Birkin slowly opened the door to Tappers bar and peered in. It was fairly quiet considering the time, but he was very thankful. Ionia took a running dive inside and landed on her face.
"Thtop injuring your thweet fathe!" Turbo yelled at her and helped her to her feet again. "It'th mine."
It was then that Birkin noticed Blanky. Somehow she had managed to slip away from them and he wanted to know why. He looked her over as she stood playing pool with a rough looking crowd of men. "Huh. So that's where she got to." He waved to see if he could get her to notice that he was there, but she was too busy watching the big, muscle-bound thug make his shot. She had managed to change from her regular attire to a tank top and shades. Birkin couldn't help but wonder how she had found the time.
Ionia was not interested in anything but getting herself a drink and scrabbled her way up to the bar. She sat down on a bar stool and signalled to Tapper to slide her over a few pints. Before long she was surrounded by pint glasses.
Birkin waved at Blanky again. "Uhhh. Hey."
Turbo gave Blanky the onceover and whistled in surprise. He was so used to her being dressed as an officer that he had never imagined her dressed as anything else.
Birkin was getting tired of signalling his arrival. "Hey! Guy with the lab coat here."
Blanky finally looked up over her shades. "I'm sorry, were you talking to me?"
Birkin frowned. What was going on? "Everything OK? You left without saying anything."
"Well fellas, I beat you all. Again." Blanky laughed and leaned against the pool table grinning. It was as if she was ignoring Birking completely and he was not impressed. He stood there and watched in the hopes that after she had finished seeing off the group of thugs that she would finally speak to him. This made Turbo snicker to himself.
"What?" Blanky turned to face Birkin and looked at him from behind her shade.
"You didn't hear a word I said, did you?"
"To be honest, no I didn'." She turned on her heels and placed her pool cue back on the table. "Well anyway, its good to see you. I thought you got bored of me."
"You left. With no word at all. I come here trying to find you and..." He pinched the bridge of his nose. "Nevermind. You're here and safe."
"Oh, so you want to talk to me, Birkin? I left because I realised I was getting in the way. But, I appreciate you coming to find me."
Turbo grinned and stuck out his chest. "It wath all MY idea!"
"Well, that was nice of you."
Birkin narrowed his eyes, mashed a hand over Turbos' face and pushed him back behind him. "Bored? I was discussing something very important. And it could be very important for... For everyone."
Turbo flailed and slapped his hand away from his face angrily.
"Go on then. I'm all ears." Blanky folded her arms and shifted her weight from one foot to the other.
"It's not something I can really discuss here."
It was then they were all interrupted by Ionia who had managed to down all the glasses of root beer and was sat looking back at them with half open eyes and drool dripping down her chin. "S'not... S'not... Hai."
"Aaaanyway, I felt hot where I was and wanted to get out of the heat. I wasn't going to disturb you." Blanky looked back to Birkin after Ionia's odd distraction.
"We need to go back to my lab. All of us. We need to have our coding scanned."
Ionia heard and fell off her stool cackling loudly about babies.
Blanky just raised a brow and passed it off as just another one of her oddities. "Fine. but I must admit, you got me worried now."
"Did you hear anything about my findings? Or about Turbo and Ionia? This is very, very important."
"No. Its not my job to go snooping when unnecessary, you know."
"I don't know. I didn't even see when you left. One minute you were there and then poof!" He began gesturing wildly, something that was incredibly out of character for him.
"Oh boy." Blanky realized something serious was going on by his gestures. "You weren't kidding."
"We need to leave. Now. Turbo, go get your girlfriend."
Turbo was about to protest angrily over him calling her his girlfriend, but decided against it when Birkin shot him a furious look. The racer glanced over at Ionia and watched as she rolled around on the floor.
"Hahahahaha. Floor tastes like butts."
Turbo helped her to her feet and frowned as she clung to his racing suit.
"Lets go. Come on. No time." Birkin waved them over to the door and dashed out.
Half way down the road Birkin eyed Turbo carrying Ionia, and was just about to ask how he managed it, but stopped himself. He knew that it would just start some drama that he really didn't need at that moment. He had enough on his mind.
"Hey, Birkin! Slow down!" Blanky raced to keep up with him. "Can you please exlain what was so urgent you had to get me out of there?"
The flustered scientist quickly input all his security codes, but was met with a red light. He kicked the door in frustration. "Grr, damn it." He tried another code and breathed a sigh of relief as it hissed open. Ionia, Turbo and Blanky wandered in after him and watched him scurry around like a mad man.
Blanky was still wondering what on earth the big deal was and was a little irritated by the interruption at Tapper's. "I don't get much chance for a break you know."
"You and Ionia need your coding checked." Birkin had no time to explain at that moment as he dashed inside the main lab room, flung open all the doors and switched on all the lights and consoles. He hopped into a chair and began to frantically type away on the keyboards on the various desks around the room.
"Not until you explain what this is all about first!" Blanky was already wary of scientists and being examined in laboratory environments. It was a dark part of her past that she just wanted to stay buried and she did not intend to go through it again. Her eyes narrowed at Birkin.
He sighed and leaned back in one of the office chairs he had claimed. "Do I really have to explain it again?" His eyes drifted over to Turbo in the hope that he would fill in the details so he could do the work he needed to in peace.
"Excuse me, but I haven't had much experience with scientists with regard to my personal life. Its mostly been cops. So, just explain it simply."
Birkin pressed a button and an examination table slowly lowered down from the wall with padding and various wires poking out from it.
Turbo rolled his eyes. "Bathically, he wantht to know if you have babieth."
Ionia bursts into a fit of giggles again as Blanky stared at them dumbstruck. "Wha...? How would you come to that conclusion?"
"Oh, thtop playing dumb."
"No, but really, how?"
Birkin pushed away from the desk he was at and wheeled over to another. "Look... Simply put... When two characters join code, they can create branch codes. That branch code becomes its own life. Like I was talking about earlier, if you'd have actually listened, I've been doing research into it. And without use of code safeguards, that is a VERY high possiblity of becoming reality." Birkin ran a hand through his hair nervously and loosened his tie a little.
"Yeah?" But, what does that have to do with me?"
Birkin ignored her question and removed his lab coat, set it down on the back of the office chair and walked up to the examination table. "Who is going first?"
Blanky flinched and raised her hands defensively. "Not me. I hate injections!"
"It's not an injection. I need to access your coding. Something I know is familar to someone else in this room." He grinned at Turbo, making reference to the previous version of him code surfing.
"How do you do that? It better not be someorrible method." Blanky shuddered remembering her time at the hospital.
"We are all made up of code, right?" Birkin tugged some cables out from a panel in the wall. "Well, sometimes that code needs to be accessed. That can be for debugging purposes, rewriting, or other reasons. All I need to do is access it by patching myself into your energy field. It's as simple as that. Once I attach these to your body I can access your code."
Blanky shook her head. "I still don't see why I have to do this. I'm using th..." She paused for a moment and thought carefully.
"You used code safeguards?" Birkin stopped and looked over at her.
"Oh. Wait a moment." Her eyes widened and she met his gaze with a worried grimace. She didn't say anymore and just let out a blood-curdling shriek of terror. "That was the one time I..."
Turbo, Ionia and Birkin all stared at her in puzzlement. She had never made such a loud outburst since they had known her and it startled them.
"W-Well, anyway." Blanky looked to Ionia a little red-faced. "Why don't you go first?"
Ionia just nodded and skipped over to the table. After she had jumped up, Birkin rolled up his sleeves and took hold of one of her arms. He carefully attached the cables with sticky pads and attached the other end of each one to a panel in the wall. Ionia's eyes fell on Turbo who was not particularly impressed that Birkin was touching her and the fact that Ionia was giggling due to being ticklish made his frown even worse.
"I need to attach this one under your armour." Birkin raised the last cable towards Ionia awkwardly.
"Uhh, well... Fine."
He tried his best not to look as he slowly slipped his hand under the rim of her chest armour. By this point, both Turbo AND Blanky were staring, a little jealous of what was unfolding.
After clearing his throat, Birkin hopped into his chair and scooted over to his console.
Blanky sighed and folded her arms. "Do you still need me here? How long is this gonna take?"
"Not long." The scientist kept his eyes on the screen as he rattled away on the keys for a moment before rolling himself over to a smaller console nearer the table. "Right. All eyes on the screen." He flipped a switch and a large screen above the table flickered to life.
"Not long? Good. Because I spotted someone and was watching him in the bar. He'll have gone by now."
Turbo glared up at Blanky. "Huh?" The outburst seemed very out of character indeed.
Birkin just frowned and focused his attention on his typing. He rattled away frantically and accessed her coding which flashed up as number sequences on the screen.
Ionia stared at the screen above her in awe of all the strings of code that she could see. Every one of those contained information about her. Her memories, her protocols, her personality and thoughts. "Ooooohhhh."
Birkin, still rattled by Blanky's comment, mashed a key with frustration. The code on the screen flashed and morphed into images that looked very similar to how games were coded. Boxes containing files much like folders on a computer. "Right then. Let's investigate."
Blanky watched the screen and felt a sudden wave of nerves wash over her. It made her feel a little nauseous and she shuffled on the spot. "Haha. That was the only time I forgot to take my precautions!"
Birkin had been busy adjusting some settings so he could delve deeper into Ionia's code when Blanky had her random outburst and he ended up mashing the keys in shock. This sent a jolt of electricity down through the cables into Ionia's body. "OOYAH!"
"Hey, calm down." Blanky flapped a hand at Birkin as he turned sharply and gave her a shocked look.
Turbo just shook his head and muttered about how silly everyone was under his breath.
"Hey, hey. Lady with the wires here." Ionia waved an arm around in an attempt to get Birkin's attention again. Thankfully, he heard her and returned to his code hunting.
The room fell silent and only the sound of Birkin's frantic typing could be heard over the whirr of the machines. All eyes were on the main monitor as he delved into each 'folder' in an attempt to rule out any branch codes. Suddenly he stopped and yelled out. "Aha!"
The screen had started to flicker from a fuzzy image to a glitched one and back again before settling on a small, red looking file that was attached to one of Ionia's main source codes by thin, red lines. Ionia wriggled awkwardly and pointed at the screen. "What... Is that?"
Blanky had not been concentrating at all and was chewing her lip nervously, looking at her feet. It was only when Birkin turned around in his chair and looked at Turbo that she finally noticed what was going on.
Birkin pointed at the screen and leaned forwards to look Turbo in the eye. "THAT is why you use code safeguards!"
The racer blinked, looked at the screen, to Ionia and back to the screen again as the small string of code shifted and changed formation a little, attaching itself to other source codes.
Blanky just yawned. She had seen such a thing before back when she was being held in the labs.
"I suppose I should do the stereotypical thing shouldn't I?" Birkin scratched the back of his neck before stretching out a hand to Turbo. "Congratulations."
Turbo's face was a sight. His eyes would not keep still. They kept darting from the screen, to Birkin, to Ionia, to god knows what else and back again. It was as if his pupils wanted to flees in terror and were bouncing around in an attempt to escape.
Blanky burst out laughing and grinned sarcastically. "Well, congrats you two!"
Ionia had been sat there staring at the screen, unable to form words. Her eye twitched wildly as her mind tried to comprehend what it was that she was viewing. She looked down at Turbo with a vacant expression. "I don't get it. What's going on?" Her blue eyes flickered a little as she fixed her gaze back on the little, red code on the screen. Turbo's mind had finally caught up with him and the gravity of the situation dawned on him. His eyes rolled back in his head and he fell backwards with a loud thud.
"Phew! Well, I was beginning to feel like a cative here! Isn't it my turn now?" Blanky hopped over to the table and smiled at Birkin.
"Your turn" He started to remove all the wires from Ionia and helped her down from the table before patting it for Blanky to hop up. Blanky took a few deep breaths to ready herself and climbed on. The leather padding squeaked under her as she adjusted herself to try and get comfortable. She shut her eyes tight as Birkin began to stick the pads to her skin and tried to focus her attention on not hyperventilating.
Ionia had taken to the floor and was attempting to wake Turbo up. She still couldn't make head nor tail of what was going on. She tried slapping him, but that didn't work, so she grabbed him and started shaking him like a rag doll. "Heeeeyyy. Wake up!"
Blanky peered over at Ionia and rolled her eyes as Birkin continued to stick the pads to her body. "In a nutshell, you two are having a baby."
"Wait... What?" Ionia perked up. "Turbo, wake up! Someone's having a baby!"
"Uhh, he knows. that's why he passed out, Ionia."
"Why would he pass out? Unless..." She thought about it for a moment and gasped loudly. "Oh no. HE CHEATED ON ME DIDN'T HE!?"
"What!? No, of course not! If he cheated on you, how could you be pregnant by him?"
Ionia's eyes widened as she turned her head to face Blanky. "Wait... Me!? I'm not preg.... Wait... Huh?" It finally dawned on her and her mouth hung open. It was then Turbo finally came to and he let out a groan.
"Ngghh, who thlapped me?"
Ionia instantly held him to her tightly and let out a shrill squeal of happiness. Her celebration was cut short as Birkin ordered silence as he finished attaching the cables to Blanky and asked for everyone's eyes to be on the screen above. "Eyes on the screen time." He typed away and delved his way into the layers of coding, opening one file after another.
Birkin finally spoke and he gave Blanky a sideways glance. "You have some very interesting code."
"Oh yeah? Is it dressed funny?" She couldn't resist injecting a little humour into the situation. She feared that anymore seriousness would send her crazy.
"It, er... You know, it wouldn't take much to erase some bad memories, you know?" Birkin grinned at her and wiggled his fingers over the keys. He was very tempted to do it, but he knew it would be bad for her in the long run. He just hated to see her suffer.
"You can do that?"
"Yeah. I know it'd be wrong for me to do it, but..."
"Why wrong? Do it! Please!" Blanky virtually begged him, but he sighed sadly.
"That would mess with your game. And people might think you are glitching and have your game shut down. Without those memories, would you be you anymore?"
He had a point and Blanky couldn't help but agree with him. It frustrated her, but she knew what he said made sense. Her train of thought was halted when Birkin let out a small yelp. "Wait a second..."
"What is it?"
He squinted at the screen above them then back to his console again.
Birkin let out an exasperated sigh and flopped backwards into his seat before hunching over his keyboard again, typing away frantically. The screen displayed various folders open and they changed each time he pressed the enter key.
"What, what did you see? Whatever you saw mustve been horrifying to make you react the way you did." Blanky's face contorted in horror at the thought of him finding something truely terrible.
"Someone had made a horrible error in your code! If you ever reached a certain part of your game you'd have ended up in a glitch loop! One you'd not get out of."
Blanky gasped and flopped back onto the table again in shock. She knew exactly who had changed her coding and she was very unimpressed.
"This might feel odd." Birkin looked over to her as he hovered a finger over the enter key. One click and the glitch would be fixed. Blanky readied herself and dug her fingers into the padding before he hit the enter key and the folders were erased and the pathways fixed. She scrunched up her face as a strange tingling sensation washed over her. It was too much and she passed out.
"Code changed." Birkin looked back at her with a smile. A smile that dropped as soon as he saw that she had fainted. "Oh. Uh..."
Ionia had stopped mithering Turbo and had noticed what was going on. She stood upright and skipped over to Blanky. "I'm on it!" After taking hold of Blanky by the shoulder she slapped her around the face a little.
Birkin cringed a little, glad she wasn't awake to feel it. "Careful now. Not too hard!"
"THAT'S WHAT SHEEE SAID!" Ionia grinned and let her go as Blanky began to wriggle.
"No, no! Let me go you bastards! enough with your electric shocks!"
Ionia laughed loudly. "We aren't bastards. We're us!"
"Oh its you, Ionia. And Birkin and Turbo.
Birkin leaned over and patted her foot. "No one's coming to get you."
"Yes... thanks. Sorry. Just another nasty flashback. It happens occasionally since my uh, 'treatment.'"
Birkin nodded and pointed to the screen. Blanky looked up and smiled widely. "Oh ,you've removed the glitch! I...I cant thank you enough. you've saved my life!"
Birkin flushed pink and shook his head returning to his work again. "Don't... Thank me just yet... Look closer."
Blanky did as he asked and squinted up at the screen. Ionia also looked up and grinned widely while hopping on the spot. "Ooooooh it looks like my little code!"
Blanky looked back at Birkin who was nervously fiddling with a clipboard that he had been making notes on.
"Aw, no fair. Why do you have two?" Ionia suddenly yelled out and pointed at the screen.
Blanky's head swivelled back round to look at the screen. "T-Two? What are you talking about?" Her voice hushed to a shocked whisper as it dawned on her. "Oh my god, its twins." But, despite the initial shock, she was happy. A small tear eased it's way our of the corner of her eye and rolled down her cheek. She chuckled and looked back over to Birkin whose face was a picture. "You look like you've seen a ghost!"
"This is all..." He fanned himself with a sheet of paper and tugged on his shirt collar. "All so much... To take in."
"It will be alright, sweetheart."
Turbo instantly keeled over when he heard the term of endearment being used and he rolled around repeating it over and over laughing so hard he was almost crying.
Ionia was busy cooing over the screen and had taken to smooching it and talking softly to it as if it could hear her. She smiled back at everyone and pressed her cheeks in with her hands. "I want to see my code again."
"Just hook yourself back up if you want another look, Ionia." Birkin looked over to Blanky with a smile. "I think someone needs those wires."
Blanky nodded and unhooked the cables from herself and handed them over to Ionia who took them excitedly. Blanky hopped down and Ionia wasted no time in taking her place and sticking the cables in the same places as Birkin had originally.
Birkin typed in the code needed to view it and hooked an arm around Blanky while he watched Ionia's face. Her reactions were entertaining to watch. Excitement, love, awe and curiosity all at once. It made her face dance around comically.
The screen flickered to life to show the little red code box and Ionia squealed with delight. Turbo was still cackling to himself over what Blanky had called Birkin and had not been paying any attention at all.
"Well, im so glad Ionia's pregnancy has had such a happy effect on you." Blanky grinned sarcastically at the racer and sat herself on Birkin's lap. "But really, it's not that funny."
"TURBUTT LOOK!" Ionia pointed to the screen, an excited look plastered on her face as she bounced up and down on the table.
Turbo followed her finger and stared at the little red code box dumbfounded, his mouth agape. "Huh!?"
"LOOKIT THE CODE!"
It was as if his previous fainting session had wiped it from his memory and he stared at the screen with a new sense of fear. "You... you mean we're..." He stammered awkwardly and pointed a shaky finger upwards. A tear forced its way out of the corner of his eyes, then another and another until he finally collapsed in a bawling mess on the floor.
Birkin raised a brow. "Hey. What's with the tears?"
"Aww, look at that! He's so happy that he's crying!" Blanky clasped her hands together and smiled.
Turbo scrunched up his eyes for a moment. That was not it at all. How wrong could she be? He couldn't let on what he was feeling at all. He had to hide it. "Uuh, yeah, what she said!" He smiled broadly and prayed to Akuma that his smile wouldn't waver. Inwardly he was screaming, screaming so loud he was scared that people would be able to hear it. He had to suck it up. There was no turning back. No hiding from it. He was an adult. He was Turbo, the greatest racer ever! He stuck out his chest proudly and wiped his eyes. "You've made me the happietht rather ever!"