Chapter 5: Interruptions


Enzan stared at his desk miserably. He had tried to pay attention to the teacher, but Mariko was droning on about things he had learned a long time ago, and he soon found the class boring. Hearing the snickers around him about his embarrassing entrance and catching his name in a few whispered conversations didn’t help. If he kept his head down and didn’t speak to anyone, he could make it through the day. It looked as if he wasn’t going to have any trouble not speaking with anyone, since they all avoided him.


Enzan looked up slightly to see Rockman staring at him from the PET. There was worry in the navi’s green eyes, but Enzan didn’t trust the look; the way Rockman had been treating him this morning was still fresh in his mind.

“What do you want?” he muttered bitterly.

“I… I just want to help you,” Rockman said. He looked hurt at Enzan’s tone.

“Well, you sure haven’t been trying very hard!” Enzan hissed. “Just leave me alone. Go talk to your navi friends, or something.”

Rockman was silent for a moment. “Enzan-sama,” he whispered. “You really believe you’re not my operator, don’t you?”

“What do you think?” Enzan mumbled, refusing to look at the navi. He let his gaze travel the room. His eyes met a pair of dark brown irises, and he was surprised to find that Yaito was staring at him. Her eyes went wide when she realized she had been spotted, and he gave her a slight smile. Yaito glared daggers at him and turned toward the front of the class.

Enzan was surprised to find his feelings hurt. He constantly teased Yaito about her large forehead and her father’s company, but it was never mean-spirited, and Yaito knew that. The look she had given him was full of hate, and Enzan had no idea why.

“I’m sorry, Enzan-sama,” Rockman said sadly, catching his attention. Enzan looked down at the navi, and Rockman really did look repentant. He was staring at his hands and fidgeting. “I should have listened to you. I’ll try to be more helpful from now on.”

“If you would stop feeling sorry for yourself and help me, that would be helpful,” Enzan snapped.

“Hikari Enzan!”

Enzan winced, realizing he had been speaking a little too loudly. He glanced up and saw Mariko glaring at him. Great, I got the psycho teacher mad at me, he thought.

“Since you seem to think your conversation with your navi is more important than what’s being learned in class, maybe you could answer a question for me,” she said. The class tittered, and Enzan decided it was the most annoying sound in the world. With a sigh, he stood up.

“In what year did Commodore Perry of the American Navy arrive in Tokyo Bay?” Mariko asked, folding her arms in front of her.

“1853,” Enzan answered promptly. “Commodore Perry arrived in Tokyo Bay with warships to convince the Japanese government to open their ports to foreigners.”

The entire class gasped and whispered conversations broke out. Mariko looked shocked, and she stared at Enzan as if he had just announced a purple crocodile was eating the school’s principal, or something similar.

“Am I wrong?” he asked coldly.

“I…” Mariko seemed speechless. She finally cleared her throat and regained her composure. “No, that was the correct answer. You may sit down.”

Enzan sat down, carefully keeping his expression blank. Secretly, he was pleased at her reaction. He felt like he had paid her back for embarrassing him in front of the class. His satisfaction faded when he realized he was being stared at. Yaito was peeking at him over her shoulder, and she was looking at him like he had grown horns. Dekao was glaring at him openly, and Meiru was giving him a similar look. The muttering of the class had not stopped, even though Mariko had started speaking again.


Enzan looked down at his PET, and saw Rockman staring at him with a wide-eyed look. “What?” he asked, thinking the navi had found something wrong.

Rockman seemed unable to speak for a moment. “Who are you?” he finally managed to gasp.


=Transmission Interrupted=


From: Beef Man

To: The Flower Girl

Date: Wen, 21 May, 6:45

Subject: Flower Arrangement

The Queen of Skulls has been unearthed and placed in the jar. A new approach is needed to prevent more technical glitches. The new hour will be when the moon reaches noon’s spot.




From: The Flower Girl

To: Beef Man

Date: Wen, 21 May, 6:56

Subject: Re: Flower Arrangement

I have no idea what you’re talking about. Considering we have our net navis deliver the messages themselves, is this stupid code really necessary?



From: Beef Man

To: The Flower Girl

Date: Wen, 21 May, 7:08

Subject: Suit Yourself

Excellent point. Miyuki has been discovered, and we assume she has become part of the project. We are going to need a new plan to prevent more abductions. The new meeting time is midnight tonight.



=Transmission Resumed=


“I’ve been telling you who I am,” Enzan said impatiently. “I’m not Hikari Enzan!”

He dug into his rice with his chopsticks and shoved a large amount in his mouth. It was lunchtime and the students were allowed to leave the classroom to go to the cafeteria. Enzan would have found this an interesting experience if he hadn’t been aware of the stares he was getting from his classmates. He was used to getting attention, but he wasn’t used to it being so hostile. Once in the cafeteria, he had found a lone table to sit at. No one came to sit with him, despite the fact that the room was full of students.

“I think I believe you now,” Rockman replied quietly.

“Why?” Enzan questioned, suddenly suspicious of the navi’s complete turnaround. “What did I do that was so astonishing that I shocked the teacher speechless and caused the others in class to look at me like I’m some sort of freak?”

“Enzan-sama, you declared at the beginning of school that you would not learn a single thing while attending Akihara Elementary,” Rockman said. “You rigged the speaker system to make this declaration, which all floors heard. In class today, you not only showed knowledge, but you said something that hadn’t been covered yet.”

“I did that?” Enzan asked, amazed.

Rockman nodded. “You were nearly suspended for it. Fortunately, they thought suspending a student at the beginning of school would make the school itself look bad.”

“You would think with a reputation like that, I would have some kind of cult hero status, or something,” Enzan commented dryly. “Instead, people seem to fear me. They act kind of like you,” he finished pointedly.

Rockman looked uncomfortable. “You aren’t very well liked, Enzan-sama,” he said, dodging the last remark.

“Why?” Enzan demanded. He looked down and saw to his surprise he had eaten most of his lunch already. Deciding he was finished, he packed the obentou up as he waited for Rockman’s answer.

“You have a reputation as a bully,” Rockman admitted. “You’ve gotten in trouble for pushing other students around before.”

“What did I do to make Yaito hate me?” Enzan asked.

“Ayanokouji Yaito?” Rockman thought for a moment. “She is a relatively new student at this school, Enzan-sama. Her father is the—”

“I know who she is,” Enzan interrupted. “The question is why does she hate me?”

“On her first day of school, you dipped her braids in black paint,” Rockman answered. “You then laughed and said she looked more Japanese that way. You were given detention for a month, and given a lecture on how cruel and inconsiderate your remarks were. Yaito’s mother was non-Japanese, and she died when Yaito was very young.”

“Yaito doesn’t have a mother?” Enzan asked softly, looking over his shoulder. At a table not far away, Yaito was sitting with her friends and laughing.

“No she doesn’t, Enzan-sama.”

Then that’s something we have in common, Enzan realized. Out loud he said, “I really did that?”

“You’ve done worse, Enzan-sama. In fact, the people she hangs out with—Oyama Dekao, Sakurai Meiru, and Hikawa Tohru from another class—all have had similar experiences involving you.” 

Hikawa Tohru, Enzan remembered faintly, was the operator of Iceman.EXE. He had been in the N1 Grand Prix, as had most of the others in the group. Yaito had been the only exception, because she was younger and her navi was not designed to net battle.

“I don’t even want to know what I did to them,” Enzan said, shaking his head. “So, what brought them together was their mutual hatred of me?”

“I couldn’t say,” Rockman said carefully.

“It was a theoretical question,” Enzan replied. “That isn’t really important now. Why do you believe I am who I say I am?”

“I’m still not sure you are who you say you are,” Rockman admitted. “But I do know my operator would have never known the answer to Mariko-sensei’s question. He never studies anything.”

“He’s missing out then.” Enzan’s gaze drifted to a clock on the wall, and he sighed. “When does school get out?”

“Not for awhile yet, Enzan-sama.”

This is going to be tough, Enzan realized. He sighed again. “I don’t think I can take much more of this.”


=Transmission Interrupted=


From: Commander Beef

To: The Person This Concerns

Date: Wen, 21 May, 9:43

Subject: Net Agents

I realize you have little reason to care or even trust me. However, the situation is getting worse. You have no doubt heard about the attacks on the Science Labs and the abductions taking place. I doubt you care, but you must realize this is much bigger than the media is claiming. If this continues, the entire Internet is in jeopardy. More people will disappear, and it’s likely you will be next. If you care about nothing else, than this incident will wipe out all knowledge of World Three and their exploits. No one will care about it and World Three’s operation will never revive again. You may very well be dead, as many of us may be, when this is over.

We need your assistance in this matter. In order to insure your survival and the survival of others, I am asking you to become a temporary Net Agent. Be warned; the tasks you may be given will be very dangerous, perhaps life-threatening, and I can make no promises on the outcome. With the severity of the situation, however, I must beg you to join us. It may be our last chance.

Commander Beef


From: The Person This Concerns

To: Commander Beef

Date: Wen, 21 May, 10:13

Subject: You Want Me to Do What?

You must be joking. Me, help a Net Agent? Don’t make me laugh.


From: Commander Beef

To: The Person This Concerns

Date: Wen, 21 May, 10:23

Subject: Re: You Want Me to Do What?

I am perfectly serious. Turn on the news, and rethink your answer.


From: The Person This Concerns

To: Commander Beef

Date: Wen, 21 May, 10:58

Subject: Re: Re: You Want Me to Do What?

Changed my mind. I’ll help. It could be interesting, and besides, it’s been a long time since we had something truly interesting to do.


=Transmission Resumed=


Author’s note: The event Mariko-sensei was speaking about is a true event in Japanese history. I did a report on it way back and dug up my old notes, so I believe the date is right. All information on Yaito’s relations is pure speculation for the fanfic’s sake, as is Enzan’s family relations.