Chapter 1: Prologue
A young girl sits in from of a television, waiting for the intro to pass. The upbeat intro continues to play, the small girl jumps up and down, waiting for it to finish and play the episode of her favorite TV show. Poorly animated people appeared flying across the screen, fighting a red woman and blue man. The young girl's hands frantically shook up and down in excitement.
"Haven't you watched enough Reboot Michaela?" The young girl's mom shouted from the kitchen that connected to the television room.
"No! I want to get to where Hack and Slash help Silus!" Michaela yelled back, jumping up and down.
The fighting continues, and soon enough the episode ends. The credits roll, and the DVD finishes. Michaela goes and takes out the disc, going to put in another one when her mother stops her.
"Come on now, time for you to go take a nap," Her mother said.
"Mom! This next episode is the best! Hexadecimal is the coolest and she's got a larger part in this one!" Michaela pouted, trying to pull herself back to the television, "Please! Reboot is my favorite show!"
"Not now darling, you need to rest. You can watch Bob and the gang beat Megabyte and Hexadecimal later," her mom said dragging Michaela off.
Michaela sighed and lay down in her bed to take a nap, "I wish that I could be a part of Reboot... all the games and fighting and friends... it's so cool. I wish..."
She fell asleep on that wish, and dreamed.
Michaela entered her high school, waiting in front of the cafeteria on the benches that she and her friends usually took possession of before school started. She was playing on her DS a Pokémon game. Pokémon wasn't her favorite, but her friends said that playing Pokémon was a necessity. Michaela had bright blue-grey eyes, curly light red hair that went to her shoulders and freckles that covered her arms, legs, and face. She was absorbed in her game until her friend had shouted "HEY THERE NERD!" across the hall. Michaela looked up to see her friend with dark brown hair and eyes walk over.
"Hey there shorty. And honestly if anyone's a nerd it's you, how do you remember all those item names in League?" Michaela mocked, lightly hitting her shorter friend on the arm.
"Have you heard yourself talk about the illogical abilities of some game mechanics? Or heard yourself rant about any of your favorite games? Honestly I mean you're playing one now!" She laughed, pushing Michaela away.
"Because they are interesting. And videogames are an amazing way to pass time," Michaela says sticking out her tongue, "You ready for the field trip to the mall today Kiara?"
"Yup! Glad that we get to go to the mall and practice our Spanish," Kiara said.
"I'm glad this is the last required year for Spanish class," Michaela sighed.
"See you at lunch then!" Kiara said as the bell rang and they went their separate ways.
They continued on their day until they had to walk over to the mall for Spanish class. They meet up in front of the school with the rest of the Spanish students and the teachers, waiting for the time to go. The two friends stayed in the back of the group, not wanting to really talk to the rest of their classmates. They were crossing the sidewalk when a truck barreled down the street at the two of them. Michaela pushed Kiara out of the way, and got hit by the truck.
Head pounding, eyes blurry, what was she seeing? Michaela writhed in pain as she struggled to breath correctly, her ribs hurting. Was she awake or asleep? Where was she? She didn't know, but her ears rang and she was laying down, asleep. When was the last time she went to sleep in the middle of the day? Oh ya... it was always after watching Reboot... that was always her favorite show... She wondered in she'd have another dream about Reboot such as she would as a child.
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Chapter 2: Enter Into The Mainframe
Michaela wakes up without any memory of how she got to where she was, but one thing was for sure: she wasn’t in the real world anymore.
Enter Into The Mainframe
The pain slowly subsided, the pounding and aching, and the tension that made her limbs hug herself so tightly. Her heavy breathing slowly returned to normal, and once she could think clearly, she opened her eyes. Michaela’s unfurling of her limbs from her body helped to see the wild variety of things that existed around her... the tall grey buildings stretching on for an eternity upwards.
“What the...” Michaela silently gasped as she took in the sights.
The multiple floating layers far on the horizon of the grey buildings were bright greens, with many white pipe-like things crisscrossing the sky. Taller white topped buildings were to her right. Familiarity struck her as she saw at first a tall snake looking building, and then a large white sphere, with a smaller sphere floating above it. The sounds of city bustle yet also technological whistle and echoed in the background. Electricity hummed, feet pattered down pavement from blocks away, and Michaela swore she could hear a steady small vibration below her feet.
“I... this can’t be real,” She said as she looked around more, taking in the disbelief, “This literally CAN’T be real. Mainframe... it’s a fictional city in a fictional tv show.”
Michaela’s voice slowly degraded to a whisper as the realization hit her. Either she was crazy, or something happened. That made her think, why was everything hurting earlier? Was she still biological in this computer program? Was this even a computer program? Why couldn’t she remember how she got here? Well, the biological part she could solve easily, computers can’t bleed. How many weeks ago had she skinned her arm? Michaela couldn’t recount, and knew she wouldn’t, but maybe she could tear off some skin... and if she bled she’d know she was still human. Would it even matter though?
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sounds of something coming closer. Michaela stopped thinking and instead looked around. There was a doorway she could hide inside until they, whoever they were, passed. Sprinting for the door, and tripping into the abandoned building, she landed hard on her arms. She heard the sounds coming closer and rolled to the walled side of the building. Sounds could be heard now. They were louder, and defiantly familiar.
“You’ve got him!”
“No, you’ve got him!”
A laugh. A man’s laugh. A zooming sound pass the building, then two more. Continued yelling and laughing at the two as they passed. Peeking from the doorway, the flash of blue-red-blue held no mistake.
“That was Hack and Slash chasing Bob... wasn’t it,” At this point Michaela realized and knew, heavy hearted, that something was wrong.
So very wrong. She was wearing her favorite hoodie (a warm hoodie designed to look like Deadpool’s suit) with her favorite pair of jeans (loose yet fit well) and black running shoes. Michaela felt like there would be a lot of that. Luckily she had pulled up the sleeves of her hoodie already, and the red skin pulsing from the pain of hitting the floor affirmed that she was a flesh-and-blood human.
“I couldn’t tell relative distance from either the Principal Office or Megabyte’s lair... but it’s probably better not to get involved with anything until I remember something,” Michaela sighed, looking down the streets left and right before sprinting off to the opposite direction that the three went.
Her mind was racing, what would she do about this? She didn’t know how to leave since she didn’t know how she got here. There are multiple villains and heroes here, both that might not (and would most likely not) understand her plight. She was far from home, with no way home. Her thoughts of the tortures she might have to endure (dehydration, starving, lack of sleep, bleeding out, how does a computer help with those?) skidded to a halt as she had passed her second intersection. She pressed her back against the wall as two of Megabyte’s men passed her in high speed.
“...Anomaly,” was all she heard from one of their mouths.
She took her time, waiting until they were another street up before bolting across the road. Was it always this dark and dreary when she watched Reboot? At least Megabyte’s sector, though she didn’t think that this was. She seemed to be running in an endless labyrinth, not knowing where she was. Rushing pass streets and intersections and hiding from patrols she felt she was getting lower. The area around her darker. Or rather, it felt like someone dipped the brightness down on her phone, just enough she could see, but it was noticeable that it wasn’t showing its full power. Michaela had sprinted past another street when she saw a familiar glow of neon. Backtracking, yet sticking to the shadows, she saw inhabitants of Mainframe of all sizes and shapes enter a restaurant. Pulling up her hood, and tugging it down enough to shade her looks, she it her hands in her pockets and went into the Al’s wait and eat.
Sitting slouched in the booth closest to the door, Michaela looked around at the residents coming in and out of the restaurant at slow and excruciatingly slow speeds, as the service too was slow. But then again, that was the whole joke about this place.
“DID YOU HEAR THAT AL?!” A young Michaela would shout across the house.
“WHAT?!” Her mother and father would shout back.
There was never a time were the silence of the house couldn’t be broken through with a good yell of a movie or tv quote and its appropriate response. The Al/Al’s Waiter joke was one of her family’s favorites. If someone wasn’t listening someone would just shout that at the other, and both them and whoever wasn’t even included in the conversation would shout in response. Never angry, always happy.
“DID YOU HEAR THAT AL?!” The actual Al’s waiter shouted over the hubbub of the restaurant.
“WHAT?!” Al himself responded with the appropriate lack of furvor and understanding.
It made Michaela smile, and so sitting quietly she watched the groups of people come in and out, waiting for one. One or two. Those two specifically.
“Want something, honey?” A waiter said, a giant binome with a butch body and deep voice, “I don’t think I’ve seen you around before.”
She reminded her of the Princess aboard the pirate ship... it was a long name Michaela couldn’t remember, but they looked quite similar. But what hit her was the wave of regret. She hadn’t made a plan of what to do if someone asked her who she was.
“I’m good, I’m just here to watch people. I don’t get out much,” Michaela said calmly, giving her a soft smile.
“Oh, if you’ve never been to Al’s, you need to try something. I’ll get you a shake, on the house,” The server laughed and walked away.
“No need...” Michaela said as the waiter walked away, her voice eventually petering out.
Her plan was simple, and logical if anything. Though not her favorite, towards the end of season two, there was the whole web creature mess with Nullzilla, the giant life sucking nightmare fuel black creature, and the whole thing about sending Bob into the web. Bob... she’d worry about him later. The thing Michaela was waiting for was rather the one time appearances of the X-Files protagonist ripoffs, who would be more than understanding, or at least willing to listen, to her story. Running through the plan didn’t take long in her mind, but by the time she had run multiple different scenarios of different outcomes (one which ended with an epic chase scene and another with Michaela having to play the one game she couldn’t play: chess) and her drink had then arrived at the table.
She thanked the waiter when she came by, and looked at the drink. There was an episode where Hack, Slash, and Mouse had gotten into Enzo’s brain via a milkshake like this. Michaela didn’t worry about it and took a sip. It was like having lighting pulse through your veins, the feeling of hot chocolate going down your throat, but everywhere. Her whole body tingled, but she felt revitalized, and not tired. The dull ache from her earlier fall and the weariness from all the running had been erased, and replaced with lighting that tasted like strawberries.
“I guess this is what being Thor tastes like,” Michaela laughed quietly to herself.
She took another sip and set her drink down right as she heard screams of peril. Screams of fear. There were many things that the binomes feared, and few of them would be good to her. Michaela waited and watched the doors smash themselves open. Her stomach dropped as she saw one of the worst possible people in Mainframe enter the door. She took a quick glance at him before realizing, much as he did, that the place was as packed as a breakfast-n-lunch after Sunday Mass. The whole restaurant went quiet as Megabyte, one of the most feared virus in the Mainframe, sat in the only seat left in Al’s wait and eat.
The one right across from Michaela.
At least I got to channel my inner Hemsworth before I die, she thought, as the big bad blue virus stared right into her eyes.