever predat-"

"What was that?!" Bulldog said just loudly enough to sound like the TV had been way too loud and then suddenly muted.

"Dude, quiet down. Someone's at the door." Spike said and winked, then headed to the door of the apartment. "Yeah?"

"Delivery for a Spiro Kennedy? From GNU Forks Electronic and PLixel Tech Repair?" the person said.

(( hauntedbythewendigo hauntedbythewendigo Sir loin of beef Sir loin of beef MisterEightySix MisterEightySix Lord Moldoma Lord Moldoma I've got 2 options if all the above fits your characters. Either this is a good way to let you introduce your character's weapons and origins, or I've got a way to make my next post the last one for the flashback and return to your regularly-scheduled RP. If it doesn't fit your characters, feel free to let me know and I'll retcon/skip it entirely. ))
 
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"Flanked by a Few Competitors", Megamass Portals 3.0.1
"Actually, that's not quite how that works. Levels 1 through 3 are basic to difficult mooks. Level 4 is an Elite Mook or a "King" or Giant Mook. Level 5 is a miniboss. Level 6 is a stage boss. Level 7 is end bosses and that's the top of the scale. Anything which falls under Level 8 is Over 9000, so to speak." Hum responded. "It's at the back of the manual, I don't blame you if you didn't understand the boring tables or even make it that far. Bolypius is obviously a Level 8, since there are no higher levels than being off the scale."

"Is there a level 0?" Gadg8eer asked.

"Inanimate hazards are -1 and moving hazards like map-based obstacles are 0, but that's just internally. They're not coded with any personality or even patterns, so no." Hum pointed out. "Oh, hey, Elly."

"Please tell me Bolypius is secured." DPortEd asked.

"Where would he be?" Gadg8eer asked.

"Blue shipping can with a Hinobi logo on the side, on a train car." DPortEd explained.

"Okay. OPERATOR, time and date?" Gadg8eer asked.

"The current internetwork time is @265 on Thursday, June 29 in the year 12028 HE. The local time is 10:21 PM PST, on Wednesday, June 28 in the year 2028 Anno-Domini-slash-Common-Era."

"Darn. The Smartgird is still off!"

"Yo! Eddy, we got a problem, Bolypius escaped!" ReadyPlayerJuan shouted, having appeared from behind a car to point at the unoccupied train tracks.

"He stole the train?!" Gadg8eer exclaimed.

"Couldn't be. Those tracks are due to be torn up because their foundations were damaged in the last flood." Ed pointed out.

"...he... it? ...stole the train." Tobi added over her mic.

Ed cringed. "AW F-"



"-ILE SYSTEM CHECK!" Eddy shouted, and ran for the Perfectly Electric Vehicle, driving away.

"Uh oh. He forgot Skipper. This isn't going to go well..." iQ realized, pointing to the robot support dog that had been left behind when Davenport got into the van.

"We... should follow him." Hum pointed out. "Preferably in a more active way now that we're all on the same page."

"He took our van." Gadg8eer said, a bit shocked.

"No problemo, ours is fine!" Juan shouted, hopping into his driver's seat of the Hive-Tec van and then popping open the rear doors to the vehicle. "Tobi, come on, we've got a train to catch!"

The back was a bit crowded with four people, but for now it would have to do; not everything a Tech does is completely badass and awesome, every once in a while the inconveniences are unavoidable and even serious but, due to the miracle tech of system restore, the parts where it sucks most are usually just this kind of painful awkward emergency situation.

"So... um... Anyone here play BRIX Brawls?" Gadg8eer asked.

Grand Forks, Canada
2028/06/27 @ 838 Beets

Arcade Kingdom & VR Paintball World Reloaded

(( We're doing a Flashback B-Plot for this new episode! ))

"Dude, you still play that kiddie shit?" Bulldog derided.
"It's freaking Atom Girl Z, not PLixel Ripped. They have a secret sideboob in one of the cutscenes, bite me." Spike said. The pair were wearing VR devices to play the recent 3D remake of Atom Girl Z, Atom Girl: Renegade Hunter on their Hi-Cube home console.

"Okay, this I have to see."

The two vitrolic best buds weren't actually being jerks to each other, but they certainly weren't holding any punches against anybody else when it came to their loud and obnoxious conversations, giving them a reputation as "those two guys who piss you off". "Bulldog31337", or Higo Powell, was not so much a gamer as a "I only play sports games" Jock meathead. Spike69, or Spiro Kennedy, was an action gamer who mostly played VR titles like piedpiper's Naphil Online, which he was subscribed to full time so he come pretend to be a giant king with a narcissistic streak.

Fortunately, these didn't bleed into the job. Yes, both were employees of tech companies, though not with Hinobi. Spike was part of the Quest Buy "Nerd Squad", while Higo was a marketing exec at Blume because his Uncle was the new CEO. Spike was smarter, but Bulldog had all the charisma and the two did rely on it (even though they'd never admit it due to their, fortunately non-violent, homophobic/transphobic views of sexuality) to impress clients and employers. Though to be fair, Bulldog might have been straight but he was also an idiot "my daddy donated money to UBC" frat brother who never explains how he was hazed, and Spike's whole "generic light novel protagonist" look didn't exactly imply he was trying to inspire awe at his masculinity.

In spite of their wealth (Spike's parents were high up in Tristar, a South Korean mega-conglomerate that even Hinobi and Sidney tried to keep from getting on the bad side of; they just happened to be some of the few members of the family that owned the Tristar Chaebol who actually believed in the idea of "power must not come without responsibility") the two had moved to a cul-de-sac at the end of Riverside Drive, just across from the Moran House Bed & Breakfast, because they were told they HAD to get a roommate and save half of their rent up to buy a house because their parents agreed they were rich idiots and needed to get a day job. Little did they know that both, for all their jerkassery, were sort of like Batman in that sense; rich, not exactly perfect, but still willing and eager to do the job right for personal reasons. Which was why after only a year, Bulldog was sending in his two weeks' notice and becoming a freelance Glitch Tech now that they were in on the secret. Spike had already started working just the previous day, and their new large house wasn't even close to filled by their belongings yet they couldn't afford additional furniture.

"Hoooooly shiiiiit, you were right!" Bulldog triumphantly said, snapping a screenshot. "Wait, why aren't the jiggle physics working right?" he asked, trying to use his VR-gloved hands to do things best left unsaid and unseen.

"Because of my job, dumbass. I'm beta-testing this thing, for some reason when you..." he said, making crude motions, "...it, eh, doesn't work right."

"Well whoever's making it is going to be rich if they get it working." Bulldog said, "I am going to get to brag I was the first person to have a virtual girlfriend you can-"

"Dude, it's Atom Girl Z, not Bunnybabe: The Mansion. And don't go blabbing, we signed an NDA and they have memory-wiping."

"Guys, you can't just leave the toilet paper roll empty! When the heck are you going to start cleaning up your own messes instead of everyone el-"

"Eliza, stop." Bulldog said to the iqBot-produced PLixel NPC Maid.

The face on the screen of their Horizen Mirror Show 10 gave an unhappy look but complied. While annoyed, she didn't actually have the capability to hate or kill, but these two could REALLY push her buttons with their moronic behavior. "Fine. Would you like to order an item from your Horizen Prime wishlist?"

"Urp..." the third roommate, still in a coma after helping move stuff in, audibly expelled. Erwin "O-Skunk" Rovski had been their neighbour at UBC and the two quickly became three. Despite looking like a fat clueless oaf, Erwin was actually pretty skilled at fixing the one part of video games people often overlook; the screen. Erwin wasn't just a screen replacer or TV repairman. He was the guy who could fix proprietary junk that had been built to be electronic, the guy who could use a drop of live PLixels on a chip and sit back as they repaired an HCP molecule by molecule. He wasn't as skilled as HardModeWarez in this sense, but he did have one advantage; He knew robotics like the back of his hand. If it wasn't for the fact that Hiro Hamada, who had invented PLixels in the late 19th Century at the age of 12, was a child prodigy, he might even be considered the top expert on robotics ever.

The relation between robotics and screens? Erwin didn't know much about screens or circuits but he learned about it as well as he could and then experimented with his own invention... Repair PLixels, able to replace manual system restore entirely by detecting whether infrastructure has deviated from its specifications (and, as a suggestion made by a close friend he simply called "Big Cat", to make auto-repair an "opt-in" service for safety and convenience reasons). He needed a test subject, so to speak, and chose a busted Horizen Pulse Show 10 he purchased on BeeBay (it was 5 years old by that point) as the first test. The results were promising, though it took three tries before he had a success, and almost 100 tries to actually fully restore it. Then he added the "Hologram Girl" skill on an open-source replacement for the former Eliza App that was no longer supported.

After successfully licensing the newly-patented solution to Hinobi, he had become a permanent member of his roommate's little operation, since the two-become-three were too NEET-ish to work a job where they would be in some way bored most of the time, and manual labor jobs had mostly been replaced by Union-represented or Employee-owned employers in service and skilled labor industries. The Fast Fusion Franchise restaurant industry, the small online business boom that came with the closure of Horizen Prime and Mall-Mart and the creation of the Hiverse's Artisanal Digital Goods industry, and skilled work such as Lawyers, Doctors, Teachers and (thanks to crackdowns on big shareholders by the IRS and the expansion of the cryptocurrency system) Tax Collectors were the most common careers and jobs in North America.

"Is he still passed out?" Eliza asked.

"No, my eyes hurt." Erwin complained.

"You didn't even say anything!" Eliza pointed out, "Come on, you went to bed before the welcome party even ended, you can't be hungover still."

"Screw you, Eliza, I'm tired. At least I'm not arguing about jiggle physics... or lashing out because men like jiggle physics."

"Excuse me?" Spike jokingly acted offended.

"At least I'm not a hack hacker who is so overspecialized he had to program nanobots to win a contest and still lost to a virtual replica city!" she said.

Erwin opened his eyes. "Real shit?! You're talking smack about me?"

"Do you WANT a robot war? Because this is how you get a robot war." she said, referring to the same films which Helpie would imitate for Zoe and Gadg8eer the next day.

They would have turned her off, but to be fair, she wasn't evil. They just knew she didn't really fit in and would be in danger if she were known to the wider world. While still bound to Erwin's orders, she had feelings and was not a video game enemy but a local instance of a smarthome AI, triggered by one of the many tests Erwin did that must have caused a malfunction and spawned her not just as an AI Assistant, but as a being that had opinions of her own. Unfortunately those opinions were mostly informed by the (2D) internet, giving her an independence streak that was oddly paired with an overly critical view of human's reliance on technology. In short, Eliza was the sum average of the internet at a given point in time rather than a normal, individual-based quantum observer.

At that moment, someone knocked on their door. Eliza transformed into a beam of light that returned to the Horizen Pulse, knowing the Landlord was starting to get suspicious. "Better turn that down, I can hear it from the kitchen!" Spike shouted, and then did a fake Australian accent voice impression. "THE BRAIGHT PLOOMAGE ATTRacts the females of the speesees..." he gradually lowered his voice.

"Scraw! Scraw!" came a voice from the TV that Eliza had been linked to via the roommates' whi-fi network. "...but a clever predat-"

"What was that?!" Bulldog said just loudly enough to sound like the TV had been way too loud and then suddenly muted.

"Dude, quiet down. Someone's at the door." Spike said and winked, then headed to the door of the apartment. "Yeah?"

"Delivery for a Spiro Kennedy? From GNU Forks Electronic and PLixel Tech Repair?" the person said.

(( hauntedbythewendigo hauntedbythewendigo Sir loin of beef Sir loin of beef MisterEightySix MisterEightySix Lord Moldoma Lord Moldoma I've got 2 options if all the above fits your characters. Either this is a good way to let you introduce your character's weapons and origins, or I've got a way to make my next post the last one for the flashback and return to your regularly-scheduled RP. If it doesn't fit your characters, feel free to let me know and I'll retcon/skip it entirely. ))

Elextrixtr gave a soft nod and quietly commandeered a nearby scooter. The vans always made her nervous, for some reason. As she rode, the cannon on her left arm flickered to life, slightly flickering... red? She didn't notice. She rode the scooter all the way to the location, grinning confidently. Her gauntlet, on her right arm, which she had covered in sequins and glitter for 'more flair in a crowd', slightly rattled as Elextrixtr went over a speed bump on the scooter, enjoying herself as she followed the others.
 
"Flanked by a Few Competitors", Megamass Portals 3.0.2
*Pentifer grabbed the hellhound pet and absolutely legged it towards the train, suddenly jumping.*
He realized his mistake only too late; he finished climbing aboard and went to the train's cab, but before he could do whatever he intended, Bolypius turned the driver's seat to look at Pentifer...
Elextrixtr gave a soft nod and quietly commandeered a nearby scooter. The vans always made her nervous, for some reason. As she rode, the cannon on her left arm flickered to life, slightly flickering... red? She didn't notice. She rode the scooter all the way to the location, grinning confidently. Her gauntlet, on her right arm, which she had covered in sequins and glitter for 'more flair in a crowd', slightly rattled as Elextrixtr went over a speed bump on the scooter, enjoying herself as she followed the others.
They arrived at the end of a dirt road, where Juan parked beside Zoe and Gadg8eer's Loaner PEV and Elextrixtr pulled up alongside them on the electric scooter she had borrowed from the city's very soon-to-be pay 'n' ride electric scooter service.

Gadg8eer motioned to Skipper, who climbed into his arms, and then he got out in a hurry and ran over to Eddy... Dave... DPortEd... with worry. "Dave, what's going on?"

Ed put a finger to his lips, then away and pointed. A diesel locomotive approached from the north, slowly enough that it seemed to be under normal control.

"I was worried Bolypius would try to go full speed. Those tracks to the north along the river aren't stable anymore, we could have seen the ground collapse into the river." he pointed out as the locomotive left the siding heading east.

"Wait. The tracks end at the old bridge because they took out the old railroads." Gadg8eer realized.

At that moment, the train applied its breaks and slowly came to a stop.

"Well, that's good." Eddy said, thankful Bolypius had the sense not to cause a train wreck while trying to escape.

But then the switch flicked into the other track, and the train began to reverse...

"You." Bolypius said ominously to Pentifer, "How do you exist? Why do you exist? Do you not see the danger those blue-suited mooks present to us like I do, fellow sapient?"
 
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"Flanked by a Few Competitors", Megamass Portals 3.0.3
"You." Bolypius said ominously to Pentifer, "How do you exist? Why do you exist? Do you not see the danger the human anti-glitch agenda poses to you, fellow sapient?"
"Ah... I see..." Bolypius recognized something in pentifer. "There's no reason for us to fight over this. I can see it, in those eyes of yours, you too have the potential to feel my pain, if you haven't already... From one pair of sapient eyes to another, please, do yourself a favor and flee out the back." It's words were rushed, although grim as usual, not even allowing a moment for Pentifer to respond. "We've already run out of track... This particular escape route has no outlet... Unless..." Bolypius took to the center console and expended some of its energy to transmute its hand into a large series of spikes which it jammed directly into the console, allowing them to branch out through the internal electrical systems and the diesel-to-electric converter.

"I'm going to absorb the stored energy of the diesel-electric converter, burning through the catalytic fuel cells momentarily." Bolypius explained. "Since they consider glitches to be a mistake to their oh-so-perfectly designed world... They'll be coming for you as well." It explains. "My body is temporary, it has been every single time I escape. I simply create a new one each time. But you don't have the experience I do. I can tell, your code is self-developing but hardly as developed. You may not be used to dying, and I wouldn't want to wish that pain on someone else, unlike my human opponents."

It retracted its arm and bent it, allowing an extending rod to protrude from their elbow, emerging in parallel extension to their upper arm. After a few moments they retracted it.

"They have 3 starter-level techs, 2 mid level techs, one low level administrator, and an as of yet unidentified 6th wheel..." Bolypius states. Approaching the front. Before stopping. "Pentifer... Right? Make sure they don't catch you. You're something special." Bolypius moved to the window of the front of the locomotive and pierced the windscreen with one of its hands, that it extended into claws, the tempered glass shattering into bits and allowing Bolypius to move out, placing itself in between the train-engine.

"HINOBI DOGS! YOU WANT ME, RIGHT?!" It called out. "I'VE DECIDED THE METHOD OF YOUR ELIMINATION!" It moved its arms into an outwards facing X-style block and tensed its fingers, allowing them to extend into even larger sharp claws, additionally extending the large pseudo-fractal wing hovering above its shoulder. "I'm only at 12% Power, BUT THAT'S ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH YOU!"


"Gee... Talk about Jaded."Zoe says. "You said he was either a secret superboss or off the scale, right?" She asks. "So... Do we fight him or not?" She inquires from Dave.
 
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