User Guardian One - MSTed

* * *

Chaos sat on the couch, reading a book called 'The Life-Cycle of the Chrome Squid'. She did not seem like she would be moving very soon.

Jade walked into the room, carrying another DVD case. He carefully kept the couch and the coffee table between himself and his half-sister. "Chaos, we have another fic to MST."

"That's nice. Did you know that the chrome squid likes to hibernate on top of blue spheres?" Chaos said calmly as she set aside her book and conjured another bowl of popcorn.

"No." Jade set up the DVD player and grabbed a seat on the couch. He eyed his half-sister warily, relaxing when it became obvious that she wasn't going to do anything.

* * *

User Guardian One

Chaos: More pretty colors. Ooh....

By: Jo Ann Montgomery

Jade: Oh, please, not her again. Last time was bad enough.

The Mainframers waited anxiously for Turbo and Jo Ann to return from the Super Computer. A few seconds (days) ago, Turbo had taken Jo Ann to the Guardian Academy for her final exams.

Chaos: Will someone please explain to me why they're making the User girl into a Guardian?
Jade: The same reason a dog licks its genitals.
Chaos: ....
Jade: (elaborating) Because they can.

There were a lot of testing,

Chaos: Wow! I've never seen plurals with the word 'a' before them!
Jade: Chaos, what happened to not doing grammar flames?
Chaos: Oh, you meant for that to apply to every fic we MSTed?

and it would take several seconds for even a User to finish all of the tests. Today was the day that they would find out if she passed.

Jade: If she didn't pass, would it matter very much? She would still have her "User Magic" to beat up bad guys. She doesn't need to be a Guardian, anymore than Chaos needs to have a rocket launcher to destroy buildings.
Chaos: Hey now! Rocket launchers are fun and exciting!

"What if she doesn't pass?" Tiffiny, a little girl one binome asked. She looked up at Bob. He smiled, his head tilted down as he answered her.

Chaos: (Bob) Then we'll cast her out of the Net and toss dice for her clothes.

"Then, we'll give her more training."

Chaos: What more could you possibly teach her? Does she need to memorize the atomic mass of cesium for this test?

"What about the party?" Enzo asked. He hated to see his sister's careful planning go to waste.

Jade: (raises an eyebrow) Uh-huh.
Chaos: Who are you and what have you done with my Enzo?

"We'll still have it, Enzo," his sister reassured him.

"Yeah," Matrix grinned. "If for no other reason, then, because we love her!"

Chaos: ....
Jade: (Matrix) ...Especially with a white wine sauce.

The Mainframers had to agree with the huge, green warrior. They did love their resident User very much.

Chaos: ....
Jade: The Mainframers' had, by this time, been drinking the tainted energy for so long that it would affect many generations to come.

After absorbing the energies of a dying Amazon --who had come from Jo Ann's own imagination-- Jo Ann had become a permanent resident of Mainframe.

Chaos: (yelling) Jo Ann is a lovable goddess! We get it already! Please stop hitting us with a wet fish!

Phong believed that absorbing Amazon's energy had made Jo Ann half-User, and half-Data Sprite. But even he did not know if this was true or not.

Jade: On behalf of the MSTing goddess that is Hanako, I feel outraged that Phong doesn't know for sure.

Suddenly, a huge, chrome sphere appeared in the park, where the party was set up. From out of the gleaming portal came Prime Guardian Turbo and Jo Ann, User Guardian One.

Jade: Looks like she succeeded with her many seconds of exams.
Chaos: (wild-eyed) How could she not? She's Jo Ann! Worship her and you will prosper! Turn your back upon her and you will fall by the wayside!

Jo Ann wore a red Guardian's uniform --formally white, before the absorption of Amazon's energy turned it red-- with gold shoulder and knee pads. Around her wrists were silver Guardian wristbands. On her left arm, sitting on the wristband, was Pixal, Jo Ann's keytool.

Jade: So, Jo Ann's wearing the Prime Guardian's uniform?
Chaos: (still wild-eyed) She is Jo Ann! She should be the Prime Guardian!

"Well?" Enzo asked the question that was on everyone's mind. "Did you pass?"

Chaos: (still wild-eyed) Of course she passed, you ignorant whelp! Fall to your knees and beg for mercy for suggesting that she might not have!
Jade: (bitch-slaps Chaos)
Chaos: (weakly) I needed that.

Jo Ann looked sad and ashamed. The Mainframers hearts fell. She did not pass her finals!

Jade: Of course, she didn't. (rolls his eyes)
Chaos: Jo Ann would never do anything so gauche as give her character some flaws!

Then, Jo Ann's face lit up in a huge grin, as she answered. "How does 'Guardian First Class' sound?" The cheers of the Mainframers resounded through the computer city. Bob, Matrix, and Wild Card all hugged their star pupil, pride showing in their eyes.

Chaos: Hey now, pride is a deadly sin! Do not be proud of Jo Ann!

Matrix lifted her onto his and Wild Card's shoulders as they carried her to the place of honor at the banquet table. They climbed a dais and, very gently, set Jo Ann down upon a throne that Dot had ordered placed there. Everyone went quiet as Dot joined Jo Ann on the platform.

Chaos: ....
Jade: She really does have a goddess complex, doesn't she?

"We are gathered here today to celebrate a rare occasion: The ascension of a Guardian Cadet into a full-fledged Guardian!

Chaos: If that's a rare occasion, then people must apply to the Guardian Academy by the millions.
Jade: You exaggerrate slightly. For it to be a rare occasion, people must apply by the hundred thousands.

But this occasion is even rarer than that wondrous achievement. Because, for the first time ever, a User has achieved that coveted title. And with Jo Ann, a new title has been created, a position we may never again see filled.

Jade: Why? Why create a new title?
Chaos: Jo Ann must always be kept seperate and special.
Jade: Jo Ann might consider that 'Conquerer of the Net' is much more special than mere 'User Guardian'.

"Ladies and gentlemen, sprites and binomes, I give you: Jo Ann Montgomery, User Guardian One!" The cheers were loader then before.

Chaos: (cheering) Burn her, burn her, burn her!
Jade: I feel a song coming on:
Yeah, our system's had a fair share of Guardians in the past,
But most of them were losers and none of them would last.
But our new girl's real cool, I think she'll do the trick.
I tell ya, she's to die for - she really knows her schtick!

Jo Ann was not sure just who was cheering the loudest; Bob, Matrix, Wild Card, Mouse, Enzo, Ray, or AndrAIa.

Chaos: Why would any of them be cheering for her?
Jade: She's Jo Ann. Isn't that enough?

Dot motioned for everyone to be silent. She was not finished with her speech.

"In honor of this wondrous occasion, I, Dot Matrix, as COMMAND.COM of Mainframe, declare today to be "User Guardian Day" in Mainframe,

Chaos: Aren't Users those evil people who play Games and torture sprites and binomes with the threat of nullification?
Jade: Only in a world without Jo Ann.

in honor of, --not only Jo Ann-- but of all future User Guardians that may one day grace the halls of the Guardian Academy. May they all become the Guardians that Jo Ann has become!" The Mainframers cheered their agreement, then quieted as Dot finished her speech.

Chaos: What has Jo Ann done that another User couldn't do?
Jade: Well, I don't think Rebecca would use anything as silly as User Magic to defeat Daemon.
Chaos: What would she use then?
Jade: When I asked her that, she said something about Sailor Mainframe.
Chaos: ... I admit that's not as silly as User Magic. It's sillier.

"And now, in honor of our first User Guardian, let the celebration begin!" On cue, music began to play as the party got underway.

Jade: I'm not entirely sure if the success of a User at learning all of the Guardian's secrets really merits a celebration.
Chaos: You're not entirely sure? What's wrong with you?

Bob danced with Dot, Matrix, with AndrAIa, and Ray, with Mouse.

Jade: Either those are some very misplaced commas, or Bob really gets around.
Chaos: I vote for Bob really gets around.

Wild Card, Bob's twin brother, joined Jo Ann on the dais, two Egyptian-style, gold and jeweled goblets of energy in his hands. Grinning, the golden-haired bounty hunter handed one of the glittering cups to Jo Ann.

Chaos: This obsession with Ancient Egypt needs to be analyzed by Freud.
Jade: He's dead, Chaos.
Chaos: Aw, just pull him out of the Recycle Bin. He'll function just the same.

"For you, Queen of the Day," he said. She took the goblet he offered her and sipped at the reenergizing liquid.

"Thank you, my King," she smiled back at him.

Chaos: You know, this series might be more interesting if Jo Ann had a love triangle between herself, Turbo, and Wild Card.
Jade: Jo Ann is not going to marry Turbo. Ever. Get over it.
Chaos: Let me dream my dreams.

In black armor, similar to Matrix's, Wild Card looked like a hero one only read about in romance novels. The ones were the hero was a pirate, or a warrior prince, or any such adventurous man.

Jade: A warrior prince is often beset by enemies, though. That's why he's a warrior prince.
Chaos: Because other people want to grope his cute ass?
Jade: Read the story.

When did I become User Guardian One, she thought. Was it so very long ago, on my second visit to Mainframe that I unlocked a treasure that had few --if anyone-- in the User world would ever receive again, even if those Users lived in Mainframe for many, many years?

Jade: The question you should ask yourself is, why would anyone want to unlock this "treasure."

As she sipped the green, energy-restoring beverage, Jo Ann's thoughts drifted back to that fateful second, so long ago.

Chaos: Danger, Jade Byte Matrix, danger!
Both: Flashback!


Did I dream it, Jo Ann thought as she sat at her computer. Or was I really in Mainframe?

She would have thought that it was a dream, but for one thing: The disc in her hand.

Jade: It was a CD filled with the code for all the sprites she had touched.

It was glossy, half gold and half black. The gold half had a black triangle, and the black half had a gold triangle. The bases of the triangle touched, forming a diamond.

Chaos: For those of you who don't watch Reboot, that's what a Guardian icon looks like.

The icon of the Guardians from the TV. show, ReBoot! Carefully, Jo Ann pinned the icon on her shirt, in the middle of her chest and near her neck. She then booted her computer up, entered the Creative Writer program, and began to write.

"Ready or not, here I come, guys!" she said as the story took form.

Chaos: Hasn't she hurt them enough?
Jade: She's not hurting them, Chaos, she's saving them!
Chaos: I stand by my previous question.

"Bob! Look!" Enzo cried, pointing to the sky. Bob and several others looked up, following Enzo's pointing finger.

A huge vid-window formed over the sky. Text appeared, transforming into a story. When the title and author lines appeared, Enzo and several Mainframers gave a round of happy cheers.

Jade: (scholarly voice) This is why putting defiled Guardian's water into the energy shakes is bad for the population of a system.

Return to Mainframe
By: Jo Ann Montgomery

appeared in the lettering of the Digital Display Font. The story, itself, was written in Lucida Sans, a more readable font.

Chaos: This MSTing was written in a mixture of Times New Roman, Verdana, and Arial. TNR is definitely the most readable of the lot.

"She's coming back!" Tiffiny, a little girl one binome cried, happily.

"Who's coming back?" Matrix asked as he joined them outside of Dot's Diner.

Chaos: (Matrix) Duh, me Matrix. Me only notice AndrAIa.
Jade: (Matrix) Me only notice AndrAIa when she's practically topless.

"Jo Ann!" Enzo shouted. "Jo Ann's coming back!"

"She's describing the Guardian icon now, her proof that she didn't dream her journey to Mainframe," Bob smiled.

Another round of cheers went up when the Mainframers saw the next line:

"Ready or not, here I come, guys!"

Jade: (scholarly voice) This system has been imbibing tainted energy shakes for quite some time now, as you can observe. Unfortunately, at this stage there is no way to cure them of the taint.

Nanoseconds later, Jo Ann appeared in Mainframe, right at the spot where she first appeared. She still wore the same jeans and sneakers that she wore before, but her T-shirt was different. When the Mainframers first met Jo Ann, she was wearing a gray Kentucky Wildcats shirt. The new shirt was red, with a family crest and the name, "Montgomery" under the crest. The crest had the picture of a woman wearing a long dress, holding an anchor in her right hand, and a severed head in her left. In the upper part of the crest was the words, "Gardez Bien". Jo Ann wore her icon above this crest. A leather bracelet with her name on it adorned her left wrist.

Chaos: At this point in time, I am wearing a pair of maroon jeans, black boots, a white tube top, and a leather maroon vest thingy. I have short, brilliant red hair and brown-on-red eyes. I prefer to wear a bright green shade of lipstick; it contrasts nicely with my dark blue skin.

The Mainframers rushed to her, welcoming their User back.

"Convinced that you weren't dreaming, Jo Ann?" Bob smiled.

"Yes," she smiled back, giving the blue Guardian a hug.

Chaos: And his ass a squeeze.
Jade: Pretend I yelled at you.

She greeted the others in the same fashion.

Chaos: Even Mouse and Dot?
Jade: Read. The. Story. (mutters) Spammed sex-obsessed virus.
Chaos: I heard that!

"What does 'Gardez Bien' mean?" Matrix asked, looking at Jo Ann's shirt.

"It's Gaelic, the language of old Scotland. It means, 'Guard Well'. I thought that if I needed an action outfit while I was here, this would make a good one."

Chaos: She's doing this just to show off how much she knows about history, isn't she?
Jade: Considering that the motto is in French, she doesn't know that much.

"It looks good. At least, the motto does. I don't know about the picture," Bob said, studying the crest.

Chaos: Hey, that's a kick-ass crest!

"Blame my ancestor for the morbid family crest. It was his idea, not mine."

"Hex will like it," Matrix grinned. "It's just her style."

Jade: Are viruses the only one's who understand that depicting violence isn't a bad thing?
Chaos: (nods sadly)

"Like what?" Hexadecimal asked, coming up behind them.

"Jo Ann's family crest. It has a woman holding a severed head in her left hand," Matrix answered.

Chaos: (Hexadecimal) Really? How icky.

Hexadecimal looked at the red shirt. She clapped her hands and squealed like a young girl as she gazed at the crest.

" adorable!" she cooed.

Chaos: Not even I would go quite that far.

"Thanks. I think."

Suddenly, A huge, chrome ball appeared in Mainframe. Turbo --the Prime Guardian-- and another Guardian emerged from the portal, carrying a large box between them.

Chaos: Jo Ann's about to receive an unlikely honor again.
Jade: You learn quickly, grasshopper.

"Ah'm glad ya'll here, Jo Ann," Turbo smiled. "Maybe ya can help us."

"I can try, Turbo. What is it that I can do for you?"

Chaos: (Jo Ann) What amazingly high-powered virus can I slay for you in a silly and colorful way?
Jade: That's enough, grasshopper.

"This box holds the last legacy of a Guardian named Athena."

"The First Guardian!" Bob breathed, reverently.

Jade: Athena? The first Guardian was named Athena?
Chaos: What does the Greek goddess of wisdom have to do with being a Guardian? Guardians are not wise. Wise guys, maybe.

"Yes. When she retired from the Guardians, Athena placed her icon, uniform, and keytool in this trunk. She then put in a coded lock. Anyone who could crack the code and open the trunk would inherit her icon, uniform, and keytool."

"My grandfather used to tell me stories about Athena," Bob whispered. "She was fearless in battle, ready to mend and defend to the extreme. It was said that she even knew all about the User's world, and how the Users thought."

Chaos: ....
Jade: She was a User, wasn't she?
Chaos: Does that mean that Jo Ann isn't actually User Guardian One?

"Wow!" Jo Ann exclaimed. "This 'Athena' must have been really something!"

"She was, indeed," Turbo smiled. "She left only one clue to the code; something called 'Dead Man's Hand'. One one's been able to break the code."

"'Dead Man's Hand'?!?" Jo Ann exclaimed, her eyes wide.

Chaos: Bet you she's going to show off her knowledge of history again.
Jade: I don't take sucker bets.

"Do you know what it means?" Matrix asked.

"Yes. Whatever else your Athena knew about the User's world, she sure knew her American history!" Jo Ann studied the lock. The clue, 'Dead Man's Hand', was printed on a computer screen on the trunk's lid. Beneath this clue was ten slashes, each standing for a letter or a number. Under the screen was a computer keyboard.

Jade: That's a completely unnecessary description for a puzzle lock.

"Of course, with a name like 'Athena', I'd expect her to be wise."

"Huh?!?" The Mainframers gazed at their User in puzzlement.

Chaos: Their User? What is she, a pet?

"Athena was the Greek goddess of wisdom," Jo Ann explained as she began typing.

Jade: Must she continue to show off her knowledge of the User world?
Chaos: Is Matrix hawt?
Jade: No.

"KS, 8D, 8S, AC, and AS: King of Spades, Eight of Diamonds, Eight of Spades, Ace of Clubs, and Ace of Spades. The poker hand Wild Bill Hickcock was holding when he was murdered. Which is why it's called 'Dead Man's Hand'."

Jade: You know, last I heard, both the aces and eights were black cards.

The lock released and the lid of the trunk opened. In awe, Jo Ann and the Mainframers watched as a light came from out of the trunk. It solidified into a green hologram of a beautiful woman.

"It has finally occurred, after so many hours of waiting. The code has been broken, and I now have an heir. But I could expect no less from a User."

Chaos: (woman) I could expect no less from a person who threatens my people with being turned into an energy-sucking slug. Come over here so I can bitch-slap you.

The Mainframers gasped. Athena had known a User would one second come to Mainframe to claim Athena's legacy! Who would have guessed that it would be their own User!

Chaos: "No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century, we were being scrutinized as someone with a microscope scrutinizes creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water."
Jade: Ulla!

"I now pass my icon, uniform, and keytool to you, User." The icon, identical to the ones worn by Bob, Turbo, Matrix, Wild Card, and Jo Ann, rose from the box. Jo Ann's own icon floated up to meet Athena's icon. The two icons met, merging into one. Then the single icon floated back to Jo Ann, pinning itself over her left breast.

Jade: What was with the repeat? You used that line last time.
Chaos: (haughtily) The War of the Worlds is useful anytime, anyplace, for any reason.

"Touch the icon and say, 'Reboot; Guardian'," the hologram instructed. Jo Ann obeyed.

Jade: So there is someone out there who Jo Ann must bow to.
Chaos: Too bad this Athena's long gone. She sounds kinda nifty.

"Reboot; Guardian!" Jo Ann said, tapping the the icon. The uniform in the trunk --white and gold-- disappeared, then reappeared on Jo Ann.

"One last thing," Athena continued. A keytool now floated out of the trunk.

"This is Pixal, your keytool. Call to her. She will obey."

Jade: (Athena) For I broke her to my will a long time ago.

"Pixal; come!" Jo Ann commanded. Pixal flew to her, settling on her left arm. Pixal looked like any other keytool Jo Ann had seen, like Glitch or Copeland, but she had one major difference. The small screen in the center was a cut diamond!

Chaos: That's a very... elaborate keytool.
Jade: Jo Ann sure is special to get Pixal. Remind me to burn that thing when I get the chance.

"Use these gifts wisely and well, and with honor. Generations of Guardian tradition will be in your hands. Learn well the lessons the Guardians have to teach you. You will bring new blood to the Guardians. May you also bring new hope and honor with you as well.

"I now leave you to your task. Uphold well the Guardian creed -- 'To Mend and Defend'." Athena faded away, leaving Mainframe forever.

"To Mend and Defend," Jo Ann repeated reverently. For the longest time, no one spoke, for fear of breaking this most delicate of moments.

Jade: (binome) FIRE!
Chaos: (moment) CRASH! BANG!
Jade: (sprites) You have broken the silence! We are cursed!

Turbo was the first to speak. He moved to put a hand on Jo Ann's shoulder. His smile was gentle and full of pride.

"It's a great honor that has been handed down to ya, Jo Ann. Athena knew a User would claim her legacy. You are now, User Guardian One, the first User to become a Guardian!"

Jade: But the only way for Athena to know all that about the User world.... She would have to be.... ARGH! Is it too much to ask for coherency?!

It was then that the events of the past few microseconds sunk into the minds of everyone watching. The User that they had come to know and love was going to be a Guardian, their protector!

Chaos: After all, Bob and Matrix couldn't protect a paper bag.
Jade: Don't forget Wild Card.
Chaos: How could anyone forget that excuse for Bob?

"What about my family?" Jo Ann asked, looking into Turbo's eyes. "I just can't abandon them."

"Ya don't have ta," the Prime Guardian said. "Ya have three experienced Guardians to train you whenever you visit Mainframe. Between Bob, Matrix, and Wild Card, ya'll get as good a trainin' as you would at the Guardian Academy."

Jade: (Turbo) After all, as a User, you should have to do everything different from the rest of the Guardians. We must amplify how very different you are from us!

Bob, Matrix, and Wild Card stepped forward. Each put a hand out in the air, forming a circle of clasped hands. They looked at Jo Ann meaningfully.

Chaos: (Bob) We all want you to bear our children.

"Well," Matrix said, a small grin appearing on his face, "do we, or do we not, have a new Guardian?"

Jade: You don't. You have a young lady with a goddess complex.
Chaos: But she's somehow more competant than all of Mainframe's previous Guardians.

Jo Ann raised her left hand, Pixal gleaming --it seemed-- with happiness and pride. She placed her hand on top of theirs, smiling back at them.

Chaos: (Jo Ann) I will gladly bear your children, Wild Card. You other two have your own wives to bear you children.

"Count me in, guys!" she cried.

The Mainframers cheered. Two more hands joined the circle, bringing the total to six: Turbo and the Guardian he had brought with him.

Chaos: Does this other Guardian have a name?
Jade: It's Wayne MacHewlett. His name can never be mentioned, though. It's against his religious vows.

"To Mend and Defend," Jo Ann said, grinning at the other Guardians. They grinned back at her.

"To Mend and Defend!" all six Guardians shouted, raising the whole starburst high.

Mainframe resounded with the cheering of its residents, all welcoming their new User Guardian.

Jade: Shall we do the traditional virus greeting to a new Guardian?
Chaos: Certainly.
Both: (do the Bronx Cheer)


Jo Ann smiled as she remembered that second. And well they had trained her! Bob had taught her the fundamentals of being a Guardian, while Matrix had been her physical trainer and weapons instructor. Wild Card filled in with the things that he had learned as a bounty hunter, giving her knowledge that your average Guardian did not have.

Jade: What could a bounty hunter possibly know that a Guardian should also know?
Chaos: When it's best to turn viruses over to the bounty officers?

Now, Jo Ann fulfilled their dreams and expectations of her. She was a full Guardian, at last, equal to Bob, Matrix and Wild Card in rank, if not in power and skill.

Jade: I'm quite certain that she hasn't fulfilled Wild Card's dreams and expectations of her just yet.
Chaos: I'm just not gonna comment on that whole 'not equal to them in power and skill' thing.
Jade: She isn't equal to them in power, though. She's so far beyond them it isn't even funny.
Chaos: (quietly) Even Glitch Bob?
Jade: (solemnly) Even Glitch Bob.

Wild Card stood up from the edge of the dais where he had been sitting. He took her hand, smiling into her eyes.

"Wouldst thou dance with this humble king, most beautious of queens?" he said graciously, like a character out of Shakespeare. Jo Ann rose from the throne, allowing Wild Card to lead her to the dance area of the park.

Chaos: Wild Card is so her bitch.
Jade: ...That's surprisingly accurate.

"It wouldst give this queen the greatest of pleasure, my handsome king," Jo Ann returned his smile. The User Guardian and the bounty hunter joined the others, dancing the second away in each others' arms.

Jade: In case it isn't obvious, these two will get married and have many descendants.
Chaos: Hopefully, one of those descendants will do something interesting like conquer the entire Net.
Jade: Jo Ann's children will always be good guys, Chaos. It's the Law.

Jo Ann knew that more adventures were on their way, adventures that would challenge her new status as a full Guardian. She hoped that she would meet these challenges with as much courage as it had taken to accept her fate as a permanent resident of the computer world.

Chaos: Jo Ann, the only challenge you'll ever truly face is picking out your wedding dress.
Jade: Be a hero, Jo Ann. Even Rama suffered a great loss, before he could be immortalized in the Ramayana.

For now, though, Jo Ann danced in the arms of her beloved Wild Card, celebrating her new role in her life.


Jade: You know, that entire story can be summarized as: "Jo Ann is wonderful and everyone should worship her like the dogs they are."
Chaos: Yep.

* * *

Chaos leaned back against the couch. "Ask the Hyper Angel for something different next time. There's only so much Jo Ann I can take."

Jade ejected the DVD. "I'll ask."

"Ask for a martini set, too."

The End