Archaeological Thingamobobical Part 5:
The Road to Reflection

In the last episode of the RAU Gallery, Nucleo McRaven, Image Arcane, and Loro began a journey to the Acer's Control Panel in an effort to deactivate the rogue anti-virus program that's destroying the system. Meanwhile, Honen Calzoun, Deuce Koma, and Cirrus were attacked by a group of anti-virus drones. As Honen and Deuce fought for their lives, the mysterious Oni child Cirrus appeared to cast a Dark Shield magic spell ~ highly unusual since Onis do not normally have magical blood. The commotion of the battle attracted the attention of the '95 Honen Calzoun who threatened to destroy them with his powerful Megallon warmachine. Remembering that he had built the Megallon to respond to his voice, the present-day Honen successfully commanded it to self-destruct.

Honen: Are you allright, Ms. Koma?
Deuce: *cough* Damn, man! *hack* You obliterated him.
Honen: My machines all have foolproof escape plans. He'll survive, but he won't bother us anymore.
Deuce: You don't make any sense at all.
Honen: Ms. Koma, I really have to go. I think zis Oni child iz what's attracting ze anti-virus drones. Professor McRaven told me to wait here for his return, but...
Deuce: Wait! You know where he is?
Honen: Iz not ze same Professor McRaven you know. He also came with me from 2010.
Deuce: Here we go again with this.
Honen: Look, you do not have to believe me and iz major headache arguing with you about it, but I must go. Nucleo iz attempting to uninstall ze anti-virus program from ze control panel, but there iz no sense in waiting for him here if ze drones are just going to keep coming. If I go now, maybe I can help him with ze uninstall and get out of here faster.
Deuce: Okay, I don't really understand any of this, but if McRaven is involved, I'm coming with you.
Honen: Would prefer if you didn't. You should find ze Nucleo of your own time period and leave us be.
Deuce: Maybe once we find McRaven, he can tell me what's really going on.
Honen: Ugh. Fine. Whatever. Let's just go.
Honen (95): ...

Meanwhile, at the Control Panel
Loro: Hmm...
Image: Is something wrong, Loro?
Loro: The search has concluded and there is no "Danté Razeena" anywhere on this hard drive. Either he isn't really Cirrus's father or he no longer exists.
Nucleo: We have bigger problems. Look at this.
Image: What is it, Nuclee?
Nucleo: Uninstalling this anti-virus program is like pulling a plant out of the ground. The roots don't come out cleanly, they take large chunks of dirt with them. When we delete it, it won't simply recede from the occupied sectors...
Image: It'll corrupt them?
Nucleo: Precisely.
Image: And what about Netscape Navigator?
Nucleo: I can't say for sure what will happen, but there is a good chance it could either crumble completely or at the very least, be severely damaged beyond possible repair.
Image: What if we tried getting into the Netscape Navigator folder as is and then move the program out away from the anti-virus?
Loro: The anti-virus has commandeered Netscape Navigator for a reason - it's blocking off all ports to the internet. I would deem your chances of getting out of there with it alive would be next to nil. However, there is another option...
Nucleo: Explain.
Loro: In this world, internet browser programs are like ships. You two could sneak into the Netscape Navigator directory, and I could stay here to run the uninstall. When the uninstall gets underway, as soon as you see the anti-virus files start disappearing, you would have to pilot the Navigator out of there. It's extaordinarily risky. You could easily end up getting ripped apart if you aren't successful.
Nucleo: But do you think a good enough pilot could pull it off?
Loro: Yes, but I cannot recommend it. If you want to live, it'd be best for you to consider staying here.
Nucleo: I think Honen could do it. Im?
Image: Honen's not the most competent villain, but...he's certainly the best pilot I've ever seen. Hate to admit this, but his skills even far outweigh Robin and Chester's. I think he could. And I really don't want to stay here. We'd never see any of our friends and family again and they'll have no idea what happened to us. We owe it to them to try.
Nucleo: Then we're in agreement. We'll have to go back for Honen.
Loro: I'll wait here, but how will you contact me when it's time to do the uninstall?
Nucleo: Take my pager. We'll call when we're ready.

Just Outside the Control Panel
Nucleo: I just hope Honen's had enough time to recover from his injuries, and...
???: Excuse me, sir...
???: I'm sorry to bother you, but I'm looking for someone and wonder if you've seen her...
Nucleo: Guh-huh!! Um...uh, eh...
Nucleo (95): ... Are you a mountaindevil, like me? You certainly... look like one... Although your coloring is different from any I've seen before...
Nucleo: Um, no, I mean, YES, I mean, NO. I mean... Hai-yai...
Nucleo (95): ??? Are you an escaped slave?
Nucleo: Wh-what? No, no, ...erk..
Nucleo (95): Hey, hey, easy, fella. Don't turn your back to me... Listen now. Sorcerers sometimes make slaves of mountaindevils. They use magic to brainwash them and keep them under control, but occasionally they break free of it. It usually leaves them in a delusional state of mind for awhile. That's probably what happened to you...
Nucleo: No, I was not a slave. I am fine, sir. Just fine. 'Fraid I can't help you. Haven't seen anyone here for miles...
Nucleo (95): Are you certain you're allright? Why won't you look at me? Are you injured?
Nucleo: No, of course not, sir, I'm just... My mother taught me to never talk to strangers! Yes, that's it.
Nucleo (95): .... Are you one of Bazil's followers? What's your name?
Nucleo: What? No, no! My name, uh... Dante Razeena... Yes, that's it. Dante Razeena!
Nucleo (95): Dante Razeena? What kind of a name is "Dante" for a mountaindevil? I think you're one of Bazil's followers and you're scared of me.
Nucleo: No, no. Dante is an old... ancient... Aridian word that means... "not one of Bazil's followers". Yep. That's it.

Nucleo (95):
Nucleo: ...
Nucleo (95): ... What are you hiding??
Loro: Dante!! What's going on here? Oh, my apologies, sir. Is my friend bothering you?
Nucleo (95): ... Who... are you?
Loro: My name is Loro. Dante Razeena is a friend of mine, but I'm aware he sometimes acts a little funny. He means you no harm, though.
Nucleo: ...
Nucleo (95): He's your friend? Not your slave, right?
Loro: Absolutely not! I was traveling through Aridia many years ago when I happened upon a skirmish. This mountaindevil was attempting to escape the slave mines and I helped him. He was so grateful that we've been friends ever since. But he still tends to be shy, particularly when he sees another mountaindevil. He always thinks they're going to drag him back to the mines.
Nucleo (95): Oh, oh. I see now. My sincerest apologies, Mr. Razeena. You don't have to worry about being taken back to the mines. I am a free mountaindevil just like you. But... please, can either of you tell me if you've seen a short, strongly-built red-haired woman wearing a tank-top and goggles?
Loro: No. Sorry, can't say that I have.
Nucleo (95): Allright, thanks. Sorry to have bothered you. But it was a pleasure meeting both of you. I'll be on my way now.
Nucleo: PHEWWWww.... *huff*... Thanks, Loro. That was quick thinking. Im? Where did she go?
Image: As soon as I saw him, I ducked out of the way and got Loro. Nuclee, this place is getting way too freaky for me. I wanna go home.
Nucleo: Let's get to Honen as fast as we possibly can.
Honen: Iz not necessary, Professor, I'm already here.
Nucleo: Honen! I thought I told you to stay behind and rest.
Honen: I know, Professor, but I waz attacked by ze anti-virus and I think Cirrus iz ze reason why. Ze program has mistaken her for a virus and iz sending out drones to eradicate her.
Cirrus: ...
Loro: What, really? Hmmm... That certainly would explain why I've been coming under attack so much lately. I'll keep her here with me for now. It'll be far too dangerous to venture to the Netscape Navigator with her in tow.
Deuce (95): Nucleo, what is going on here...?
Nucleo: Deuce? How did you get here?
Honen: Professor, zis iz ze 1995 version of Deuce Koma. I tried to lose her, but she insisted on following me. I explained to her dat we are not ze Honen and Nucleo she knows, but she refuses to believe me.
Deuce (95): ...
Nucleo: He's right, Ms. Koma. Honen and I are from the future and we're trying to return to our own world now. However, don't look so disappointed. We just crossed paths with the Nucleo McRaven of your time period and he went that way. If you hurry now you should be able to catch up with him.
Deuce (95): ... Nucleo... have you gone nuts? Did Calzoun do something to you? This is insanity!
Loro: He's telling the truth.
Deuce (95): Who are you? And why should I believe you?
Loro: My name is Loro and I can tell when someone is lying.
Deuce (95): Oh, bullshit! You know how many times I've heard people say that? Just because you think you know doesn't mean you always can tell. Some people are extremely good at lying.
Loro: No one is good enough to fool my psionics, Ms. Koma.
Deuce (95): I don't have any reason to believe you. How exactly do you plan to "return to your time period"?
Nucleo: I very greatly and most sincerely apologize for what I am about to do, Ms. Koma, but we really don't have time to deal with this. Please, forgive me...
Deuce (95): Cleo!!
Honen: !!!!!
Deuce (95): Uff...
Honen: ............
Honen: What ze hell did you just do to her???
Nucleo: Relax, Honen! I just used a sleeping spell on her. She's fine. She'll awake in a few hours, but we have to go now. I'll explain our plans along the way.
Image: I hope we don't run into any more of them. I'm getting sick of ducking and hiding. Makes me feel like a tertiary character.
Honen: ... Farewell, Rosalyn. I see you again in 2010.

Nucleo (95): Deuce? ... Lt. Koma, wake up!
Deuce (95): Oh, man, I have such a headache...Nucleo?
Nucleo (95): I've been looking all over for you. Are you allright? What happened to you?
Deuce (95): Nucleo...I don't really remember too well. I believe I was fighting Honen Calzoun and I got knocked out and then... Oh, my head... I think I had a really long, bad nightmare...
Nucleo (95): Well, it's okay now. It doesn't look like you have a concussion, so you should be fine.
Deuce (95): So,'re not really planning to time travel with a strange Oni that looks and sounds just like Honen but acts nothing like him?
Nucleo (95): ... What? Of course not.
Deuce (95): Oh, okay, I guess it was just a dream, but damn! It seemed so real.
Nucleo (95): Dreams can be like that, Deuce.
Deuce (95): I suppose I should've realized it was a dream at the point when the strange Oni made the Megallon explode by fucking yelling numbers at it.
Nucleo (95): C'mon, let's get you back to Chance's place so you can recover.
Deuce (95): Thanks, buddy.

Loro: So now it's just a waiting game... Cirrus?
Loro: Cirrus!! ...

Where are you?

Later, at the Netscape Directory
Nucleo: So, this must be it - the Netscape Navigator folder. Now to find the program itself.

Honen: Sacrebleu! Ze whole place iz crawling with anti-virus drones!
Image: Nuclee, Honen! Look over there! That must be it.

The Netscape Navigator Program!
Honen: Yeesh. Version 1.1? Got to be kidding me. We'll never outrun ze anti-virus in such slow program.
Image: Well, at least it should have a working back button, unlike IE 1.0.
Honen: But might take forever to boot it up.
Anti-Virus: *BEEP!* *BEEP!* *BEEP!* *BEEP!* *BEEP!* *BEEP!*
Anti-Virus: *BEEP!* *BEEP!* *BEEP!* *BEEP!* *BEEP!* *BEEP!*
Anti-Virus: *BEEP!* *BEEP!* *BEEP!* *BEEP!* *BEEP!* *BEEP!*
Honen: Professor!! Ze drones!!
Nucleo: Honen, get to the browser and try to get it running! Im and I will hold off the drones while you work on it. Ready, Im?
Image: Way ahead of you, Nucleo!
Honen: Right, Professor! Distract them while I make break for it...

Honen: *huff* *huff* Gah, still not recovered from my injuries...but must keep going... I hope they're allright fighting alone back there... Ugh, what am I saying? I remember time when I would have only done zis to save my own skin. Now I actually worry about them... What has become of me...I..? What ze???
Honen: You!!
Honen (95): So, we finally meet face-to-face. You seem to find zis ship very interesting... I think dat perhaps I shall commandeer it for my own purposes, especially since you destroyed my Megallon.
Honen: Get out of my way, throwback.
Honen (95): Let me explain someting to you. First of all, please forgive my attack earlier. Being Oni like me, I am actually glad to see dat you survived. But you understand, I must be ruthless to deal with zees magical beings und their associates. So, tell me... Who are you, old man, und why iz it you pretend to be me, hmm?
Honen: Old man?! You watch tongue or I rip it out!
Honen (95): Hm! Hm! Hm! I don't think so. Not in your condition. I am blackbelt und you would not fare well against me. Hmmm... I admit you have fine taste in clothes, but ze company you choose to be with leaves much to be desired. Who are you, really?? Und you better answer satisfactorily zis time!
Honen: I told you. I am you. From ze future.
Honen (95): HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!! You do wonderful impression, und I can certainly understand your envy. But you are not me und never could be. You are too weak und pathetic, too compassionate...
Honen: Torque! Flune! Come here at once!
Honen: Heh. Been long time since I've seen you two.
Honen (95): Sacrebleu~! You must been working pretty hard on dat impression to be good enough to fool them like dat...
Honen: They aren't fooled. Their programming could never be fooled no matter how good of an impression of me someone did. Same with ze Megallon. You know dat. Ze only explanation iz dat I am you.
Honen (95): Opezdol!!! Outrage!! How DARE you make such absurd claim to my face! There iz no way in universe I would ever have compassion for magical-blooded monsters...
Honen: Iz no use arguing with someone who's mind iz stuck in 1995. I know because I would not have understood back then...
Honen (95): Now you insult me, old man? Iz you who does not understand!! Power iz what matters. Zees magical monsters stand in ze way of my glory, und I will not rest until every one of them iz crushed! It iz my mission in life, my purpose. I would never give dat up for anything, anyone, und if you really were me, you'd know dat!
Honen: Missions dat we choose to accept in life aren't always ze same at ze end as they were in ze beginning. Sometimes we don't change so much as we get turned in another direction for awhile...
Honen (95): What iz zis nonsense? You think you are some kind of wise old sage now? Zis iz your last chance to come clean. I tire of zis banter.
Honen: You're in pain right now because of what happened to Leona.
Honen (95): ....How... How you know about dat, you wretched...
Honen: I know it never really goes away completely, but in time it becomes easier to deal with... In time, you'll understand dat... not every magical being iz to blame for it. Many of them are just as much victims of ze war as she was.
Honen (95): Does not matter if they are all to blame or not!! In war, there iz only us und them!! They always have potential to use their magical powers to dominate und destroy us. Dat threat must be eliminated!! Zis iz why you are not me, ze GREAT Dr. Honen Calzoun, because you would understand zis if you...
Honen: As I said, no use talking to you about it now. You just get angrier and angrier. It takes time, maturity, growth, and you must be willing to learn before you can understand. Right now, you aren't willing. I wasn't back then. But change doesn't happen overnight. Iz been year-to-year struggle for me...
Honen (95): DAT'S IT, OLD MAN!!
Honen: I don't want to fight you.
Honen (95): Then you will die.




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