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Chapter 8

I set up the transfers, and then we went to Lyoko. I had picked the Forest Sector this time, just at random. I needed to work on a program that could locate Info Orbs from long range, and I could implement it into the SuperComputer. Then I would know the best Sector, and the best co-ordinates. It would take a lot of time though, as I wasn’t the greatest programmer. Yet...

“So,” Brittany asked when we dropped down. “Where to?”

“This way,” I said, pointing in a random direction.

“You have no idea, do you?”

“Yeah,” I replied.

The subject was dropped. We walked off, and as we were going, I consulted the LI. The radar had a 100 meter radius, so I would be able to know if any Info Orbs were in the area. None were present now.

After a few minutes of silence, a green blip popped up on my radar. “We’ve got one!” I cried. “This way,” I said pointing west. We ran off. Soon we caught up.

I detected no monsters on my radar. I was suspicious. “Hey Tennent,” I called.

“Yeah?” He replied.

“Is there anything on your screen at all?” I asked him.

“Yeah! You. And Brittany and Sean.”

“Idiot!” Sean said. “He means monsters, numbskull.”

“Gee, don’t get so uptight! I was just joking dude.”

“Whatever,” I said, dismissing the issue. “Are there any monsters on the radar?”

“No,” He replied after a while. “That’s unusual...”

“Oh, so us walking in a virtual world looking for information to save the world is just your everyday run of the mill?” Brittany asked him jokingly.

“Yup,” he said.

By now, the Info Orb was upon us, and we didn’t waste time talking. I would love to tell you a tale of epic glory, but it was actually pretty easy. With no monsters harassing us, we were able to quickly corner the Orb, and snag it.

“So is that all?” Sean asked.

“I guess so... We don’t want to spend too much time here, as we don’t know how much time we’ll waste tracking down another Orb. I say we go home.”

When my friends nodded, I hit a few keys on my LI, and we devirtualized.

***

In the Lab, I opened the contents of the Info Orb. I looked at it for a few seconds, and soon I figured out that we had gotten two new keys to Lyoko! We were now 3/10 of the way to shutting of the SuperComputer!

I shared my discoveries with my friends. This was our last easy victory.

***

As we were getting ready to leave, Rachel popped out of her hiding place. “Wow!” she said. “This place looks so cool!”

We groaned in unison. Sean walked up to her. “Look Rachel, you can’t tell anyone about this.” He began.

“Why not?” She asked.

Sean went on to sketch the details of Lyoko and the SuperComputer, and so on and so forth. He simplified the part about legal issues.

None of us stopped him. There was really nothing else that could be done.

Except, I thought. A Return to the Past! This would sufficiently help us out of our problem.

Without telling anyone what I was doing, I ran over to the computer and began to type the code.

To my great disappointment, a window popped up. It was the Super Scan. An activated Tower in the Ice Sector!

“Guys! Forget Rachel!” This brought a cry of “Hey!” from her direction. “ANAX has activated a Tower, and he’s jamming my controls! I can’t launch a Return to the Past!”

We quickly sorted it out. Well, sort of quickly. It came to a dispute over who got to go to Lyoko this time between Tennent and Alyssa. Neither had gotten to go last time, so they both wanted to go this time. They were treating it like it was a game!

Stupid me decided to just flip a coin instead of having Brittany and me stay behind to watch out for Rachel. High stress can do things to people.

We were all under high stress. No one disputed the coin toss. Alyssa went to Lyoko, and Tennent stayed.

I transferred them all to Lyoko. Big mistake. Sean and Brittany had just been virtual a few minutes ago. The consequences would be dire for this action.

“So what’s all this?” Rachel asked.

“The mainframe of Lyoko,” I answered without thinking.

“So what does it do?” She inquired further.

“I can use it to see all that is happening on Lyoko. I can also write some cool programs using it, but I’m still working that out.”

A few seconds passed by. “Please can I be in your group! I promise I won’t tell anyone!” Rachel cried.

“Rachel!” Tennent took over for me. I was grateful. “We can’t discuss this now! Besides, I know about your secret keeping skills!”

“What about them?” She asked him.

“Well I can’t say they’re admirable. Remember Pete?”

She chewed on this for a moment. “Oh come on! You’re not going to hold that against me are you? That was years ago!”

Tennent swirled around to say something, but was interrupted by a violent explosion from the room next to the Factory.

We spun in sync to face the noise. “W-w-what was th-that?” Rachel asked.

“Most likely, it is ANAX’s attack.” I answered.

“Sean, Alyssa, Brittany, Tennent and I need to check something out. Can you manage on your own for a minute?” Without waiting for a reply, I took off. Tennent followed.

I didn’t even realize that I had never given the Lyoko Warriors the co-ordinates of the Tower.

***

“Sammy! Sammy!”

Silence.

“Great. What do we do now?” Alyssa asked.

“We pick a direction, and hope for the best,” Sean told her.

“I don’t like the sound of that...”

“We have no other options, now we’re wasting time so let’s get going,” Brittany intoned.

They headed in the direction that they happened to be facing. Which was also the direction directly opposite of the activated Tower...

***

“Uff!” Tennent said. “It smells like birthday cake in here!”

We were in the room directly beside the Lab. It was a boiler room of sorts. The area was filled with smoke.

“What exactly do you mean by that?” I asked.

“You know, that smell there is right after someone blows out the candles?”

I stopped. “Tennent,”

“Yes?”

“That’s called smoke.

“Oh... Whatever.”

Soon we stumbled into what I was looking for. There was a pipe that was busted. Smoke was pouring out of it.

“That’s really scary, ANAX,” Tennent said. “Smoke. Really? Is that all you got?”

“Wait Tennent, we need to get out of here! These fumes could be highly toxic!”

“Huh? How do you know that, Sammy?” He asked.

“Use your head! If ANAX busted the pipe, he wanted it busted! His goal right now is our demise, so everything he does needs a purpose! It’s simple logic.”

He thought about this.

“We don’t have time! We gotta get out of here!” I grabbed his arm, and ran back to the Lab.

As I ran back, I noticed that I was moving very slowly. I didn’t feel tired, but for some reason, my legs would not move as fast as I commanded them to.

When I reached the entrance to the Lab, I stopped. Nuts! I thought. There was no door into the Lab. Just an open gap. The smoke could easily permeate the Lab.

Tennent obviously had realized what was going on. His wide eyes communicated that he had figured out that the smoke had already affected us, and would likely finish us off since we couldn’t block the opening.

We walked into the Lab.

“Great, just great,” I said as I looked around. Rachel had left. Probably to go and tattle on us.

“We’re in trouble now...” Tennent said.

***

Back on Lyoko, things were quite. Too quiet.

“Look, we’ve been walking for a while, and not one monster,” Sean intoned. “I think we’re going the wrong way.”

“Okay. Let’s turn around,” Brittany offered.

They traveled through the Ice Sector as quick as they could.

At this point, I hooked up the microphone. “Hey guys! What are you doing? You’re further from the Tower than when you started!”

“Don’t blame us!” Alyssa retorted. “You’re the one who never told us which way to go! We don’t have a map on our end you know.”

“Oh really!? I’m so sorry!” I skimmed the surrounding territory on my screen. “Keep going the way you’re going. Soon you’ll be able to see the Tower.”

Mentally, I kicked myself for being so dumb. This mistake could cost us. Rachel could be back at any time with the principle. If the Tower wasn’t deactivated by then, there isn’t much I can do.

When they reached the Tower, the only resistance was a Krabe. It seemed as if ANAX had given up.

I couldn’t worry about subliminal plots right now. The elevator had just been activated! I didn’t have any time to think about exactly what ANAX was doing with the Tower, aside from the smoke.

The door of the elevator opened, just as I saw that Alyssa had deactivated the Tower.

“Sammy Belpois, Tennent Della Robbia, what is all this?!” Principal Dunbar thundered from the door. He got no response. I was configuring a Return to the Past.

“I want an answer!” He demanded, walking into the Lab.

I finished up, and hit the enter key. A complete white out saved me from having to answer his questions.

Now that that was off my mind, I could worry about other things. Especially the events that followed directly after the Return to the Past.

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