A Mainframe Summer’s Nightmare
Chapter 8 – The Final Showdown
“And welcome sports fans! This is Mike the Fabulous TV, standing live outside the Silicon Tor, giving you the inside stats to tonight’s monumental fight. The Matrix Machine vs. The new improved Megabyte.”
No one knew how he did it, but somehow Mike the TV had gotten an exclusive story about the showdown that night and the television set didn’t keep it to himself either. He invited a couple of friends, who told their friends, who told their friends and so on and so on, until G-Prime looked like the setting to a block party.
Seeing the Silicon Tor back in this part of the sector frightened and intrigued the citizens of Mainframe and those that were brave enough to come out, wanted to cheer on their heroes and watch as they defeated Megabyte once again.
“What are you doing here?” Bob asked the small set. He looked around at the crowd that had gathered and rolled his eyes. “And how did all these people get here?”
“Well, well, well!” exclaimed the set. “It’s our very own Guardian Bob! Bob, I hear your wife and mother of your son, Dot Matrix, Command.Com of Mainframe, is going in with her brothers. Care to comment?”
“No, Mike. As a matter of fact, I don’t care to comment.”
“But really, Bob,” Mike replied, obviously ignoring the harsh response to his question. “How do you think the Matrixes fair up tonight? And remember, you’re on live.”
Bob looked at the camera that was now looking at him. He gulped and tried to think of an answer. “Well, Mike,” he said, grabbing an extra microphone from off camera. “As you know, we’ve gone up against Megabyte before and we’ve defeated him.”
“It’s true! It’s darn true!” cried the tv. “But Bob, rumor has it ole Meggy’s got some help from a web creature. Could this spell doom for our fighters?”
“I don’t think so, Mike.” Bob replied. “You got the Matrix family going in there…we all know how tough they are. Matrix survived game hopping. He defeated Megabyte before. But he’s got help. Megabyte’s all alone in this, but Matrix has got back up from Enzo Matrix and Dot.”
“Yes, the young cadet Enzo Matrix. The second Enzo. He’s made a name for himself as well.”
“Absolutely, Mike.” Bob said. “Enzo’s an hour away from being a full fledged guardian. He’s got a lot of talent and I think he really intimidated Megabyte the first time they fought.”
“Now looking at Dot Matrix, your lovely wife,”
“You’re welcome. Looking at Dot, Bob, what can you say about her?”
“Well, what can’t you say? She owns half of Mainframe. She’s the Command.Com. She’s the leader of this system. If Megabyte has anyone to worry about, it’s definitely Dot.”
“Agreed.” Mike said. “Now let’s look at the challenger, Megabyte. We all know how power hungry this virus is.”
“I think the Web’s changed him for the worse, Mike. I only got to see him twice, but I can tell he’s obviously not in complete control here.”
“Back to the web creature, Bob, you’ve had some experience in the Web. How bad are these little buggers?”
“You know from experience, Mike, what these things can do. It’s obvious we’re dealing with a bad web creature here.”
“There are good and bad web creatures?” Mike asked.
“Definitely.” Bob responded. “The ones you gotta watch out for are Class 6 and above. Basically, if you leave any web creature alone, it’ll leave you alone. I think Megabyte’s been merged with a bad creature. He’s gotten stronger, bigger…who knows what he can do.”
“Time for a commercial break, folks. Bob, I hope you’ll join me ring side for this fight.”
“Wouldn’t miss it.”
“We’re in for a real slobber knocker, folks! Megabyte. The Matrixes. Next on MMF, the Mainframe Mauling Federation.”
The Matrixes were standing over by a couple of the CPUs, thinking of how to get into the Tor. “When I get my hands on that little tv…” Enzo muttered, noticing the media attention around them.
“Right now, channel that into getting that basic virus we’re after.” Matrix said, twirling Gun on his finger.
“I don’t like this.” AndrAIa said, for the fifth time she had been standing there. “I really don’t like this, Dot. You’re putting a lot on the line here. If something happens to you…”
“Nothing’s going to happen to her.” Enzo insisted. “We’re not gonna let anything happen to her.”
“It would be dreadful if Dot goes down.” replied Algernon, sipping a cup of tea. “The system couldn’t handle it.”
“We’re aware of that, Algie, thanks.” Enzo replied, sarcastically.
“It just wouldn’t be cricket, would it, Sir?” asked Binky.
“Don’t worry, guys.” Dot said, trying to put everyone’s fears to rest. “I’ll be fine.”
“What exactly did Bob have to say about this?” AndrAIa asked.
“He felt the same way you did, Andri.” Dot replied, giving the game sprite a smug look. “Not that it really mattered. I was going to go anyways. It wasn’t like he was going to stop me.”
“Yeah.” AndrAIa sighed. “Just as stubborn as your brothers.”
“Hey!” the two exclaimed.
“Time’s running out, you two.” Dot replied, taking charge of the situation. She then turned to the CPUs. “Matrix gave you my orders, so remember. If something starts to go wrong, you get in there any way you can. Make sure you call in the medics. Just in case.” She then turned back to her brothers. “You ready?”
Enzo checked his guns, then placed them behind his back. “We told Megs we were gonna bring it.” he said, grinning. “So let’s bring it.” They turned to look at Matrix, who checked his gun once more before putting it in its holster.
“Let’s do it.” he said. The three walked to the main entrance of the tall tower and found it unlocked.
“Folks, it looks like our heroes are going in to the steel cage to meet their opponent!” Mike exclaimed, excitedly. “Mike TV, Guardian Bob here on the sidelines, watching the trio go in. Will they come out…or won’t they? Bob, your assessment.”
“Mike, I can tell you right off, I’m not liking this.” Bob replied, watching as his brother in laws and most importantly, his wife, walked in to meet a deadly virus bent on revenge. He didn’t know what would happen if they didn’t come out the same way they were going in.
The trio walked in through the entrance of the Tor, all on guard for anything that might happen. The door shut behind them, causing Dot to jump and for the three to be encased in darkness.
“Alright guys, calm down.” Matrix replied, his artificial eye scanning the darkness around them. “I see something.”
“Where?” Enzo asked, trying to see where Matrix’s eye seemed to be drawn to.
“Straight ahead, but I don’t know what it is.” he replied, trying to focus in on the object. “What ever it is, it’s moving.”
“Great.” Dot muttered. “Who knows what that psychotic virus has in here?”
“He has one important thing, Dot.” Enzo said, his determination growing. He wanted out of this place. It still gave him the jaggies, no matter if this was real or not.
Just then, the lights flicked on, showering the siblings in dim light, but enough where they could see their target. On a platform in front of them, sat Alex, tied and gagged to a chair. She was moving frantically in her seat, desperately trying to tell them something.
“Alex!” Enzo cried, trying to make a rush for her. Matrix quickly put his hand out to stop his brother.
“What’re you doing?” he asked.
“We gotta save her!” Enzo cried.
“Hold it.” Matrix replied, keeping his brother from rushing forward. “This doesn’t feel right. This…this is some sort of set up.”
“He’s right, Enzo.” Dot said, looking around them. “It feels like we’re walking into a trap.”
Laughter could be heard quietly, then growing louder and louder each passing nano. “Kudos to you, Miss Matrix.” he said, his voice cold and menacing. The Matrix siblings seemed glued to the spot as they heard the virus speak. “I always knew you were the smarter one of the Matrix clan.”
“He’s right behind us, isn’t he?” Dot asked, nervously, reaching for her gun.
“I…think he is.” Enzo replied.
“Then let’s take care of him.” Matrix said, reaching for his gun. “On the count of three. One…two…”
With lightning speed, the trio turned around and started to fire at the virus. “What the…” Matrix asked in confusion.
The three were firing at no one.
Suddenly Matrix lurched forward, slamming into the wall in front of him. When Enzo and Dot turned back around, they too were hit by an energy beam, sending them into the wall along with Matrix.
“Really, kiddies.” Megabyte sneered. “Did you really think I was going to stand around and let you shoot me?”
Megabyte took a step towards them, firing energy shots at both Enzo and Dot, sending them flying away from their brother and to the other sides of the Tor. The virus stood over Matrix, before pounding a fist into the large sprite’s back.
“Hmmm…now what does this remind me of?” the virus joked. “Let me think. Oh yes, I remember now. This reminds me of our little fight, so long ago.” Megabyte delivered a swift kick to Matrix’s stomach. “Do you remember what you told me, Boy? About living with defeat? Well, let’s see who will live with defeat this round.”
A small ping sound was heard, as a bullet hit Megabyte in the arm, stopping him from another assault on Matrix.
“Let him alone!” Dot cried, gun pointed at the virus. Megabyte just chuckled.
“Oh really, Miss Matrix.” he said, turning to look at her. “Do you really think you can stop me?”
With two huge steps, Megabyte was face to face with Dot, causing the commander to gasp. He backhanded the weapon from her hand and shot an energy blast from close range, lifting Dot from the floor and into the wall behind her.
Enzo quickly jumped on Megabyte’s back, causing the virus to dance around for his balance. Megabyte regained his balance and flipped Enzo over his shoulder. The cadet landed with a thud on his back, then felt the crushing weight of Megabyte’s foot on his chest.
“Perhaps I should move to the other side.” he said, pushing down on Enzo with his foot. “I seem to be blocking your girlfriend’s view of your deletion.”
“Gun: Target Line.”
A small red dot landed on Megabyte’s shoulder and moved as the virus slowly turned to look at the sprite whose voice made the command. In a flash, the virus was sailing towards the wall, a bullet now embedded in his chest. Enzo saw the chance he needed to save Alex. He rolled over to his knees and got up shakily.
An energy blast missed his back by inches, Dot having pushed Megabyte to the side. Enzo stood for a moment, unsure if he should stay and help or get Alex. He debated, but finally he took off towards the platform.
Megabyte grabbed Dot by the throat, slowly trying to squeeze the life from her. Matrix finally plowed into him, making him drop Dot and then slamming into the wall. The fight was eerily reminiscent of their last encounter together, when Matrix had come back to find Mainframe in ruins and Megabyte running Megaframe. Enzo quickly reached the platform and climbed up to reach Alex.
“Are you alright?” he asked, trying to undo her bonds. Alex gave a nod.
“Trying to save your lady love, Boy?”
Enzo turned and was quickly backhanded to the floor. “Enzo!” Alex exclaimed. The virus just laughed as he pushed the girl back down into her chair.
“Do try and be a bit more hospitable.” he cooed, a menacing claw hovering dangerously over her icon.
Megabyte lunged forward and suddenly turned to look behind him. Enzo was kicking the virus in the back of the knee, trying to throw him off balance. Alex tried to keep the claw away from her icon, Megabyte’s movement making it harder to stay away.
With a last bit of effort, she threw him back, ultimately causing her chair to roll back the opposite way with her still in it. Before the chair went careening off the platform, Alex jumped and saw the chair fall to the ground below.
“Talk about a fall from grace.” she muttered.
Alex made a roll to the left, hearing and seeing Megabyte coming down on her. “I commend you on your spotless floors.” she replied, sarcastically, staring the virus in the eye.
“Thank you.” he replied, trying to sound charming. “I usually have the floors waxed every other second.” As his hand went to smack her, a sharp pain went up his arm. He looked down at the long metal pole that now held down his arm.
“Wax this.” Enzo jeered, elbowing the virus in the mouth.
Megabyte lay on his back, energy leaking from his lip. He was able to kick Enzo away from him and stood up. “Will you never learn, Boy?” he taunted. “Your so called brother couldn’t defeat me. What makes you think you can?”
“Because I’m Cadet Enzo Matrix.” Enzo replied, a small grin on his face. “Let some power hungry virus kidnap my girl? Nuh uh. Ain’t gonna happen.”
“How did you get so powerful?”
Megabyte smiled at the voice behind him. “Come to join your little brother, did you?” he asked.
“I asked you a question, virus!” spat Matrix, raising his gun to the virus’s head.
“Web creatures have incredible powers, Boy.” Megabyte replied. “Don’t you remember my good friend Gigabyte?”
“Thanks for the lasting reminder.” Dot said, sarcastically.
“I have a little joke for you, Miss Matrix.” Megabyte said, as he turned. He now stood in the middle, in between Enzo and Alex and Matrix and Dot. “How do you make sure several members of an annoying family disappear?”
The four looked at each other in suspicion and confusion. Megabyte’s hand was up in an instant, an energy ball shooting from his hand and hitting Matrix in the shoulder. Gun flew from his hand and he backed into Dot, causing both to fall to the ground. Megabyte then turned his attention to Enzo. Everything seemed to move in slow motion.
The virus attempted to do the same thing to Enzo, only hitting the boy square in the chest.
The ball of light expelled from Megabyte’s hand.
Enzo’s eyes widened, seeing the blast coming straight for him.
Alex screamed, “NOOOOO!”
She was suddenly in front of him, taking the blast in his place.
The force of the energy ball hit Alex straight in the chest, knocking her back into Enzo and causing them both to fall…
To the ground below.
“NO!” came the overlapped cries from Matrix and Dot.
Megabyte again focused his attack on the elder Matrixes. He gave them both barrels, which they both dodged out of the way of.
“This virus is starting to get on my nerves.” Dot replied.
“I’ll cover you.” came the reply from Matrix.
Grabbing the same pole Enzo had earlier, Dot took a swing at the virus and connected with his upper torso. Megabyte roared in pain, but was cut off by a shot to his face. The virus back spaced, trying to regain his balance. Dot took this opportunity to work on her batting swing.
“Have a nice trip.” she said, connecting the pole to Megabyte’s side.
The virus took the same trip Enzo and Alex did, falling from the other side of the platform. Matrix quickly went to check on Enzo and Alex, while Dot held off Megabyte.
“Does it hurt, Meggy?” she taunted, walking around the crumpled figure. “You don’t look very comfortable. So what was it like? Taking a nose dive off that platform? That’s about ten feet high, is it? Gee, I wonder how my brother felt when you virtually pushed him off?” Dot took one last walk around the virus.
“Do you have any idea how much I hate you?” A slow smile came across her face. “You’ll soon find out.”
Right as Dot raised the pole to finish the job they had started, the floor vanished from beneath her. Megabyte stood over her, laughing.
“Really, Miss Matrix,” he said. “I’m not that easy to defeat. That you should know. This certainly will be a pleasure. I’ve been wanting to infect you for so long. And not the easy infection I use to give, no no. The web creatures I encountered have a way of…intensifying the effect. With any luck, you’ll be deleted before you’ll truly be under my control. Pity, actually. I could’ve had some use for you.”
“Hey Meggy,” Dot said, looking up at the virus. “I have a little joke for you. How do you get rid of a power hungry virus?”
“Gun: Targeting. Full deletion.”
Megabyte slowly turned and noticed the red dot on his forehead.
“You delete it.” Matrix replied, firing.
“No…” Megabyte sputtered. “It can’t be. I can’t be…” His body flickered until finally he disappeared.
With the virus’s deletion, his tower also started to fade, leaving four figures where it stood.
“And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen!” Mike exclaimed, jumping two feet in the air. “Our heroes have emerged and they seem to be victorious!” Mike then turned to his cameraman. “Those are the Matrixes over there, right?”
When the cameraman nodded in response, Mike continued his monologue.
“Yes! It appears our Dot Com has lead us to victory again. As you can see, the Silicon Tor is gone and I assume Megabyte is as well.” Again, Mike turned to his cameraman. “The virus is gone, right? I mean you haven’t seen him, correct?” Again, the cameraman nodded.
“Folks, I just got word that Megabyte has been defeated! Of course, I will bring you exclusive coverage. As soon as I get through all these CPUs and medics.”
“Will you stop moving?” Matrix said, placing a hand to hold Enzo down.
The younger sprite groaned in pain, trying to turn on his side. “Hold it, bro.” Matrix said, again. He felt his brother’s chest and side, noticing the pained expression on his face. “Yep. Seems to me you got some bruised ribs, kid. Maybe even a broken one or two. You better lie still.”
“Are you okay?” AndrAIa asked, kneeling down next to he two.
“I’m fine.” Matrix said, pointing to himself. “But Ace here has at least two broken ribs. He really needs to see a doctor.”
“And you, Lover?”
“I told you, I’m fine.” Matrix said.
“Ask him about his shoulder.” mumbled Enzo.
“You stay out of this.” Matrix hissed.
“What’s wrong with your shoulder?” AndrAIa asked, placing a hand on his left shoulder. Matrix cried out in pain and then tried to hide it.
“It’s just a scratch!” Matrix insisted, seeing the horde of medical officials coming near him. “He needs to be looked at right away. I’m fine.”
“Look at his shoulder, please.” AndrAIa said, nicely. “Don’t mind his protests. He’s not okay.”
“Yes, I am!” Matrix exclaimed, trying to dodge the oncoming medical instruments heading towards him. “I’m fine!”
“Are you okay?” Bob asked, stopping in front of Dot. The leader of Mainframe sat in one of the ambulances, being taped up by one of the orderlies. The binome quickly left so that Bob could sit down next to his wife.
“I’m okay.” Dot said, giving Bob a smile. “Just a little bruised.”
“You…are to never, ever…”
“Do this again.” Dot finished. “Don’t worry, angel, this is the last time I tangle with a virus.”
“Unless Hexadecimal pops by.” Bob joked. He cupped her chin in his hand. “We made a promise, remember?
Dot put her arms around his shoulders. “I’m never leaving and nether are you.” The two were about to kiss, their lips only a breath apart…
“Excuse me, folks! Anyway, I can get an exclusive here?” Mike cried, startling the two.
“Mike, we’re kinda in the middle of something.” Dot said, wishing the small television would go somewhere else.
“Aw, come on!” the set begged. “Just something to keep the viewers on their toes. This is the MMF, you know. We’re all about action and adventure and getting the story live. What kind of network would this be if we were just about fighting and gore? Not a very…”
“Hey.” Enzo replied weakly.
“Hey.” Alex smiled.
The two were passing by on their relative stretchers, each about to be hauled into ambulances, each going to the medic bay of the Principal Office. The orderlies were nice enough to let the two talk before they would be transferred. “You okay?” Enzo asked.
“Just a little banged up.” Alex replied, smiling weakly. “Nothing a few stitches won’t correct.”
“We’re gonna have to go, kiddies.” said one attendant. “You guys have got a lot of injuries.”
“Just take care of my guy, okay?” Alex asked, closing her eyes.
“Hey.” Enzo called, the attendants carrying the two off.
“Yeah?” Alex asked.
“Did you mean what you said? About me…”
“Ask me again sometime when I can properly answer.” Alex said, grinning.
The two were put into the ambulances and the doors were closed. The scene was that of…
“Wait a minute! Hold the vidwindow! Mike the TV here, broadcasting for you MMF fans out there. As you can see, we just got finished with the fight of the week! Spectacular! Fantastic! Brilliant! And that’s just my reporting! When we get back from commercial, I will have EXCLUSIVE interviews from the combats, assuming they won’t kick me out of their hospital rooms. So stay tuned, Money Pennies! We’ll give you the end results. Next on MMF, Mainframe Mauling Federation!”
Enzo sat up in his hospital bed, playing a game on his organizer. It had been a few seconds since his last fight with Megabyte and he was now healing from one broken rib and a couple of bruised ones. So far, this stay was getting on Enzo’s nerves. He was bored out of his processor.
Phong had been nice enough to bring some games for them to play. He had done the same thing for Dot, who was told to stay in bed and rest, something that Bob and Matrix were making sure of. But Phong had left a millisecond ago and now Enzo was regulated to playing games on Dot’s organizer, his part in keeping Dot in bed and resting.
“How’s the patient?”
“Bored and lonely.” Enzo replied, shutting the organizer off.
“Would you like some company?” Alex asked.
“What do you think?”
Alex closed the door behind her and walked over to Enzo’s side of the bed. After sitting down, the two were soon locked at the lips. “Mmmm…” Alex said, breaking the kiss. “I’ve certainly missed doing that.”
“How’re you?” Enzo asked, moving a piece of her hair behind her ear.
“Much better.” Alex said. “I’m more worried about you though.”
“I’m fine, AJ. Really. The doc says I’ll be sore for a few more seconds and I shouldn’t do anything strenuous. Other than that, I’m fine.”
Alex poked Enzo in the arm, noticing the grimace that came to his face. “I thought you said you’re okay.” she said.
“I am.” Enzo replied. “It doesn’t even hurt.”
She poked him again.
“Ow! Quit it!”
“I thought you said it didn’t hurt.”
“It doesn’t.” Enzo said.
Alex poked him again. “Will you stop?” Enzo asked.
“You said it doesn’t hurt.” Alex teased.
“Well it will if you keep poking at it.”
“I’m sorry, Scooter.” Alex apologized, kissing his cheek. “I should be healing you, not hurting you.”
“You can start by not calling me ‘scooter’.” Enzo said. “You know how I hate that name.”
“I know.” Alex smiled. “That’s why you have it.”
Enzo rolled his eyes and picked up the organizer. “Do you really think that organizer’s gonna help your boredom?” Alex asked, a seductive smile spreading across her lips.
“You have something else in mind?” Enzo asked.
“Let’s see if we can get you entertained with some other sort of excitement.”
“Are you guys gonna go swimming or what?”
Kit stood in the middle of the water, looking over at his uncles and aunt. It had been 2 cycles and all three Matrixes had been released with a bill of good health and made sure they took things easy for a while, especially Enzo.
The family decided to take a small second off, the idea actually being voiced by Dot herself. They were at the beach, nestled nicely on the outskirts of the Beverly Hills sector. Matrix, AndrAIa, and Enzo sat on the sand, playing with Sabrina, while the Lans were in the water.
“Hey, you got Alex out there.” Enzo called back. “She’s representing us.”
Alex and Enzo were now officially dating, as of last cycle. Dot had suggested she come, knowing full well Enzo would ask her later. She was family, by association of course, but still, she’d be family eventually. And as family, she got to hang out with her future family. Both Kit and Sabrina adored her, always asking when she and Enzo were getting married so they could start calling her Aunt Alex.
“You know,” Matrix said, bouncing Sabrina on his lap. “It’s such a good second out, I think I’ll take a nap.”
“On a second like this?” AndrAIa asked. “You should be out playing.”
“I’m out, aren’t I?”
“Close enough.” Enzo laughed. “You gotta admit, Dre. With this whole Megs thing, be happy we want to sleep.”
“I can’t believe he’s gone.” AndrAIa said, with a shake of her head. “I mean really gone this time.”
“And it’s gonna stay that way.” Enzo replied. “Megabreath’s gone for good and he’s not coming back.”
“That’s certainly a relief. Now all we have to worry about are…”
“Game coming, Daddy.” Sabrina said, bouncing her doll on her father’s chest.
“Oh, there’s a game coming, huh?” Matrix asked, winking at AndrAIa.
“Where’s it landing, Princess?” Enzo asked, going along with the silly games of a 4 hour old.
“Over there.” Sabrina replied, breaking her play only to point over Enzo’s shoulder.
“Gee, that’s awfully cute, sweetheart, but…”
WARNING: INCOMING GAME! WARNING: INCOMING GAME!
The three adults looked over to where the game cube was slowly going to drop, while the small child continued to play with her doll. Slowly, the adults turned their attention back to the little girl.
“How did you do that?” they asked.
“Do what?” the girl asked, with all the sweet and innocence that every little girl has.
Enzo was about to respond when he heard Alex calling him. “Enzo!” she cried, already dressed in her uniform and rushing towards the falling cube. “Come on!”
Enzo gave one last look at his niece, while stumbling to stand up and change into his guardian uniform. He snapped out of his current and joined Alex in running towards the game. This had been a strange summer indeed and it wasn’t even over yet.
What else could happen?