automan: (windblown suit)
[personal profile] automan
Raiden had just finished another busy day in his fighting game, and was walking around Grand Central with a pleased smile on his face. His favorite high-score player had come in today and really cleared the board again. He never was picky whether he was the character of choice, or just playing the boss of the tower climb. A new record had been added to the list of top scores today, so it was a good day no matter what.

"Hello, Auto!" A hand brimming with lighting raises and waves to the tron-like crime fighter. He always liked talking with the games that had a little more plot than 'beat-em-up', made for some interesting characters.



Automan turns at the voice, lighting up with a smile. He had been standing next to a terminal, calculating some figures (police work, it never quit). But he could take a microsecond for a break. "Hello, Raiden! How goes the fight?" He strolls over, giving a wave to another computer program he recognizes in passing, just to be polite. Most here in Game World knew and liked Auto, he had a sort of programmed charm, if that could be believed.



"The fight goes very well. We set a new high score today." Raiden understood how work would never end. In his game he was protector of the realm, around the gate to the game though, he was there to protect other characters from going into his own game. Too many fighters who stayed a little too in character, and their arena levels were all lethally dangerous. He was there to protect any wayward sprites.

"What of your adventures today?"



Automan had the enviable ability to go into the real world and help his creator whenever he needed his specific set of skills. Auto started as a game but now he was a whole lot more.

He smiles, holding out a computer pad with lists of data on it. "I'm narrowing down a list of suspects for Walter. Nothing special yet."



There were plenty of games who held a particular envy of the one who could walk outside of not only the game, but Grand Central and into the world of the users. Raiden, though still only a character, had been written to be a wise, long lived character and understood that there were no resets, no "insert koin(s) to continue" in the user world. He did not envy Automan, but he did like to check up with him.

"Not that I am much of a detective, but if there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. If I may pry, what are you helping the user Walter solve this time?"



"Thank you, Raiden, I'll take you up on that if I need it." Auto did like how he met such great friends here in the computer world. His world, the outside world was more like a game to him than the computer world was in here.

"He's trying to catch a gang of thieves that have knocked over five gasoline stations in the past month. There seems to be no pattern to their attacks so Walter is having me run some figures to see if a pattern can be found." Boring stuff, really, nothing he couldn't handle alone.

Though he could use a break. "Is anyone playing your game now?" Auto seeing if he could get in on a session.



"I wish you both luck in catching these thieves. They must be brought to justice." His hat nods and then that blue-glow sparks in his eyes when Auto asks about his game. There were few Raiden and the others allowed into their arcade station, but Auto was certainly welcome.

"The game is free, if you wish for a few rounds while your figures are running." Raiden gave Auto a half-bow in respect. "We would be honored to have you visit us, as always."



"Thank you, my friend. I'm certain we will. Walter is one of the best."

Automan put aside his figures for the moment, quite excited to be able to visit. "Cursor, if you would," he addresses a glowing ball of light that appears out of nowhere. The cursor zips around him, drawing a different outfit. A dark blue samari type of outfit, complete with fighting staff. Auto bows in turn to Raiden. "I also am honored."



Raiden nods his approval of the costume change and motions for Auto to walk with him.

"I believe a number of the cast is out at Tapper's but enough of them should still be in the game that you will have your pick of opponents." Raiden didn't want to assume that Automan would only be sparring with him, but he was up for a friendly match, especially with the gifted sprite. It truly was just as rewarding being Automan's friend, knowing they could play the game together.

"After you have had your fill of kombat, I would invite you to the Sky Temple stage for tea."



"Again, I am honored. And I accept." Auto twirls the staff easily by his side. While he was able to mimic anything seen by real people in the real world, he did like the challenge of the games. Not all of them followed true physics and he was not always the winner.

"I will take whatever opponent you care to challenge me with. I need to be on my toes for this gang of thieves." The bright light of Cursor was back, bobbing around and trying to make himself heard. Auto looks slightly annoyed, shooing him off. "Now Cursor, I'm sure they have their own referee and timekeeper..."



"If your companion wishes to play a part, I am certain we could arrange to let them handle some of the round duties." The announcer was no more than a series of voice recordings, rather than a programmed personality, so it was little trouble to work around. In his own game Raiden was incredibly powerful, and so were a number of others. They would make it work.

"As for opponents, I believe Scorpion and Sub Zero will be available, but I am uncertain who else may have stayed. I was seeing to the security of the portal before returning to the game when I saw you."



Auto was about to say how he really shouldn't encourage Cursor, but the glowing ball was already whistling away in his computer speech and drawing out a scoreboard of his own design.

With about 50 levels of difficulty.

Auto rubs the bridge of his nose. "No, Cursor, only a few rounds. We don't have all day, Walter will wonder where we've gotten to." Begrudgingly, Cursor redraws to a much shorter game and timing clock.

He walks to the portal, waiting for Raiden to allow him to pass. "I feel I should warn you, I have been watching a few Bruce Lee movies." He might have a trick or two up his sleeve.



Raiden can't help a gentle smile at the enthusiasm from the sprite. He walks alongside Auto, and when they reach the portal his character magic causes the portal to shimmer briefly, lowering the protections that keep out characters from other games. Once they are through he will take another moment to raise the shield again. There were certainly perks to being written as immensely powerful.

"I look forward to seeing what you bring to the match. It has been some time, and I could use some experience with a new move set." Variety was hardly something the game experienced, and while Raiden may claim the first match for himself, he's certain the others would all line up just as readily to play against an unknown opponent.



"How many venues can you stage the fight against?" Auto asks, walking by his side and observing the behind the scenes, as it were, of the game. Different on this side of the screen.



Behind the scenes there is a virtual world contained within it, and it ranges from dusty outlands, to haunted forests and even a grand pagoda-style castle that is the Sky Temple. It extends almost further than the eye can see, but each location has a specific place set aside for the Kombatants and their grand tournament matches. It is far too spread out, but thankfully here Raiden can instantly transport them anywhere they wish to go.

"Dozens. There are many lands created for us here to use as our stage. We have no shortage. There is even a modern city-scape, if you wish to simulate the setting of your coming battles."



Auto hums to himself in thought, the staff across his shoulders languidly.

"Have you got anything in the way of tatami flooring?" Thinking somewhat of the final fight in the Bruce Lee film he had seen previously.



Raiden thinks a moment, most of the arenas are stone flooring (it makes cleaning up so much easier, also rendering but that's beside the point), but then he nods.

"Yes, actually. One of the temples should have the flooring you require. There are a handful, but I know that my own Temple has tatami flooring in the levels below the arena itself." He nods. "I will bring us there." Unless Auto objects, Raiden will set a hand on his shoulder, before raising the other to the sky. They will be transported to the top level of the massive temple in eternal storm with a bolt of lightning.



He won't object in the least. This was quite exciting.

"You sure know how to make an entrance," Auto smirks after they've landed. He goes to take his place to the left of the screen (stage right as it were) and strikes a pose. Waiting for the signal to begin.



Raiden watches and nods with a smile.

"Good writing helps." And likewise, he takes his place on the opposite side of the stage, that of the computerized opponent. "Normally the user selects the difficulty setting. How do you wish to proceed?"



"Let's go with the hardest setting," Auto says, quite game for seeing if he could beat it. It might be bravado or ego, but he was certain he would do well at just about anything. Including martial arts video games.



"Very well. Let us begin." Raiden takes his stance, locking into the standard 2-dimensional motions of the game and his limited move set. Were he Shang Tsung, he could simulate moves from any of the characters in the game. Instead, he's limited to just his regular set, though even that is still powerful. He rocks gently in position, staying light on his feet while waiting for Cursor to indicate the start of the match.



Auto does similar, his staff between his hands, holding it off to the side. Cursor flashes the words above them.

READY?
FIGHT!

Automan runs forward, the staff twirling around once to swing at the other man's head.




The staff smacks Raiden in the head, sending a few red pixels flying as his health meter drops a bit. He doesn't delay with retaliation though, as he suddenly charges through the air at Auto with a shout. His moves are strongest if he can pin his enemy at the edge of the battle stage.



Auto may have bitten off more than he can chew with the highest difficulty level. He takes the hit, thrown back against the side of the screen for a moment before clambering to his feet. That was a little harder than he thought it would be.

Determined not to give up, despite the drop in his health bar, he braces for the next hit and leaps high to jump over, trying for a hit from the opposite side.



Raiden goes for an upper-cut, but Auto blocks and leaps overhead. With their positions reversed, Raiden is in a precarious spot. If Auto can start juggling him in the air, it will be a short match.

He moves to block the strike this time. And then if he can, he'll use his instant-transport move to disappear, and reappear right behind Auto.



The ruse works well, Auto is confused by the disappearing act, dropping his guard for a moment. Turning to find his opponent behind him, too late to block.



Raiden comes in swinging with a brutal uppercut, eyes bright with charging lightning. However Auto recovers or blocks, the next move is clear. He has a brilliant bolt of electricity heading his way.



Ow. That took a big chunk out of his health bar. Determined to do better, Auto ducks, swinging low with the staff, designed to trip the other opponent.



Raiden is vulnerable when he uses the lightning attack, and his feet go right out from under him.



Aha, finally he had an advantage. Auto twirls the staff, once, twice, three times striking the man up higher into the air for a combo move. He was starting to catch up in this fighting game. Cursor bobs overhead, getting quite excited.



The juggling is sending Raiden's health bar plummeting. It takes him a couple tries but eventually he manages to jump and somersault out of the attack. He doesn't need to look up though to see what his health looks like. He can feel it, and it's a single move away from losing the first round.

He somersault-jumps away from Auto and sends out another electricity attack.



Auto hops backwards, trying to avoid the electricity. They're neck and neck at this point, he would have to be careful or he'd lose the first round. Not that it would worry him much, there was still best of 3 rounds to go.

He hadn't planned on any far range attack moves, only the staff for close quarters. He edged forward, looking for an opening.



Raiden edges back little by little, but then he hits the stage end. With his back to the wall he disappears again.

This time though, because Auto is so far away, Raiden is going to appear directly in front of him, coming in with that strong uppercut again.



That's the hit that drives his health bar to the end. Auto sees stars, falling over in a heap to the floor. Round one goes to Raiden.

Auto gets up when he's allowed, rubbing his jaw and shaking his head. "That never happened to Bruce Lee..." he says ironically.



Raiden raises his hands to the sky, lightning arcing down to him as his health bar recharges. He backs up as far as the stage will let him while Auto recovers.

"Did Bruce Lee ever fight the god of Thunder?" Raiden knows he's no deity, but here he is written as one. With a smile that is short lived before he slides back into character, he moves back into stance and waits for Round 2 to begin.



Automan narrows his eyes, staff at the ready. "I don't believe he did."

Perhaps watching movies was not an adequate preparation for this game.

ROUND 2
READY?
FIGHT!

Auto hangs back this time, having learned from his previous experience. Letting Raiden make the first move. Charging his staff with electricity...



The moment the round starts Raiden launches forward again, kicking the fight off with his flying charge.



Auto meets his charge with his staff, electricity cracking off of it like a whip.



The attack rebuffs Raiden, taking a little health off the top but he somersaults through the air and lands a short distance away from Auto. Rather than attacking again, he drops to a knee and takes a defensive position. It won't prevent his health from dropping if he's hit, but it will reduce the damage.



Auto charges up again, striding forward to attack. But stops at a voice from the other side of the screen. Apparently their fight has not gone unnoticed.



He'd been looking around this arcade, trying to figure out where he could send a message to Automan. Much to his surprise, he found him a lot sooner than he planned on. One of the consoles was running a demo, or so he thought. One double take later...

"Automan!" Walter exclaimed in complete surprise, his face up to the screen. Was he seeing things? "What are you DOING in there??" Playing games instead of working.



The exclamation from the user freezes Raiden where he kneels. He doesn't look to the human outside of the console, but he gives Automan a confused expression. Was this the human he helped so often? How was it best to proceed? He could feel his programming fighting to continue the battle but Auto was his friend and he didn't want to blindside him when he had other business to attend.



Auto, once he realizes who it is, grins back and waves from his side of the screen. "Walter! How are you? You should stick around, I believe I'm going to win this one."

With that, he starts his attack again, twirling the glowing staff to try and hit the man on his knee. Fully expecting him to disappear before he can get there, that seemed to be Raiden's MO.



Walter is not so pleased to see Automan. Running a hand down his face. "I've been following up on leads against this ring of thieves....and you're in there playing Mortal Kombat??"

Sometimes he wondered why he even tried explaining why.



He most certainly could disappear, but instead he lets his arms take the brunt of the electrified staff. His health takes only a minor hit from the block, but now that he's closer to Auto, he makes a low sweep with his leg. If he wishes to continue the fight, then he will do so.

He is tempted, however, to stop the fight. He doesn't want him to get in trouble.



"Of course, I'm fully capable of..." Auto starts to explain but finds himself tripped by Raiden and flat on his back.



Walter winces at the fall, crossing his arms. He had half a mind to let Auto get himself completely beaten up. "Just what do you know about hand to hand combat anyway?" Not realizing the opponent could hear him as well.



Seeing that his opponent is off-guard, Raiden backs up but remains on the defensive. Though unable to talk himself, a speech-bubble appears above his head. It's brazen, and breaks a few rules, but he is battling Auto.

We are testing his new skills in simulated combat.



Automan sighs, hauling himself up off the tatami flooring. "You were the one that left me those three Bruce Lee movies to watch. They were most informative, although not all inclusive as to the fighting style of martial arts."

He gestures to his opponent, "My friend Raiden and I were just having a friendly sparring session."



Walter looks stunned. He tends to forget that to Auto, these programs and characters were not made up. They were very real.

"You....and Raiden?" As if Raiden was a real person. Walter had played as the character himself before, it was hard to imagine him as anything but a collection of pixels. "You sure he's a friend, he doesn't look very friendly." He absently moves the joystick but since the screen was occupied in 'demo mode' it had no effect.



Raiden looks up at Cursor, noting the timer and his slightly lower health bar. With a nod, he stands, and bows to Auto as it runs out.

"I concede our match. Clearly you are needed for the greater good which you serve." He turns, and his sprite bows to Walter.

Automan is quite safe, regardless of appearances, Walter. He is at your disposal, as I have conceded the match.



Automan looks perplexed at the conceedment. "I cannot accept, we have a round to finish. It wouldn't be sporting to win like this. Cursor, pause the game."

Cursor burbles that he's not able to do that, this game doesn't have that function.

Auto strikes a pose. "I insist we finish, Walter won't mind."



Walter could have been knocked down with a feather. The game knew his name now.
The game that only kept track of initials knew his name.

"...oh sure, fine. I won't get in the way," Walter says, just letting the chips fall where they may. If Auto wanted to get beaten up in some game, who was Walter to stop him? Not like he could reach in and pull him out.



Raiden turns back to Auto with a sigh, yet he nods.

"As you wish, Auto. While I enjoy our match, I do not wish for you to get into further trouble." He strikes his default pose, letting his code run again though he realizes he is at a disadvantage as the clock ticks toward zero. "When you are ready." His posture goes taut again, and he will attack with that flying charge forward the moment Auto indicates he is ready.



"Don't worry, I won't," Auto says with a cheeky grin. With a nod, he charges forward, another energy surge into his staff as he twirls it high.



"Oh, I can't watch this..." Walter covers his eyes. And then peeks around them. He didn't create Automan for combat situations, he's more for detective work. He'll have to hope those Bruce Lee movies were onto something.



Again it sends Raiden back, taking away another sliver of health as he twirls to safety. He lands, this time jumping his into the air and aiming a punch down for Auto.



Auto crosses his arms in a block, pushing him back but keeping his health bar relatively intact.



Okay, maybe Walter was getting a bit into this fight. "Nice block, watch out he might teleport," he says, trying to help. He would never admit to how much of his teenage years he lost to this game.



Raiden is wholly committed to his programmed fighting, ignoring the 'peanut gallery' and letting his highest difficulty algorithms run. He's used to tournaments with shouting all around. Walter is not even a distraction at this point.

Instead of teleporting, Raiden jumps back and takes a few backward somersaulting jumps until he's on the far side of the stage. There he charges up and lets fly a lightning blast. He's trying to do anything he can to bring Automan's health bar down lower than his own, but time is very quickly about to run out. It is a futile effort, but he's trying regardless.



He manages to block half of it before rushing in to try and hit....

No, the time had run out and he's stopped from making any sort of dent in the other man's health bar. Fortunately for him, he was a sliver of health ahead.

Round 2 to Automan. Cursor bobs happily overhead.



Walter hisses through his teeth, that was awfully close.



Most fights last three rounds, but Raiden is happy with a draw. Besides, the final round usually ends in a fatality and however powerful Auto may be, Raiden just doesn't have it in him to risk either fighter attempting such a move. He bows again to Auto.

"The round is yours. I suggest we leave it at a draw. I should like to have further reason for you to visit again. Perhaps after the arcade has closed, next time." He turns toward the user, bowing to him as well.

Thank you for your patience.



Auto isn't as eager to end the match but being that he had such a gracious host, he bows in acknowledgement. "Thank you for a most stimulating fight, Raiden."

He gestures to Cursor who is working on de-rezzing the scoreboard. "Cursor, we are summoned." Time for him to leave his world and make an appearance where Walter is.



"...you're welcome." Walter doesn't know what else to say. This situation was bizzare enough.

The lights dim above him, the arcade machines vibrating and rattling around him. Someone's sodapop starting to boil before it foams and falls over nearby. An energetic hum filling the air as Automan disappears from the screen. Cursor bursts through, the small glowing herald of Automan as his figure slowly appears in the real world.



"As always, you are welcome anytime, Auto." Raiden's hat dips as the character selection screen returns once Auto leaves the game. Raiden is amused by the user's reaction, and hopes his rule-breaking hasn't been too severe.

While the others spar for the demo screen, Raiden spends the rest of his evening resetting stages and helping to prepare for a calm evening before the next day of gameplay.



"Hello, Walter," Automan says genially. Walter doesn't seem as genial about finding him playing games when he was supposed to be working. "But Walter, the figures are still being crossreferenced. There was plenty of time for visiting the arcade."



Walter is a bit less upset when told that. He couldn't stay mad at Automan for long, the hologram was right after all. "Well...I suppose." He still had a hand on the joystick of the Mortal Kombat game. Automan points out that Walter has been stressing quite a bit over this case and that a break would do him some good as well.

Begrudgingly, Walter agrees, pulling out a coin from his pocket and sticking it in the machine. "Why not...I used to be pretty good at this." Automan watches with interest, not having played the machine from the outside before.



So much for the clean-up. The second the coin hits the slot, Raiden stops everything and is transported instantly to the selection screen. As Walter moves through the player options, each character is pulled to the main screen where they pose for the players. Not knowing who might be playing, Raiden is completely in character and focused on running the game as it should be.



Walter goes with his usual, Sub-Zero. Taking on Raiden first. His skills have not been forgotten, he works the joystick like a pro and takes the first round.



Auto is completely entertained by Walter's expertise with the arcade game. "I didn't know you played this game before." It was very different to play it from the outside. Auto almost wants to give it a try, but he had already taken on Raiden once before.



Raiden is certainly susceptible to Sub-Zero, particularly being frozen while he somersault-jumps away. The second round is not nearly as easy however. Raiden takes the initiative and instead of charging out of the gate as he usually does, he teleports. This second round is off to a hard start as the programming adjusts a bit for the player's attacks.



Walter must have needed a break as much as Auto did. He's actually smiling as he fights back with an expert touch on the controls.



Auto notices the change in Walter, noting that he was just at home playing an arcade game as he was programming things on his home computer system.



Much like Auto's match, though in reverse, the second round is very close. It doesn't come down to the timer though, as Raiden drops Sub-Zero. Round 3 is going to be a tough one, and determine if Walter gets to continue up the tower towards the final match with Goro and Shang Tsung.

Raiden leads this time with a lightning strike.



Walter blocks like a pro, backing off and then coming back in to strike. Stacking up a few hits in a row as he slowly whittles away at the opponent's health bar.



Auto is impressed. He could not have done better without seeing Walter do it first.



The ice attacks are effective, and while Raiden makes a solid show, taking Walter's health bar down a few good hits, the only make it half-way through the timer before Raiden goes down hard. He gets back up, only to sway in place as the words FINISH HIM flash on the screen.



When that happens, Auto suddenly looks surprised and tries to stop Walter, "Wait, stop."



But Walter has already hit the button. "What? Sorry, Auto, did you want to play next?" Completely oblivious to the fact that Auto might be a little perturbed at his friend being 'finished' off.

Auto seems like he's going to leave, anxious to check on Raiden. "Wait, where are you going?? You can't leave me here, we've got work to do!" In response, Auto considers before reaching a hand to Walter and merging the two of them.

Before disappearing back into the computer world. "Whaoooo!!" Auto seems to fall into the computerized world, flailing wildly as he talks with Walter's voice.



Hopefully Auto doesn't mind watching Raiden being frozen and then shattering into a million blue pixels. By the time they're in the game though, Raiden has respawned, prone on the stage floor and is rolling over to get to his feet as Sub-Zero quickly transports back to the main screen while the tower waits for the challenger to be ready for the next fight.

He looks up when he hears the voice, and gives a very confused look to Auto, who's voice has significantly changed.

"Auto? Walter has not completed the tower challenge. Why have you returned?"



Auto's expression of flailing surprise changes in an instant back to Auto's controlled sonorous voice. "I'm sorry, I was worried you would not recover from the fight. I was not under the impression it was to the death."

A moment after he says that, his expression changes again to wide eyed amazement. "Auto, what happened??" Walter's voice coming out of Auto's mouth. "Where are we?"

Back to Auto. "We are currently inside Mortal Kombat."

Realization spreading over Auto's face, and Walter's merged inside of him. "We're WHAT?"



Raiden's look changes to mild amusement, first at Auto's lack of realization (the game did say MORTAL Kombat, after all), and then the switching between the two beings. He's really quite impressed, he never in all his cycles imagined a user would ever be able to set foot inside any game. Even knowing Auto, he had no idea. To be witnessing what must be a first, was quite the treat.

That is until he hears a gong of the auto-select. The last board to be played was about to be activated.

"Quickly, this way." His tone is calm but urgent as he shoves Auto/Walter for the edge of the stage. Sub-Zero was about to port in, along with the next opponent, and the setting was still on Expert. They had to clear the stage before they were stuck in the two-dimensional movement of the game system.



"Wait, you're...you're Raiden," Auto seems to say in Walter's confused voice, dazedly letting himself be pushed toward the stage. Walter was a little slow on the uptake but it was starting to sink in that all this around him was real. Or as real as it was going to get. "Walter, try to keep up," Auto was saying after that, this whole situation not effecting him in the least. "You said I couldn't leave you behind so I took you with me." Despite the fact Auto was starting to look schizophrenic talking to himself, his outside appearance was the same. One would hardly believe he had a user protected inside his frame.



Auto and Walter should meet the update of Ermac, he's written to have a thousand souls within him, and takes the cake for schizophrenic. Raiden just barely scoots the combined pair off of the stage in time for Sub-Zero and Kitana to appear. Without a user at the controls, however, Sub-Zero is about to get slaughtered by the Expert level fan-fighter.

Raiden, meanwhile, is more concerned about the user's safety. As novel as this moment has been, he's now realizing that no one knows if the user-world rules apply to such a combination or not. Users, as he understood it, only got one life, and no respawns. His programming as protector was kicking in, and he didn't want to have the distinction of being the first game to actually kill one of its players.

"I must take you both to Grand Central before another user arrives."



Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, some kid outside has taken the controls and is attempting to play for Walter. Not doing too well, but at least the game will continue.

"Ohh, I don't feel so well," Walter's voice says, Auto looking ill for a moment before the expression clears to go back to Auto. "Thank you, Raiden, I apologize for the inconvenience."

"I'm hallucinating, that's it."
"Walter, you're making a scene."



Raiden is only too glad that his round is over. It leaves him free for the time being, to get the duo somewhere safe. Now that they're clear of the stage, he raises his hand to move them as close to the exit as he can get them. If the user loses this battle, and it seems it may go that way, Raiden will find himself pulled back to the main menu before he can usher the pair to safety.



Walter is still coming to grips with reality. Or lack thereof.

....he reaches and pokes Raiden in the shoulder. Sure feels real enough. "Sorry," he quickly apologizes. If this programmed person was real, there was a distinct chance he could kick Walter's butt real easy.



"There is no need to apologize." He smirks, and they disappear in a flash of lightning, to reappear by the exit. "Auto knows the way back. You must reach Grand Central. I can meet you there once the user has left."



"Thank you, my friend," Auto says with a slight bow of his head. He then turns and runs for the exit, making it just in time.

They wait for Raiden to return, Walter literally speechless at the goings on behind the scenes. Feeling like he was some kind of trespasser back here. He just stares at every being and creature that passes in amazement. Auto lets him, quite at ease here.



"Be safe. I will see you shortly." He watches Auto run off with a nod of his head, and not a moment too soon. The user has lost and the main menu calls Raiden back. He answers his summon, and the game continues on as if nothing had ever been amiss.

It takes a few cycles, but eventually the user tires of the game and moves on, leaving Raiden free to abscond back to Grand Central. He jogs his way back to the portal, the barrier shimmering as he walks through it, and then resets his protective measures before looking for Auto again.



"This is incredible," Walter was saying. Auto answering himself, "Did you think it was anything less." He turns as Raiden approaches.



Raiden stops a short distance away, giving Walter and Auto a respectful bow from the waist this time, before standing tall with a smile on his face.

"A determined player, but hardly the skill Walter so excellently displayed in our match. Perhaps we may yet have a rematch, after your business is concluded."



"I still can't believe it's you...that I'm talking to you." Walter said, shaking his head. Or rather Auto's head. "I used to play this game every weekend as a kid."



"It shows." Raiden steps forward, this time offering out a hand to shake Walter's. He doubts any game sprite other than Auto has had the distinct honor of meeting an Expert-level player in person! "It is an honor to have you here. Our favorite rounds are the ones played by users such as yourself."



Walter isn't sure if he should be flattered or majorly concerned he's being complimented by a load of pixels programmed by someone else. It just makes the situation even more surreal. His handshake is a bit more limp and automatic than Auto's is.

Auto's voice comes out next. "Perhaps Walter would like a round from the inside, as it were?"

Walter objects, "Oh no, I couldn't I really should be getting back..."



"Perhaps it might be better to hold a sparring match, instead of a tower climb, somewhere we don't need to worry about inserting koins to continue." Raiden chortles gently even as Walter objects.

"I would be glad for the opportunity of a rematch at any time, with either of you." No, he doesn't hold that fatality against Walter in the least. In fact, he would have been somewhat disappointed if the experienced player had held back.



"Auto, no, we should..."

"We accept." Auto cuts in. Walter is, unfortunately, along for the ride.

"Auto."



Raiden properly breaks written character and lets out a warm laugh in his deep, commanding tone at Auto's response.

"Fear not, Walter. No harm will come to you, and time here moves more quickly than in your reality. A round or two here, will take no more than a few minutes of your own time. You will not be delayed from your own task at hand."



His resolve wavers at that, enough that Auto takes it as a yes. Cursor draws another Samarai outfit, this one in shades of black and red. Auto/Walter seems to admire the outfit, "Cool," in Walter's voice. Perhaps he was too much of a nerd to let this situation pass him by.



Raiden, for his part, stands back and scopes out a cleared section of Grand Central while Cursor draws the outfit. He scans for any enforcement which may be around, and while this isn't technically breaking any rules, fighting is discouraged unless it's harmless sparring. With so many fighter-games in the arcade, it was impossible to prevent friendly matches, so long as they didn't dissolve into real altercations. Raiden just didn't want to deal with any interruptions after already having two.

"You play the part well." Raiden steps back so Cursor can draw up a new score board, and gives a traditional bow to Auto/Walter. "As you are the guest, and we are now out of game, I will defer the challenge rules to your judgement."



Cursor also draws out a simple boxing ring of sorts around them to define the fighting area. Automan's face, ergo Walter's, looked puzzled as he looked at the staff in his hands. "Sort of an off the record fight then?" A street fight that wasn't in the street.
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