Time Capsule

Agent 8 finds out what is on the recovered artefact from Grizzco, and wants to learn more.

Agent Eight of the New Squidbeak Splatoon had no name.

That wasn't to say he wasn't known by anything - his testing number-come-agent codename had become his 'nickname'.

But after events in the Deepsea Metro, parts of his memory were lost down amongst the many stations, his true name among them.

What he did know - memories he'd recovered from the Metro and things he had discovered about himself since he had arrived in Inkopolis - intrigued him.

In his past he was a combat technician for one of the many squads for the Octarian army. He knew his way around weapons - he had a natural talent for learning his way around a weapon quickly, and for those he wasn't so great with, he could figure them out enough to surpass the challenge ahead - but his specialty was in the use of gadgets.

If his team needed communications blocked in an area, he was there. Wanted to make sure a target wasn't coming back any time soon? He would have a Disruptor or two on hand. Need to stop a remote-controlled boat from abandoning a teammate? He could deploy and operate a signal jammer like no one else.

DJ Octavio's military regimen had ensured that he was quite athletic and his body was reasonably toned, a fact he still sometimes appreciated about his old life. It had been a boon during his adventures in the Metro.

But while he hadn't required his athleticism yet in his new work as an Agent - though it came in handy in Turf War battle - he kept his body in shape, knowing it would one day come in handy.

As Eight unlocked and entered into his small apartment, carrying a backpack with two devices securely packed inside, he was somewhat excited.

He had just returned from the Tentaport Institute of Humanities, where its resident technology team had finally finished researching a unique type of storage Eight had delivered to them.

It had taken many months, but they had figured out how to recover, read, and convert data from a human-era disk drive into modern-day file formats.

The drive that Eight had brought in seemed to be full of multimedia - archived music, images and photography, documents, and even some video.

They had, of course, backed up as much as was readable from the drive for research purposes, but had also made a copy of the data for Eight to peruse on a modern device.

Which is what Eight had now.

Putting the backpack down beside the door, he removed both the original drive and the portable storage disk Tentaport's head had given him, a readable copy of the data they had recovered.

He crossed the living area to his 'memory wall', dedicated to shelves and displays of things he wanted to remember. It was something he started, initially to keep his collection of mem cakes safe but quickly expanding to include objects that reminded him of pleasant or important moments here on the surface. For example, a power egg replica, the tee he had been given when he had finally made it to Inkopolis, and despite himself - a large piece from a shattered motherboard.

He set the drive down amongst these items, adjusting it til it looked 'just right' amongst the display, then left briefly to retrieve his laptop from the bedroom.

Bringing the devices back to the living space, he booted up the laptop, holding the storage disk in hand as he set the computer on his lap.

Fellow agent Lily had said at some point that these items from the human era seemed most likely to be things close to her. And while she had been mostly open to him about details about her world, she never went much into detail about her own life.

Surely she knows what the drive contains, then?

His computer had finished booting and sat at a cephalOS desktop, which he'd personalised with a new wallpaper and icons. Quietly, wondering what he would find, he inserted the disk into its slot and patiently waited.

A new icon appeared on the desktop, signifying the drive had loaded. Opening it, Agent 8 was greeted by a mass of folders and files. Among them he could see folders for music, pictures and photos, 'ebooks' - whatever those were - and video of different kinds.

After some thought, he clicked into the pictures folder, brushing his tentacle back and to the side to clear his vision. He was greeted with a folder of all sorts of picture media - from what he could see, it was home to artwork of various kinds, screenshots from computer programs or videos, and a few photos.

His attention was immediately drawn to the photos. The first one that drew his eye was of a cephaloid creature - but not with tentacles. Instead this seemingly candid photo depicted a person with these odd... strands of something on their head instead. It spread down the sides of the face in lesser quantities and rejoined under the chin, forming a... what, a long... beard? They had no eye mask to speak of, just eyebrows above each eye.

Eight realised with a start that the face structure matched the human skeletons he had seen around the Tentaport campus.

This... this was a human.

Well, it wasn't the ugliest thing in the world, he supposed.

Other photos depicted bedrooms, places - one place in particular depicted an old country town, seemingly old even for the time of the photo, judging by the condition of some of the buildings.

As he explored the photo folders, he kept seeing more humans - but moreso, the same humans, including the one he had first seen. He also saw other creatures he had never seen before - though plenty of them seemed to be about as fluffy as the Judds, if not as round.

Oh, goodness, he realised as he scrolled further and further back through the folder. Lily kept years and years of this stuff.

As he scrolled through, he started to notice videos interspersed throughout as well. Excitedly he clicked on one, finding himself watching footage of some amusement park ride. It looked like something he might see at Wahoo World - a pendulum ride swung back and forth, gaining momentum before it started looping around. Behind the camera, a male's voice talked with a younger human girl who was occasionally on-camera while the people on the ride screamed and some sort of music played in the background.

Eight was fascinated by all these snippets of human life - a life no one had previously known. Seeing all these different human sights and traditions... And, strangely, some of their traditions mirrored those he had witnessed here in Inkopolis - they celebrated Squidmas/Octivus, the turn of the new year, birthdays. And yet - other traditions he was seeing as beyond him, for example in one video, where the same person who had been filming most of the videos he had seen in this collection was following the younger human girl as she tried to find egg-shaped prizes around a house. Prizes that were apparently a food of some kind - whatever 'chocolate' was.

It clicked as the two in the video approached another, older duo looking for eggs, and one of them casually greeted, "hello Simon".

That was Lily's previous name, Eight remembered.

He didn't think much of this for a moment, only noting the coincidence.

Then he remembered - this drive had belonged to Lily. All of these things they had collected from the human era were things nearby Lily when she was taken from that world.

These were photos and videos Lily had taken.

The person holding the camera, that the Octoling had seen in so many pictures - that must be Lily, in her past life...

And these people, that he had also seen plenty of... they must have been her family.

Eight sat back, in awe as he watched.

So he wasn't just watching human life... he was watching Lily's life.

He paused the video. As fascinated as he was, he realised he was intruding on a dear friend's private moments.

He contemplated for a few moments whether he should continue. Most of this was private, after all.

Eight was also curious about what else he could find out about humans.

Come to think of it, didn't the girls say they had talked with past humans at that dreaded NILS Statue?

Wouldn't it be fascinating to speak to one himself, he thought.

There didn't appear to be much stopping him. He just needed to take the first step.

So, he shut the laptop, swung it under his arm, and climbed to his feet as he searched for its carry bag.

She should know, he decided as he quickly headed back out the door.

When Lily answered the door at 2pm that day, she was unimpressed with Eight. "Dude, where've you been? The party's been going for nearly two hours."

"The... party?" Eight stared at her for a few moments, searching his memory. "Oh--- Dear, sorry Lily, I..."

"Oh well, just come on in," she said, opening the door for him.

It was Lorne's triumphant return to ranked battle, and she'd been training hard with her new team for the past few months in preparation for the new season. And here she was - her first matches, broadcasted on everyone's favorite 24/7 Battle Broadcast Network.

Callie, Marie and Lily had made a day of cheering on her team from her apartment, snacks and food strewn about the kitchen countertop and around the couch they had gathered around to watch. Remo had joined them earlier and was preparing drinks in the kitchenette.

"Aaand this match is now underway, the West Inkopolis Warriors versus the Angelsea Angelfish! It's a bright and sunny day here atop the New Albacore Hotel as both teams leap off the mark, firing about to fill their special meters on the way to this stage's sole Splat Zone..."

"Wooo! You got this, Lorne!"

"Come oooon, Warriors!"

"You go, Four!"

Callie and Marie shared a bag of crisps among them as Lorne's Warriors closed in on the Angelfish, who were holding the Zone. Both turned as Eight entered the apartment. "Heya, Eight!" Callie waved. "Good to see you!"

"Hey there," Marie nodded with a light salute, before turning back to the game.

"Hey, girls. Remo." He nodded at the other boy as he entered. "Lily, I know I just got here, but can I speak to you in private for a moment? Oh," he added as Lily shot him a strange look, "and bring your laptop. I need to show you something."

The two settled for sitting on the bed, and as Eight handed Lily a flash drive to plug in, he explained. "I've just come back from Tentaport. They decrypted the hard drive."

Lily blinked. She had forgotten about that thing. "Whoa, okay. You're forgiven. So what's this about then?"

Eight simply slid the laptop over to himself and opened a gallery application on it, directing it to a particular folder. He handed the laptop back to Lily as it played the Easter video he had found before.

Lily was silent as she watched herself roam around her old yard with her family. Her hands slowly rose to her mouth, and Eight could see she was tearing up, but her eyes stayed focused on the screen.

After that video, the application cycled through various other short videos, which ended on two that made the inkling begin to cry.

The first was a clip she'd recorded from the end of the Justice concert she had gone to -- the only concert she'd gone to.

And the second, which made her squeak, was a short clip she had recorded right after. She, or Simon, had gotten on a train after the show and was tired, exhausted.

Remo glanced up in her direction. Seeing the human face on the screen, his brow furrowed, and he walked over to join them.

Lily looked up and saw him, tears welling up, and got up from the bed, walking toward the door.

"Uh-?" Marie glanced up from the TV, and saw her leaving, and then saw the human's face on the laptop screen. She made to get up, but Lily held out a hand.

"Think what you will," Lily said simply, aware she was making a scene. "I'll be back in a few. I need some air." She glanced at the TV. "Keep me updated on the scores."

Then she stepped out.

Marie glanced toward her cousin with a nervous look, then turned to Remo and Eight. "What just happened...?"

Eight was distraught. "I.. don't know! I brought over the data from the Grizzco hard drive to show her and..."

"Lily saw me coming to have a look and I... think that set her off, somehow." Remo was confused and felt hurt.

"Is that... Lily? Was, sorry..." Callie was staring over Marie's shoulder at the image on the screen. She hadn't seen a living human before...

"Okay, okay, hold on a moment." Marie eyed Eight. "Eight, you know this place better than the rest of us. Where's she headed?"

Eight's gaze travelled upwards. "She'll be going to the rooftop. It's safe," he quickly added as Callie, drawing her own conclusion, gasped and covered her mouth. "It's fenced up and used as a social space. Knowing her, she'll be staring down at the street."

"OHHH! What a magnificent play by the Warriors, their opponents are all down and losing valuable time!"

Marie grabbed the remote and muted the TV for the time being. Sorry, Lorne. "Right. Can you go check on her, Three? I need a moment with Eight."

"Uh, yeah, alright." Remo headed for the doorway. "We'll be back."

The girls saw him off, then Marie sat back down at the couch, turned toward Eight. "Take a seat, Eight."

"Um, do you mind if I...?" Callie gestured at the laptop, the human face still plastered on it.

"Go for it." Eight stood from the bed, walking the few steps over to the couch. "You're not mad, are you...?"

Marie sighed, watching her cousin step around the couch and kneel before the screen, leaning onto the bed and unpausing the video player. "No, I'm just confused. So that came from the drive you, Three, Four and Five collected, yes?"

"That's correct." Eight sat on the seat of the couch. "I just picked it up from Tentaport today."

"I see. Why are videos of Lily on there?"

"It's her---" Eight started to answer, and then stopped, his mouth falling open. "Wait -- you know that's Lily?"

Marie nodded, smiling. "I saw her briefly, before she became one of us."

"Huh. ...uh -- it's her hard drive. I thought she'd want to see..." After a moment, he muttered, "and I had some questions..."

"Right." Marie nodded. "I mean, we all still have plenty of questions about humans. But..." She thought for a moment, and briefly glanced at Callie watching the laptop, enraptured. "So maybe... she just forgot we were all here and had a moment?"

Eight shrugged. "She seemed really into it, so maybe..."

"Not your fault then. Are you doing alright, by the way?"

"I suppose... I'm not sure I can ask her now though."

"Maybe I can ask on your behalf." The Squid Sister raised an eyebrow on your behalf.

"Oh, that might be nice... Well, I wanted to ask her if..." Eight took a breath. "If there was some way I could learn more about them from her."

"Hmm. Oh! Why don't you get her to take you to the NILS Statue?"

"Wait, NILS?!" Eight's eyes went wide. "I thought she had nothing to do with them!"

"No, no -- she doesn't," Marie quickly reassured him. "I mean, well -- that statue is most likely still broadcasting a signal from the past. She took her phone and a laptop there when a few of us went for her protection and ended up talking to *real* humans."

"Really?!" That seemed to cheer Eight up. "I would love to speak to one..."

"Organise it, then." Marie smiled. "She'll probably appreciate a reason to catch up with some of her past friends, anyway."

"Uuuhm... okay..." Eight nodded, but he seemed nervous still.

Marie seemed convinced in him though, and so she'd unmuted the TV. She and Eight watched the battles on the TV while Callie was distracted browsing the laptop.

Lily and Remo returned a few minutes after, the female seemingly recovered from her moment but now embarrassed. She apologised to everyone and kept to herself for a while as they watched the battles.

Having the gang all together to cheer on Agent 4 as the racked up the wins (and close losses) really warmed Lily's heart. She hoped that Lorne was as energised by her streak as they were, supporting her.

At some point, the coverage on TV shifted from the lower bracket Lorne had started on to a top tier. The crew, having eaten all the snacks, hung about for a bit longer, chatting with each other. By that point Lily had gotten over herself and was talking quietly with Callie about future social activities.

As the group filtered out, saying their goodbyes, Eight finally worked up the courage to walk back up to Lily as she was seeing Remo off. Callie had already left, though Marie was hanging about in the kitchenette.

"U-uhm, Lily?" Eight shyly said as she took a sip from the drink she'd left on the kitchenette.

"Hey Eight. You alright?"

"Uhh, well..." Eight shifted about as Lily's eyes turned on him. "S-so... that drive... First of all, I'm sorry about what happened before."

Lily sighed, her cheeks flushing with embarrassment. "I think that's more my fault, but... thank you for showing me those things." She smiled. "It was nice to see that old world again."

"That's... that's okay." Eight smiled. "Listen, I um... Stop me if you want... But.. I wanted to learn more about your world."

"Ah, well..." Lily scratched at her head. "Well I don't know how much I still remember, is the thing... It's been so long, now."

"Oh..." Eight bit his lip, and twiddled his fingers together. "The thing is... Marie said to me a while back that you'd been out to that... Statue. After we went to see the telephone."

"Ah... okay." Lily nodded. Marie must have told him about what happened out there. "So what do you want to do, then...?"

"Well..." The Octoling took a deep breath. "I... would like to go out to the Statue and talk to some humans about the old era. P-preferably ones that won't try to kill me..."

"They're still not alive in this time, Eight," Lily sighed. "Look, to do that you'll probably need my iPhone and my laptop. The thing is---"

"Your phone? Why?"

"Because it's a cell signal that Statue is giving out, not a home wireless network. My laptop can't connect to it on its own. But Eight---"

"Cool! When can we leave?"

"Eight." Lily frowned. "I can't... I don't have the time to take you out there. I'm setting up some new work at the club down the street. I don't know when I'll be available."

Eight's expression dropped. "Oh... can't... can't I go there on my own?"

"W-well, I don't think---"

"I can teach you how to drive our boat, Eight." Marie smiled, having been listening in from the other end of the kitchenette. "I can't spare the time to take you out there for a couple hours either, but I can at least set you up to get the answers you need."

"That works." Eight smiled at the both of them. "Thank you, Lily. Marie. I sincerely appreciate it."

"No sweat, man." Lily smiled at him. "If that works for you, that works with my schedule. I suppose when Marie's got you all set up then, let me know and I'll lend the stuff."

"Sure. I'll be in touch. Again, thank you..." Eight surprised her with a tight hug.

"Whoa, uh... no worries, man." Lily blushed and reciprocated.

With a smile and a nod, Eight headed for the door. "Take care, Lily. Give Four my regards."

The wind whipped past Eight's lone tentacle as his craft raced over the waves of the Inkopolis Bay.

The speedboat he had been loaned from the Squid Sisters had been stored in a private dock down the other end of Port Mackerel ever since a music video shoot three years ago, he'd been told. The only time it had been used since then was when they had taken Lily to the Statue.

Now it was his turn.

He felt nervous as the destroyed Statue grew closer. The last time he was here, the fate of the world hung in the balance. Even now, looking at the damned thing brought up awful memories of Commander Tartar (may he rot, forgotten in that forest).

He slowed the vehicle as he grew closer, and briefly turned his attention to the bag he had brought along. Opening it up, he removed Lily's laptop and phone, and set it on the dashboard of the speedboat. They were already powered on.

Now he just needed to wait for a signal.

The boat came to a halt alongside the sunken statue, on the side nearest an antenna that hung overhead. If Eight was going to get anything, he figured, it would be there.

The Octoling opened the laptop, entering the password Lily had given him. He did the same with the phone, and then followed the instructions she had given on how to activate the phone's network hotspot.

As she had told him, if there was a signal, the phone would broadcast it, and the laptop would automatically connect to it.

Eight sat and waited anxiously.

A soft noise sounded from the laptop.

Leaning across to it, he saw that it was starting to get notifications.

It seemed to be working.

He smiled.

What was it Lily said to do first...? Oh, yes, look at their version of the internet. Eight looked around the screen of Lily's laptop for the icon she'd told him would be for the internet. Finding the old-fashioned compass on the screen, he opened the application, which greeted him with what he recognised quickly as a search engine.

What to ask...?

He stared at the search bar for a minute or two, wondering what to ask first.

Carefully, considering his thoughts, he typed his first question.

'Do humans like other creatures?'

The search engine helpfully suggested 'why do humans like other animals', and he decided to accept its suggestion, submitting his query.

The first pages that showed up were an... interesting mixture of different opinions. 'Why Dogs and Humans Love Each Other', 'Why People Care More About Dogs Than Humans', 'Humans are nowhere near special'.

Eight didn't click on any of them, just read the little blurbs the search engine gave him for each. It seemed that they were capable as a species of liking non-humans. Which explains Lily, he thought to himself.

I guess Commander Tartar was evil even for humans.

A noise from the laptop surprised him.

It came from a chat application. Somebody from it had sent some announcement to one of the many groups Lily seemed to be involved in. He brought up the application, and clicked on the top icon from the list. It seemed to bring him to a personal group chat, seemingly a chat with Lily and her friends.

His grasp of English told him that there were a few people online at the moment.

He really wanted to say hello to them.

After a moment of thought, his fingers went to the keyboard and he started typing.

Lily> Hello? Is anybody around?
Lily> I think this was the chatroom Lily told me to use...
Craven> Hi there!
Lily> Hello. It is a pleasure to meet you. I hope my English is good.
Craven> Thanks! Yeah, you're good. How are you doing?
Lily> I am well. I am very excited to meet humans! I am a friend of Lily.
Lily> Oh. I should update my name and things. I am not actually Lily. How do I do that?
Craven> Oh right! Uh... hi, Lily's friend. Just right click on your name, and it should have "Change Nickname". Click on that and type in whatever.

Eight examined the interface he was presented with. Its sense of design was (duh) unlike anything he was used to. He found the option 'Craven' was talking about through searching for it.

Eight typed in his name, clicked the big 'Save' button, then returned to the chatroom.

Eight> Okay, I have changed my name. They call me Eight. It is a pleasure to meet you, again.
Eight> How are you today?
Craven> That's a neat name. I'm doing alright! Just chilling out, mostly. You up to much?
Eight> I have been learning to drive a boat. I got to see many pictures and videos of your time. Actually they're Lily's pictures. I am very interested in human culture!
Eight> I had to drive the boat because of where this network signal is. I don't know if Lily has told you. It is a statue in the middle of the bay. It's a bit of a scary journey. We don't do well with water.
Craven> Oh. Wait, are you an alien? Because that would be awesome!
Eight> An alien? I am an octoling. I live in Inkopolis, where Lily has been!
Eight> She is well, by the way. She could not make it today. She is trying hard to get a job DJing near where she lives.
Craven> ...hold on, I need a minute.
Eight> Okay. I will give you a minute.

Eight patiently waited a minute.

Or he would have, because the next message came in about 30 seconds later.

Craven> Okay, so... this isn't just Lily tricking me or anything, I don't think. Uh... sorry, this is a lot to take in.
Craven> ...Wait, what exactly is an octoling?

...Oh. Did Lily never tell these people?

Eight scrolled the chat window upward, hurriedly looking to see whether he'd just given up a secret. Oh carp oh carp oh carp...

Thankfully, some of the conversation between members of the chatroom seemed to reveal that they did know about Lily and Inkopolis.

Eight breathed a sigh of relief, and returned to the present.

Eight> Octolings are Octarians that can transform between octopi and creatures with arms and legs!
Eight> Lily says it's a 'humanoid' form. I guess I see why she thinks that.
Eight> It's like how she can become a squid. We are like inklings I suppose, but instead of squids we are octopuses.
Craven> Wait, what?
Craven> Sorry, I don't know anything about octolings or inklings or Inkopolis. Yeah, she didn't tell me she could become a squid.
Craven> Like, I don't have any reason to believe she'd lie about this sort of thing, so... I think I believe you.
Eight> I will try to explain as best as I can...
Eight> Because of things that happened here, she became an inkling. Inklings can turn into squids, though Lily doesn't like to turn into one very often.
Eight> As I mentioned, I am an octoling. We evolved differently, but we gained a similar function in order to become an octopus. We both swim in ink.
Craven> Does it hurt to turn into a squid, or an octopus?
Eight> Inkopolis is the city where inklings live. Mostly inklings sorry. I moved there recently after... that's not important. It's a very big city.
Eight> No. I would have to ask Lily if it hurts her. I remember her telling me it feels 'weird'.
Eight> May I ask you a question?
Craven> Sure thing.
Eight> What is it like to have bones?
Eight> Every time I see human skeletons at the museum I touch one and it feels very tough. Wouldn't that hurt?
Craven> ...

Did I ask a bad question?

Craven> I... don't know how to answer that really. I've had bones all my life, so I can't really compare it to not having bones.
Craven> It's kind of weird seeing skeletons and knowing that one of them is inside of me, but... I guess it's like asking me what it's like to have muscles.
Craven> Does Lily have bones now, or did they... I guess, leave her body when she became an inkling?
Eight> She does not. She tells me she was asleep or unconscious when she changed so she doesn't know what happened. I talked to her and Marie and Four about her change, but they never mentioned anything like that.
Eight> Maybe they... er, melted? Nobody really knows.
Craven> Alright...
Craven> You said you're not good with water, but you can become and octopus and she can be a squid. Why aren't you good with water?
Eight> What do you mean?
Eight> I mean, I know Lily told me humans could be in water, but I don't understand why you're confused about us.
Craven> I thought octopi and squid lived in the water.
Eight> Did they...?

That's news to me...

Craven> Yep, they do. Wait, are you from the future?

...Uhhh... Carp?

Eight> ... Yes, I believe so. Sort of.
Craven> ... well, I guess that's why I haven't heard of Inkopolis before.
Eight> Yeah... sorry.
Eight> Anyway. Since you asked.
Eight> We can't touch the water. I think my grandfather told me once that we used to be able to, but when we evolved arms and legs we apparently lost the ability. Now we sorta... disintegrate and respawn elsewhere.
Craven> Oh, that stinks! How do you get clean?
Eight> Well we do better in oily substances like our ink. So we can still shower and bathe, just with clear oils.
Craven> Ah, that makes sense. Anything else you want to know?

Huh? Oh, wait, yes! Eight grinned to himself. There was a reason I came here!

He had begun to feel slightly annoyed that he had to explain his world and not learn much out of it. But this was the opportunity he was waiting for.

Eight> Oh, yeah! I wanted to ask about the things you guys celebrate!
Eight> One of the things I saw from Lily's photos was her and her family looking for these... chocolate eggs I think. It reminded me of this 'Springfest' thing that apparently happens once a year here
Eight> And I was thinking about the things I celebrate, Octivus (apparently called Squidmas up here), that sort of thing.
Eight> Do humans have anything like that?
Craven> Yeah, we celebrate a ton of things! Birthdays, anniversaries, graduation, sporting events, and religious stuff!
Craven> The chocolate egg thing is from a religious holiday called Easter, which is real weird to explain without getting into actual religion and symbolism and stuff that's probably not appropriate for this channel. Craven> Oh, and we celebrate the new year, too

Yeah, on the wrong date, Eight thought to himself.

Eight> New year? Yeah, we celebrate that too!
Eight> Oh so 'Easter' is religious? I wonder if our Springfest is religious...
Eight> Although I guess the Splatfests are semi-religious enough...
Eight> That's really cool though. I'm amazed we do a lot of the same things
Eight> Marina would be really happy to hear that
Craven> Cool! I mean, if you're from the future-ish, I guess it would make sense, although
Craven> What is Splatfest?
Eight> Oh, that's our monthly celebration event. See the big sport here is Turf War. Teams of four battle to claim the most territory over a few minutes.
Eight> Splatfest is that, but over a whole weekend with every team that cares to sign up for one side or another
Craven> Oh man, that sounds awesome!
Eight> Hmm, what was the most recent one again...? Pancakes versus waffles for breakfast.
Eight> It's really fun.
Craven> That's a lot different from how our sporting events go, it's usually just "Team from place X vs Team from place Y"
Craven> Who decides what the Splatfests are about? I'm guessing there's some sort of governing body.
Eight> Kind of...? I was talking to Pearl and Marina about it some time ago, and apparently the Splatfest topics come from a printer... Nobody knows who or what's on the other end, but I guess the inklings made a shrine out of the space it now occupies...
Eight> Inklings are weird...
Eight> It's their shrine for Splatfests. So they just call it the 'Splatfest Shrine'. Something like that...
Craven> That is pretty weird, yeah, but sports are real weird, I guess.
Craven> Next: Who are Pearl and Marina?
Eight> Oh, they're friends of mine and Lily's. They're a musical duo. And the current hosts of the main news program.
Eight> They're really clever and cool... I owe them a lot.
Craven> Ooh, awesome! They seem pretty cool. Hopefully they can help Lily with her DJ stuff.
Craven> She's real good with mashups, maybe they can do a collab together sometime.
Eight> I'm sure they probably will at some point.
Eight> I remember not long after I met Lily for the first time, she surprised them with a mashup of one of their songs.
Eight> And I think they've talked about doing some form of collaboration... but I think that depends on how Lily goes with her DJing, and if she gets a following at all.
Craven> Ah, cool. I have confidence that she'll get there.
Eight> I'm sure she'll be thrilled to hear that. I'll pass that message on to her.
Craven> Yay :-)

Agent 8 took his eyes away from the screen for a moment and was surprised to find that the sky was a vivid orange and red as the sun was just about to set over the bay. Had he really spent so long out here just talking?

He was amazed at himself. He didn't know he could lose time so easily just talking to someone on a screen. He looked back at it, and smirked to himself, shaking his head.

Maybe humans were alright.

He didn't want to be out on the water when the sun was gone, though. So he sadly decided that it was time for him to say goodbye to the human on the computer.

Eight> I think it might be time for me to go... The sun is starting to get low and I would like to be back ashore before it's gone.
Craven> No problem, it was nice talking to you!
Eight> Thank you so much for talking to me! I'm glad there are more humans than just Lily that are nice and not evil.
Eight> Oh, one more thing - Lily asked me to make sure that you didn't tell anyone outside of here about our time and our world. We have already stopped one human creation trying to destroy us... she would rather us not have to deal with more. Is that okay?
Craven> Absolutely.
Eight> Thank you :-) You are very kind.
Eight> I hope to speak to you again soon one day!
Craven> I appreciate it, and I hope to talk with you, too.

Lorne answered the knock on her door the following morning to see Eight standing there with a smile, holding Lily's laptop and phone. "Heya, Eight. Returning things?"

"Yep!" Eight nodded, and held out the electronics to her. "I thought I'd drop them off on my way in to the Square today."

"She'll be glad to see them when she gets out of the shower." Agent 4 smiled back as she took them. "You seem pretty pleased. You find out what you wanted to know?"

"Most of it, yes. I had a great chat with one of Lily's friends. Quite enlightening." The octo's smile widened and he brushed his tentacle out of his eyes.

"I'm glad. You'll have to tell me what you found out next time." Lorne grinned. "Lily and I have been going through that archive you gave her the other week. Did you know they kept pets just like us? And some of them had fur JUST like Judd and Lil' Judd!"

"They did a lot of things just like us," Eight nodded with a smile. "It's surprising just how similar to them we might just be..."

"You really think so, huh? I mean, seeing the photos, I wouldn't be too surprised." Lorne smiled.

"Yeah..." Eight nodded again, and seemed to be stuck on what to say next. "I... I think I should get moving. I won't keep you."

"No worries, Eight. Thanks for stopping by." Lorne grinned, and stepped out to hug him. "I'll let Lily know you said hello."

"Thanks. Oh-! Also," Eight started suddenly, remembering. "Can you let her know that her friend Craven says they believe that collab with her and Off the Hook will happen?" He smiled warmly. "I think Lily will like that her friends are still thinking of her."

"Aw, that's adorable. Of course." Lorne nodded. "Thanks, Eight."

"Thank you, Lorne. I'll be seeing you!" He grinned and waved as he turned and walked down the apartment hallway towards the stairs.

"See you soon, Eight!" Lorne called, waving back until he left her sight, after which she closed the door.

Lorne set Lily's laptop and phone on the kitchenette counter, looking down at them.

So he got to talk with humans, huh...? Lucky guy.

But she pushed it from her mind quickly, and returned to thinking up battle plans for her next match, unmuting the TV on which the Battle Broadcast Network was showing ranked matches.

Humans could wait.

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