Rockman.EXE is not mine. Don't sue.


Us After This
~by Shimegami-chan

A/N: Please excuse any minor mistakes and the clashing between the EXE anime and Battle Network. :)


Beep. Beep. Beep.

The sounds of the heart monitor were erratic and strained, as though its owner could not decide whether to breathe. His mother knelt by his side; his best friend solemn by the headboard. His father, looking grim, was plugged into a Net terminal beside the bed.

The middle-aged man held a PET in his shaking hands, and upon its screen a similar scene was being enacted like ghostly deja vu. A young man--a boy, really--lay prone on the blue-block floors of the Net. A girl in a pink jumpsuit held his hand, crying, as a crowd of others looked silently on.

Inside the PET, a man in a labcoat ran small devices along the length on the unconscious boy's body as the child convulsed. Eventually the bigger Navi stepped away from the boy and turned to stare out of the screen. "I'm sorry, Hikari-san. It seems he's been infected with some sort of virus. It's like none I've seen before."

"You can't repair it?" Yuuichirou rasped, his throat dry. "Or isolate it?"

The Navi was hesitant. "It cannot be repaired. I can isolate it for a time. It might give him a while longer, but at risk to him being unconscious."

"Do it."

The doctor's Navi nodded and knelt beside the prone boy again, speaking to Yuuchirou over his shoulder. "The virus has infected the executable file; which, as you know is absolutely essential to his survival. His program has been frozen--the data is still there, for the moment, but the executable is so badly damagaed that it might never run again. I suggest you backup his data."

"It's backed up. That's not my concern and you know it, Emdee." Yuuichirou could barely force the words from his mouth. Rockman's program was backed up, to be certain, but the fact still remained that if Rockman's main data was destroyed, the lifelink he had to Netto would be severed.

Though the child in the hospital had calmed and quieted, the boy inside the PET was groaning, his face contorted in agony. "Netto-kun..."

Yuuichirou turned his face away, unable to observe the boy that had once been his son. "Emdee," he said decidedly, "Isolate the virus. Give me more time."

Unconscious on the hospital bed, Hikari Netto erupted into screams.


The scientist had not slept in days.

His office was a veritable mess of wires and disks, and he was yet again buried in it alone. Meiru was with Netto at the hospital. His wife, Haruka was home crying again.

This is all my fault.

"You are not to be faulted for trying to save your son," Emdee admonished as though reading his mind.

"I can be blamed in a dozen ways," Yuucichirou replied bitterly, entering another string of code into the computer. "And regardless, I shall be to blame if they cannot be saved, since I'm the only one who can do it. If this virus destroys Rockman, Netto will die. What good are those medical doctors when they don't even know the cause? How could I explain that my son perished because his Navi was deleted?"

He typed in more code. "If I could just finish this program, I could separate Rockman's data from the virus and store the data in another vessel where the virus can't reach. Is your protection still holding it at bay?"

"I assure you that I'm doing all I can."

The phone rang, and Yuuichirou answered it with his left hand. "Hikari here."

"Hikari-san, this is Densan City Hospital. We'd like you to come down here to talk about your son."

"I'm coming," he said reluctantly, saving his work and hanging up the phone. "Emdee, move the transfer program to my PET. I'll finish the program tonight for certain."

He took a sip of caf and disconnected the wires before hurrying to the door. "Wait for me, Netto. Just hold on a little longer."


"An implant?"

The medical doctor's face was solemn. "He went into cardiac arrest three times during the night. We installed a small computer in his chest, and it is directly connected with his neurological system. The program in the computer will keep his heart beating and his lungs breathing where we cannot. We're running tests as quickly as we can to figure out just what is wrong with him."

Yuuichirou remained expressionless, but his heart was in his shoes. Cardiac arrest...? It seemed like such an abnormal experience for his son to be going through. Netto, lying on the bed, was silent and still.

"He still hasn't woken from the coma," the medical doctor said apologetically. "However, with the computer inside his body, we were able to have our Navis directly access his systems. They may be able to determine the problem more quickly than our research could."

Yuuichirou nodded. "I understand."

But he didn't. The only thought in his mind was, I'm going to lose them both.

~to be continued...