You Can't Judge a Sprite By Her Brother

Bob Castor walked into Dot’s diner. He almost immediately spotted his ‘best gal’ and Command.Com of Mainframe, Dot Matrix. She was sitting at a booth and was engrossed in some activity that involved her organizer and three vid windows. Bob decided that it wouldn’t be too upsetting to Dot if he interrupted her. After all, three vid windows was nowhere near a record for the entrepreneur.

Making his way over to the table, Bob slid into the booth and sat down next to Dot. She didn’t seem to notice him, as her eyes remained fixated on her organizer. Bob slung his arm around Dot casually. This action caused her to start.

“Bob!” The startled woman said, clearly surprised.

“Hey Dot. What’s processing?” Bob grinned.

“Nothing worth downloading.” Dot replied. She returned Bob’s grin with a slight smile of her own. “How about you, Mr. Guardian? Keeping busy? I haven’t seen you in awhile.”

Bob winced at that last comment. It was true, he hadn’t seen Dot that much lately. There really was no excuse for it except that he had been busy lately. Since the re-start, Hex had started ‘participating’ in Mainframe activities and the guardian had taken it upon himself to keep the so-called tame virus in line.

“Sorry about that Dot. We really need to spend some time together, I know.”

Dot nodded in agreement. “Maybe we could have dinner down by the docks or something else nice and quiet.” She suggested.

“Actually Dot, that sounds really nice, but we may have to postpone any plans for a little while longer.”

“Why is that?” Dot sounded more than a little disappointed.

“Well. I was talking to my parents. You remember them don’t you?”

“How could I forget? Remember, I got to meet them right after the re-start.”

“Right.” Bob laughed. His mother and Dot had hit it off, both being business women. His father, Dot had discovered was an awful lot like Bob. The photographer was the type of sprite to fly by the seat of his pants. Bob all over.

“As I was saying, I talked to my parents and they said that Kate had a break from her classes.”

“Kate, your sister?” Dot looked at Bob curiously. “What does she study?”


Dot stared at Bob for a moment. She tried to picture this. She came up with a female version of Bob delving into the mouth of a kicking and screaming child. Shaking her head, she snapped out of her daydream. “Dentistry. That can be a lucrative career.” Dot said smiling.

Bob looked at Dot a moment and laughed. Dot jerked, startled. Still laughing Bob looked at Dot teasingly. “You didn’t expect that did you? I bet you thought she was going to be a guardian.”

Dot blinked. Bob had hit the nail on the head. Dot recovered quickly though. “No. If she was a guardian, she’d be infected by Daemon.” Dot let out a small sigh hoping that Bob hadn’t caught her.

Bob looked at Dot as if he was trying to figure something out. Dot held her breath. “Right. If she was infected I wouldn’t have invited her to come and visit.”

“Oh Bob! Is she really coming? I’ve wanted to meet her for awhile, ever since you first told me about her. She sounds so sweet.”

“Yes she’s coming. And you’re right she is sweet. I think you’ll like her.”

“I hope so. We’ll have to find a place for her to stay. Plus I’m sure there are some things she’d like to see and some people she could meet.”

“I knew you’d say that.” But then Bob’s tone grew serious. “She’ll be fine staying with me at my apartment. Also Dot, be careful with the people you take her to meet. Kate’s a little shy.”

“Someone related to you, shy?” Dot asked incredulously. “I’ll have to see it to believe it.”

“Believe it.” Bob said. He got up and turned to look out the window. “Ask Enzo to make sure Frisket stays a good distance away from Kate. I can handle him, but I don’t know if Kate will be able to.”

Dot nodded. “All right, I’ll see you later then Bob. I have to get the Davis account settled by 17:00.” She stood up to kiss Bob goodbye, and then watched him depart from the diner. Smiling to herself, Dot returned to her business.


“Well sugah, what do you think this Kate is like?” Mouse turned towards Ray Tracer. “Did you git the story?”

“No, lovely lady, I didn’t. No worries, I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.” The surfer replied, leaning back in the passenger seat of ‘Ship’. The two were lounging in the vehicle, discussing the topic which was on everyone’s minds. Kate.

“Ah suppose. Bob is being downright secretive about the gal though.” Mouse sighed. “The only person he’s talked about Kate to is Dot. And that’s only because she’s making all the arrangements for the sweetie’s stay.”

“I think she’ll be a nice little lady. Even tempered and the whole bit.” Ray predicted.

Mouse laughed. “Lovey, you must be going random. Ah think she’ll be anothah Bob. I know rathah. She’d have to have had his ways rub off on her.”

“That isn’t always the case. I’ve seen lots of siblings that are like night and day. You just may be wrong.”

Mouse shook her head forcibly. “No. She’s anothah Bob and that’s that. You won’t git me to believe otherwise.”

“Don’t get riled up. You could be right.” Ray pointed out. As if to call a truce, he put an arm around her shoulder.

Mouse shook it off. “Ah am right, and Ah ain’t gittin riled.” She retorted angrily.

“Now come on. No need to get all defensive.” Ray said annoyed. “Why don’t we just forget the whole thing.”

“Sounds all right to me.” Mouse dropped their little tiff and tackled Ray into a kiss.


“Where’s Mouse?” Matrix grumbled to Bob. “She was supposed to be here by now.”

“She’ll be here Enzo.” Bob assured the renegade. I’m not starting till she’s here.” He added when he saw that Matrix was about to ask Bob to tell him what this was about.

Muttering to himself, Matrix nodded mutely and kept his eyes trained on his energy shake.

“I did tell her to come to Al’s.” Bob confirmed a little uncertainly.

“Maybe not.” Matrix looked up. “She was supposed to be here nanoseconds ago.”

“Fashionably late, honey.” The voice belonged to Mouse. Bob turned to greet the mercenary. Her hair seemed to be a little messed and she looked rushed.

“Been busy?” Bob asked slyly.

“More than you Bob.” Mouse said giving the guardian a knowing look. She laughed as Bob turned purple. Obviously Mouse had been talking to Dot.

“Have a seat.” Bob tried to recover. He ran a hand through his hair and motioned for Mouse to take a seat.

Mouse complied. She slid into the seat across from Bob and next to Matrix. “Well?” The sprite cocked a fiery red eyebrow at Bob.

“Okay. It’s like this you guys: My sister Kate is real shy. Plus she has this ‘thing’ about weapons. They make her angry. So could you two maybe.....”

“Not have any toys around her.” Matrix finished.

“Right.” Bob nodded.

“So no Kantanas?”


“And no guns?”


Mouse shot Matrix a look. “That’s asking an awful lot.”

Glancing at Mouse, Matrix nodded. “I feel kinda naked without Gun.” He admitted.

“Kate won’t be here for too long. Just while she’s here. Can you do that for me?” Bob pleaded.

“All right sugah. I will if Enzo here will too.”

“Okay. But just until she’s gone. And only when she’s around.” The green sprite leaned forward. “One question.”


“What does you’re sister have against weapons? Why do they make her angry?”

Bob laughed. “Oh that’s simple.” He said brushing the question off like it was fly. “She’s a member of D.A.V.”

Mouse stared blankly. “What’s the D.A.V ?”

“Dentists against violence. She’s a charter member of the Super Computer branch.”

“Oh.” Matrix said in a voice that was monotone. He scratched his head. “Well I promised AndrAIa I’d help her pick out a shower curtain for our bathroom. She needs to find a nice fish print.” He got up and started out the door.

“I’d better go myself. Ray is gonna let me try on his goggles. Cain’t miss that.” Mouse added following Matrix out.

“Later you two.” Bob said watching them go. “Huh.”

Outside Mouse and Matrix were talking in low voices. “Dentists against violence?” Mouse asked. “Where do they meet, the park?”

“The P.O. They’d get stoned to deletion at the park.” Matrix said. He shuddered.

“Good excuse.” Mouse commented thoughtfully.

“What do you mean?”

“You really had Bob going. I think he believed that you were going shopping for a fish shower curtain.”

Matrix looked at Mouse for a moment. “Then in a strangely calm voice, “I am.”

“Oh. Well then. Mouse stuttered a few unintelligible words then mumbled a “Bye”.

Matrix watched her take off. Sighing he went off to meet AndrAIa.


“So. When did Bob say he’d be here?”

“13:00, Dot. If he comes now, he’ll be a little early.” Mouse sighed.

“You can’t blame the gal Mouse. Everybody’s getting anxious to meet Kate.” Ray defended the antsy Command.Com.

“They better be here soon, I have to feed the fish. They’re on a very strict eating schedule.” AndrAIa whined.

“I fed them before I left Andy.” Matrix turned to the game sprite.

“I hope Enzo’s keeping Frisket at a safe distance.” Dot was pacing back and forth now. She passed a brown haired sprite with glasses who was jumping around anxiously. She flashed a toothy grin to Dot, showing a mouthful of braces. Dot shook the nerdout of her mind and continued to pace.

They were gathered by the main doors of the Principal Office and were waiting for Bob to arrive with his sister. The sprites were waiting impatiently for their arrival, wanting to meet this Kate.

Bob proved to be on time however, as a portal formed in front of the group. Bob turned back to the portal. A suitcase flew out of it narrowly missing his head. Then a sprite came out of the portal.

She was about 20 user years old. Her hair was shoulder length, the colour of silicon just like Bob’s was before the web. Her’s was messy and looked as if it was an awful trial to take care of. Her eyes were brown, but seemed too big for her small face. The eyes were set very close together on her face. Her skin colour was a lighter blue than Bob’s.

By now, the others had realized this was Kate, and had put her under examination. They noted that she was short and very skinny. She wore black leggings and a baggy gray sweatshirt. Her all around look was well, mousy.

The one thing AndrAIa noticed was that Kate clutched a fishbowl with three fish in it. She vowed to find out more about the fish. For now she waited for Bob to introduce the girl.

Bob held the sprite’s hand and turned her to face the group. Kate blushed a shade of purple, although there was nothing to be embarrassed about.

Bob turned to Kate and smiled. He then addressed the group. “Guys, this is my little sister Kate. Kate, I’d like you to meet Dot, Matrix, AndrAIa, Ray...” Bob pointed to each person as he named them. Kate was greeted with a chorus of “Nice to meet you’s” and the like. Every time she’d blush a deeper shade of purple and mumble a “Hello” so softly you’d have to lean forward to hear her.

AndrAIa stepped forward. “Are these your fish?” She inquired. She motioned towards the fish bowl in Kate’s arms.

Kate blushed and nodded solemnly. “Yes.”

“I have fish myself. A tropical albino guppy and a Eastern Net trout.”

Kate nodded. “These are all Tropical Net-fish. The blue one is Mr. Wiggles, the pink one is Fisch, and the silver one is Pink. They’re my babies.” She said affectionately. It was the most Kate had said since the beginning of their brief meeting.

“You’ll have to come to a meeting of the Mainframe Aquatic Society.” AndrAIa said. “We’re raising money for an aquarium.”

“I’d like that.” Kate said, her blush receeded.

“After Kate gets settled.” Bob cut in. “C’mon, Margo said-”

“Mom said.” Kate corrected gently.

“Whatever. Mom said she wanted us to vid window her as soon as we got here. I don’t have to tell you how she gets.” The last sentence he muttered a little disgustedly.

“She’s just over-protective.” Dot replied, in defense of Bob’s mother.

“Over- protective my ascii-”

“Robert!” Kate reprimanded. Her voice was soft but urgent.

“Sorry. Over-protective my bitmap. You get exhiled to the web for one hour and she gets all worried.”

The group took this opportunity to stare at Bob blankly, as he led his sister off to Kits sector. Shaking their heads, they all went back to their normal activities. Their curiosity had been quenched for the moment.


“Ooo Hoo Oooo....Yeah!” Bob sang to his wrench while he worked on his car contentedly. Kate was in the living room where the couch had been pulled out to make a bed. She was sitting on this bed with the fishbowl in her lap. Kate appeared to be carrying on a one-sided conversation with the fish while she fed them.

Once done with this task, Kate proceeded to the garage to watch Bob work. Or not. He was really letting loose; jumping, shaking and spinning. He sang into the wrench while rocking his head back and forth.

It proved entertaining to watch the big brother format skip around the room in random rocker mode. Kate decided she’d make good use of the opportunity and quickly got a bag of pretzels from the kitchen. Returning to the garage she settled into the passenger seat of the red car and watched her brother.

“Ahooeee, ahooee, ahhoooeeeee-O!” Bob finished, falling into the driver’s seat next to Kate. Opening his eyes, he saw Kate’s silent stare.

“Uh hi Kate.” He said a little sheepishly.

“Hi Robert.” She returned. “Pretzel?” She offered him the bag. Bob took it and munched thoughtfully.

“When’s Andri gonna be here?”

“Few nanos. Maybe you should practice your singing more.” She suggested innocently.

Bob groaned and crumpled up the now empty bag of pretzels. He tossed it at his sister in a gentle arc. “Out.” He said with a grin.

Kate probably wouldn’t have left but it was then that the doorbell rang. “I’ve got it!” Bob jumped up and raced for the door. Kate got up slowly and followed. She was timid, still shy around others so she peeked quietly over Bob’s shoulder at AndrAIa when Bob opened the door.

“Hi!” AndrAIa said excitedly. She had a big white T-shirt with a guppy on it. “Is Kate here? Is she ready?”

“She’s right here.” Bob said pushing the short girl towards the over-eager game sprite.

“Hi.” Kate said bushing.

“Come on Kate, we don’t want to be late.” With a yelp of excitement, AndrAIa grabbed Kate’s wrist and dragged the poor girl out to the sidewalk below. She stopped proudly in front of a motorbike.

“We’re riding that?” Kate asked gulping.

“Sure!” AndrAIa said. “Helmet?” She tossed a neon pink helmet towards Kate and put her own blue one on.

“But isn’t that dangerous?”

“Huh? No way. I’ve ridden motor bikes hundreds of times before. Besides, this baby used to be Megabyte’s, it has lots of cool safety features.”

“Megabyte’s?” Kate paled.

“Yeah. This blue virus who shot Bob in the web. You see it’s - Oh.” Realization hit AndrAIa. Obviously Kate was uneasy about riding anything that belonged to that virus. “It’s not rigged or anything. Climb on!” AndrAIa then proceeded to lift a kicking and shrieking Kate. She attempted to throw the girl onto the motorbike.

“Let go of-”

“If you’d just hold still we could-”


“Ow! Don’t kick you could-”

“-Hit something”

“There.” AndrAIa stepped back to admire her handi-work. Kate was now set firmly onto the bike, her helmet skewed to the side. “Ready?”

“Yes.” Kate sighed. She wondered what the Mainframers put in their energy shakes.

“Now you have to make the “vroom vroom” sound with me.”


AndrAIa, fished for the keys. Finding them in the toe of her boots she put them in the bike’s ignition. “Sure. You have to get the full feel and appreciate the sounds of a motorcycle.”

Kate stared. “Do you use onomatopoeia for all your activities?”

“Of course not. Now come on. Vroooom! Va va va va Vrooooom!” AndrAIa turned the key and revved the engine.

“Vroom, vroom.” Kate said unenthusiastically, forgetting her shyness to replace it with sarcasm.

“I can’t feel your excitement.” AndrAIa said in a warning tone.

“Vroom, vroom.” Kate tried again.

“Good enough. Put your arms around my waist so you don’t fall off.”

Kate agreed. It was a good thing too, she was shaking so hard no doubt she’d have fallen off.

AndrAIa revved the engine once more and slammed her foot against gas. The motorcycle blasted forward. AndrAIa swerved into a U-turn and headed for Beverly Hills.

Poor Kate hugged the sprite in front of her for dear life. AndrAIa was driving like a mad-woman who just knocked back a few too many. Every so often she’d add a sound effect to her maniac driving. When encouraged to join in, Kate let out a shriek of fear.

AndrAIa just couldn’t figure out what was scaring Kate. She was only going about 120 miles an hour. Hardly a record.

It didn’t take them too long to reach their destination but AndrAIa took a few nanos to do some midair turns and other risky tricks to loosen up a bit.

The game sprite brought her toy to a nice easy stop. At least easy to her standards. Hopping off she offered her hand to Kate in an effort to help the shaken woman down.

Kate took the offered and and stepped carefully to the blessed ground. She considered kissing it right then and there but thought better. She was just glad that she was safe from the madwoman’s wrath. Plus she was pretty sure she didn’t need another change of pants. Things were looking somewhat up.

They were in front of a rather modest building. Modest for Beverly Hills that is. The building itself looked like it was an old elementary school.

Still shaking, Kate allowed herself to be led into the building. There was a corkboard with tons of flyers advertising events and such. A sign taped to the wall was labeled: MAS meeting. There was an arrow pointing down a hall. Kate supposed they were to follow it. They did.

Coming to a door, AndrAIa smiled at Kate and silently pushed it open. Inside it looked as if the meeting was in full swing. The nerdy sprite from the park was standing up talking very rapidly as loud as she could. The metal monstrosities in her her mouth flashed as she spoke.

“Look, if we don’t earn enough in this fund-raiser we just won’t be able to adopt another fish.” The girl pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose with her heel. “Ow!” She yelped. Apparently she had used too mush force.

A one binome jumped up. “We’re there’s a will there’s a fish.”

“We’re there’s a fish. There’s!” A zero added.

“Ahem.” All turned to stare at the two in the doorway. “This is Kate Castor.” AndrAIa motioned towards Kate who had turned her favorite shade of purple.”

“Hi. Person I don’t know.” The nerd said. She outstretched her hand to shake Kate’s.

“That’s Lauren.” AndrAIa said.

“You can call me Lauren. Or you can call me Geek Queen. That’s what my friends call me.”

Kate blinked. Lauren stared expectantly. Her eyes got big and round, and as they did, so did Kate’s. AndrAIa ushered Kate to a seat in between herself and Mike the T.V.

AndrAIa sighed. Mike could make the meetings a whole lot more interesting but when he and Lauren teamed up.... All Lauren did however was sit down and hum ominously.

“We’re discussing adopting another fish.” The one binome said. He had a name-tag on that read Melvin. “Let’s get down to business.”


“The binome bunch, doo, doo, doo. The binome bunch doo, doo, doo. That’s the waaaay we became the binome bunch!” Bob sat back in the couch comfortably.

Kate was next to him. They were both in pajamas and were watching Disk at ‘nite.

“So. How was the meeting?” Bob asked. He sounded slightly annoyed. This was a result of having commercials right after the opening credits.

“It was like a meeting of fish-aholics anonymous. Except you try to get more of the fish than less.”

“Ah ha. Did you have fun?”

“Sure. After I got over that creepy nerd Lauren.”

“Yeah. She’s weird. I have a feeling she’s knows more than she’ll let on.”



“The show’s back on.”

“Oh. I’ll shut up.”


Dot leafed thoughtfully through a thick txt. It was a romance, her personal favourite. Looking up from the lines and paragraphs she considered buying it.

“Hey Dot.”

“What?” Dot turned around to be greeted with a docment right up in her face. The title read: “The Sprite Yuckies Book”.

“Check it out. It’s all about sprites and their insides. What really goes on when you out-put. Plus it talks all about snot. Dod you know that if your snot’s green - ”

“Enzo.” Dot swallowed hard.

“Yeah Dot?”

“Spare me the details. I take it you want to blow you’re last 10 units on it.”

“I won’t be _blowing_ them. It’s _educational_.”

“Fine. Just don’t wake me up in the middle of the night to explain why we get the flu.”

“Aw man.”

Dot decided to change the subject. “You’ve been keeping Frisket away from Kate?”

“Yeah.” The child sighed. “This is totally basic. I don’t see why _I_ have to keep him away.”

Ignoring the last comment, Dot went on. “Where is he now. You don’t seem to be watching Frisket now. Are you sure he’s tied up tight enough?”

“I think. I mean he’s chained to a fire hydrant. He’d have to rip the fire hydrant up to get away. Well either that or eat it.”

Dot nodded, satisfyed. “Alright. Let’s go pay for these books. We can go to the diner for a byte to eat after. Or would you rather go to the docks and get a hot dog?”

“Hot dog.” Enzo decided as they got in line to pay for their purchases.

“Fine. Tie your shoe.”

Grumbling, Enzo bent down to tie his shoe. Dot looked out the glass door. Through it, she could see a blue sprite running as if for dear life. Not far behind her was a red dog. Chasing them both was a group of binome. Finnally at the end of this bizzare procession was a mad torrent of water flooding the street.

“Enzo. I think maybe Frisket ripped the fire hydrant up.”


Kate walked silently, deep in her thoughts. She clutched a bag in her left hand. Inside it was toothpaste and mouth wash. Kate had decided that she needed to teach her brother proper hygene. Come to think, she kind of felt bad for Dot. She was such a nice woman who had to put up with the guardian’s nacho breath.

Looking up she noticed a red dog and a red fire hydrant up ahead. They were a matching pair. The dog, who was chained to the hydrant, was releiving himself with deliberation.

Kate felt her heart jump. The dog was big. Perhaps mean. If a dog had to be chained then the dog wasn’t probably a nice little puppy, right? At least that was Kate’s reasoning.

As she approached the dog she took a deep breath. By now it was obvious the dog was a “he”. He was kind of cute....

Frisket sniffed at his work then sniffed again. Someone was coming. The feral beast looked up to see a sprite approach. She smelled like the Supercomputer, a little like Bob. Unlike Bob, she didn’t have nacho breath.

This could work for him, Frisket reasoned with his doggy brain. He had an unreachable itch on his back. It was bothering him. Scenting the hydrant had little to relieve him discomfort. Now here, was this sprite who had nice long fingers to scrtch his back. Perhaps it was a sign.

Kate watched as the dog’s eyes got large and his tail wagged with excitement. His tounge lolled out of his mouth and he tried to itch his back. Kate wondered if the dog had an itch. However, even if he did she wouldn’t dare scratch him. Kate held her head up bravely and walked past poor Frisket.

The pup’s heart sank with dissapoitment as Kate walked past him. He was itching and badly. The anxious dog pulled against the chain. Nothing. Putting all his weight Frisket hoped to break the chain. Instead he broke the fire hydrant.

At the sound of twisting metal Kate turned. The was Frisket, running towards her. She couldn’t decide if he wanted to chase her or if he was running from the tidal wave behind him. Either way she figured she had better run herself.

The fire hydrant continued to spew water out. Binomes followed closely behind sprite and dog, trying to get away from the flood.

Kate ran by a bookstore and turned for a split second to see Enzo and Dot hanging out the door gaping at them. The she was engulfed in water.


Five javas, ten towels, and three doggy bones later. Both Kate and Frisket were dry and comfortable. Kate was curled u in her brother’s bed getting some much earned sleep.

Frisket was pleased to have Enzo itch his back. The day hadn’t turned out bad for him. His only regret was that he probably would never get buddy-buddy with Kate. He had such trouble making friends.

Now, perhaps the one heroic quality Kate possesses is the ability to get back up. Fall down seven times, get up eight and all that.

The very worn sprite slept soundly for a good while, forcing her brother to sleep on the hide-a-bed. Kate had no objection to this arrangement. Bob made no comment.

When Kate did awake from her slumber, Bob was out. He had left a note:

At the diner. Will be back by 14:00.

Kate giggled. Bob dotted his “I’s” with little curlicues and his zeros had smiley faces in them. Sometimes Bob reminded her of a junior high girl with too many purple calligraphy pens.

Tapping the paper against her palm, she considered her options. Go to the diner. No. For a walk down Baudway. Nein. Stay and watch Sesame System. Yes.

Making her merry way to the living room Kate made it there without any mishaps. However in an attempt to flop herself onto the couch, a curious phenomenon occurred. One can only explain it as Hexadecimal.

Upon opening her clenched shut eyes, Kate found herself in the Lair belonging to Hexadecimal. She was sitting in a chair of sorts, not one she’d seen. Over a distance a mask floated in the air. The mask downloaded a form and that form was Hex herself.

“Why it’s the little Castor girl. Bob’s little sister. How darling.” Hex cooed and approached the shaking sprite. She pinched a cheek and flashed a smile.

“Uh....” That was all Kate could muster.

“Oh dear me! How rude of me to not introduce myself. I’m Hexadecimal and I require your assistance.”

“My assistance?”

“Of course. You are a dentist, are you not?”

“I’m, I’m just st- studying dentistry.”

“But you can clean teeth can’t you?”

“Yes.” Kate looked at the ex-virus curiously. It can be assumed that it was best Kate didn’t know what exactly Hex was.

“Then you’ll do just fine I suppose. You see, it’s so hard top find a dentist in mainframe that understands me. I’m due for my six-hour check-up and I’m afraid I’ll get cavities if I don’t get attended to soon. I’ve decided that a woman’s touch is just what I need.”

“A woman’s touch?”

“Oh you silly girl! You ask so many questions. No quit being so redundant and please see to it that my tartar build-up is taken care of.”

Hex then opened her mouth wide and looked at the girl expectantly.

“I’ll need instruments.” Kate said cautiously. She just couldn’t fathom why Bob would want to live in such a strange place. Maybe all the null tipping he did during high school messed up his brain.

“Oh yes, I suppose you do.” The chaotic woman waved her hand over a table nearby them and dropped a few utensils on them. Kate couldn’t be sure where they came from but perhaps it was best not to ask.

Walking over, Kate picked the up various instruments. Finding one to her liking she picked it up and returned to Hex who was now placed in Kate’s previous sitting spot. Her mouth was still wide open.

Very carefully Kate delved into the mouth of the infamous ex-viral and prodded around. Hexadecimal seemed to have good hygiene.

“Do you brush daily?”

“I brush five times a day.”

Kate blinked. “Whatever for? You only need to brush twice daily. At the most, three times.”

“Oh it’s so much fun! You haven’t any idea how interesting it is to see your teeth when you put on a sadistic grin. My teeth fascinate me and brushing them adds to the fun of having lips that move.”

Kate was starting to feel like Feathers McGraw, blinking all the time here in Mainframe. Looking at Hex, this time a little worriedly she murmured a “Fine.” and continued examining the mouth of her wacko patient.

“Stop Hexadecimal! Don’t do anything to Kate.” The voice of a very protective guardian echoed in the large lair.

Hex sat up excitedly, tossing Kate across the room. “Oh Bob! _You’re_ here. Do sit down. Can I get you any biscuits?”

“What are you doing to Kate? I thought you were supposed to be teaching a class of nulls.”

“The most curious thing happened, Bob. A big boulder dropped right on my dollhouse with all the null students inside it.”

Bob took a moment to ponder this. He’d thought a dollhouse would be fun for Hex. Come to think, it probably _was_ fun for the woman to smash it. He sighed. Forty units down the drain.

“Robert.” Kate’s soft voice sounded, breaking into the guardian’s thoughts.

“What Kate? What did she do to you?”

“Why nothing!” Kate was surprised. “I was just giving her a six-hour dental exam.”

“You were giving an ex-virus a dental exam?” Bob took this opportunity to put on an incredulous look.

“She- she’s a v-virus?” Poor Kate pale instantly.

“An ex-virus Kate. She’s-” But it was too late. Kate had run out of there screaming bloody delete.

“Look what you’ve done! Are you happy now?” Bob turned to face the virus who was flossing her pearly whites.

“Oh I lose so many dentists that way. No, I am not happy. I’m sure there’s a nice binome out there to talk to however.” With that, Hex left Bob alone in the lair.

Bob took one long look around the large, spacious room. “Hey. I wonder if Hex rents this place out for romantic vacations.”


“So Kate enjoyed her stay?” Dot Matrix took off her glasses and turned to Bob.

“She sure did. She said, ‘I have never had a more eye-opening experience. I’ll never take home for granted again.’”

“Well good.” Dot took a sip of Bob’s energy shake.

“She left everyone a little gift.”

“Did she really?” The green sprite raised her eyebrows.

“Yep.” Bob handed Dot a blue, sparkly toothbrush and a pack of mint dental floss. He had a bag with the rest of them on the floor. “Help me pass the rest of these out, will ya?”