This is the fifth part of a five-part story: "The Web"
Matrix and AndrAIa are not with the rest. Up on the main deck, Matrix is afraid that his hero won't understand his actions. They walk in just as one Web Rider gives the Surfer a hearty slap on the back (for proving that he is a warrior by eating the slimy animal). Matrix's reflexes get the better of him; he pulls out his Gun. The Surfer tells the Web Riders calm down, but his command of the language is not so good ("Handbag... Teakettle... Barbeque"). Matrix walks out and AndrAIa gives Bob a meaningful glance, suggesting that the Guardian talk to the boy.
They talk on the main deck. Enzo Matrix wonders what he has turned in to. Bob points out he is a hero, but Enzo says "I've done ... questionable things". Bob states that they can deal with Megabyte and Daemon after the two of them have gotten to Mainframe, together. (This time Bob refers to the big guy as Matrix, instead of as Enzo.)
The helmsman, Mr. Andrews, reports the tear as being in sight. But just after the report, the ship is buffeted and the tear changes from a steady ball of light to a variable one, inside a fluctuating surface, with random flashes of energy being generated outside it. The ship has triggered some sort of energy trap. A particularly nasty bolt of lightning gouges a deep scratch into the ship's protective shielding. They try making the ship a less noticable target by taking everything offline, leaving only the emergency lights.
Bob declares that this is not the style of the infected Guardians. It's more like Mouse's doing - she was the only other sprite that knew Mainframe's Web address; she's sealed and protected the location. (Bob gets a chance to say his usual line: "This is bad, very bad.")
Another charge hits the stern of the Saucy Mare, wiping out all the tracks to the power supply. They're dead in the water, but the Captain has an idea. Using Matrix's targeting eye, they prepare for the next charge to approach, then hoist the sails and ride the energy wave through the force field around the tear. The sails last just long enough before being burned up completely.
Bob asks for the ship's schematics, but Matrix acts like little boy Enzo
by getting in the way. AndrAIa looks at the drawing of one connector, which
is hard to see in the dark. A light shows up, but it is not what they want.
The spark of light eats through the paper - the entire ship is being attacked
The pixels can't be fought effectivly inside the ship; the Guardian asks his Web Riders to take the battle outside. (There is a slight delay in getting the port open - no power, other than Matrix's brute strength.) The Riders sweep away the glowing barnacles and the Surfer produces a turquoise shield field around the ship. AndrAIa has gotten the engines back online. It looks like they can finally get through to Mainframe, but Mouse had set another trap.
A new force field pops up, shattering the Surfer's shield and separating the ship from the others. The Surfer and the Web Riders are left outside this new field. the force field buffer keeps shrinking, pushing the ship into the tear where it will be destroyed.
AndrAIa calls for a plan. Bob remarks that he likes to fly by the seat of his pants, leaving the planning to Dot. [Wistful look.] AndrAIa wonders why Mouse's trap keeps attacking the ship. Matrix wants to ram it, use the ship's speed to punch a hole in the buffer. Bob realizes AndrAIa has a point, and orders the Captain to remove the shielding. (The traps are reacting to the dead Web creature's scales.) Bob says they won't devolve if they can get the ship through the portal as soon as the scales are down, but without the Surfer, they have no way to stabilize the tear into a portal.
At this point, everyone is surprised to hear noises coming from Bob's arm. Although damaged to the point where it cannot stablize a tear, it is functional enough to argue with Bob. Bob listens, and reluctantly agrees that something is possible, and there is no other way. He tells everyone to stand back.
The top of Glitch turns rapidly and the entire key tool turns gold. Bob says "thank you, old friend" just before giving the last command: Glitch, download! Glitch turns into a gold fireball trailing a helix of green and blue spirals. After 16 seconds of pyrotechnics, a burst of unbearable white light occurs, then fades to reveal ...
A new an improved Bob. In place of the Web-damaged Guardian suit is a chain-mail and chrome outfit. The icon is centered and is now a gold eight pointed star. "We are now one," it says.
Bob claps his hands together and levitates in a yellow cloud. He goes through the Web-creature cladding, shattering it and leaving the ship encased in a golden glow. Bob tows the ship toward the tear, then makes a "Captain Eo"-like gesture, releasing ball lightning that opens the portal. The city of Mainframe shows through it. Bob and the ship go through the portal.
I come from the Net.
I search through systems, peoples, and cities.
For this place: Mainframe, my home.
My format: Guardian. To mend and defend.