Laura practically tripped over herself apologizing to Erica. The trouble with doing that is that it's hard to trip when you're in traction.
            Luckily for both, they were transferred to the IWK/Grace. At least here it didn't matter whether you lived in Bedford or Sackville... here, you had to live in the South End to stand a chance of surviving triage.
            They also had cable TV! All the comforts of home in Mr. Rogers' Cable Neighborhood! Also in traction, Erica grasped her hand-held controls and decided to start watching some TV on the small monitor high on the opposite wall.

Welcome to the IWK/Grace! I, Elfonzo the Magic TV, will guide you through the wonderful world of cable!

            Yecch... at least I get the day off school... She hit the 10-key pad.

I'm sorry, MuchMusic is locked out. Why don't you watch Treehouse TV?

            I want to die.

I'm sorry, BET is locked out. Why don't you watch Treehouse TV?
I'm sorry, MuchMoreMusic is-
I'm sorry, WUHF Fox 31 is-
I'm sorry, WSBK UPN 28 is-
I'm sorry, Space: The Imag-
I'm sorry, Showcase Tele-
I'm sorry, TLC is-
I'm sorry, CTV Sports Net is-
I'm sorry, CIHF Global Television is-
I'm sorry, PayPerView 17: 'Oceanic Love Slave II' is locked out. Why don't you watch Treehouse TV?

            "Where's a pretty lady like you headed?"
            "Uh... level eight..." Lutz didn't appreciate the solicitation.
            "Hey, me too..."
           He'd better not touch me...
            "Um... er... yeahhh..."
            "You never told me your n- ugh!!"
            With a FWISH, the doors opened to Level Eight, parting for a blonde-haired blur and a rather hurting figure in a lab coat.
            Erica's parents had told Lutz that Erica was in Room 833. After discovering (by means of examining every door) that the rooms on the first floor didn't go past 199, she realized that 833, by virtue of its number, must be on another floor. So she tried the second floor.
            Three hours later, here she was. With apprehension, she looked up at a sign:

< 800-825 | ^ 826-851 | <dn 852-877 | 878-899 > | 8F | Turquoise Hydroplane Route

            Hmm... getting closer... She walked down the left corridor.

Much later...

            Ok, that wasn't it... She walked up the corridor directly ahead of her.
            As she plodded towards where she thought 833 just might be, she eyed Laura through her open door. She was in traction, and she looked to Lutz meekly. Lutz just gave her a look that gave her nightmares for weeks afterward. Lutz continued on.
            833. This was it. She opened the door.
            "... So Lala, Dipsy, Poe, and Tinky-Winky decided to go exploring!"
            "Where can we go, Dipsy?"
            "I want to check out the well! Let's check out the well!"
            "Great idea, Dipsy!"
            The orchestra of cheesiness began to play.
            "Let's sing a song! Oh... we're going to check out the welllll... we're going to check out the welllll..."
            Erica stirred. "Lutz..."
            "Poe, what are you doing?"
            "I'm going to go for a ride in the bucket!"
            "Why are you watching Teletubbies?"
            "Ergghh... no choice... locked out..."
            "Watch out Poe!"
            "Erica! Speak to me!"
            "Eee... agghh... err... um..."
            "Dipsy, what are you doing?"
            "I gotta find Poe... aieeeee...."
            "Erica, you gotta shut this thing off!"
            "W-w-why? I'm... ok-ay..."
            "You're foaming at the mouth!"
            "Relleey... hehehe..."
            "Now Dipsy and Poe are in the well!"
            "Yeah! They're both in the well!"
            "One... two! There are two of us in the well!"
            "Lutz? ... ... ..."
            "One and one... that means two!"
            "Yeah! Two two two two tw- aieee!"
            "Please... kill me... please Lutz..."
            "Can't I just turn it off?"
            "That... too..."
            "One and one and one... three!"
            "Dipsy? Poe? Lala?"
            "Dipsy? Poe? Lala?"
            "Dip-" Click.
            "Thank... you..."
            "Erica, are you all right?"
            "No... I'm in traction, doofus!" They both laughed.
            "I'm sorry... I should've shoved you out of the way... I was so close..."
            "That's okay. You might've been hurt..." Erica used what locomotion she had to beckon Lutz closer to her side. Dropping to a whisper, she asked, "Did you bring it?".
            "Yep!", beamed Lutz. "Your favorite!"
            Erica readily took hold of the item... Beastie Boys: Intergalactic. "Thank you... they don't let us bring CD's from home that have rock, pop, rap, alternative, or heavy metal in 'em..."
            "Least I could do."
            "Mmm..." Erica fell asleep clutching the CD's 'jewelbox'.
           Yes, sleep... Relax... Laura will get what's coming to her...

            Propaganda is a very powerful thing. It can make 'nothings' into 'heroes', or vice-versa. It can both align and malign. It is everywhere.
            Take, for example, the latest issue of the Perspective, made while Greg was recovering:

            Well, it seems that Fall River High got put off once again... despite our relentless arguments that our school is just too overcrowded to house the student body. How can they appoint a principal when they haven't even turned the sod yet? Something is also wrong with this new plan to build us a '2050' school, some skeptics believe that such buildings will not last more than three months...

            Laura certainly got what was coming to her, but not what she deserved. She deserved to be acquitted of all 'charges' and given a break because if you were reading Parts Three and Four now you'd understand what I was saying, but since you haven't read that yet you'll have to accept this as yet another narrative blunder and keep reading.
            As she sat in her wheelchair in Mr. LeRoux's office, every inch of her in a cast or sling of some sort, her head began to throb...
            The flash.
            She was still in Mr. LeRoux's office, but due to the absence of her wheelchair, she hit the ground with a rather painful THUD and an alarming CRACK.
            There was no light. Only shadow and cobwebs. Mr. LeRoux's computer screen flashed: Alert: Network off-line. Diagnosis: Main Core cascade failure.
            The window was boarded up, and the door was missing. Laura painfully turned her head to look all the way through to the Lobby. It was almost pitch-black over there, except for an intermittent red light. She could hear what sounded like a broken speaker sounding an automated "Ev<crackle>ate... ev<crackle>ate... Main Core cas<crackle>e failure in progress. Ev<crackle>ate...".
            The sound of elevator doors opening. "Gray Sector, Level One, Old Lobby." Then, the sound of two people running out into the Lobby.
            "How much longer?", one vaguely familiar breathless voice asked the other.
            "Maybe a few minutes, but we'd better get out of here... this thing's gonna blow sky-high, and I don't wanna be in it when it does."
            "What about the others?"
            "They got out at Red Sector... let's go!"
            "Not them, the others!"
            "Ugh... forget them, we gotta go!"
            "You think waiting around here's gonna do any good?! They have to get out on their own!"
            "No! I have to do something! I'll hold the elevator for them!"
            "Are you crazy!?"
            The doors opened again. "Skydeck, thirty!!"
            "... level four passcard and passcode req-"
            "Authorization Matheson Nova One! (God, I hope this works...) What are you waiting for? Run!!"
            Laura heard the doors close and footsteps running to where she thought the entrance would be. Then, she heard a ghastly cracking noise.
            After that, she could tell that it was raining rather heavily, for no light streamed in, yet she could hear the rain even given how far she was away from the (door?).
            Several minutes elapsed. Laura, unable to move very far, started to get scared. Okay... enough of this... time to go back... Did you hear me? Time to take me back...
            The ground began to give way beneath her. At the same time, the ceiling rushed down to meet her sprawled, broken body. Everything was a blur of motion and roaring noise.
            Then, it was over. She found herself in Mr. LeRoux's office (the real one), flat on the floor, with a mild headache.
            What scared her is that she didn't hear the elevator open again.

* * *

            "I have a question.", stated Will.
            "I don't remember the school's reactors failing, and I certainly don't remember going up to Skydeck 30 while it was supposedly happening."
            "It sure sounded like you, at least from what I've heard from Laura."
            "Maybe it was..." Will suddenly picked up his tone. "Wait! Of course it was me! Maybe I was trying to rescue someone!"
            The pair resigned from further comment. A gust of wind blew a leaf into Lauren's long dark hair. Will made a hand gesture.
            "Oh... thanks."
            Neither said anything for a few moments.
            Will finally broke the silence. "I can't stop thinking about the time I told Lori about Kingswood. I wonder why."
            "Well... something important happened."
            "Well... at the rate we've been going, it could take hours for me to tell you. Would you be okay with the short version of the long story?"
            "Hmm... let me see... okay, now I remember... God, my throat is parched. Got any water?"
            "Yep!" Will reached into his knapsack and pulled out a water bottle. "Just make sure you don't... backwash. Well, I guess that's okay..."
            "Forget it..."
            Lauren took a breath. "Anyway... so Lori's checking into this Kingswood stuff, right? She spends like... days there, taking readings and making calculations, you get the point.
            After a few weeks, she finished building a device she called '4D Actuator'. She used it on a small-scale at first, like zapping things ahead a few minutes in time and really impressing the judges at several major science fairs. (I heard she tried sending something back once, but it gave everyone this weird headache.)
            She must have built fifteen of these things, each one better than the next. You see, she wanted to use the device on herself, and this would require a lot more power. But after a few months, she got it working perfectly, and- wait... something just occurred to me. Oh, if you did what I think you did... What about Laura, you louse?!"
            "What do you mean, 'what about Laura?'?!"
            "How did you vote?!"
            "Huh? I, um... uh..."
            "HOW DID YOU VOTE?!"
            "Well... of course, I-"

* * *

            Will eased his way into Council meeting... late, as usual. He readied himself to receive the usual disdainful glance from the vice-president, but this was quite a useless endeavor, as Colin wasn't there.
           AUTHOR'S NOTE: I think it might be important to mention that I almost wrote 'received disdainful glance', but then I remembered that I made him vanish into a - wait! I can't tell you that now! Anyway, it just goes to show how much I concentrate on continuity, similar to my explanation of how on earth Lauren could possibly tell a story from perspectives of people she's never even met. Anyhoo...
            So Will just took his seat that, as a part of the 2050 upgrades, had been marked:

William George Ross Matheson - GRADE TWELVE REPRESENTATIVE | Leader - The Matheson Party of Canada

and watched the meeting go by him for a few moments, something he consciously let happen whenever he was late.
            See, ever since Colin disappeared into the- whoops! Almost gave it away again!... well, things had gotten pretty ugly. To put it mildly and simply, most members of the Council didn't speak to each other anymore, and even good folks like Peter Wybenga and Jill Geddes stopped showing up as 'honorary members'.
            So, counting Ms. MacKenzie, there were 19 people in their assigned seats... Wait... that isn't right... who else is missing? Hmm... Will's head turned about just enough to see Laura sitting in a huge eagle cage in the corner of the room. Egad... where'd they get that thing? But as soon as Will had that thought, he got a bad headache.
            And to his utter dismay, he discovered that he was sitting in that very same cage... only he was in Room 305, and Devon Day was there (in another cage at the other end of the room), and there were also many armed guards with 'TSF' emblazoned on their... uh, uniforms.
           What happened?! Why am I here?! And why is Devon here? I hardly know her! After brief examination, Will noticed that Devon was rocking herself back and forth in the fetal position muttering "Nick Carter... Nick Carter..." over and over and over again.
            "Who d'ya think's gonna be hung today?", one guard whispered to another.
            "Probably the dork over there, I'd imagine.", remarked the other.
            Will's mood livened up for a second... until he realized that by 'dork', they meant him.
            "Hehehe...", Devon laughed (in the same heartfelt, reassuring way that committed people laugh...). "Might as well be you... it's all your fault anyway..."
            "Huh? Whaddyer mean, 'my fault'?! I just got here!"
            Devon blinked. "No... no... that's not true... you were always here... but other people in the TSF are looking for you... I think... wait... I think I pretended I was talking to you so Shawn could escape-"
            "Shawn who? Shawn Ahmed?!"
            "Uh... yep, that's... him.", Devon gasped.
            "But what's the TSF?"
            "It's the T-"
            And with another surge accompanied by a slight headache, it was all over.
            "Will?" Will heard Jerr calling his name. But his Asperger's Syndrome locked it out in a funny way.
            "Will!", called Kelly Brien.
            "Will!", shouted Jerremy Strong.
            "No!", shrieked Will in detached horror. "Let her out!"
            "Okay, he voted 'no'. That settles it. Laura Johnson is now imp-"
            "Wait! I didn't vote!"
            "You just did. Laura John-"
            "No! Okay, I change my vote, I vote 'yes'!"
            "Alright. Laura Johnson is now im-"
            "Wait! Stop! Which way lets her out!?"
            "Neither way.", grinned Jerr. "We have a tie, and since I have those two extra votes, I win either way. If you say 'yes', then the question will change to 'Should we impeach Laura?', and if 'no', then it's 'Should we let her go?'. Either way, I win, and she's out. Can't you she she's impure?!"
            "'Impure'?! What the hell are you talking about?!"
            "She is not one of the New. Isn't that obvious to you? Or are you every bit of the ignoramus you say you are?"
            "Jerr! This is not the way we planned-", whispered Ms. MacKenzie.
            "Shut up you bloody control freak! You can't tell me what to do!"
            "Hey!", shouted Will. "For once, I actually agree with that bit in the Constitution that says we have to respect Ms. MacKenzie by virtue of her office held-"
            "Hah! You still believe that garbage! That's the old Constitution!"
            "Old?! Who changed it?!"
            "All it needed was approval of two-thirds of the grade-reps, the administration, Ms. MacKenzie, and two executives!"
            "And since when would Angela and Kelly-"
            "No need. Don't you remember what happened to poor Colin?"
            "Yeah, you make me wish he was here as VP even though he beat me. I gotta hand it to you, that doesn't happen very often.", Will said with sarcastic overtones.
            "Oh, shut up Will! You're nothing but an animal that has to be tamed!"
            Ever since Colin left, things had gotten pretty ugly, but not this ugly.
            "Yeah, well you're just evil! Ever since Colin disappeared, you've been a maniacal sadist! I think-"
            "Oh, who cares what you think, Will?", shouted Timm Martin.
            Will wasn't about to be stopped. "I think we need a new President! I move we impeach Jeremy Strong! And I further propose we immediately call another election with the executive positions open to ALL students!!"
            "Hmmph. Go ahead and try.", said Jerr.
            Ms. MacKenzie was fuming. "William George Ross Matheson! We'll have no more of this-"
            "Oh, leave me alone!! I can put forth any motion I want to! In fact...", Will reached into his knapsack and pulled out a black folder, waving it around for all to see. "... I'm actually proposing we trash this new Constitution Jer speaks of AND the old one and begin implementation of 'Alpha Plan', by our departed comrade Shawn Ahmed! Sure, it's just a prototype, but we can work out the details-"
            "You are stepping way out of line!", shouted Ms. MacKenzie. "In fact, I can use my powers as Staff Advisor to throw every last one of you naysayers out of here for good!"
            Will still wasn't going to be stopped. "I say we impeach Jeremy Strong and dissolve the Student's Council! Who's with me?"
            Will was taken completely by suprise. Most of his fellow councilors cheered at the proposition... except for Jerremy Strong, Brrian MacKay, Timm Martin, Marrk Louch, and Jonn Saunders.
            "Alright, then we'll put it to a vote. Angela, if you would be so kind as to-"
            "Gotcha!", shouted Jerr. "Under the new Constitution, Article 156.34.2 a) ii: 'Any member who launches an impeachment vote against the President is immediately disbanded from the Council'. Hah! You're automatically out! Gee... and last I heard, non-members weren't allowed to form motions. What a shame."
            "What the hell is this?! You God-forsaken bastard, now you listen to me-"
            Everyone but Jerremy Strong, Brrian MacKay, Timm Martin, Marrk Louch, and Jonn Saunders gasped. (And of course Will Matheson didn't gasp, but he's not really in this group of people I'm trying to establish.)
            "Will, that language is unac-", started Ms. MacKenzie.
            "Oh, stick it in your ear! You let all this happen! You let these evil and incompetent people drive CPA into the ground!"
            Ms. MacKenzie began to sob quietly, and Will immediately felt guilty. He knew full well he had gone far over the line, but... "Oh, it's not really her fault when you think about it... she's up to her ears in work... TRYING TO KEEP US FROM SCREWING UP!!"
            "Hey!!", shouted Kelly. "That's not fair! I have a job! I have hard courses! If this is about that stupid Treasurer's Report-"
            "It's not. I'm sorry. And there are better things for me to be doing than yelling...", Will broke up and began to sob.
            "Will? Laura?", queried Jerr.
            "Yes?", they both said in meek unison.
            "Get out. Don't come back."
            "But Jer, I-", began Will.
            "Get out!!"

* * *

            "... so that's why you voted her out...", Lauren murmured.
            "I'm sorry... I don't think it could have been helped."
            "Well, I guess that's okay then. I'm sorry I got mad at you."
            Will began to cry.
            "What's wrong?"
            "What's... what's going to happen to her?... agh..."
            "What's going to happen to who? Laura?"
            "No... Devon."
            "Why her?"
            "Ugh... no! I..."
            "What's wrong now?"
            "It's- ack! Every time I think about it... about her... I get this damn headache! I can't stand this!"
            "That's strange..."
            Will eventually went back to normal, but it took him hours for him to drain the last of his tears...

            It was fall.
            The overcast had long since parted.
            It was almost dusk. The setting sun set the western clouds ablaze.
            "It's getting late...", commented Lauren.
            "Ah, who cares. Let's just stay here."
            "Uh... okay..."
            Will yawned. "I'll just sleep over here on- ZZZZ <snore> ZZZZ <snore> ZZZZ..."
            "Hmmph." Lauren soon joined Will in slumber.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This novella isn't exactly realistic. (Example: The impeachment scene!!!) Therefore, things that would ordinarily prevent sleeping on a big rock on the Basin shore have been conspicuously omitted, such as parents, freezing temperatures, and Lauren nudging Will in her sleep, causing him to roll into the Bedford Basin and drown.
            Hoo-kay, let's jump on over to the morning... skipping events such as the fact they picked a seagull mating ground in which to sleep in, Lauren muttering the 'Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep...' prayer and sitting up half the night afraid of death and certain things that only come out at night, Lauren having to go into the woods at like 3:00am to pee (during the return trip, she tripped into some Pricker bushes...), and of course the entertaining scene where Mr. Doberman was let out at night by Mr. and Mrs. Too-stupid-to-keep-their-vicious-killer-dog-on-their-property and decided that Lauren and Will were in its 'territory' (defined by how far away from his owner's house he could make wee-wee).
            "Sleep well?", asked Will.
            "NO.", replied Lauren.
            "Oh... me neither, I guess..."
            Deciding that the coast was clear, Will and Lauren climbed back down out of the tree in which they had spent much of the night.
            And, after a thoughtful review of that decision and deciding that they perhaps had made a slight error in judgment, scrambled like hell back up the tree.
            "Uh... what time is it?", asked Will.
            "It's... 5:25."
            "Think anyone else is awake yet?"
            "Maybe... it's worth a shot."

Seven hours later...

            "This is ridiculous, Will. Let's get out of he-"
            "We need to distract it...", mused Will.
            "With what?"
            "I dunno..."
            "Don't dogs smell fear? Maybe we should show no fear!"
            "Uh... okay.", agreed Will. "But the thought of getting maimed by a doberman has a way of gripping the mind..."
            Lauren and Will confidently climbed down the tree. The dog just stared at them. Then, Lauren and Will confidently walked up the path that would eventually take them back to Shore Drive. The dog just stared at them. So Lauren and Will confidently walked right past the dog without so much as a flinch. The dog growled.
           Keeep going... let's keeep going..., prodded Will. Lauren and Will still managed to keep walking, focusing all their will on not getting scared. C'mon... if I get scared, that thing'll... Whoops.
            Lauren and Will then confidently set the Unofficial Bedford Tandem Speed Record over thirteen kilometers.
            After their... uh, exhausting constitution, Lauren and Will got back to their normal routines, and both went to school the following day.

            "Oh... hi, Lauren."
            "Will... can you take me up to the Cheetah Lounge?"
            "That's on Skydeck 30, above the Main Lounge. I don't have access to that floor, you must know that already."
            "Yeah, I know..."
            "So why ask me?"
            "Well... there's a card sticking out of your jacket pocket there..."
            "Shit!" Will quickly concealed the card and looked around him to see if anyone may have noticed. Fortunately, the main corridor of Blue 18 was nearly devoid of students and staff. The special 'daylights' provided soft, natural illumination over the scene. Giant windows at the ends of the corridor, far off in the distance, looked onto dark clouds far, far away. Two young lovers scurried off into a small adjunct. The sound of a locker being opened down a different adjunct. A giant seabird collided into one of the hall windows with a loud 'SMACK!!'.
            "Why do you have a card?"
            Will shushed her. "We'll talk about that later..."
            "Well... anyway, could you take me up to the Cheetah Lounge?", asked Lauren.
            "Uh... okay, but don't tell anyone."
            Will and Lauren summoned and boarded a turbolift.
            "Skydeck, thirty. East Cheetah Lounge."
            "Level four passcard and passco-"
            Will inserted (his?) card into the appropriate slot. "Authorization Matheson Nova One."
            The doors closed and the turbolift began to rise.
           [BLUE] 19... 20... 21... <fwish!>
            "Uh... it's Will, let's wait for the next-"
           [BLUE] 22... 23.
            [SKYDECK] L... 25... 26... 27. <fwish!>
            And Mr. Whitman got on board the elevator... much to Will's anxiety. If he were to discover that Will could access the secured floors...
            Sleight of hand, Will flipped open a tiny door below the cardlock labeled 'MANUAL', and pushed '29', which was a public floor that housed the Main Observation Lounge. The new number appeared in the 'destination' display just before Mr. Whitman looked up.
            "Skydeck, thirty. North Cheetah Lounge." The doors closed and the turbolift began to rise.
           Ulp! It didn't ask him for authorization!!
            Mr. Whitman eyed the cardlock and discovered (Will's?) card. "Hold! ... You're not on Council anymore.", he said.
            "Oh! Look at that! Someone left their card in the cardlock! And all this time we were going to Skydeck 29, weren't we, Lauren?"
            Lauren nodded vigorously. "Oh, yes!"
            Mr. Whitman saw right through the lousy façade. "Don't worry about it, I heard what really happened. Jerr hasn't been behaving to specs..."
            "Jerr?! You mean Jer Strong, right?", asked a bewildered ex-councilor.
            "Let's take a raincheck on this conversation, okay?", said the Principal.
            "Uh... okay." Will was glad to get away with his life...
            "Resume. Skip Level 29."
            [Ball up all the awkwardness you've ever been through and put it here. I'm nearly done Part One, and I'm tired.]
            "What level of clearance do you have?"
            Will gulped. "Level One."
            Lauren whistled loudly. "That's the same as myself and Mr. Williams.", commented Mr. Whitman. "I should have you arrested."
           [SKYDECK] ... 29... 30.
            The lift began to move sideways.
            The doors opened. "Skydeck Sector. Level Thirty. East Cheetah Lounge."
            Will and Lauren disembarked, Will taking half a moment to nod respectfully to the Principal. Mr. Whitman returned the gesture. The doors closed.

Rough floor plan of a section of Skydeck 30.

            The east side of the lounge (which was predominantly light brown in color and well furnished) was deserted. Will and Lauren picked out a nice table near the full-length quad-plated windows. The only things ruining the mood were the ominous dark clouds on the horizons (they had an incredible field of view).
            "Why did you want to come up here?"
            "It's nice and quiet, and it's hard to get up here outside of Lunch..."
            "Point. But I can't come up here much. It wouldn't be wise to let everyone know I have Level One Clearance."
            "Hehehe... Matheson Nova One?"
            "Oh, that's my passcode. I rather like it." Will settled further in his seat. "So... what do you want to talk about?"
            "Why were you so upset when I mentioned CPA yesterday?"
            Will hesitated. "Um... well, I was reliving something that happened a while ago... I'd rather not talk about it."
            "Oh... you want me to talk instead?"
            "This is turning into a long story, isn't it?"
            "Maybe the story isn't finished. I mean, look at us. Look at this. So you say all you have to say, and maybe I'll tell you all I have to say if the mood arises. But-"
            "'If the mood arises'?! After all I've said..."
            "It's not as simple as all that... it's... well, it's personal."
            "Personal? Hmph... oh, fine, I'll keep talking."
            The dark clouds crept closer.
            "Okay... this is a bit of a diversion, but..."

* * *

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Get ready to read what no four-part novella that makes fun of all your schoolmates should be without: A REALLY weak ending to Part One!
            Lori sat alone in the Metro Transit bus shelter. It was a sunny morning, albeit a tad frosty. Lori could even see her breath reflecting in the early morning starshine. Gliddy glub gloopy Nibby nabby noopy La la la la lo... - Okay, I meant sunshine.
            Lori, as most people waiting for a Metro Transit bus do, was turning examining bus signs into a science:

969054832835465902888522 _3_ | 80*1 82*1 86*2 | *1 Limited service *2 May not actually exist | For GOTIME, dial 465 plus the red 25-digit #. | ROUTES 80, 82, 86 NOT SERVICED All days ending in 'y' from 12am to 11:59pm.

            Bah! This bus wasn't ever going to get here! Lori shoved her lovely hands into her coat pockets in frustration.
           What's this? She pulled it out of her right pocket. It was her 4D Actuator!
            Suddenly, she got a sneaky idea. What if I linked this to my sensor suite... She took some of the subprocessors and scanners out of her garments and taped them to the ceiling. If the men don't find me pretty... which they do, then they should at least find me to be super nerdy... hehehe! Then, she ran some wires from those into her Actuator and programmed the suite to scan for Metro Transit busses.
            Next thing she knew, she was ripping her sensor packages off the ceiling and getting out some change to pay for bus fare. Plus, she had a mild headache.

STUDENT, ADULT $1.65K | CHILDREN, SENIOR $1.35K | Get your MetroPass today! ONLY $57K

            $1,650?!?! What the hell?!
            The bus sat in front of her, its doors open and the driver waiting for her to get in.
            "I'm sorry... I don't have sixteen hundred dollars to pay-"
            "Sixteen-fifty.", corrected the driver.
            "Are you a street bum or something? Surely you can afford sixteen-fifty!"
            "Uh..." She thought for a moment. Hey... it's the future... I can just make a withdrawal from my bank account and pay it back in the past... "Do you take bank cards?"
            "Bank cards? What are those? Just put your hand in the scanner..."
            Lori hesitantly stepped onboard and placed her hand in the scanning device.

Lori Walsh... Withdrawal $1,650.00, OK?

            Huh? Oh! "Yes.", she said.

Select bank and/or account.

            "Uh... Toronto Dominion, MFA."

That account has been closed. Withdraw from Daily Interest Savings Account?


There is a $250 service charge. Proceed anyway?

            Lori gulped. "Yes."

Please wait...
Approved, thanks. Goodbye.

            Lori reached into her purse and pulled out a 'gold' dollar coin. "Don't you use these anymore?"
            "Wow! No, but I'll credit you five hundred thousand for it!"
            "Sure!" Lori tossed him the coin, and the driver pushed some buttons on his personal agent.
            "Done! Thanks a lot, miss! I've been looking for one of these..."
            With that, the bus resumed its course. Lori found a seat near the back, and looked out the window. Something wasn't right about the scenery... and whatever happened to the MacDonald Bridge?
            No matter. Lori was going to do what she was going to do in the first place. Shopping!

            "Hi! Welcome to Toronto Dominion! How may I help you?", greeted the teller. It was a quite morning at the TD, evidently. And it was also fairly early in the morning, all things considered.
            "Can I make a withdrawal?"
            "To which account?"
            "No, I mean like cash."
            "A... cash withdrawal?"
            "Uh... hold on, I'll call the manager."

            "Now Miss Walsh, it's not often that someone asks for cash withdraws at this establishment, and naturally we get a little concerned... cash is so hard to trace you see, and for your safety-"
            "Can I have it?"
            "Well... legally you can, but-"

            "How much would you like to withdraw, Miss Walsh?"
            "Um..." Lori did some mental estimates. "A few million, I guess."
            "Alright... I don't know if we have that much cash on hand here, though... Melissa?"
           "Yeah?", shouted another employee from a back room.
            "Do we got a few mil of scrip in there?"
            "Uh... no, we only have like thirty g here..." Sounds of drawers opening and closing traveled to Lori's ears. "Wait! I got about three mil of some old '98 scrip that we were gonna dump tomorrow... is that okay?"
            Lori nodded vigorously to the teller.
            "Yeah, it's okay. Wrap it up for the girl here."

            Lori happily left the bank with her three million... probably enough to buy a decent used car or something in the current time. And getting the 1998 money made things simpler, this way she wouldn't have to find a way to change her 'new' cash for the 'old' stuff.
            But for now, she was on the road again. To chase what stirred in her memory...

            "Good morning, Lori."
            "Hello... uh, what's on my schedule?"
            "You have no business scheduled for today."
            "Cool... bring up my banking information." Lori examined the screen for a moment. "Hmm... so I finally took it out. It is time."
            "Time for what, Lori?"
            "Never mind. Now, listen carefully. As soon as I say to do so, go into Standby/Sleep Mode. Don't come out until I touch the front panel. Got it?"
            "Understood, Lori."
            "Okay, go into Standby/Sleep."
            The unit's screen went out. Lori wrapped her personal agent in some packing paper and set it on her bed. She then pulled out a device marked '4D Actuator Mark III', and pushed a button on it.
            The terminal disappeared. And ten seconds later it returned. In pieces.
           It didn't work...
            Lori kneeled down and wept.

            "You sure you want off here?", asked the kind non-threatening male truck driver.
            "I'm positive.", affirmed Lori.
            "Okay..." The driver hesitantly let her out, then pulled away down Trunk highway #2, northeast towards the Fall Badlands.

< CPA2 Gray Sector / Green Sector | ^ 2 107 102

            Gray sector? What does that mean?
            She walked across the road and up a broken and forlorn driveway, feeling very strange. Even the very trees seemed to be telling her to leave...
            Before long, she saw another sign:

A big CPA2 map... too detailed (and messy) to describe well.

            Cool!! She then saw a similar sign with the text:

CPA2 - Trivia 12 - Did you know that...

            Lori's curiosity quickly overwhelmed her. She broke into a mad dash up the hill... hoping to see this great new school.
            Her euphoria rose and rose even as she crested the short hill and looked before her to see... a big CPA2-sized brown patch of ground.
           Huh?! Where is it?!
            Some bright flowers (probably planted some time ago) caught her eye... she ran up to what looked like a small plaque and examined it:

In memory of the people here.
In memory of the New rising here.
In memory of the untold suffering.
In memory of what we have lost, forgotten, and will never have again.

In memory of errors.
In memory of mistakes.
In memory of promises.
In memory of lies.

In memory of dances.
In memory of dates.
In memory of lost loves.
In memory of hate.

In memory... in memory we must preserve this atrocity and eyesore, for all that remains of the pain and grief now lies dying...

In memory of time.
In memory of change.
In memory of that last chance
    to stand tall,
    shake the heavens,
    and change the future...
Let us hope the afterlife is kind to them all.

- Angella Ritcey, Nov. 2010
(1999- )

            The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. Without a doubt, Albert Einstein was referring to CPA2.
            Even when CPA2 met its demise at the hands of-

            As soon as Lori read that far down, her head began to ache. She could not even force herself to read a single letter more.
            Not that she didn't have any food for thought. The alarming bit of prose written by her friend Angella- wait a second! Angella?!
            In a flash, she remembered books she read on- no, that just wasn't possible! That was inhuman! Lori raced back down the driveway and begged frantically for a ride.
            She soon got one. Before long, she was standing in front of the entrance to the King Charles Health Sci- Oh no...

KC HSC - Bringing together every hospital in the maritimes to save taxpayer dollars!!

            When does it end? Lori shook her head and rushed into the infirmary.
            "KCHSC, how may I help you?"
            "Um... I'd like to see Angela Ritcey..."
            The receptionist clicked a few keys and checked her display. "Sorry, we have no one here by the name of Angela Ritcey. Are you sure she's-"
            "Try typing in two 'l's."
            The receptionist added another 'l'. "Yes, we have an Angella Ritcey. She's in here, all right."
            "Thank goodness! What room is she in?"
            "Thanks!", and Lori ran for the elevators.
            "Wait!", called back the receptionist.
            "She's not in this building, she's in the Advanced DNA Sciences Building."
            "Oh. Okay..." Lori racked her brain, but couldn't even guess as to where that building might be. "Um, where is that building?"
            "Right next to the Redridge Organ Sciences Building! You can't miss it!"
            "And... where is the Redridge Building?"
            "It's in Sackville-"
            "Oh, okay, thanks th-"
            "- New Brunswick."

Much later...

            "<pant-pant-wheeze> Ugh...", uttered Lori as she looked around for Room 813 and, hopefully, her friend.
            She found both. Angella Ritcey, looking like she was in her late twenties, yet rather sickly and frail, was in a 'bed' of sorts, hooked up to many many machines (whose purpose Lori could not even guess) and surrounded by doctors and technicians... but no family, no friends.
            Angella registered Lori's presence and almost smiled.
            "Remarkable...", uttered a technician.
            "Give it more neural stimulant.", ordered a doctor.
            "What's going on?", whispered Lori. "What are they doing to you?"
            "It doesn't... matter... I'm just their possession... a lab animal...", Angella gasped. "When... I was... better... they did things... to... me..."
            Lori gasped herself, in horror. "What things?"
            "You don't... want... to know... believe me..."
            "Why are you in such bad shape?"
            "They have... impregnated me... seventeen times... and the drugs... the drugs... and they play with my body..."
            Lori stared at her in wide-eyed shock. "Why?"
            Suddenly, all of the machines began beeping. "We're losing the specimen! We must stop the experiment for now! She is the last-"
            "No! If it could survive the Catastrophe, it can survive this! Continue!"
            Tears came to Lori's bloodshot eyes. "Why?"
            "I... it's... you fool... just make it stop-"
            BEEEEP. Angella's body fell sideways into Lori's arms.
            And all Lori could do was cry. Not just for her friend, but also for her own ignorance...


Essay #20: Sages of Time - Part One: A Dramatis Personae was finished on Saturday, March 20th at the fine time of 2:30am. It was also made with the consent of like 99% of the people in it (except for the celebrities and politicians). The author was Will Matheson, and he was indeed very tired when he finally finished. All this message is here to say can be summed up in three sentences: I wrote this crap!! It's mine!! I have all the rights to it!! =)

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