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Part 7: Back in Style

Pretty much everyone outside is saying some variation of "I turned on the Bubble Wash and now there are exploding bubbles everywhere."

And that's not an exaggeration.

For as much of a joke as BubbleMan is presented, the threat of this is quite serious given the possible death toll and property damage that could emerge from this.

That said, the threat does basically rely on everyone deciding to buy the same dishwasher at the same time and activate them within the same time frame.

How did Wily even afford all of this? And how did he market it so well? If he wasn't so in love with being evil, he could probably become an entrepreneur because he really managed to move his product.

Also, these guys are continuing to play gin rummy.

Though looks more like they're playing Mahjong, honestly.

The goal of this scenario is to go to SciLab, of course. Though it seems like things aren't going to work out too well for us.

There's also this guy, who is making a program to destroy the bubbles.

I'm... not sure how that works. Are the bubbles electronic? Can the Bubble Washes be made to control the bubbles?

This guy contemplates deleting BubbleMan to fix the situation, but then worries that might endanger the people trapped in the bubbles. An interesting dilemma, actually.

In Yuichiro's lab, his assistant is too busy working on the bubbles to help Lan, though he mentions that Lan can get some compression data from his father's computer.

Inside, the Mr. Prog attacks.

Nothing too worrisome.

After the battle, Mr. Prog calms down and recognizes MegaMan as an "acquaintance" of Dr. Hikari's, giving him the compression data.

However, in its present state, it is not compatible with the Navi Customizer. This is due to the Navi Customizer being newly made technology that the data isn't formatted for. Given that Yuichiro is out of town, there's no one we can turn to except for Higsby.

He did mention he studied programming overseas, after all.

Unfortunately, he's not too familiar with what he's working with. Likely in part because the Navi Customizer is newly created technology.

Lan and MegaMan aren't taking this very well. Without Yuichiro around, his assistant busy, and Higsby unable to handle the modifications, there's no one left to turn to.

MegaMan suggests Lan go look to find someone

and outside, Lan runs into a familiar beard.

Lan explains a truncated version of the situation to him, and the man nods in understanding, taking the PET and compression data from him.

To the surprise of Lan and MegaMan, he suddenly manages to convert the data on the spot into a Navi Customizer program.

And just like that, the bearded man makes his exit.

It really says something that Yuichiro manages to bring his dead son, soul and all, back to life as a Navi and Hub says that this guy might be even better at programming than him.

Sadly, the mystery of the bearded man will have to wait a while longer.

So let's talk about Press, shall we? While it's equipped, MegaMan can walk on these thin pathways in order to get around the areas of the Net they link to. This was likely done in order to encourage the player to use the Navi Customizer more so that they don't just forget about it.

The problem is that these areas where you're expected to use Press are part of the main internet. Not a one-off dungeon you never have to revisit again, but the actual internet.

And there are four areas of the net where you need to have Press on in order to traverse them, meaning that you're likely going to have to go into the Navi Customizer and remove programs you're using in order to slot it in. If you just leave it in, then you're wasting space a good chunk of the time that could go to battle programs.

Furthermore, if you decide to be a wise guy and remove the Press program while you're on these thin pathways, then MegaMan is unable to leave the pathway until you reinstall the program.

Basically, it's pretty lame.

MegaMan catches up to BubbleMan, and claims to have him now.

However, BubbleMan again dabs on MegaMan and makes a bubble door between them both.

MegaMan attempts to shoot the bubble with his Mega Buster.

I don't think there's anything I could say that would make this screenshot better, so I'll let it speak for itself.

BubbleMan then summons his minions: Team Rocket the Bubble Brigade.

They proceed to immediately freak out at the sight of MegaMan.

BubbleMan starts dropping blub bombs at them before giving them a Needle to take to another area. This Needle is the only thing that can break his Bubble Door.

While initially I thought this was a dumb move on his part since he could just, y'know, keep the Needle on the other side of the door and not have to deal with MegaMan at all, he did mention that he wanted that reward from Wily. So he's planning to tire him out before trying to get rid of him.

So it is a dumb move, but for different reasons.

It's pretty funny how you can replace all instances of "blub" with the F word and it still works as a sentence.

BubbleMan reiterates to MegaMan that his henchmen took off with the Needle that can pop his bubble door, so now we have to go backtrack and find them.

Not really a great thing to be messing around with while we're on a time limit.

BubbleMan's goons are hanging around near the school gate section of the net. Oddly enough, the guard isn't there this time. Then again, I don't think he ever shows up again anyway.

Regardless of which one you talk to, they all say the same thing and then attack you with a virus.

After the battle, though, a familiar change comes over MegaMan!

Return of the Style Chan- oh come on, seriously? A Heat style? Right before the Aqua boss?

Bah. Well, Style Changes are back, and it's a Custom Style again given I built my folder with as much monocode as I can imagine. You have a general idea of what Styles are like from Battle Network 2, so I'll hold off on mentioning the changes until the next update.

Disappointingly, MegaMan has no overworld appearance change despite the Navis reacting to it. Star Force games would go on to have at least one custscene where MegaMan's transformation actually changes his appearance in the overworld.

As for how MegaMan got the Style Change power back? Given that MegaMan's power is copying, my assumption is that he just managed to instinctively copy the Change.bat and recreate it within himself after it was returned to YumLand.

BubbleMan's goons aren't done yet, though, and decide to run to SciLab Area.

The area where the Officials are patrolling.

Or, at least, they'd normally be patrolling there. In all fairness to them, the whole bubble situation has everyone scattered at the moment.

We also get some idea as to why Wily puts up with these jokers.

Now, I want you to think about what the dumbest place for these guys to run would be.

Do you have a place in mind?

Yes, they ran back to BubbleMan's door! With the only thing that can break it!

Even he's unable to believe how boneheaded this is!

I mean it could be both.

Unsurprisingly, MegaMan shows up and BubbleMan gives another G-Rated swear before taking off.

A final virus battle with the Bubble Brigade ensues.

After the fight, they give up the Needle and make tracks before MegaMan decides to rub them out.

Taking advantage of the fact that talking is a free action is cheating, though.

MegaMan pops the Bubble Door, which is so anticlimactic that I'm sad I didn't get a gif of it, and then heads down a final Press path. Finally, he confronts BubbleMan at a dead end.

BubbleMan is surprised that MegaMan has caught up so fast, but is certain that his goons must've inflicted some damage on MegaMan.

Higsby also calls to inform Lan that the bubbles have turned red. Oh no!

With no time left, MegaMan has no choice but to fight BubbleMan here and now!

Boss Fight: BubbleMan

Just because he's finally worked up the nerve to fight doesn't mean he's going to be any less of a coward about it. BubbleMan spends the entirety of the fight hiding on his back row, and even has a rock to hide behind for good measure. His strategy is primarily just whittling you down with a bunch of projectiles from his side of the field, though he does get a bit more aggressive at lower HP.

He's kind of annoying now, but that's mainly because my chips aren't the best at present. Soon, though. Soon.

- Bubble Parade: Bubbles will constantly be summoned from the hole in BubbleMan's area, which can be taken out with a single Buster shot.
- Fish Missile: Some of the bubbles contain a fish inside. If the bubbles are popped, they release the indestructible fish inside, and it will dash down the row.
- Sea Crab: BubbleMan will throw a crab into MegaMan's area. It will travel down the row before curving towards MegaMan, and it can fall through holes.
- Mine: Some of the bubbles summoned are pink and contain a mine. If these bubbles line up with MegaMan, they will flash and explode in a + fashion. Additionally, these bubbles are more resilient than others.
- Aqua Shot: Once BubbleMan reaches low HP, he sets up a Bubble Wrap, and then proceeds to fire his harpoon at MegaMan. While the bubble can be popped in one hit, it makes BubbleMan 4x weak to water damage while active.

After the battle, BubbleMan begs MegaMan for mercy, promising to be good from now on.

BubbleMan promises to get rid of the bubbles in the real world upon MegaMan's request.

Though his idea of how is a touch more lethal than intended.

BubbleMan then makes his getaway!

Or... so he thought.

ProtoMan and Chaud criticize Lan for not just deleting BubbleMan and... yeah, they have a point even if this is a really manufactured situation.

Up to this point, MegaMan and Lan have never had any qualms about deleting any of the actually evil people they fought. I guess BubbleMan is a different kind of villain, being more of a pitiful and inept adversary than they're used to, but still.

Also, thousands of people bought this? How many of these things did Wily sell!?

Higsby, oblivious to the ongoing conversation, calls to tell Lan that the bubbles have disappeared.

So I guess nothing bad happened from deleting BubbleMan after all! Why even raise that possibility, then?

With one final grammatically incorrect remark (lowlives), Chaud and ProtoMan make their exit.

As does MegaMan.

Back at Mayl's, everyone is fine and thanks Lan for his work.

Higsby notices he seems down, but Lan forces a smile and says he's okay and focuses more on Ms. Mari and Mayl.

"You don't think"? I'd be genuinely shocked if they still sold them after this, let alone someone actually seeking one out to buy.

Mayl thanks Lan and gives him The Look™. He then decides to make a hasty retreat.

Before they leave, though, Lan and MegaMan discuss the recent conversation.

Ultimately, the conclusion they reach is that they're them and Chaud is Chaud. There's no need for Lan to be cold-hearted and willing to delete adversaries so ruthlessly.

And it's a nice sentiment, I guess, considering the retroactive case of Zero. But I don't think that was what I was supposed to take away from that last instance!

At any rate, the situation seems to have diffused, so now things are getting back to normal.

Same old same old, really.

Yuichiro's assistant comments on the programming work of the mysterious bearded man.

Tamako also seems to be pretty happy now.

Poor Kimie. That's two incidents she's had to deal with now.

She seems to be leaving an impression on her guests, though.

Man, those guys really are into their game.

Haruka's also back home now and mentions that she's glad she didn't buy a Bubble Wash herself.

With everyone spoken to, Lan and MegaMan decide to turn in for the day after the tiring events.