Chapter Six
Hidden agendas

The train screeched to a halt yet again.
Tsubasa looked out the compartment window to realize that this was his stop and stood up.
"It's just a short walk from here, guys."
They walked outside the subway station into the chilly winter air yet again. Ping shivered a little and Tsubasa quickly took off his jacket for the robot.
"Wow," Piro exclaimed. "That's awfully real for a robot. She can get cold?"
"Yes," Tsubasa answered. "It's odd, but it's hard to remember that she isn't human sometimes. It's almost as if Sony got one right this time."
Piro and Tsubasa laughed. Tsubasa stopped suddenly, looking over at a disturbed-looking Largo.
"Is something the matter, my friend?"
Largo looked up towards the rooftops and then snapped back to Tsubasa. "I am fine; is your dwelling much farther?"
He then continued to look around himself in a more erratic than usual fashion, as though expecting something to jump out at him.
"T3h 3v1l i5 cl05e," he muttered.
"What was that, Largo?" Piro asked his friend.
Largo opened his mouth, but Tsubasa cut him off.
"Hey, guys. We're here," Tsubasa pointed towards the second floor of an apartment complex. Turning to Ping, he asked her, <Ping-chan, could you go open up the apartment for us?>
<Certainly, Tsubasa-san,> was the Sony's earnest reply. She raced off at a surprising clip, reaching the apartment building in just a couple seconds.
"Ping-chan is certainly a help, don't you think?" Tsubasa asked.
"Absolutely, but that's not what she was designed for, was it?"
"Of course not, but it's just a matter of picking the right games to play with her," Tsubasa explained. "She was a bit of a hassle at first, but once you configure her right, it's easy."
"Tsubasa…isn't that a bit cold? She does have real feelings, doesn't she?"
"Come on," Tsubasa laughed, "She's a plastic robot – a PlayStation accessory. She doesn't have," he paused, "real feelings. It's all programmed."
"I don't know…she seemed plenty real to me," Piro sighed.
"Dud3," Largo spoke up. "Can we go inside…quickly?"
"Uh," Tsubasa looked surprised, "I guess so."
They walked up the apartment's stairway and down the walkway. Tsubasa opened the door to reveal a modest apartment, lightly furnished and with a few unopened boxes scattered across the floor.
"I hope you two will find it comfortable here," Tsubasa continued, grinning. "Forgive my mess."
"Tsubasa," Piro asked, "did you just move in?" pointing to the boxes.
"Well…yes and no," Tsubasa blushed as he continued. "I just moved back in after taking an extended vacation with Ping."
Ping stepped forward and whispered something in Tsubasa's ear. Tsubasa reeled back for a second and motioned to the futon. "Forgive me; you two have had a long day. Why don't you take a seat?"
Largo tapped Piro on the shoulder. "Hey," Largo whispered, "something feels wrong here…"
"What the hell are you going on about?"
Before Largo could respond, something crashed in the other room where Ping and Tsubasa were.
<Who's out there? Show yourself!> someone shouted from inside the darkened room.
"I tried to warn you," Largo said. "But it's too late."
Piro turned white as a ghost, looking at Largo incredulously.
"It's too late…t3h 3\/iL is here."
Author's Notes:
I hope I gave enough to speculate on. ^_^

Anyway, one thing about my schedule is that, while I could probably have another chapter ready by Friday...if it's not done by Thursday I won't have it posted until Saturday. The reasons:

1) I don't like taking attention away from the comics. I wouldn't have posted this chapter until Thursday had I bothered to see that Fred had moved the strip up a day.

2) Well, I'm also going to be busy Friday as it is. Personal stuff. :P

I don't want to cut out anyone's thoughts on anything, but I will say that something happened to Tsubasa on his extended vacation. Nothing more, nothing less. I'll try to have the next chapter done early, but no guarantees.

Enjoy. :D

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