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Literature
Gorilla With a Lonely Heart (Prologue)
Prologue
"Lena! LEEEEEEEENAAAAAA!"
"Right up here, big guy! C'mon, quick! Before they get you!"
It was hard to hear his friend's voice over the sound of taunting war cries, laser-fire, and the pounding of his own heart. But thanks to his keen gorilla senses, Winston could isolate his friend's calls from across the dark, neon-lit city streets. They came from the top of what looked like the balcony of a restaurant, where he could see a woman's gloved hand wave him over from the upper doorway. Gritting his teeth and giving a determined huff, Winston broke out into a brisk run on all fours and leaped into the air by using a parked car as a springboard. While the bespectacled ape wasn't able to achieve the ridiculous height that he'd get from using his jump pack, he was still able to grab onto the edge of the restaurant's balcony, and just barely managed to pull himself up and away from a hail of laser gunfire.
"Lena! Lena, I'm here!" Winston huffed after usin
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Literature
A Boy and His Stove: The Outline
Well folks, if you're reading this... it's finally come to this. After several long years, after two different reboots of my fanfic... and it's finally come to a premature end, once and for all.
I honestly feel like crying, typing this. Because goddamn, it's been a wild ride these years. I love the MegaMan Battle Network games and anime, and jumped at the chance to write fanfiction for it. My first attempt, the one I got furthest with, was crap. Shit. Iredeemably garbage. The second try? Better, but still really lacking. Third? A lot better, and ironically the one I struggled with the most. It has taken so long to put out chapters in it, partly because of demotivation with the lack of people wanting to read about my shitty OC. Partly because of me spending time on other projects. Partly because I may or may not have ADD. But now... I just don't have that creative drive anymore, at least as far as this fic is concerned.
And to the two, three of you who liked this story,
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Literature
A Boy And His Stove: Chapter 10 (redux)
Chapter 10: Calm Before Another Storm! Mr. Match's Progress Report!
ACDC Town, Hikari Residence
June 29, 200X
10:00 AM
(Song: Undertale, Live Report: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8z7V6gB1KsY)
"Good morning, Electopia! This is your anchor Ribitta reporting live from my cozy little station in DNN Studios, and I'm bringing an update on yesterday's Omega Initiative incident in Elec Town!"
"Ribbit! ToadMan.EXE here too, reminding you guys to stay in your seats 'cause this is really, REALLY important news, ribbit!"
Dressed in a blue bathrobe, his hair messy with a plate of warm, steaming cinnamon rolls on his lap, Lan couldn't help but feel oddly mature while he sat back on the family sofa, having made sure to get up in time for the ten o'clock news for the first time in his life. And at the same time, he felt a bit guilty. He had known Ribitta and ToadMan quite well: the pretty, plucky brunette and her amphibious Navi had been a big help with saving MegaMan in the past, as they w
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Literature
A Boy and His Stove Part 9-2
Villain Intermission 1
???, Omega Initiative HQ
June 28, 200X
7:21 PM
(Song: Mega Man Maverick Hunter X, Sigma Palace 4: [link])
"Really Mr. Terry, I'm sorry! I'm so-so-so-so-so-so-so-sorry! I didn't mean to let a bad Navi get me, I-"
"And I've told you a hundred times that sorry doesn't cut it, you moron! You botched our mission, and now we're gonna pay the price for it! I hope you're happy!"
"Aw, Mr. Terry..."
"SHUT UP! Things are bad enough as it is, and I don't need your whining to make it worse!" Terry shut his PET off so he wouldn't have to deal with DynamoMan's blubbering, and set it in his pocket while he strolled down the underground base's sinister dimly lit hallways. He was glad he did so, because now DynamoMan couldn't tell just how shaken up he was at what was to come. 'Useless Navi!' Terry thought, trembling slightly while a wave of nausea thrashed around in the pit of his stomach, 'You were supposed
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Literature
A Boy and His Stove Chapter 9
Chapter 9: Cozy Dinner and Good Friends! The Fight Has Just Begun!
ACDC Town
June 28, 200X
6:32 PM
(Song: MegaMan Battle Network 4, ACDC Town: [link])
"Hey, hey, hey! Looks like we're here, you guys!" Dr. Skrenta announced with a wide grin on her face as she pulled up to the blue-painted Hikari household, "So go ahead and get your butts outta my car! You guys have some barbecue to tear into, and I've got a program to analyze!"
"You're leaving? I thought you were going to eat with us!" Lan complained. He was already growing to like this eccentric goofball of a scientist, and she was going to leave?
"Hey, hey, hey! I never said that I was gonna eat, just that I might be able to weasel my way into getting some grub. And besides..." Her smile turned into a disinterested sneer while she cast her gaze upon the house, "Wily's hanging out there, and last I checked I'm allergic to batty old loons, you know what
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Literature
A Boy and His Stove: Chapter 8
Chapter 8: A Fun New Friend! Skrenta the Screwball!
(Song: Phoenix Wright Dual Destinies, Themis Legal Academy: [link])
"So Chaud?" Lan asked as the trio of youths ascended the cobblestone staircase up to Scilab's pristine glass doors, which were crowned by the facility's somewhat gaudy yellow-green "S" logo, "Who exactly are we showing that Virus generating program to?"
"Well, considering that their pet project involves the mass extermination of all Virus-based threats on the Net, your father and Wily are the obvious choices!" Chaud explained when they reached the doors. "But after getting friendly with the rest of the notable staff on hand, I realized that there's possibly another helpful soul who would want to see this."
"Well, who's that then?" Lan asked, to which Chaud replied with a sigh.
"You'll see her soon. All I'm going to say is that I'm sure you'll both get along just fine" He then took hold of the
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Literature
A Boy and His Stove: Chapter 7
Chapter 7: Harsh Words From Chaud! Useless?!
(Song: Apollo Justice Ace Attorney, Investigation Opening: [link])
In the wake of DynamoMan's deletion, Elec Town's chaos began to wind down. A chorus of screaming sirens rang through the air which heralded the arrival of emergency workers, and distraught civilians poured out of nearby buildings. Meanwhile, Lan and Dex stood near the speaker in the town square as they were asked to. It didn't take long for a singular charcoal police vehicle to break off from the pack and pull over near the duo. The passenger window rolled down, and revealed the neutral, cold expression of one Eugene Chaud.
"Hey, Chaud!" Lan nervously greeted the surly-faced boy, his icy glare causing him to sweat a little. "Long time no see!"
"But we saw each other a few minutes ago." Chaud corrected coldly, which caused Lan to stick out his bottom lip.
"Yeah well... you know what I mean!" Lan whined, "We
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Literature
We Can Be Heroes! (Chapter 1)
Chapter 1: Walk Away
(Song: Super Mario Galaxy 2, The Luma and the Hat: [link])
It had been the funnest night that Lapis Lazuli had experienced in her life. Not to say that it had much competition mind you, seeing how the past 5000 years or so had awful tragedies in store for the blue Gem every night. Whether it was being trapped inside of a mirror for a majority of her life, being set free and trying to desperately flee the planet she was trapped on with a broken gem, being captured and tortured by the ones that she were supposed to be safe around, or having to imprison herself in a fusion with a sadistic thug for months on end to protect the only one she cared about... saying that Lapis wasn't a stranger to bad nights (and days, for that matter) would certainly be underselling it.
But yet, this was a genuinely fun night indeed. After being freed from Malachite, Lapis had been dead set on leaving Earth. The lush blu
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Literature
We Can Be Heroes! (Steven Universe AU Fic)
Prologue: I'm Blue
(Song: M&L Bowser's Inside Story, Deep Castle: [link])
Organic Life. Just the mere thought of those words and the inferior life forms they were attached to made Blue Diamond want to retch. If she had lacked considerable self-control, she was certain that her normally stoic, straight face would be twisted into an expression of pure disgust and hatred. But considering that she was surrounded by all sorts of rank-and-file Gems who looked to her as a pillar of stoicism and cool-headedness, she decided to take a deep breath and repress those powerful emotions for her own sake. After the incident that went down between her comrade and sister Yellow Diamond and a particularly mouthy and rebellious Peridot, she certainly didn't need to be the next Diamond to lose face with her followers. Besides, it wouldn't be that long before she got to take out her disgust on some organics on the planet sh
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Literature
A Boy and His Stove: Chapter 6
Chapter 6: Defeat Him! The Innocent Electric Bomb, DynamoMan!
(Song: Wario Master of Disguise, Count Cannoli theme: [link])
"DYNAMO CRUSHER!"
"Whoa!"
StoveMan dove out of the way just in time. Had he been a second late, he would have been crushed flat by DynamoMan's attack. And it would have hurt, too: DynamoMan's impact cracked the tiles he landed on, and caused a large amount of electricity to spark dangerously around him in a 3-inch radius.
"Geez, that kid's packing some serious power!" StoveMan whistled, feeling equal parts horrified and impressed. "Too bad it ain't gonna cut it against me!" StoveMan cackled while he bent over and focused. The flames on his head burned brighter and brighter, and it wasn't lost on Terry either.
"DynamoMan, get up! I said GET UP, you're gonna get hit!"
DynamoMan had been spending the last few seconds slowly recovering from the powerful attack he had unleashed earlier, which
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Literature
A Boy and His Stove: Chapter 5
Chapter 5: An Old Foe's Return! The Petty Revenge of Jomon's Heir!
Elec Town, Elec World Shopping Mall
June 28, 200X
2:34 PM
(Song: Mega Man Star Force 3, Incident Occurance: [link])
"Dex, what in the world is going on?!" Lan asked, absolutely flabbergasted by all the chaos erupting around the mall. It was unlike anything he had ever seen: all these electrical devices going nuts for absolutely no reason defied any sense of logic or reason. It was as if multiple net crimes were happening at once as opposed to them happening one at a time, and was far too much for him to handle. Where would he even begin? With the flame-spitting ovens? Or perhaps the screwy air conditioning? And that's not to mention all the other electrical devices connected to the internet such as the cars and escalator going completely haywire.
Dex however wasn't quite as worried or flustered, and kept a cool head while he and Lan remained in
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Literature
A Boy and His Stove: Chapter 4
Chapter 4: Palling Around With Dex! Mall Mates!
(Song: Phoenix Wright Justice For All, Toccata and Fugue: [link])

"Geez... oh geez... how did it come to this?!" Lan raced down the empty datascape, desperately running as fast as his legs could carry him. From behind he could hear the towering footsteps of something big... something angry.
"GIVE UP, LAN! YOU CAN'T RUN FOREVER!" the powerful, bellowing voice from behind shook Lan's body to the core. As tempting as it was, he refused to look back and continued running. "NO MATTER WHAT, THERE'S NO ESCAPING FROM WHAT YOU'VE DONE!"
"Grr, he's getting closer!" Lan grit his teeth and tried his best to pick up the pace, only going somewhat faster than before as he had already reached near-full speed. He continued his desperate sprint, only to suddenly stop in a mad panic. He had reached a drop-off point that revealed nothing but an empty abyss that stretched ou
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Literature
Chapter 3.5
ACDC Town
June 27, 200X
3:01 PM
(Song: MegaMan Battle Network 2, ACDC Town: [link])
Lan and Dex were approaching the Hikari household while the lovely afternoon sun shone down. The larger boy was in great spirits, and walked with a confident swagger in his step while the smaller had a dreadfully exasperated look on his face.
"Man, I can't WAIT to tell everyone that I actually did it! I finally beat Lan Hikari! I FREAKING BEAT HIM!" Dex whooped while Lan sighed.
"Dex, you do realize that I was using a completely new Navi that hates listening to common sense, right? You know that if I still had MegaMan, GutsMan would have lost!"
Now, it was Dex's turn to feel bummed out as he did a complete 180 from his original upbeat attitude and hung his head down in shame. "Yeah... I know." he sighed, "But can't ya just give me this? Come on Lan, be a pal and gimme credit just this once!
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Literature
Beach Summer Fun Buddies! (Long SU Oneshot)
Ah, Beach City: the pride of Delmarva! A huge tourist trap in an otherwise unremarkable state, famous for both its beautiful beaches (hence the name) and its magical guardians, the Crystal Gems! During the busy summer months, tourists are often torn on how to spend their time: most as you would expect, hitting the beach. Others swing by the city's surplus of fantastic restaurants: the Fish Stew Pizza, The Big Donut, the Beach Citywalk Fries, you name it! And others still like to poke around the enormous cliff face at the far end of the peninsula to take in the beauty and mystery of the ancient Crystal Temple. But while most tourists and locals were caught up in the summertime hustle and bustle, one boy and his father had other plans on there minds...
"Hey Dad, do you see Lapis anywhere?!" Steven asked as he scanned through the huge crowd flocking to the boardwalk's side of the beach, the pair of binoculars he bought along proving so far to be of no help whatsoever.
"Ah... nope! I'm sor
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Literature
A Boy and His Stove: Chapter 3
Chapter 3:  A Gutsy Sparing Match! Dex Isn't Playing Around!
Hikari Residence, Toilet Network
June 26, 200X
5:43 PM
(Song: MegaMan Network Transmission, Relaxation: [link])
"Alright, time ta close up shop! SUCK ON THIS!" StoveMan enveloped himself in fire and propelled himself like a missile, completely obliterating the group of Mettaurs he plowed through before slamming into a wall and coming to a halt. "Heh, piece'a cake." StoveMan sneered as he dusted his arms off. "Hey, we got anymore Viruses ta bust?"
"Nope! That just about does it!" Lan sighed in relief. As he had predicted, just about every device connected to the Net in his house was infested with Viruses, ranging from small gatherings of three or four to large mobs of twenty and more. Thankfully it was only Mettaurs and not anything stronger, which made the process of busting them go pretty smoothly for the most part as StoveMan easily bulldozed through
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Literature
The Blame Game (Steven Universe One Shot)
'Aw man, what to do, what to do...' it was quite late at night, and Amethyst was bored out of her mind. Then again, the purple Gem always had trouble staving off boredom during her nights at the barn. She'd sleep, but she felt far too wound up to do so. She'd watch the barn's dusty old TV, but with the exception of two channels that aired nothing but jewelry television there was nothing but static, and the only video tapes laying around were those dumb Camp Pining Hearts episodes that Peridot's obsessive watching turned unbearable. Heck, she wouldn't even mind tinkering with the drill if it wasn't for the fact that the real tech savvy Gems all had other business to attend to. Peridot was binge-watching her stupid show while Garnet and Pearl spent the long hours of the night meditating, something Amethyst just never had the patience for.
"Man, this BLOWS!" Amethyst growled as she flopped onto her back and pounded the barn's wooden floor.
"HEY! Keep it down, I'm trying to wat
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Activity


Prologue

"Lena! LEEEEEEEENAAAAAA!"

"Right up here, big guy! C'mon, quick! Before they get you!"

It was hard to hear his friend's voice over the sound of taunting war cries, laser-fire, and the pounding of his own heart. But thanks to his keen gorilla senses, Winston could isolate his friend's calls from across the dark, neon-lit city streets. They came from the top of what looked like the balcony of a restaurant, where he could see a woman's gloved hand wave him over from the upper doorway. Gritting his teeth and giving a determined huff, Winston broke out into a brisk run on all fours and leaped into the air by using a parked car as a springboard. While the bespectacled ape wasn't able to achieve the ridiculous height that he'd get from using his jump pack, he was still able to grab onto the edge of the restaurant's balcony, and just barely managed to pull himself up and away from a hail of laser gunfire.

"Lena! Lena, I'm here!" Winston huffed after using a tactical combat roll to safely enter the restaraunt's empty top floor, where his scrawny, spiky haired sister-in-arms Lena "Tracer" Oxton was pressing her back against a wall and breathing heavily.

"Oh thank God you made it out of there alive, Winston!" Tracer huffed as she nervously eyeballed the staircase leading to the ground floor, "Those savages have been kicking our behinds like crazy!"

"You're not kidding. The way they ganged up on Peter, ambushed Carlito, and sniped Timothy?! They're downright merciless!" Winston anguished, gesturing wildly while his eyes widened in panic. 

"After going toe to toe with these guys? Give me Talon or the Deadlock Gang any day of the week! Or heck, Null Sector for that matter!" Tracer groaned as she glared down at the unweildly laser rifle she was clutching in her hands. "Oh, how I hate this stupid gun! I'm not meant to use weapons like this!"

Winston grabbed a similar gun that he had slung to his back and gave a sympathetic sigh. Indeed: this firearm was something he was incredibly unfamiliar with and nowhere near as comfortable to use as his trusty Tesla Cannon. But this was no time to complain: Winston could hear multiple sets of footsteps entering the downstairs room and it was only a matter of time before they had company. They needed a plan, and fast.

"Alright Lena, soon we'll have hostiles coming up those stairs, and we're outnumbered seven to two. But if we play our cards right, I think we can tip the odds in our favor..."

"So what's the plan, big guy?"

Winston looked out the doorway leading to the balcony and pointed. "We go for a pincer manuever: I stay here and hold them off! Meanwhile, you jump off the balcony, rush back inside from the ground entrance, and surprise them from behind! With any luck we'll both come out unscathed and with less hostiles to worry about."

Tracer furrowed her brow, held her gun closer, and nodded in understanding. "Got it."

"Alright then. See you on the other side, Lena."

"Cheers, Winston."

The friends parted ways: Winston headed for the stairs while Tracer made a break for the window. The gorilla made it halfway down the steps before he was ambushed by a quartet of attackers who blocked the foot of the stairs and aimed up at him.

"Take this, monkey man!"

"I'm not a monkey..." Winston growled as he readied his gun and took aim. "I'm a SCIENTIST!" A primal roar erupting from his chest, Winston fired a flurry of noisy laser shots at his opponents. He could feel a grin spread across his grey lips as a pair of noisy alarms confirmed that he nailed two of his targets... only for it to be wiped clean off when his vest's weakpoint was shot and a similar alarm sounded.

"Yeah, got him!" The shooter, a black boy who couldn't have been any older than nine cheered as he high fived the blonde kid next to him.

"NO! Agh..." Winston grumbled as he fell onto the floor in defeat. As his attackers celebrated, he looked up at the sky and reached upwards before clenching his hand into a defiant fist. 'Lena, it's all up to you...'

"AW, RUBBISH!" Tracer hollered from outside the building as another vest alarm sounded off.

'Or not...' Winston thought with a sigh as Tracer's vest siren was soon drowned out by an even noiser alarm that rang across the combat zone through overhead speakers.

 "THE RED TEAM HAS BEEN COMPLETELY ELIMINATED! THE BLUE TEAM WINS!"

All across the battlefield, the darkness was dispelled as the neon lights went off and were were replaced with more natural lighting, which made it more apparent that the ruined streets were little more than an elaborate laser tag arena. While Winston got back up on his feet and removed his laser tag vest, the children he was playing with began giddily celebrating amongst one another.

"Dude, we beat them! We beat Winston AND Tracer!"

"Yeah, we kicked their BUTTS!"

"Ooh! Ooh! If we beat those guys, it means we're better fighters than them! Does this mean we can join Overwatch?!"

"If we join Overwatch, I'm going to marry Tracer!"

Winston laughed jovially, unable to resist the contagious feelings of excitement from these kids. He and Tracer had been engaged in laser tag battles with kids all day long as a huge charity fundraiser the pair had put together: Laserfest. For just five dollars kids were free to spend the entire day playing laser tag with these two, and in turn the funds would go to under-funded children's hospitals throughout the United States of America, with plans to go international in the future. Sure, it may not have been as thrilling or larger-than-life as saving people from terrorists or hostile Omnics, but as long as he was making people happy and still making the world a better place, there were no complaints on his end.

"Alright kids, face front! Your pal Tracer has an announcement to make!" Tracer called out as she entered the "building" with the rest of the kids they were just playing with in tow. Having always been appealing to kids in particular, Tracer needed next to no extra effort on her end to get the children's attention: they faced her and fell silent almost immediately.

"I just wanted to give you lot a big whopping "congratulations" for that game just now. We didn't even stand a chance against you! You should be proud of being the first laser tag team to beat me and Winston today!"

The children began cheering and excitedly telling again.

"Again! Again! I wanna play again!"

"Come on guys, let's do a rematch!"

"Mr. Winston, Ms. Tracer, can we please play one more time?"

"Hey Tracer, my dad thinks you're hot!"

"Aw, real sorry luvs, but that's it for today!" Tracer's announcement was met with a cacophony of disappointed groaning while she removed the laser tag vest that bulged awkwardly against her Chronal Accelerator. She pointed at a huge digital clock display on a wall in the main battleground, which read 7:00 PM: the time that LaserFest would officially end.

"Oh my, it's seven already?!" Winston was completely taken aback: when he was a young ape his father figure Dr. Harold Winston taught him the proverb about how time flies when you're having fun... but he could have sworn that only a few minutes ago the clock read 4:53...

"Hey hey, don't go all "doom and gloom" on me now!" Tracer consoled the children, one of which had full-on dissolved into teary-eyed hysterics, "LaserFest is hardly gonna be a one-time thing, you'll get to hang out with us plenty more times in the future! Besides..." a knowing grin spread across her face, "You lot are forgetting about the pizza afterparty we had planned for you!"

Right on cue, an Omnic delivery boy walked into the battlefield carrying a stack of pizza boxes that were stacked to the point of nearly touching the ceiling. "Delivery for one Lena Oxton!"

Immediately, the tone of the children changed on a dime.

"YEAH! You guys are AWESOME!"

"Pizza! Pizza! PIZZA!"

"Don't eat all the cheese pizza, guys! I want some!"

Cutest of all, the crying child ran up and wrapped his arms around Tracer's waist in a hug. "Thanks Ms. Tracer."

"Aw, you're welcome, little guy!" Tracer cooed as she ruffled the little tyke's hair before turning to the rest of the crowd. "Alright you lot, let's go! There's pizza to be eaten, fizzy drinks to be sipped! Come on!"

She and Winston led the way to the party room, eager to tear into some tasty, tasty pizza. It had been way too long since Winston had this kind of fun, and he knew he'd savor every individual second of it: while he loved putting the hurt on bad guys, he couldn't say that it beat out good old-fashioned wholesome fun like this. He couldn't wait until he got back to HQ and shared today's events with his subordinates...

Gorilla With a Lonely Heart (Prologue)
Hey ladies and gents, For the next month or so, I'll be uploading a fic that I'm currently working on over on Archive of Our Own! This is a... strange story that's a very experimentive work for me: it's about Overwatch's Winston being curious about romance and wanting to experience it for himself. It actually plays into a headcanon I have about Winston that I want to explore: he feels lonely in regards to being a gorilla with human-level intelligence and sentience who can't easily score a date: humans and Omnics think it's too weird to date a gorilla, and he isn't interested in a gorilla mate since his available choices are either genuine wild animals, or bloodthirsty brutes on the moon who killed his loved ones and hate him. 

This isn't meant to be an outright shipping fic but more of a character study... with a bit of shippy stuff happening with other characters, ha ha. But right now, just enjoy a fun, fluffy game of laser tag Winston and Tracer are playing with some kids. I like to imagine that when Overwatch isn't fighting terrorists and whatnot, they do cute charity things like this. :p

Anyway, all characters either belong to Blizzard and me, and a special thanks to Haly-K for helping me cone up with the beginning scenario.
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Well folks, if you're reading this... it's finally come to this. After several long years, after two different reboots of my fanfic... and it's finally come to a premature end, once and for all.

I honestly feel like crying, typing this. Because goddamn, it's been a wild ride these years. I love the MegaMan Battle Network games and anime, and jumped at the chance to write fanfiction for it. My first attempt, the one I got furthest with, was crap. Shit. Iredeemably garbage. The second try? Better, but still really lacking. Third? A lot better, and ironically the one I struggled with the most. It has taken so long to put out chapters in it, partly because of demotivation with the lack of people wanting to read about my shitty OC. Partly because of me spending time on other projects. Partly because I may or may not have ADD. But now... I just don't have that creative drive anymore, at least as far as this fic is concerned.

And to the two, three of you who liked this story, I'm truly sorry it had to end this way. But fear not, dear reader. I'm not gonna leave you on a cliffhanger, an unresolved storyline. Because beneath this apology, is going to be an outline, a summary of what all could have been.  So even if it isn't in a proper story format, you guys can know what would have happened in Lan and StoveMan's journey together. Now let's take a look at the complete fic that never was, shall we?

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For simplicity's sake, I'll break down everything into "arcs".

  • Pre-HoneyWoman Arc
  1. It would have opened with Lan and StoveMan teaming up with Match and FireMan against Mick, Tab, and their Normal Navis. It's here where we'd see that StoveMan and FireMan don't exactly get along: FireMan is domineering, condescending, and a bit of a bully who loves mocking StoveMan for his looks and fighting abilities. StoveMan and FireMan would win, but StoveMan's focus would be off and he wouldn't do so hot on the battlefield and thus FireMan gets more work done.
  2. StoveMan would act non-chalant about the whole thing while Lan's a bit concerned, but he'd otherwise brush it off and go about his day: soon getting e-mails from Barbara Skrenta and Dex. Skrenta would send him a video clip of her going on live TV educating the general public about the virus generator that Mr. Saisei would put out, noting that it can only generate weaker viruses but to be alert for stronger models, and ends by pranking Ribitta and ToadMan with her elk viruses hacking the music.
  3. Meanwhile, the other email has Dex inviting Lan to the park, where Mayl is waiting for them with Yai's father. There, all three youths are asked by Mr. Ayanokoji to help him prepare the mansion for Yai's birthday, with the youth herself being abroad to visit family. There's going to be an extravagant celebration, lots of rich family friends are going to be there, and they will have the famous circus troupe known as Troupe Inukai put on a show for Yai's birthday. All three hyped youths are ecstatic and agree.
  4. Mini Arc ends with StoveMan still acting like a pill to Lan, who is tempted to give up... until his mom reminds him of the CopyBot he had laying around. Meanwhile in an unknown location, a Net Navi by the name of HoneyWoman is shown laying waste to a squadron of Net Navis guarding important data for a company, pilfering it, and fleeing while the guards in the physical world ward off swarms of terrifying bees.
  • HoneyWoman Arc
  1. In an attempt to bond with StoveMan, Lan allows him to use MegaMan's copybot while he goes with Lan to Yai's house where her birthday celebrations are taking place. While she spends time with grandparents in Netopia, Lan, Dex, and Mayl help Yai's father set up the festivities.
  2. This arc would heavily feature Troupe Inukai, a circus group filled with scary, intimidating men and women who use special health-monitoring chips installed in their animals to force them to perform tricks and stunts for the audience. It was an excuse for me to incorporate a headcanon that Battle Network 3 minor villain Takeo Inukai (BeastMan's operator) came from that family, and Lan would have run into BeastMan again, this time under the ownership of his big sister Tora Inukai.
  3. Tora would have been something of an amazon: a tall, buff woman (Think Zarya/Jasper levels of buff) with crazy long hair and a brutal, yet jovial personality. She would have been the ringmaster and show's strongwoman, and would have been married to a scrawny clown fella. She would have been ultimately friendly to Lan (While BeastMan would have been hostile, only to mellow out), yet.... not a great person due to her treatment of the circus animals being abusive.
  4. The arc villain would have been another Inukai sibling: Mitsu Inukai, a covert eco-terrorist who uses a bee Navi named HoneyWoman (Who would have been based off of a Southern Belle design: complete with fancy hat and honeycomb dress, cute accent, and condescending attitude). She's a good woman at heart who loves animals... but hates anyone who exploits and mistreats them. She's tried persuading her family to give up the circus life due to knowing how badly it hurts the animals, but failed to get through to them due to this being all they knew.
  5. Basically, To get revenge for the animals Mitsu would follow in Takeo's footsteps by using Honeywoman to take control of all the animals during Yai's circus birthday party and have them run wild and threaten the guests while having Yai be menaced by a swarm of angry bees. While she does this, she also enforces her master Takuma Saisei's will: he'd have given Yai's parents and the other rich people (wealthy Family friends) an ultimatum: they all funnel their funds to an offshore bank account on threat of having the bees sting Yai to death.
  6. Lan and StoveMan would have teamed up with Tora and BeastMan as well as Mayl, Dex, and their Navis to fight HoneyWoman. StoveMan would try his best to fight smartly... only to become flustered and reckless when HoneyWoman plays around her Fire weakness (Due to being a Wood Navi) by having Aqua Viruses serve as her backup, with her defensive combat style helping a lot.
  7. StoveMan would just barely win... but only because he got the finishing blow while Beast, Roll, and GutsMan did most of the work in softening up HoneyWoman. StoveMan would go on to feel embarassed and sulk, while Mitsu escapes with Saisei successfully getting most of the money that he needed. Tora, after thinking about her sister's points and villainy, decides to give Troupe Inukai's animals to the Yoka Zoo while cancelling any future performances while going soul-searching on what the troupe's new purpose shall be.
  • Pre-PlugMan/BurnerMan Arc
  1. With Mitsu's attack proving to be a success, Takuma heaps praises on her and lets her do as she pleases around the base... which for her, is to play with her pet Bumblebee Nobunaga. Meanwhile, he puts Terry Jomon to work on his next task, which is building some sort of strange device out of materials he paid for with the funds he blackmailed out of Yai's family. He expresses relief in not having to harm Yai, and then expresses interest in paying someone a visit... that someone being one Barbara Skrenta, whose news broadcast he's watching. 
  2. Meanwhile, Barbara gets a visit at home by Takuma Saisei... who knocks her out and kidnaps her Elk viruses while leaving her behind. She'd wake up stressed out, bawling to Lan, Chaud, and the Officials about her babies being kidnapped and how much she hates the Omega Initiative when they check on her the next morning.
  3. Soon after that she bounces back quickly: she visits Lan's house with her boyfriend: a tanned, hunky, bleach-blond TV star by the name of Shad Priest, who is known for playing villains in a lot of TV shows that Lan likes such as Dick Gumshoe: Ace Detective and the Family Bonne. Since he's decently rich with money to blow, Shad decides to put together funds for a recreation of the N1 Grand Prix: the N2 Grand Prix, and to do so goes around trying to recruit famous and talented Net Battlers: Lan included. Lan accepts his offer, but feels awkward due to how... bad StoveMan is at Net Battling.
  4. Deciding that StoveMan NEEDS help, Lan consults Mr. Match. Match reassures him that StoveMan is every bit as strong as his brothers, but that his problem seems to be more of a mental one. So in order to boost his confidence... Match takes him to see an old friend of his. A friend who's pretty good at the whole "New Age Retro Hippie/Zen master" thing.
  • PlugMan/BurnerMan Arc
  1. So to prep for the N2 Grand Prix, Match takes Lan on a two week long sojourn to a faraway town in the mountains known as Nenshou Village: a semi-rural town known for its yearly Festival of Flames, a grand event with extravagant floats celebrating an ancient god of fire worshipped by the residents in an age gone by.
  2. When Lan and Match arrive, they meet Match's friend: a former criminal associate of his turned hippie by the name of Fujiko Homura: a blue haired, tanned woman who loves casual wear such as a fire-printed tube top, black pants, and fire-print... flip flops. She operates a heavily-armored Fire Navi by the name of CrashMan, who refers to himself in the first person and with silly action movie star-styled one liners.
  3. A chill woman who fancies herself as something of a zen master, Fujiko is happy to train StoveMan in the ways of overcoming his personal demons.CrashMan wants StoveMan to feel the burn. StoveMan wants both the hippies to piss off. Ah well. Despite Match and Fujiko getting along well, he doesn't get along with her kid brother as well: Atsuki Homura and his pal BurnerMan. Yep: despite me saying that I wasn't going to use them, I changed my mind later on. Not that it matters now of course, but hey.
  4. Basically, while Lan and StoveMan would try to meditate, Mr. Match and FireMan would antagonize Atsuki and BurnerMan, who'd give as good as they get from the older man. Basically, with this year's Festival of Flames coming up, they're both hellbent on being the guy leading the parade floats.
  5. So while meditating, StoveMan is forced to confront his demons: despite being hostile, angry, and telling everyone to leave him alone, he eventually explains himself: he hates himself and secrety fears that he's weak, but puts up a tough guy front complete with exaggerated tough guy accent to make up for his perceived weakness. Basically, the moment he was born FireMan and HeatMan antagonized him over his unweildly design and clunky battle style. It was meant to be brotherly ribbing on HeatMan's pppart and he feels bad when he realizes that StoveMan feels bad, but FireMan very much looks down on him for real. FlameMan likes him, but it does little to calm down StoveMan, who can't understand a word he's saying.
  6. So in order to help out his self-confidence, Fujiko and Lan encourage StoveMan by telling him that just because he's a Fire Navi, that there's nothing wrong in being more versatile, or fighting more defensively. Capitalizing on his power, Lan decides to practice with fighting styles that incorporate chips like the Fan and Area Steal chips, which allow him to safely ready an attack from a distance while using the chips to quickly, safely move in for the kill: such as using the fan to blow himself quickly to an enemy while tackling them with a Stove Crusher, or Using an Area Steal to teleport right behind an enemy and scorch them with a charged up Fire Beam.
  7. Slowly starting to trust in Lan and getting accommodated with his smarter fighting style, StoveMan begins to warm up to Lan, who he has a heart-to-heart chat with about MegaMan, with StoveMan wishing that he had as good of a brother as him while Lan reassures him that he's not a wimp.
  8. Meanwhile with Match and Atsuki, the two decide to compete in a special contest where they send their Navis onto the net and have them hunt down special cyber torches to light up, with the Navi that lights up the most torches winning him and his operator special parade float rights. But the Nenshou Village datascape is home to a ruthless serial killer Navi by the name of PlugMan, a zombie-like Navi who crawled out of the depths of the Undernet, and goes about stalking Navis wandering tghe Net, cornering them, and draining the life out of them. FireMan and BurnerMan run afoul of the Navi and are last seen fighting for their lives against him.
  9. Lan and StoveMan decide to help: BurnerMan cowardly runs off and leaves him and FireMan to deal with the sinister, soft-spoken Navi while he goes to light the necessary torches. Meanwhile, FireMan and StoveMan throw down with PlugMan. FireMan actually ends up not being much help, and despite having a hard time and nearly loses his cool, StoveMan gets a grip on himself thanks to a pep talk from Lan. After some skillful use of a Fan/Lance combo, PlugMan is dispatched, and the monster's reign of terror is over.
  10. In the aftermath, FireMan congratulates StoveMan for his help, and bashfully apologizes for being a dick. StoveMan awkwardly accepts his apology, though mainly at Lan's behest. He hasn't QUITE forgiven him entirely. Meanwhile, despite him technically winning the right to lead the Festival of Flames, Atsuki is yelled at by Fujiko for his cowardice, and is disqualified with Match being allowed to run it instead. A butthurt Atsuki would have sent BurnerMan to sabotage the floats, only for Lan and Match to trounce BurnerMan with their Navis, and send him home crying to mama.
  11. Now that StoveMan has a grip on himself and everything's okay between him and Lan? These guys have a tournament to win.
  • N2 Grand Prix Arc Part 1
  1. After two more weeks of training, Lan and StoveMan travel out to a glitzy, Las Vegas-styled city known as Paradise City: a neon wonderland full of casinos, five star hotels, and penthouse apartments with tons of roller coasters and ferrish wheels situated around the city.
  2. With Shad Priest hosting the tournament at the Goddess of Fortune casino he rented out, Lan and StoveMan officially register for the tournament while running into a lot of familiar faces: Masa, Dex, Chaud, Dingo, Raoul, Princess Pride, Raika, HIgsby, Dark Scyth... while Shad and Ribitta serve as the commentators. Preliminary rounds start with Lan and StoveMan fighting against Dex and GutsMan.
  3. Despite Dex and GutsMan still proving to be formidable opponents, Lan and StoveMan easily trounce the duo and move on. While a bit miffed that he couldn;t get further, Dex congratulates the duo, with GutsMan now grudgingly respecting the Navi he once effortlessly trashed.
  4. In Round Two, the duo are paired against Masa and SharkMan, who prove to be a far greater challenge than their previous opponents due to SharkMan's speed, smarts, and type advantage over StoveMan. But depite strugglign to get in a good hit on the guy, Lan and StoveMan soon reign triumphant with a brilliant, yet basic strategy: converting the battle stage with Grass panels, and having StoveMan blow SharkMan to smithereens with a Black Bomb chi, its damage boosted by the grass. Masa approves, sighting good calcium intake as the reason for Lan's victory.
  5. After them in Round Three is Raoul and ThunderMan. Admittedly, I never quite dwelled upon all that happens here, just that Lan and StoveMan struggle, yet come out on top. 
  6. And while they've been watching the day's other matches, Lan and StoveMan note that Chaud and ProtoMan have been tearing their way through the competition and suspect that if they make it to the finals, that they'll likely have to fight these two.
  7. With the day's matches concluded, Lan and StoveMan are invited by Barb and Shad, who take them to have fun throughout Paradise City and it's various rides. Taking him out in the Copy Bot, StoveMan is taught just how fun roller coasters are. Lan however nearly vomits.
  8. But while they hang out for the night, we get to see more of what Barb and Shad are like: Barb is... pretty domineering towards Shad, constantly smacking him around or belittling him if he says something she finds to be dumb, tugging on his hair... a good deal more mean spirited than the pranks she'd pull with other people. Lan is a tad offput, but she's at least nice to him. Here we find out that Barb is a bit of a daddy's girl: her programmer dad liked to take her here every once and a while before his untimely death. Barb doesn't say much about him, but much like here he wasn't well liked by others due to him being the creator of the earliest computer viruses.
  9. Shad however is a lovable goof who is hopelessly in love with Barb despite deserving better. The thing is that he lacks a lot of self-confidence and is something of a doormat due to being abused as a child, and hopelessly clings to Barb and does whatever she says even if she roughs him up or emotionally hurts him. According to him, he can take it.
  10. Lan and StoveMan would then have a moment of brotherly bonding on a ferris wheel, with StoveMan vowing that he's gonna bring home the N2 Grand Prix trophy to make Lan proud. And that once the tourney's over, he'll help him wipe out the Omega Initiative. And thus the two go home for the night.
  • N2 Grand Prix Arc Part 2
  1. The next day, Lan and StoveMan arrive at the Goddess of Fortune casino to see that Fujiko Homura from last chapter has stopped by to watch the tournament in person! She wishes Lan luck and goes off to do her own thing while he gets ready for his next matches.
  2. Like with Raoul his two pre-final matches weren't too fleshed out in my head, but Lan's next opponents would have been an OC who would have operated the Navi version of Mega Man 10's Strike Man, and Princess Pride and KnightMan.
  3. The finals? Why of course, it would have been Chaud vs. Lan! With Chaud acting smug and high and mighty about how Lan and StoveMan made a series of flukes getting as far as they did, he and ProtoMan plan to put them in their place. Lan and StoveMan resolve to kick their asses in the Net Battle of their life.
  4. Their battle would have been a flashy spectacle, with both sides giving it their all: trading blow after blow, ProtoMan and StoveMan would give it their all and both come out horribly banged up... but sadly? ProtoMan's speed, technique, and experience win out over StoveMan's determination and raw power. Chaud wins the N2 Grand Prix, and Lan, while not outwardly salty, is somewhat bummed out.
  5. But in the lobby, Chaud walks in on Lan calming down a Copybotted StoveMan throwing a tantrum and offers a sincere congratulations: due to the fact that StoveMan was so close to triumphing over ProtoMan, Chaud recognizes his strength and offers to shake his hand on behalf of his Navi. StoveMan however stomps off in a huff. Annoyed, Lan runs after him with Skrenta in tow while Shad starts up an extravagant awards ceremony for all the combatants of the tournament.
  6. Lan gets StoveMan alone and finds out that StoveMan feels humiliated over not being able to help win the N2 Grand Prix and expresses self-doubt. Lan however assures him that he fought his hardest and just bringing ProtoMan to his knees is enough of an accomplishment in itself. Vowing to help him further his training, Lan and StoveMan make up.
  7. Unfortunately for them, the award ceremony went on without them. Fortunately however, they narrowly avoided disaster: the casino's arena's automated doors shut and lock up, trapping everyone inside, and Shad's speech is interrupted Takuma Saisei projecting himself on the room's jumbotron, signifying that everyone had just walked into an Omega Initiative trap.
  • N2 Grand Prix Arc Part 3
  1. After going on a tirade about how society is stupid for condoning mindless entertainment such as Netbattling, Saisei reveals a horrifying truth: that he has planted a series of bombs in the base of the casino, and is ready to detonate them and send the building toppling down should he give the word. Then like with Yai's parents he delivers another ultimatum: the tournament's participants are to jack into the Netbattling machine and meet up with his organization's solo Navis FrostMan and TimeMan and wait for further instructions.
  2. When everyone jacks their Navis in, they meet FrostMan and TimeMan, who aren't alone. Accompanying them is a horrific, blue-colored, large, misshapen Elk-like monster of a Navi with bulging eyes and clawed feet instead of hooves: a horrific mockery Skrenta's stolen research. This creature is introduced by Saisei as being called the Omega Elk, and that it's set to carry out the Omega Initiative's will. So what does it do? It lashes out an incredibly long tongue, impales ThunderMan on it, and starts slowly and painfully absorbing him into its being, a'la DBZ's Zell.
  3. The horrified Navis try to fight back, but TimeMan vows that if they jack out or fight back, the bombs under the stadium are to be detonated, and everyone inside killed. Knowing that Lan's outside, Chaud shoots Lan an email warning him about what's happened.
  4. While Barb runs for help and disappears into the night, Lan goes to hunt down the bombs down on the bulding's lowest floor. Not much searching needs to be done, as he quickly runs into huge mass of C4 connected to a timer slowly ticking down. He jacks StoveMan in, hellbent on saving the tournament.
  5. Meanwhile, while the Omega Elk continues devouring Navis, Saisei shows a bit of mercy and allows the audience to leave the building on the condition that the tournament participants stay. But ina strange bit of disconnect, the doors remain shut and the audience can't leave. While they start freaking out, Lan and StoveMan are horrified when they run into the Navi stationed at the end of the bomb comp: CrashMan.EXE.
  6. Smugly revealing his deception to the duo, CrashMan allows Fujiko to speak and explain herself? Turns out? Despite her seemingly leaving her life of crime behind, Fujiko was truly never reformed. Under her chill, affable demeanor, she's a crazed anarchist who threw in her lot with Saisei's crew and is eager to help destroy Net Society. She hopes that in destroying the Net itself, that the resulting chaos from having a huge aspect of society suddenly ripped to pieces would cause mankind to descend into violent, crazed anarchy... something she very much looks forward to. She then adds that while Saisei is merciful, not all of the Omega Initiative is that nice and reveals that one of her associates has hacked the security door and that despite being ordered to only kill the Netbattlers, she plans on killing everyone present: civilians and all.
  7. Thoroughly disgusted with her, Lan and StoveMan throw down with CrashMan... a spectacle that Fujiko broadcasts to the tournament attendees via jumbotron, hoping to break their spirits by watching Lan and StoveMan get viciously beaten down. But despite them being put through a gruelling ordeal due to CrashMan's raw power and love of explosions, StoveMan and Lan save the day by deleting CrashMan and disabling the bombs, much to Fujiko's anger and the relief of the crowd. With Saisei's leverage being rendered null and void, TimeMan and FrostMan get the hell out of dodge and take the mysterious Omega Elk with them.
  8. When Lan and StoveMan check to see if everyone is okay, they're hailed as heroes by the crowd, with a genuinely happy Chaud offering Lan his trophy saying that in light of him saving the day, that he truly won the N2 grand prix. And in the aftermath, the two speculate how Saisei could have pulled off such a thing considering that the C4 would have to have been set up in way that security could have easily stumbled upon it.
  9. While this goes on, the arc closes with Shad alone in his dressing room, ranting and raving to an unseen Navi in a PET on a desk, freaking out about how he and tons of innocent people almost died in "the crossfire". The Navi reassures him that there will be an inquisition and that the one who sabotaged the event will answer for their crimes... a sentiment that Shad is vocal about doubting due to being sure he knows who did it. Meanwhile, the Navi states that Shad better get a grip on himself... because this isn't the way for the face of the Omega Initiative to conduct himself.
  10. And thus, we get the big reveal. The Navi? KomusoMan.EXE. Shad Priest? The seemingly harmless movie star is in secret the dangerous terrorist Takuma Saisei... who is interestingly enough never referred to in private as the boss, only the face. Basically, the revelation is that he intended on having the Omega Elk eat the Navis of the participants and killing them all by setting off the C4 at someone's behest in order to remove potential threats to the Omega Initiative. Of course, until he and other innocents were trapped and almost killed in the explosion. But now that he's received international attention due to trying to blow up so many beloved Netbattlers including a princess? Things have gotten complicated, and fast.
  • Team Colonel Reassembled Arc
  1. So as the title implies? Chaud decides that not only does he have faith in Lan and StoveMan's abilities, but recruits them alongside a couple of old friends: Princess Pride, Dingo, Higsby, Dusk, Ribitta... Team Colonel is back, baby! Minus Baryl and Colonel, unfortunately. However, Tora Inukai and BeastMan from the HoneyWoman arc are back and willing to help due to Tora's sister's involvement in the Omega Initiative's attacks.
  2. The rest of the chapter hasn't been super fleshed out, but due to reports of Navis vanishing in the Undernet that coincide with sightings of FrostMan, TimeMan, and the Omega Elk, Chaud leads Team Colonel (Or would it be ProtoMan now? Hmm...) on a manhunt in the Undernet. A manhunt that culminates in a huge brawl between the good Navis, the powerful FrostMan and TimeMan, and the Omega Elk... who reveals a lot of things regarding its bizarre nature.
  3. The first being that when confronted, it freaks out and its head temporarily turns into MegaMan's/Hub Hikari's, who screams for help before being turned back. Freaky relevation is that the Omega Elk is MegaMan.EXE, forcibly converted into a powerful virus with his old mind being repressed by a primal monstrous one.
  4. The second? It grows more powerful with the more Navis it absorbs: in a twisted mockery of MegaMan's Soul/Cross abilities (as well as the classic Mega Man's copy ability), it can harness the powers of any Navi it absorbs: it takes on a sharklike appearance and fires off dangerous homing fins a'la SharkMan, pounds the ground with hammer-like front paws a'la GutsMan...
  5. After a heated battle, the Navis and Virus retreat. Back at the Omega Initiative headquarters, Saisei gets into an argument with an unseen party over his PET, but acts suspiciously casual when Fujiko and Terry Jomon ask him about it. Meanwhile, Saisei deflects attention by stating that the Omega Elk has developed to the point that they're ready to give it the ultimate test run. Entrusting it's safety with Yahoot, he sends the man off to do what he sees fit.
  • MagicMan Arc
  1. This story arc I never fleshed out too well, but it would deal with Lan and MegaMan, Neo Team Colonel/ProtoMan, and Skrenta going to a special city where cooking is highly celebrated. Skrenta would alienate Lan with offputting behavior, Lan would go nuts with all the food around him, and BeastMan would show off some surprising culinary skills.
  2. Shad Priest would have confronted Lan in-character as Takuma Saisei, urging and begging him to leave well enough alone with the Omega Initiative, stating that while he doesn't want to do it, others among him are perfectly okay with hurting Lan or the ones he loves should he keep meddling in their affairs before leaving him.
  3. The main conflict would have been MagicMan overseeing the Omega Elk as it's now made a creepy new development: it can reproduce and create weaker, yet numerous versions of itself: with a flick of its tail it would throw down clusters of corrupt data that would quickly develop into Elk Calves, each of which have the power of an individual Navi that the Omega Elk has absorbed. THey also have the ability to seemingly devour the Net itself: should they make their way to the core of a computer, they can jab their tongues into it and seemingly drain away the essence of the local internet itself and rendering internet technology useless. So now, the big reveal: The Omega Elk and its offspring? They're essentially a swarm of EMP's in monstrous virus form.
  4. I also would have used this arc to indulge in a lot of Yahoot-related headcanons of mine. Basically, his origin would have been him coming to Electopia from Yumland, deadset on becoming a chef. After meeting and falling in love with a local woman, he would have settled down in the city that this arc takes place in and opened a magic-themed restaraunt (That MagicMan would have been inspired by). However, a series of tragedies that fuel Yahoot's hatred for Net Society culminate quickly his restaraunt is blackmailed by a guy representing a Yelp!-type web group who extort restaraunts for money in exchange for good reviews on threat of destroying their reputation with false negative reviews. Since Yahoot and his wife would have refused to comply with their demands, their business tanks due to said protection racket's reviews.
  5. Yahoot's wife also would have had a heart condition and thus set up with a pacemaker to help her through it. Tragically, around the same time that their restraunt would have gone under, Yahoot's wife would have had her Net-connected pacemaker hacked (Which apparently CAN be done in real life, scarily enough) by a Net criminal, who would proceed to kill her by over-stimulating her heart. Going mad with grief and anger due to so many tragedies happening, Yahoot would develop a burning hatred for Net Society and become something of a mercenary helping the likes of WIly or (Seemingly) Saisei destroy Net Society in the name of his wife and business. This would have been revealed via whimsically serious rhyming from MagicMan while Yahoot would stoically look on and use to justify his crimes.
  • KomusoMan Arc
  1. Meddling in the Omega Initiative's business one too many times, one of its members decides that in order to demoralize Lan, they had to "ATTACK HIS HEART!" And to do so, they hit Lan's house with malware that would cause the air vents to circulate poisonous gas, hospitalizing and almost killing Lan's mother.
  2. After getting a message from Saisei stating that Lan pushed his luck and forced the Omega Initiative's hand, Lan falls into a rage as well as a deep depression before quitting his efforts in destroying the Omega Initiative.
  3. Meanwhile, Saisei would be back home flat out yelling at the same unseen party about how they got an innocent woman caught in the crossfire and that she had nothing to do with their goals and ambitions. Losing his composure around Mitsu and Yahoot and letting his true self slip, he drops all pretenses of formality, calls the unseen speaker a "FREAKIN' PSYCHOPATH!" and hangs up. It becomes clear that no, Priest/Saisei is most certainly NOT the one in charge...
  4. Lan would soon be comforted by StoveMan, Dex, Yai, Mayl, and Chaud, who all tell him that he needs to buck up and stay strong, and that if the Omega Initiative had to stoop so low, that they must have been backed up in the figurative corner. So while Lan is allowed to recover and gather his thoughts, Dex, Mayl, and Yai send their Navis to the Undernet in order to gather info on the Omega Initiative and see if they can gather intel on their hideout.
  5. And they succeed in doing so! Tracing them to a surprisingly rural swamp village in southeastern Electopia, Lan and Team Colonel mobilize. And after doing some investigating, they end up stumbling upon an old fairground, where under a ferris wheel, a secret passage to the Omega Initiative headquarters is revealed...
  6. And so, the group would battle their way through the Omega Initiative's members, with their Navis being deleted (Except DynamoMan, who manages to flee the scene to parts unknown after bawling about how he doesn't want to hut or be hurt anymore) and members being restrained and arrested, with it all culminating in an (to Lan and the others) uncharacterisitcally panicky Saisei holding down the last line of defense.
  7. Lan and StoveMan end up trouncing KomusoMan and Saisei goes down without much of a fight, leading to him being the last one arrested before he and the gang are hauled off to prison. THe day is saved... seemingly. Lan realizes to his horror that MegaMan/The Omega Elk is nowhere to be seen, and Saisei refuses to elaborate on its location. Things aren't over quite yet..
  8. Back at Net Police HQ, everyone is thrown for a loop when Takuma Saisei is revealed to be TV star Shad Priest, who awkwardly acts all casual and goofy. They realize that there's no way he could be a terrorist mastermind and immediately accuse him of something being up, but he refuses to tell the truth, claiming that he's the mastermind, the played them all, and that he's sorry for what he's done. However, he noticably clams up and turns pale when Skrenta shows up to see what all is going on...
  9. Knowing that they still have a lot of work ahead of them to track down the Omega Elk, ProtoMan, Chaud, and the rest of Team Colonel stay to interrogate the man while Skrenta takes Lan home in her car. But while they're in the car, Lan and StoveMan ask Skrenta about how she feels about her boyfriend leading a dangerous sect of primitivist terrorists. Skrenta... acts surprisingly calm, simply brushing him off as an idiot who likely had a lot of help to get where he was. 
  10. She then starts dropping increasingly disturbing, cryptic hints about how every powerful man has a woman backing them up, or how Priest Had to have had some... special help to convert a Navi as complex as MegaMan into a powerful Virus. A virus that heavily resembled her own creations...
  11. Much to Land and StoveMan's horror, they realize just what kind of person they let themselves be alone with while Skrenta formally reintroduces herself: Barbara Skrenta, the true founder and mastermind behind the Omega Initiative, and she now has the heroes right where she wants them.
  • Skrenta's Betrayal Arc
  1. This mini arc wouldn't have been very action heavy, but basically would have put everything into context: Skrenta's motive, the true purpose behind all of the Omega Initiative's crimes, and her horrifying endgame, which she al explains to Lan after forcing him and StoveMan to come with her into her apartment home.
  2. Basically, Barbara Skrenta was the daughter of Filipe Skrenta, a scientist who during the early days of the Internet was the foremost authority on early Viruses. The man loved the little creatures and saw lots of potential in them. He thought they would be perfect little helpers alongside Navis in terms of making the Net a safer, easy to use place for others. However, he also had a playful side to him, and couldn't resist using his early Viruses to pull pranks on others by hacking their networks, changing things around... but things quickly went out of control when early Netcriminals realized that they could do much worse than mere pranks, and quickly began to weaponize Viruses in cyber crimes.
  3. Felipe's reputation would have been tanked due to his association with escalating Virus crimes, and until his dying day he and his daughter Barbara were pariahs who were laughed at by the scientific world. Angered by her family name being tarnished, Barbara swore revenge against the society that had forsaken her and her father, and formed the Omega Initiative around the same time that Dr. Wily's Cybeast plan was underway.
  4. Knowing that she was naturally a bit dumpy and far more obnoxious than charismatic, Barb decided to manipulate her submissive boyfriend into helping her recruit other angry, disgruntled individuals to form the Omega Initiative and have him serve as the charismatic figurehead carrying out her orders. She'd also have him stage a break-in and mugging at her house so her Viruses could be used in her evil plans without it looking suspicious to the general public. Meanwhile? Skrenta would begin setting her plans for the Net in motion. Her endgame would have been to use funds extracted from the rich families that were blackmailed during the HoneyWoman arc to get her hands on blueprints for a powerful stealth drone that Terry Jomon would construct. With the use of the Virus spawners weaponized during the DynamoMan incident, she would have used them to mass-produce the Omega Elk's offspring while having her stealth drone emit waves that would transmit the Viruses to any bit of tech connected to the internet it flew over.
  5. And now with Lan and StoveMan at her mercy, she decides to use them for one last step in her master plan: grab the Colonel and Iris program Dr. Wily and Dr. Hikari had been collaborating on, or she'll send an Elk to hack Lan's mom's life support and finish her off (And yes, Skrenta would have been the one who poisoned Lan's mom). Unfortunately, Lan has no way out of this, and ultimately gets the doctors to comply. Sending the program to her, a smug Skrenta heads back to her home base in order to set her plan in motion.
  6. However, not all is lost: thoroughly disgusted by the things she's done and after being given a heart-to-heart talk by Lan, Shad decides that he's done sticking up for Skrenta and spills the beans on where she's headed: an abandoned army base not far from the organization's actual headquarters, where their "Omega Drone" is set to take off from. Backed up by his buddies from Team Colonel, Lan and StoveMan mount an assault on the base.
  • Omega Skrenta Arc
  1. This arc is one that I'm so sad that I couldn't write, because I have legitimately hyped myself up by playing it out thousands of times in my mind. But anyway, the arc's meat would consist of Lan and friends infiltrating the drone's launch site, fighting Viruses that control various traps and weapons that seek to bar the way to Skrenta. Who, by the way, keeps popping up on computer monitors throughout the base sadistically taunting them about how pointless this endeavor is.
  2. Once they reach Skrenta's control room, they see that the good doctor's body is laying unmoving in a special chair designed to transmit one's brainwaves and consciousness into the digital world (Like those chairs in Wily's base during the third Battle Network game). Her consciousness in the datascape alongside the Omega Elk, Lan and StoveMan would have gone after Skrenta using a second chair in the control room.
  3. Once inside the computer's datascape, Lan and StoveMan would merge for a power boost (again, like Lan and MegaMan did during the third game) and confront Skrenta, who pulls a Mr. King and merges with her ultimate creation by having the Omega Elk absorb her. And upon doing so, it morphs into a bipedal form where its elk head is replaced with Skrenta's, who goes batshit insane due to being drunk on her own power and goes giddy at the thought of tearing the two apart with her bare claws.
  4. So during round 1 of their duel to the death, Lan and StoveMan can't really accomplish much: due to using the Colonel and Iris program, Omega Skrenta's reflexes and combat prowess are insane, and she's too agile for them to get too many hits on. And due to Iris' contribution, any damage dealt to her is healed away in the fraction of a second. Realizing to their horror that they're screwed, Lan and StoveMan eventually unfuse.
  5. Laughing like a maniac, Omega Skrenta would proceed to viciously torture and brutalize Lan using the powers of the Navi's she absorbed, only to hit him with a healing pulse once he's been put on the brink of death so she can play longer. This act would horrify StoveMan and the rest of Team Colonel, who are helpless to watch due to Omega Skrenta's overwhelming strength.
  6. But when she's about to finish Lan off... MegaMan's consciousness bravely fights against Skrenta and briefly takes control of her body. Encouraging Lan and StoveMan to never give up, MegaMan would even the playing field by extracting the Colonel and Iris program from Omega Skrenta's body, and allow Lan and StoveMan to use it instead.
  7. A horrified, enraged Skrenta would take control back of her body just in time for Lan's injuries to heal and for him and StoveMan to get souped up on the program's power. Lan and StoveMan would resolve to tear her apart with their bare hands... and an epic battle would have ensued.
  8. Even without Colonel and Iris Omega Skrenta would prove to be a powerful foe due to being merged with such a powerful virus, but her lack of combat experience would quickly give way to Lan and StoveMan's knack for battling, and after a heated match where Skrenta is incapacitated, her final moments would consist of her pathetically whining about how this isn't fair and that she's better than Lan, and then bawling and begging for mercy like a coward. Due to the pain that Skrenta put his brother, mom, and countless other Navis through however, an unnmoved Lan and StoveMan simply blast her to bits, taking Skrenta's life and ending the madwoman's ambitions once and for all.
  9. Upon Omega Skrenta's deletion, MegaMan's data would be left behind: jumbled and messy, but thankfully salvageable. Lan and StoveMan would extract the data, and head home.
  • Aftermath and Epliogue
  1. It would take two weeks, but Yuichiro and Wily would eventually put MegaMan back together. Overjoyed, the brothers would have a tearful reunion that makes even StoveMan bawl like a baby. MegaMan thanks StoveMan for looking after Lan, while Lan would joke about how it was the other way around.
  2. StoveMan would go back to Match, while FireMan, HeatMan, and FlameMan would look at him with a newfound respect.
  3. Team Colonel and Lan would receive a parade and military honors from the Electopian government.
  4. And as for the Omega Initiative? We'd get a funny little epilogue showing them living life newly reformed: they're allowed to do community service work in exchange for their freedom, though of course they'll be heavily monitored due to their actions.
  5. Mitsu Inukai and the rest of Troupe Inukai? They'd run an ethical zoo where BeastMan and HoneyWoman educate the public about the animals living there, with Tora and Mitsu starting to get along again.
  6. Terry Jomon? He'd be back to work at his grandpa's shop, grumpy and bitter while doing a bunch of manual labor. DynamoMan? He'd be adopted by Ann Zap, who gives ElecMan to a newly rehabilitated Count Zap after leaving prison.
  7. Fujiko Homura? She... actually doesn't reform: she'd be seen meeting Anetta and Yuika in the yard of their prison, where they'd realize that they all had their lives ruined by Lan and MegaMan. Their little section would end with them conspiring something nasty together...
  8. Yahoot and MagicMan would open a curry shop, with Yahoot deciding to give cooking a second shot. Mr. Match, Count Zap, and Ms. Madd would come to visit, only for a Not!Yelp goon to come knocking. He is swiftly chased away by Yahoot's former criminal pals.
  9. And Shad Priest? Gets a sweet, big-time movie deal where he's set to play a charismatic terrorist villain in his first ever blockbuster role. KomusoMan would play a relaxing flute tune while Shad gets in character for a big scene. The director would also happen to be Viddy Narcy from the fourth Battle Network game.
  10. And the final part would simply be Lan waking up on time without an alarm, impressing MegaMan. They'd go on to enter a tournament so Lan could Net Battle with Mega again, and that would be the end.
So yeah, that would have been it! Sorry if it feels sloppy or disorganized, that's pretty much what happens when you want to sum up a story that never finished. And it ended up taking way longer to type than I thought, so there's that.

Honestly, I wasn't too satisfied with how the story was going and tried my best to reboot it and give it a much-needed restructuring (Friend of mine suggested typing it in script format)... but I just couldn't make my new beginning work. Which sucked, but hey. That's life.

So anyway... yeah. In a way I'm really sad that after spending years trying to get my ideal MegaMan Battle Network fic finished, it had to end like this. But in another way, I'm almost relieved that I finally have this huge weight off my shoulders. I've wasted WAY too many hours staring at a near-blank screen struggling with what to write. And no, I'm not quitting writing or anything. And hey: I might try another story like this in the future... though that will be a LONG time from now. So for now, I hope everyone whose followed me can forgive me for throwing in the towel: even though my readership plunged like a stone I still appreciate those who went alongside with me during this "journey" so to speak. I'm seriously sorry that it had to come to this.

deviantID

Xaldinpwn
United States
Current Residence: Houston, Texas
deviantWEAR sizing preference: Dunno
Print preference: Dunno
Favourite genre of music: Video Game Soundtracks
Favourite style of art: Dunno. I like many.
Operating System: Don't care.
MP3 player of choice: Whatever works is fine with me.
Shell of choice: A nice turtle shell is fine with me.
Wallpaper of choice: See second and third answers
Skin of choice: My skin...?
Favourite cartoon character: Zuko, Wreck-it Ralph
Personal Quote: Stay calm, stay fresh, and most of all, stay safe!
Interests
  • Listening to: Coc'n Rolla, Begnagrad
Alright, I'm pretty sure most people aren't really gonna care about this journal entry. And that's fair, most people shouldn't have to be subjected to other people's whiny rants about stuff. But personally, there's a show that I loved dearly once that's been consistently letting me down to the point to where I only watch it as an obligation to this day, and don't really have another place that I can air my grievances personally. So here's the short of it, I'm falling out of love with the cartoon Steven Universe.

Unlike many people, I actually thought the series started strong with Season 1, even the very beginning. I really loved how even way back then, the show had a distinct "feel good" vibe to it: Steven was an innocent sweetheart, Greg was a good, if nervous dad, and the Crystal Gems felt like a happy surrogate family. As shown as early as Laser Light Cannon, there was a hint of something far more sinister over the horizon, but it was good at showing Steven's innocent and naive viewpoint and quickly grew into a fun action/slice of life show with awesomely horrific episodes like Cat Fingers and Frybo. As the series went on, the show began to show some serious depth: Steven, Pearl, Amethyst, Garnet, and Greg are all bundles of insecurities and serious issues, and I love the maturity and respect the show (usually) goes with handling these issues. Stuff like death, grief, self-loathing, and anxiety were all expertly handled, with later episodes even touching on domestic abuse. And of course, the heroes weren't the only selling points: Beach City is full of lovable, eccentric, and memorable characters who have issues of their own: Sour Cream's hailing from a fractured family, Mayor Dewey's position as a buffoonish yet well-meaning and good-hearted politician who's out of his depth, and Kiki Pizza's struggles with putting her foot down for her own sake. And of course, once the show touched upon a darker past to the Crystal Gems involving a rebellion from an oppressive fascist alien race of sociopathic planet looting psuedo-Nazis, we got to meet wonderful characters like Lapis Lazuli and Jasper, as well as the baggage that came from Steven's mother Rose Quartz's controversial decision to kill Pink Diamond.

For two seasons the show consistently impressed me and left me eager to see more of its lovable characters, take in the raw emotions, and root against the nasty Diamond Authority... but season 3 has been going downhill like crazy, a trend that hasn't stopped in season 4. And it really, really saddens and scares me. There are multiple reasons why I'm starting to lose faith in the show, and it'll take some time to get it all out, so bear with me here.

Reason 1: Poor and Inconsistent Characterization

Boy oh boy, this has REALLY been a problem in season 3, and even a bit late in season 2. Steven Universe started out having consistent, well-rounded characters who not only had wonderful personalities, but ones that made sense. Come season 3 however... maybe it'll work better if I break it into particular characters who I take issue with.

My BIGGEST issue is with Peridot. Peri, Peri, Peri... much like her characterization, my feelings toward this character have varied considerably. I started off not caring about her in the slightest, grew to love her once she was stuck with the Crystal Gems, but now she teeters between a mid-favorite and among my least favorites. When she first appeared she was a rather cold and surprisingly heartless villain: showing a startling lack of empathy by viewing Steven as a pest in need of extermination and crushing an injured Robonoid of hers. I didn't hate her, though I didn't get the hype around the character (I got left behind on watching the show and got back into it after Jailbreak aired. Note: I'm no bandwagoner, I liked the show from the start! I just slacked off on watching it :p). Come season 2 however I fell in love with her. It was entertaining as all hell seeing this coldhearted bitch show her hidden layers as a goofy, dorky, bratty little gremlin who thinks a wee bit too highly of herself, and it was humanizing seeing her slowly mentally unravel due to being stuck on the planet with the enemy and no way to go back home. It was cute seeing her reach out to Steven and through him, develop a conscious. And yet, it didn't feel forced, at least at first: she still held on to a lot of bad behavior that rubbed off from growing up in a bad home: she was bigoted towards Garnet and Pearl, openly gushed about how Dear Lead- er, I mean Der Fuhr- AHEM, I mean the Great Diamond Authority should have strip-mined Earth into oblivion, and was hilariously rude towards others. I loved how flawed and multi-faceted she was, and liked seeing her grow a grudging respect for the Crystal Gems and learn how to be a better person though.

That was all ruined at the tail end of season 2 and most of season 3, when she kind of grew into the token "small annoying forcibly cute teammate" of the Crystal Gems. She became a fangirl of sappy cartoonishly Canadian TV, got big into social media, started using human slang, and for whatever reason has this obsession with befriending Lapis Lazuli (Probably because some of the writers, one in particular REALLY wanna shill Lapidot). She feels like a completely different character than she did for most of season 2, and I don't like it. She's not the intelligent jerk with goofy nerdy tendencies and an inflated ego learning how to be a better person anymore, now she feels like what I can only call "le quirky Peridot!1!!1!!! XDDDDDDDDDDDD": a character whose quirky tendencies completely overtook her identity instead of being a part of it. Plus, her redemption was honestly poorly and sloppily handled: right after gushing about how Hitl- (Okay I'll stop) er, Yellow Diamond did nothing wrong, she suddenly burns her bridges with Yellow Diamond by insulting her to her face, declaring that Earth had things worth protecting, and otherwise did the Crystal Gem song and dance despite it being made clear in the previous episode that she had lengths to go to unlearn her toxic mindset. Sure, after her traitorous behavior sinks in she's horrified... but gets over it really quickly. And what feels REALLY weird is that she still comes off as inconsistently characterized: in Beta, she's "le quirky Peridot!!1!!!!!!1 XDDDDDDDDDD" in full force, but in Kindergarten Kid, a season 4 episode, she's suddenly back to her old (and far more likable) rude jerk with goofy tendencies characterization. Out of all the characters, her inconsistent writing sticks out the most.

Lapis Lazuli is another big offender of inconsistent/bad characterization. This one really hurts because she's an incredibly nuanced character and one of my absolute favorites. For a while, she was consistently characterized as icy, vengeful, and standoffish towards most people after being put through so much crap, but had a much sweeter side she reserved for Steven which shows her as being debatable a better mom than most of the Crystal Gems. She also has a lot of issues that ring home with abuse victims: she has downright awful self-esteem, is prone to shutting down emotionally, and became an abuser herself after being yanked around by Jasper. I LOVED this so much... which is why I find episodes like Hit the Diamond and Beta downright insulting to the character. In those, she's this cartoonish goth girl who is incredibly apathetic and feels completely different than she usually does. And in Beta, she's suddenly best friends with Peridot with some blatant Lapidot pandering going on while in her previous appearance she loathed the very ground Peri walked on, and for good reason. And to add insult to injury, SHE was treated as the bad guy in Barn Mates despite having every reason to hate Peridot. Gah.

Garnet... alright, it isn't inconsistent characterization or even really bad: she's still the same stoic badass with the occasional asshole moment who nonetheless is adorably affectionate and maternal towards Steven. But in recent episodes... I dunno, there are some who feel that she's been losing her sense of identity and is basically reduced to being a fusion. It's hard to explain... but I kind of agree. Lately it feels that she's less her own character like she was in the past, and everything about her is now related to being a fusion. And even worse, her components, Ruby and Sapphire are dreadfully boring characters. They have no depth whatsoever, and can be defined as either being rambunctious and fiery or cold and distant, and being super in love for one another. And what's worse is that due to them being lesbians, not liking how one-dimensional they are or how unhealthy their relationships seem (Seriously, they put Peridot's life at risk because they couldn't hide their lady-boners for one another) will get you put under fire for criticizing a sacred cow. Bleh.

Connie I feel instead of being inconsistent or poorly characterized is just boring. I don't HATE her as she is a nice kid... but that's all she's got going for her. A bland, nerdy, nice girl with not much else to her. I liked her better back when she was struggling with her emotionally abusive parents because I could heavily identify with her feelings of anxiety regarding mom and dad... until that problem was suddenly taken care of. Now she just bores me. It's kinda fitting, her fusion with Steven, Stevonnie, is in my opinion the most boring fusion. But that's for another day.

That's about it for my characterization rant, part two's gonna have me talk about my issues with wasted potential in recent episodes. So uh... yeah. See you guys next time. Or not. I dunno.

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RinnieKuu Featured By Owner May 21, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
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