((Written 19 September 2009, after floating around in my head for months.))

Warnings: some swearing, hatred of cats (but the author likes them) and mention of an extremely disturbing image.

"You have to try it," his friend Akira had said, "it will change your life." So there he was, hunched over in an ill-fitting chair, staring at the screen, trying to figure out this thing called Internet.

After at least five minutes, Mamoru sighed and rubbed his eyes. "This makes no damn sense," he muttered.

Akira leaned over to check what he was doing. "You have to click the button that says 'Internet'," he pointed out. "You were just staring at my desktop."

Click. "Okay, so there, now what do I -" He suddenly broke off and reached for a sword that wasn't there, only narrowly stopping himself from screaming like a little girl as a furry object launched itself onto his lap. "What the hell is that thing?!"

"Oh, Aiko?" Akira scratched under the cat's - for that's what the "furry object" was - chin. "She's a little sweetie. I only got her a week ago, that's why you haven't seen her before. Aren't you a good little girl?" he cooed at the cat. "Yes you are! Yes you are!"

Cat people, Mamoru thought, they're all completely insane. And now even my best friend is one!

"You're such a good kitty!"

"Whatever, just shut up and get your damn cat off of my lap!"

The other man sighed and picked up the cat. "Don't worry," he whispered to her, "Mamo-chan's just grumpy. He'll get over it..."

"Mamo-chan"? I was right, completely insane. "So where were we before your demon-animal decided to attack me?"

"See how the screen's changed?" Akira asked. "That's what we call a 'browser'. It's how you access the Internet. It's a program that runs on your computer. It doesn't actually connect to it - the Internet I mean - that's the job of this here, a 'modem'. The name's the short form of 'modulator-demodulator'. Data that makes up the Internet is stored on 'servers' all across the world, and -" He broke off when he realized that he was hearing snores.

"Hey, wake up!"

"Huh whah?" He blinked and blearily peered at the screen. "So, this is a 'browser'?"

"You feel asleep that quickly?!"

"Yeah..." Seeing his friend's confused look, he said, "Your explanation was boring."

Akira shook his head. "So I won't go into how connection works. Anyways, here's the address bar; if you know the URL of what you're looking for, you type it in there. Since I don't think you do, I'll show you how to use a 'search engine'. I've set one as my homepage - that's the page that automatically comes up when I fire up the Internet," he explained, "so if you want to come back to it, just press that button there."


"Now you just type in what you're interested in - I'll do cats to show you - and click the button marked 'Search'."


"See everything listed there? That's the results. Click on one that looks interesting - oh, links are things that take you to another page; they're normally blue and underlined, like that. See?"


"So, I'm on this page now. This other thing looks interesting - see, blue and underlined - so I'll click on it, and I'll go to another page."


Akira clicked onto his homepage again and stood back. "Think you got it now?"

"Yeah sure, I'm fine."

"Good, 'cause I'm just going to go out and get a bite to eat. I'll be back in about fifteen minutes, half an hour at most. If anyone calls, I'll get back to them as soon as possible; unless it's Makoto, in which case you moved here a month ago and never heard of anyone named Akira. Don't touch anything in the fridge. Do not go on 4chan. Aiko, you be a good girl and don't bother Mamo-chan."


Alone at last - he didn't want anyone to see how terrible he was at anything - Mamoru laboriously typed swords.

He scanned the resultant page. Nothing that looked terribly interesting; he couldn't care less about a museum exhibit, and certainly didn't need a "Beginners' Guide to Swords and Swordplay". There had to be something better on that Internet thing if Akira was so enthusiastic about it...

Being a cat, Aiko of course had situated herself as close as possible to the ailurophobe. He steeled himself to ignore the fuzzy beast. He had the mental fortitude to endure anything, especially some mangy animal he could kill without the slightest bit of effort. But when she started purring and rubbing up against his legs, he couldn't stand it any more. He raised one arm - No, I can't. Akira likes the damn critter. Instead, in frustration he typed "will someone kill this damn cat and make it look like an accident" into the search bar.

Now that was more interesting...

"Cats and misspelled cheeseburgers?"


"Invisible bikes?"


"In Soviet Russia?"


"All your base?"


"Dancing badgers?"


The cat eventually moved somewhere else, having gotten bored with the human's lack of reaction to her, but Mamoru never noticed. His chain of links took him all over the place...



That took him to 4chan. He vaguely thought the name sounded familiar, but soon forgot all about it. After all, how important could it be?

"Your argument is invalid?"


"Godwin's Law?"


"Rule 34?"


"Tub girl?"





When Akira returned home, the computer monitor was lying on the ground, the cat was cowering on top of the fridge, and Mamoru was in the bathroom pouring bleach into his eyes.