One thing before we begin. Time in ReBoot is measured differently than in the User's World. There are many different time scales, but the one I use is Julia-Cat's, with the addition of the cycle. Here is what it looks like:
Mainframe Time User Time
1 nanosecond = 1 second
1 microsecond = 1 minute
1 millisecond = 1 hour
1 second = 1 day
1 cycle = 1 week
1 minute = 1 month
1 hour = 1 year
For now, use this chart only for translating Mainframe time and User time.
Guardians of Videoland
A Captain N/ReBoot Crossover
By: Jo Ann Montgomery
Jo Ann awoke to the sound of a vid-window. She sat up in bed, half-covered in her bedsheets to answer the thin, floating, square-shaped communications device.
"Yeah?" Jo Ann yawned, still half-asleep. She rubbed her eyes, trying to clear them. Her short, brown hair was disheveled, and her pajamas was in disarray.
"Jo Ann Montgomery, User Guardian One: Report to the Principal Office immediately! You are late for target practice!" Matrix's angry voice shouted, waking her up all the way.
"Uh, oh," she gulped, throwing off the covers and getting out of bed. "Sorry, Matrix! I'll be right there!" Mainframe Survival Rule Number One: Never, ever, make Matrix mad!
"You'd better!" the huge, green warrior warned."You'd better!" the huge, green warrior warned. Jo Ann closed the vid-window.
"Reboot!" Jo Ann said, tapping her icon. In a green wash of energy, her pajamas were changed into her Guardian uniform. She grabbed an energy drink from her refrigerater and hurriedly drank it down.
"Pixal; Come!" she commanded. A keytool with a jeweled screen flew to Jo Ann at her command. It settled on Jo Ann's left silver bracer.
I'd better make a portal, Jo Ann thought. The sooner I get there, the sooner Matrix will forget how mad he is. Matrix was really a kind and patient teacher. The green warrior --Dot's younger brother, Enzo-- would forget his anger almost as soon as she arrived. He, Bob, and Wild Card were always good to her.
Jo Ann let her thoughts drift to Wild Card for a microsecond. The golden-haired bounty hunter was Bob's twin brother and one of Jo Ann's teachers. He was also Jo Ann's boyfriend. Wild Card always had a smile, a kind word, a kiss, or a hug for the User Guardian.
Or a bouquet of prism blossoms. Jo Ann looked over at Wild Card's latest gift, a bunch of crystaline roses in a tall, golden vase. She glanced at the door that led to the guest room. Wild Card's room.
He would be at the Principle Office already, waiting for her with Matrix. Bob was probably there, too. Of course, Dot Matrix would be there. She was the COMMAND.COM, or mayor, of Mainframe. Phong would be there, as well, assisting them with his advice.
Jo Ann remembered that her teachers were waiting for her, and created a portal to take her straight to the PO. A gleaming, silver globe, about six-feet all around, appeared in the apartment in Kit's Sector. Jo Ann entered the portal, followed by a chrome-coated wolf.
A siren wailed in the Palace of Power. Kevin, Princess Lana, Mega Man, Simon Belmont, Kid Icarus, Duke --Kevin's dog-- and Game Boy rushed to answer the call.
Waiting for them in the control room was their guests for the weekend, Princess Zelda and her boyfriend, Link.
"What's happening, Zelda?" Lana asked as she and the N-Team ran into the room.
"Security has been breached!" the elf princess cried. "We have an intruder in the throne room!"
"Let's go!" Kevin replied, unholstering his Zapper. He ran back out the door, heading for Lana's throne room. The others quickly followed.
"Where are we, Moonsong?" Jo Ann asked the wolf, bewildered. She looked all around the room. There were many marble columns, beautiful, rich tapestries and carpets. Paintings of people in royal clothes and crowns hung on the walls. Huge, round lights flashed on and off at certain points in the walls. At one end, on a huge dais, was a gold and marble throne.
I do not know, Jo Ann, Moonsong answered in her mind. He sniffed around, trying to pick up a familiar scent. Except for Jo Ann and himself, there was none.
"Wherever we are, we are sure not in Mainframe any more." Jo Ann scratched the wolf behind the ears, pondering what their next move would be.
"Freeze!" commanded a voice from the door opposite the throne. Moonsong growled as he and Jo Ann whirled to face the source of that voice.
Standing in the doorway was a brown-haired youth of about seventeen. He carried a formidable-looking gun in his hand, aiming at her and Moonsong.
"State your name and business!" commanded another voice. This one belonged to a brown-haired girl of about the same age as the youth. S"State your name and business!" commanded another voice. This one belonged to a brown-haired girl of about the same age as the youth. She wore a tiara on her head and held a long staff with a ball on top.
"I am Jo Ann Montgomery, User Guardian One of System Mainframe. This is Moonsong, my personal totem," Jo Ann replied, stoking the wolf's fur to keep him from attacking. "Who are you?"
"I am Princess Lana, acting ruler of Videoland. This is Captain N: the Game Master," the brown-haired girl replied.
Now, Jo Ann and the wolf was being surrounded by several more of the palace's defenders. There was a small, green robot that aimed an arm cannon at them; a blond-haired man in goggles, a backpack, and carring a whip; a tan dog with a patch of brown fur at one eye and a red bandana around its neck; a red-haired boy, hovering in the air with angel wings, and aiming an arrow; A large , rectangler box-like computer with a green face; and two elves. One elf was a blond female, who, like Lana, wore a tiara. Like the flying boy, the elf-girl aimed an arrow at Jo Ann and Moonsong. The other elf was male, and about the same age as the girl-elf. He carried a shield with a red cross on the front, and an elaborate sword.
Kevin and the others took a good, long look at their captive. She was definately human, with brown eyes and short, brown hair. She wore a uniform that consisted of a red jumpsuit, metalic gold shoulder and knee pads, black, calf-high boots, and a pair of silver bracers. Around her waist was a belt of white squares, set in gold. A white oval, also set in gold, was the belt's buckle. On her left bracer was a stange, box-like device with a diamond screen and a small microphone. Over her left breast was a shiny disk, the top half of which was gold, while the bottom half was black. On the gold half, pointing upwards, was a black triangle, and on the black half was a gold triangle. The two triangles, together, formed a diamond. A badge of some kind?
"What is your business in Videoland?" Princess Lana asked again. She feared that this stranger may work for Mother Brain.
"I got lost. I was trying to reach the Principle Office in Mainframe, and I portaled here by mistake." Videoland? Princess Lana? Kevin --Captain N: the Game Master? And all the others. Why did they look so familiar to Jo Ann? As if they had been part of a half-forgotten past?
"Where is this 'Mainframe'?" Lana asked.
"That's hard to explain. Where is this 'Videoland'?" Jo Ann replied.
"It's in another dimension. The only way to get here is the Ultimate Warp Zone. Or, at least, it was the only way to get here."
"Now, you tell us: Where is this 'Mainframe'?" Kevin asked, his gun still aimed at the intruders.
"Answer this first: Are you Users or sprites?"
"What?" they exclaimed in unison, not understanding what she said.
"What are you talking about?" Lana asked. "What are Users and what are sprites?"
"I know what sprites are," the elf-boy spoke up. "They are tiny, magical people with insect wings."
"Not in Mainframe, they're not," Jo Ann replied.
"What are sprites in Mainframe, then?" the elf-girl asked.
"They are human-like people with skin and hair colors from everywhere in the spectrem. They are also called data sprites."
"'Data sprites'? Like inside a computer?" Kevin asked. Jo Ann nodded.
"You are from inside a computer?" Lana asked. Again, Jo Ann nodded.
Lana, Kevin, and the others looked at her, the wolf, and at one another in shock. Jo Ann was from inside a computer?
Meanwhile, in Mainframe, Matrix, Bob, Wild Card, and the rest were worried about their student.
"Where is she?" Matrix fumed. "She's never been this late before!"
"You did vid-window her, didn't you?" Wild Card asked.
"Over a millisecond ago! She should have been here by now!"
"Calm down, Matrix!" Bob cried. "I'm sure she's okay."
"Then where is she?"
"She may have tried to portal here, and ended up somewhere else," Dot said.
"Dot's right, sugah," Mouse added. "Ya know how unpredictable Jo Ann's portals are. She may even be in the Super Computer."
"We had better get to her apartment and check it out. Jo Ann may even be lost in the Web!" Bob shuddered, remembering his own experiences in that wild, untamed place.
"Let's go, then!" Wild Card said. The golden-haired bounty hunter was worried about his woman.
Bob formed a portal, and Matrix, Wild Card, Mouse, AndrAIa, Ray, and himself stepped through.
Back in Videoland, the N-Team stared in disbelief at their prisoner.
"She's obviously lying, your cuteness!" said Simon. Through the course of the encounter, Jo Ann and Moonsong had learned all of their names. The blond man was Simon Belmont, vampire hunter. The little robot was Mega Man. The winged boy was Kid Icarus"She's obviously lying, your cuteness!" said Simon. Through the course of the encounter, Jo Ann and Moonsong had learned all of their names. The blond man was Simon Belmont, vampire hunter. The little robot was Mega Man. The winged boy was Kid Icarus. The dog was Duke, and he belonged to Kevin. The strange computer was Game Boy. The elves were Princess Zelda and Link.
"I'm telling the truth!" Jo Ann insisted.
"Prove it!" challenged Link.
"I don't know how!"
"Tell us who you really are and what you are really doing here!" Lana commanded. The weapons were aimed more threatingly at Jo Ann and Moonsong now.
"I've already told you!"
"Pshaw!" scoffed Simon. "Her cuteness doesn't believe a word of that ridiculous story!"
"Nothing more to say, then," Jo Ann replied in a calmer voice. "I've told you the truth as I know it and I have no way in the Net that I can prove it to you."
"Pixal; Laser!" Jo Ann suddenly commanded. The device on her wrist morphed, changing itself into a pistol. With sure, precise aiming --taught to her by Matrix, himself-- Jo Ann fired seven times. Six weapons flew out of their owners' hands without hurting the people holding them. The seventh disabled Mega Man's blaster cannon. They stared at her in shock. Duke and Game Boy backed away, suddenly very wary of this woman and her wolf.
"Listen to me!" she commanded, with authority that they had yet to have heard from her. "I've told you the truth. I came here by accident from the system of Mainframe, inside a computer. I got lost. I mean you no harm, but I will defend myself and my friend. Now, you can believe the story I have told you, or not. It doesn't really matter. I just want to go home."
They stared at each other, neither side wanting to give in to the other. Jo Ann wondered if they would ever see Mainframe again.
Back in Mainframe, Bob, Matrix, Wild Card, and the others arrived at Jo Ann and Wild Card's apartment. There, they found the last traces of a portal.
"Surfer, do you think you can track her through this portal?" Matrix asked.
"Sure thing, mate," the Web Surfer replied. Pooling their powers, Bob and Ray recreated the portal. The rescue team stepped through, hoping to reach Jo Ann and Moonsong in time.
In Videoland, the N-Team watched as a silver ball formed behind Jo Ann and Moonsong. They stared in open-mouthed amazement as several people stepped out of it. A tall, green man with short, dark-green hair was first. Following him was a blue man with gold-chrome hair. Both of these men were carring large guns. Behind them came a yellow-skinned man in a surfer's wetsuit and wearing goggles. Then came two women: An orange-skinned, aqua-haired warrior carring a trident, and a purple-skinned, sword-weilding amazon with glowing, neon-red hair. Last of all came another man. He was as blue-skinned as the golden-haired one, but had steel-gray hair and was clothed in chrome body armor. Closer inspection of his face revealed that he was identical to the other blue-skinned man.
"These people botherin' you, darlin'?" the golden-haired man asked. He and the others flanked the woman and the wolf, forming a protective shield around them.
"Why no, Wild Card, they aren't bothering me at all," Jo Ann grinned. To the N-Team she said. "You wanted proof that I was telling the truth? Here it is!" She gestured with her arms at the sprites around her.
"You? Lie? HA!" laughed Matrix. "When the Web freezes over, maybe!"
Suddenly, the Palace of Power was rocked by an explosion. Matrix carefully looked out the window to see what was happening. He sensed that the disturbance wasn't an earthquake.
"There's an army out there. And a big brain in a huge"There's an army out there. And a big brain in a huge jar is there, and...oh, User! It has a face!"
"Mother Brain!" gasped Kevin.
"It's our enemyicus!" said Kid Icarus.
"She's the most evil character in all of Videoland!" Simon added. By now, the N-Team had retrieved their weapons, but decided against using them against Jo Ann and her friends.
"I know we got off to a bad start," Lana pleaded. "But if you and your friends are what you say you are --Guardians-- won't you please help us?"
"Come on, guys," Jo Ann smiled. "You know, as well as I do, that we can't go against our programing."
"She's right," Bob smiled back.
"Let's do it!" Matrix grinned and readied Gun.
"You youngins goin' ta help, or are we goin' to fight ya'll's battle for ya," Mouse asked. The N-Team answered by joining the Mainframe group at the windows.
Matrix was the first to return fire.
"Gun! Command Line! Multiple target acquisition!" Small, red crosshairs shot out from the gun's muzzle, attaching themselves onto several of Mother Brain's soldiers. Jo Ann and the Mainframers knew what was coming next.
"Gun! Command Line! Full delete! Fire!" Laser blasts shot from Gun, hitting all who wore the red targets. The enemy soldiers winked out of existance.
"Fall back! Fall back!" cried Mother Brain.
"Yes,"Yes, my Main Brain!" a fat, blue man wearing a boxing outfit and a tiny crown on his pointed head cried.
"Will that get rid of them?" Bob asked.
"No," Lana said, saddly. "They will regroup and attack again."
During the lull in battle, the Mainframers and the N-Team got to know each other. There was a slight misunderstanding when Kevin was introduced as Captain N: the Game Master.
"Game Master?!?" Matrix snarled, his golden eye turning red with anger. "You're a gamer?"
"Easy, Matrix," Jo Ann said, trying to calm him. She knew how deadly Matrix's anger was. "They don't know."
"Know what?" Kevin asked.
"In Mainframe, sometimes the User inputs a computer game. The game comes down as a huge, purple cube. Sprites and binomes caught in the game must 'Reboot' into a game character and try to defeat the User. If the sprites and binomes win, nothing happens and everything is okay. If the User wins," Jo Ann eyed Kevin and the others carefully, "the sprites and binomes that are trapped inside the game become nullified. The sector where the game landed is destroyed and those trapped in the game turn into little slugs called nulls."
The N-Team gasped and looked at one another, and then the Mainframers.
"AndrAIa, Frisket and I can survive the games by living in game sprite mode," continued Matrix. "But that's because Mouse hacked into my icon and AndrAIa's icon and merged the properties of the two so that AndrAIa could go into the games."
The N-Team now looked at the aqua-haired young woman. She smiled and nodded.
"AndrAIa is a game sprite that escaped her game by downloading a copy of herself onto Matrix's icon when they were both just kids," Bob said. "Until Mouse hacked into their icons, if AndrAIa went into a game, then, win or lose, she would have left with the game.""AndrAIa is a game sprite that escaped her game by downloading a copy of herself onto Matrix's icon when they were both just kids," Bob said. "Until Mouse hacked into their icons, if AndrAIa went into a game, then, win or lose, she would have left with the game."
The N-Team pondered this information. All this sudden knowledge about games and sprites and binomes and nulls was something to think about.
Lana looked at Ray. There seemed to be something she wanted to ask of him. Finally, she got up enough courage to ask.
"Mr. Tracer..."she began.
"Ray, your highness," the Web Surfer smiled.
"And it's Lana," she smiled back. "Is what Jo Ann says true? Can you open portals to other worlds?"
"Aye, Lana. Both me friend, Bob, and I can do so. Why do you ask?"
"I was wondering if you could open a certain warp zone for me." Lana told the Mainframers all about her father, King Charles, being trapped in the Mirror Warp by Mother Brain.
"We could try," Bob smiled. "Aye. We could, mate," agreed Ray. "An' even if we can't, then we at least tried. That's better than not tryin' at all."
"But let's wait until after the battle," Bob suggested.
Once again, Mother Brain's troops attacked the Palace.
"We need an army!" Wild Card said, at last.
"We've got an army!" Matrix grinned.
"Turbo!" Jo Ann grinned back, understanding.
"Pixal! Vid-window!" the keytool transformed into a flat, square, win-dow. It hovered in front of Jo Ann.
"User Guardian One calling Turbo. Come in, Turbo!"
"Turbo, Prime Guardian, here! What do ya need, User Guardian One?" The N-Team saw a large, sea-green sprite with a blond crew-cut looking out of the vid-window.
"In a word: HELP!" The Mainframers could not help but grin at Jo Ann's words. Their User Guardian was never one to overuse words in a crisis.
"We need you and the Guardian Collective," Bob added.
"On our way!" Turbo closed the vid-window. In seconds (User time), a huge portal formed over Mother Brain and her army. From out of the portal came hundreds of Guardians, all following a big, sea-green man in a blue uniform and gold bracers. Between the Guardians, the Mainframers, and the N-Team, Mother Brain and her army was routed, fleeing back to Metroid.
Turbo and the Guardians left the way they came, through the silver globe. Bob and Ray began their luck at retrieving Lana's father.
From out of the silver portal that stemmed from Bob and Ray's combined powers, an old man in kings' robes and a golden crown appeared.
"Father!" Lana cried, running to the old king and hugging him.
"Little Princess! It's so good to see you again!" King Charles hugged her back. Then he got a good look at Bob, Ray, and the Mainframers.
"Who are these people?" he asked.
"These are our friends from Mainframe, your majasty," Kevin explained. He introduced everyone to the king.
"And Bob and Ray openned the warp zone and freed you," Lana smiled.
"Then it is you I must thank for freeing me. And all of you for defending my kingdom."
"We're happy that we could help, your majasty," Bob smiled. "But now, we must be getting back to Mainframe. We have our own world to defend. And our original mission here was to retrieve our lost friend." Bob smiled at Jo Ann, who was in Wild Card's arms.
Now, the Mainframers and the N-Team said their good-byes.
"Think about what we told you earlier, Kevin," Bob requested as he shook hands with the young hero.
"We will. Although, once you're hooked, it's hard to stop."
"Don't I know it!" Matrix grinned.
"We began as strangers, nearly turned into enemies, joined forces as allies, and, now, we part as friends. All in the same day, too!" Jo Ann smiled. She shook hands with Zelda and Link. Then, she looked at Mega Man. "I hope I didn't damage your cannon permanently, Mega Man."
"Don't worry, Jo Ann," the little, green robot smiled. "Mouse and AndrAIa fixed me up as good as new." He shared a hand-clasp with the User Guardian.
"We'd better go. Maybe we'll see you again sometime," Bob said, as he and Ray recreated the portal. All the Mainframers left through the portal, with Bob and Ray bringing up the rear in order to close it afterwards.
"Happy journy, friends!" The N-Team called after them. Then, the silver ball shrank and disappeared.
"Look!" cried Link. Everyone looked to where the elf-youth was pointing. On the wall was the outline of a stylized mouse. It did not take a genius to figure out that the little drawing was the calling card of Mouse.
Back in Mainframe, in Jo Ann's apartment, Matrix was discussing the missed target practice.
"But I had targeting practice today!" Jo Ann complained. "Kevin told you that I shot their weapons out of their hands and disabled Mega Man's arm cannon!"
"Yeah, but you still missed target practice with me! I want you at the Principle Office tomorrow morning - on time! We'll make up what you missed today."
"Wrong, Matrix," Bob said. "She's with me tomorrow. We have to practice controlling her portals, or she'll disappear into another dimension. You can have the second after tomorrow."
"Wait-a-nano...I have Jo Ann that second, remember?" Wild Card put in.
"She has to make up today's lesson!"
"We need to help her control her portals first. Do you want to lose her again?"
"TWEEET!" Mouse put her pinkies in her mouth and whistled. Bob, Matrix, and Wild Card stopped arguing and looked over at her.
"You three can argue all ya want over who gets Jo Ann when. But do it somewhere else, will ya? The poor girl's trying to sleep!" The hacker jerked a thumb back over her shoulder. When Bob, Matrix, and Wild Card looked behind Mouse, they saw that Jo Ann had fallen on her bed and was fast asleep. One-by-one, her friends quietly left the apartment. Wild Card remained behind. He went over to Jo Ann and tucked her into bed. He kissed her lightly on the lips, then went to his own room to settle in for some downtime.
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