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Chapter 9

“Ohh!” Brittany moaned. The return in time had put us in the school yard.

She had her hands on her head as she slumped to the ground. Sean soon followed her.

“What’s the matter!?” Alyssa asked beginning to panic already. “Agh, my head!” Sean exclaimed.

“We need to get them to the infirmary!” Tennent said. “Mm-hm!” I said nodding.

Tennent carried Brittany, and Alyssa and I tried to lift Sean. After some struggling, we succeeded.

The nurse, Katherine, looked in horror when he saw our friends’ condition.

“What’s happened?” She asked.

“We don’t know,” I replied. By this point they had both passed out. “They just collapsed!”

We laid them on the beds. After that, the nurse went for a type of scanning device. I didn’t know the medical term for it, but it had a sort of X-Ray that could locate any anomalies in a life-form.

When she waved the scanner over Sean’s head, it beeped. She then hooked it up to a computer to read the data.

“That’s strange...” She murmured.

“What is it?” Alyssa asked.

“There seems to be a sort of infection in his brain! I’ve never seen anything like this before. If I didn’t know better, I’d say there is something wrong with his atomic structure!”

I gasped. “That of course is impossible. This isn’t science fiction,” She finished.

She ran the test on Brittany, with the same results. “I’ll keep them here for now,” Katherine told us. “If their conditions worsen, I’ll have to call a hospital. For now, you three should get to class.”

We thanked her and walked out the door.

“I gotta get back to the Lab,” I told Tennent and Alyssa. They nodded. “We’ll cover for you,” Tennent told me.

***

At the Factory, I did some research on the Scanners. It took me two hours of decoding, but I soon found that my suspicions were confirmed.

There were certain side effects to using the Scanners. Each of them had a name. I didn’t bother trying to pronounce them. They had at least 15 letters a piece.

Basically, using the Scanners resulted in three things. 1) Immunity to Return to the Pasts. We knew this already. 2) Excessive use will lead to painful headaches.

The Scanners actually broke apart your atoms every time you were virtualized. Humans weren’t really made to do that many times. “Excessive” obviously meant more than once in a 12 hour period.

The good news was that the effects weren’t permanent. The bad news was that it could become permanent if it happened too many times. We would really have to make sure we didn’t make this mistake again.

And the third side effect? I have no idea. There is so much data that is encrypted on the SuperComputer. I have access to almost nothing. This data had a different encryption matrix than the rest of it. I couldn’t solve it, and I had already found what I needed.

I put decoding it on my to-do list, but it wouldn’t get done for more than a year.

***

When I arrived back at Kadic, I informed Tennent and Alyssa of my findings.

“So how long ‘till the get better?” Alyssa asked.

“I haven’t the foggiest,” I replied. “I hope that after 12 hours pass, the pain will go away. I have no real basis for that assumption though. You see, the atomic structure is incredibly complex. It’s not supposed to be digitalized into a new incarnation, even though it is capable of it. Some tests indicate a strange anomaly-” Tennent cut me off.

“Thanks Einstein, but save it for someone who cares. It’s great to know that the effects aren’t permanent. That will be good enough for now.”

I let the matter go. I didn’t really expect them to be able to understand. Alyssa gave me a sympathetic look. “Y’know Sammy, just because we don’t understand the technical aspects of it doesn’t mean that we don’t care, just that we need a more simplified version.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“Sure!” Tennent said. “What she said!”

I rolled my eyes.

***

Early the next morning, we visited Sean and Brittany. They were awake now, and in almost no pain.

“Feeling better?” Tennent asked.

“Never better!” He replied. “Okay, correction. I’ve been better,” He said holding his head. “I don’t feel as bad as I did yesterday. The pain only comes in brief snippets now.”

“I’m pretty sure we’ll be back in school today even.” Brittany added.

Sean motioned for me to come closer. “Do you think this had anything to do with Lyoko?” He asked in a hushed tone.

I replied, “Yeah, it does. I’ll tell you... Later.” He nodded.

We still had an hour before school, so we went up to our dorms. Tennent was probably going to play some video game, but I had no idea what Alyssa was going to do.

I for one was going to try and decode some of the annals that had been stored on the SuperComputer. I had transferred a small amount of the file to my laptop, so I could work on it whenever I had the time.

In about a half-hour, I realized that I had almost missed breakfast. I still had a few minutes, and I was sure that Tennent would still be there working on a third portion.

I hurried over and ate in a rush. I exchanged only a few words with Tennent before going off the History class.

***

It wasn’t until 3rd period that Sean and Brittany joined us. In between classes I was getting ready to fill them in, when I had an unwanted interruption.

“Oh Sean, I’m so glad you’re feeling better! You really had me worried!” Rachel intoned.

As she walked up to us she asked, “How are you feeling, dear?”

“Ugh,” Sean replied. “I was doing better until you came along.”

After some... negotiation Sean managed to get away. We met in the school yard, and Sean addressed me.

“You were saying?”

I went on to explain about my theory of Return to the Pasts. I simplified it as much as I could, and soon they understood.

“No more double virtualization then,” Brittany said.

“Agreed.”

***

“I don’t think we should,” I disagreed. We were discussing going on a hunt for Info Orbs tonight.

“Why not?” Sean demanded.

“I don’t know if the Scanners are still affecting you,” I said. I wasn’t willing to take the chance of their headaches returning. The next time it happened, it would be much worse.

“C’mon, Sammy, we feel fine,” Brittany said.

“Listen,” I told them. “If you want me to lecture you on the quantum mechanics of Lyoko and the SuperComputer, be my guest. But unless you understand how all that works like I do, then you’re gonna have to let me decide when it’s been long enough.”

“But-” Sean began to protest.

Alyssa jumped to my aid. “Did you not just hear him?” She asked. “We don’t understand how all this works! We can’t just go by feelings!”

This ended the dispute. Alyssa has yet to lose an argument to this day. I think that’s why Sean and Brittany gave up.

In any case, we bid each other good night. Tomorrow, we would go after an Info Orb.

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