It’s around the middle of fall, as Chad stops by the library after class to study for a while. However, he sees none other than Cassie, the girl from his Chem class, sitting at his usual table instead. Chad turns to leave when she goes after him and stops him at the door.
Chad turns and tells her, “Look Cassie, I don’t think we can just avoid the fact that you were technically involved with Rita Allen’s schemes before.”
Cassie says, “And you can’t avoid the fact that you have feelings for Ray Torres forever.”
Chad shrugs defensively, “I never said anything to you about something like that–”
Cassie says, “You don’t have to. Not to me but to Ray. You see I’ve been kinda watching Ray ever since the dinner we had just before Thanksgiving and I honestly think he’s just confused because he’s already in a relationship with Rita Allen. But the longer you wait to admit the truth, the longer Rita Allen has to work her way closer to him.”
Chad folds his arms, “Well, Ray and Rita Allen have been dating for over a month now. Maybe they’re closer than we think.”
Cassie replies, “And maybe not. You have to take a chance now before it’s really too late, and given how Rita Allen goes after what she wants, you should do it as soon as possible.”
With that, Cassie grips his hand before she walks past him and out of the library. Chad wonders if this is still some kind of plot of Rita Allen’s to get Chad to admit to something or if Cassie really sees that there is something between Ray and him. Should he finally tell Ray how he feels once and for all?
= = =
Meanwhile at the Libretta, as some other students are having lunch, Amber and Christy are at their own table discussing something about Vitani and Josh when Vitani storms inside angrily. The other students look up in surprise. As she heads over to the Milano sisters’ table, the twins jump from their seats in a panic.
Vitani folds her arms and snaps, “You two have but a few seconds to explain to me what the hell you were doing at the convent with that letter!”
Amber says, “Like Vitani, you totally have to believe us about that letter!”
Christy adds, “Like it was that nun who was trying to trick you with the fake letter!”
Vitani retorts, “It’s not really hard to choose between blaming a nun or two girls whose sole purpose in life is to mess with mine! But you two are messing with someone else’s now, and I won’t let you get away with it!”
It’s about that time that Josh also storms into the Libretta and heads directly for the accused twins.
Josh snaps, “Well I don’t have to think twice about trusting you two again. What kind of setup are you trying to pull here?”
Amber and Christy exchange confused looks, “What are you talking about, Josh?”
Josh retorts, “That little gift you guys gave me just blew out the power at my condo!”
Vitani glares at them, “They’ve been trying to keep us in the dark about a lot of things it seems.”
The Milano sisters frown at the accusations and opt to defend themselves. “Then let us shed some light on this situation before it gets anymore out of hand. First of all, the gift we gave you was actually like one your father, Mr. Trent, asked us to give you as an apology for missing Thanksgiving last week. And as for you, Vitani, we only went to like get the truth on the deal between you and Evan.”
With that, Amber and Christy storm out in hopes of avoiding creating a bigger scene. Vitani and Josh exchange skeptical glances as the twins leave. They head over to their usual table to talk.
Josh remarks. “Amber and Christy are just always up to something.”
Vitani muses, “It makes me wonder if that isn’t their whole angle.
Josh asks, “What are you saying?”
Vitani tells him, “I’m honestly beginning to wonder if the Milano sisters might even be the two mysterious oscinades behind everything all along.”
The following night, Vitani and Josh have left after hanging out with Chad at the Libretta. They’ve just arrived at the corporate home of Trent’s Small Enterprises (T.S.E.) and head to the front desk. Josh asks to speak to his father. The secretary recognizes him from the dinner at the guesthouse and tells him the directions to his father’s office. Josh nods and heads upstairs. He wants to confront his father on sending him the sabotaged laptop he received that blew the power at the condo.
Vitani follows Josh with concern and says, “Maybe we shouldn’t make a bad situation worse with your father.”
Josh says, “Oh, I don’t think things couldn’t get any worse,” and knocks on the office door.
Unnoticed, a small bolt of electricity from the laptop in his hand sparks onto the door. It causes the electrical security lock to release. The door slowly opens.
Vitani and Josh step inside to see the room is empty. Josh grunts in frustration, “My dad’s probably avoiding me like he avoids facing all of the problems he causes.”
With that, Josh decides to leave the laptop on his father’s desk when a large bolt of electricity suddenly shoots over the room from the laptop. Vitani and Josh step back in alarm. They try to leave, but the doors are locked by the security system. Josh turns his hands to steel to use his super strength, but he is shocked by a discharge.
Josh feels dizzy and muses, “Something felt unnatural about that electricity.”
Just then, right in front of them, the electricity from the laptop forms into the shape of a human body. It casts an eerie electric-blue glow as it hisses, “Hey, kids! Stay tuned for the shock of a lifetime!”
It zaps away into a socket. Vitani and Josh exchange looks of shock. The lights flicker strangely across all of Westpoint City as the electrical entity infiltrates the T.S.E. building.
= = =
Meanwhile back at SyndAcad, Chad tugs on his backpack straps and nervously makes his way up the stairs to the third floor of dorm rooms before he makes his way over to Ray’s room. He has decided that he really does need to talk to Ray about what is going on between them as soon as possible, before Ray’s relationship with Rita Allen gets too serious – which would only make things more complicated.
As he heads down the hallway, the lights buzz before they suddenly flicker out and leave the hallway in darkness. There are some murmurs from the other rooms nearby. Chad manages to make his way to the door anyway and is about to knock when some sort of dim light comes from the room and shows the door is actually slightly open.
He peers inside hoping to surprise Ray when he sees there is a small candle burning on the center table in the living room. However, it shines light on something that stuns Chad. He swallows on his tongue in utter dismay when he sees the figure of a female in a bra under a pair of sheets with someone else on the couch kissing as the boy’s arm gropes her body in the heat of passion. Chad sees the figures having sex by candlelight.
“I guess I’m more than too late,” Chad whispers to himself before he backs away from the door.
He closes his eyes in heartache and sighs deeply as he thinks that it was clear … Ray chose Rita Allen.
= = =
Still trapped in Mr. Trent’s office at the T.S.E. building due to the electrified door, Vitani and Josh yell for help at the door, but to no avail. They also find that their cell phones haves no signal.
Josh figures, “With the power messed up, the elevators are out and security bars are probably blocking access to the stairs. The building is now under this new mysterious electrical oscinade’s control.”
Vitani asks, “What do you think it wants? I mean for once it doesn’t seem to be us.”
Josh says, “I don’t think it knows that we’re auranades and we’re involved in this for no other reason than to have brought this sabotaged laptop past security downstairs.”
Vitani muses with a nod, “A setup to get into your father’s company’s electrical system.”
Josh agrees and adds, “And to gain access to something valuable in this building. But what?”
Vitani thinks about it and reasons, “Well this means that your father didn’t really send the laptop as a gift to you if it’s meant to get into his security. But then who did?”
Josh pauses and tells her, “I dunno, but I actually got the laptop as a gift from … the Milano sisters.”
= = =
Meanwhile, Chad is crying to himself in the hallways when he hears footsteps coming around the corner and sees a beam from a flashlight hit the wall. Chad doesn’t want to be caught by anyone and asked what he was doing in the middle of the dorm’s dark hallways crying. He runs off to the other stairs at the other end of the dorm hallway to leave.
Just as he leaves, the flashlight beam gets larger as the person gets closer to the hall. It’s none other than Ray Torres who walks down the hallway, returning from evening football practice. He shines the flashlight around in the hallway.
Wait a minute. Was that Chad I just saw? Ray wonders to himself.
Ray then shines the flashlight towards his dorm room and opens the door. Ray hears the noises in his dorm and turns the light towards the lovemaking couple. “Omigod! What the hell is going on in here? Dustin?”
Dustin and the girl turn around in utter surprise at the sudden interruption and pull the sheets over themselves on the couch. Ray slams the door shut and glares at them both in disbelief. He demands they get out. The girl grabs her clothes off the floor and scampers out of the room. Dustin slips his pants back on under the sheet before he stands up and blows out the candle.
Ray comes over and asks him, “Dustin, are you completely out of your mind?”
Dustin smirks, “After a time like that with that girl? Hell yeah. Okay look, I’m sorry Ray, but you said you had a practice meet for football tonight and you weren’t supposed to be back from practice until -”
“Maybe you didn’t notice there was blackout on campus,” Ray sneers, “While it stopped practice on the field, it sure as hell didn’t stop your extracurricular activities! And you know what? I can come back to my dorm whenever I damn well please. You, however, aren’t allowed to do as you please in my dorm. You got that? Because if you think deflowering some girl in my dorm is supposed to be flattering, I would be more than obliged to throw you out flat on your ass right now! I can’t even think of a reason why I shouldn’t.”
Dustin muses, “… You wouldn’t want to disappoint your girlfriend.”
Ray looks at him incredulously, “You’re one to talk about disappointments with the mess you’re in.”
Dustin swears, “I told you all already that I’m innocent!”
Ray quips, “Oh really? Because that girl you were with seems to have just run off with what’s left of your ‘innocence’.”
With that, Ray storms into his bedroom and slams the door. Dustin sighs and tells himself that he has to prove himself as innocent as soon as possible before this situation gets anymore out of hand. It is then that someone comes to mind … someone he was hoping sex with the girl would help him stop thinking about.
Dustin muses, “I’m gonna need some help,” and scrolls through his phone to Chad’s phone number.
= = =
Over at the T.S.E., Vitani and Josh are still discussing the origin of the laptop of the electric oscinade.
Vitani frowns in confusion, “You mean those two cheerleader klutzes gave you the sabotaged laptop?”
Josh decides to explain the situation, “You see what happened was that I was having a goodbye dinner with my girlfriend Ellie the night before because she was leaving town. That’s when I noticed you and Evan show up together at the same restaurant. I was going over to see what was up when I caught Amber and Christy spying on me from another table.”
Vitani replies, “That’s when I confronted you guys for spying on me after Evan said he had to leave.”
Josh says, “Just before the lights at the restaurant flickered out and you suddenly disappeared.”
Vitani explains, “Oh. I had thought I’d seen someone I knew leaving the restaurant and went after them just as the blackout happened. When the lights came back on, they were already gone.”
Josh continues, “Right. Well, while you were off looking for them, that’s when Amber and Christy told me that maybe there was more between you and Evan that we all think. The Milano sisters also said that, unlike you keeping me in the dark about that part of your life, they’ll always welcome me to share theirs. That’s when they gave me the gift.”
Vitani rolls her eyes and muses, “As usual, they were desperately trying to buy back your trust.”
Josh retorts, “Yeah, well you came back and asked me to just trust you when you can’t even trust me enough as your best friend to tell me what the real deal is with you and Evan.”
Vitani gets frustrated and quips, “I’ll tell you what the real deal is with Evan and me as far as your ex-girlfriend twins of torment go. Evan and I went to visit a convent that morning to try to get some information on a friend of ours who stayed there for a while. A nun there gave us a letter they supposedly wrote before she left. When we went back to ask a few more questions, we find none other than Amber and Christy there with the nun.”
Josh frowns, “What? Why would they be at a convent anyway?”
Vitani replies, “I’m surprised they weren’t chased out when their skirt lengths probably go against any religion. But according to the nun, the Milano sisters forced her to give us a fake letter and stole the real one by claiming to be working for some kind of kidnappers.”
Josh frowns in disbelief and says, “No way!”
Vitani folds her arms, “Well I had to find out what the hell was really going on, so I confronted them.”
Josh looks up in realization, “Omigod. You mean yesterday at the Libretta! You don’t really think -”
Vitani replies, “Maybe it’s someone who we’d least expect, and that fits the Milano sisters perfectly.”
= = =
The next day in Bio class, the students are working on a class assignment the Bio teacher had just put up on the board. Chad is trying to focus on his work when he notices that Ray had been really quiet for the class and had hardly spoken to him.
Was he trying to let me know this was really it?
Chad closes his eyes to get his mind to focus, but instead has flashes of what appeared to be Ray and Rita Allen having sex during the blackout in his dorm last night. It’s about then that his cell phone vibrates in his pocket and snaps him out of it. It’s a text from Dustin to meet him in the park after his next class. Chad takes a deep breath.
Just then, the school bell sounds for the end of class and the Bio teacher tells them to bring in the assignment next class. Chad quickly packs up his things and hurries out into the hallway to leave when a hand grabs him by the arm.
Ray raises his eyebrows and asks, “Hey, what’s your rush, C.K.?”
Chad mumbles, “Um, I just gotta meet with someone for something really important.”
Ray looks past him and some passing students curiously and notices Cassie standing some distance away, watching them from her locker. Ray assumes he must mean her and that there is something really going on between the two of them after all.
He sighs, “Oh. Well, I’m glad we, um, figured something out, you know?”
With that, Ray turns in the opposite direction to go meet with his girlfriend Rita Allen, who is patiently waiting at a locker nearby. They greet with a brief kiss and hug. Chad turns his head away as it brings to mind the thought of Ray and Rita Allen having sex. Rita Allen smiles to herself before she pulls Ray along the hallway.
“It was nice seeing you, Chad,” Rita Allen calls out in a deceptively cheery voice, “But we’ll be going.”
As Ray and Rita Allen walk away together hand in hand, Ray looks back at Chad briefly before they turn the corner. Chad simply sighs heavily and tells himself he has to accept that whatever was going on between Ray and him is over. He then turns to leave when he notices Cassie waiting by the other lockers.
Cassie smiles, “So, you told Ray you felt the same way, right? He’s going to tell Rita Allen that -”
Chad thinks about things and cuts in, “I can’t tell what to do about anything anymore,” and walks away.
= = =
Later that day at the park, Chad is sitting with Dustin on a secluded park bench talking about things.
Dustin explains, “So a code that can hack security systems was stolen and to frame me, the case for the CD was planted in my tent during a camping trip. So me and the few others who were camping with me at the time were suspended from military school, pending the investigations.”
Chad nods, “I bet if those military guys had found you, you’d be taken in as guilty before your innocence was even proven. So you came to SyndAcad, hoping to lay low until something came up or you found a way to get out of this mess.”
Dustin says, “It’s amazing that you’re the only one who found me and gave me the chance I needed.”
Chad looks up, “How can I possibly help in a situation like this?”
“You and I are going to make the magic happen,” comes a voice from behind them.
Chad looks behind them curiously to see a lean handsome blond-haired boy in a dark red leather jacket and faded jeans standing casually behind them with a smirk on his face.
Chad mumbles a little as he notices his attractiveness before he says, “And you are?”
“Aaron Scott,” he replies smoothly and reaches out his hand. Chad shakes it and blushes to himself.
“Aaron here wants to clear his name of any suspicions, since he’s my roommate,” Dustin explains.
“I also want to help my buddy Dustin out,” Aaron adds and looks over, “How about you, Chad?”
Chad gets squirmy when Aaron looks him right in the eye. But he is also nervous about jumping right into a situation that involved a military scandal. He says, “Gimme some time to think about it, okay, guys?”
“Whatever you want,” Aaron says with a nod.
“I’ll contact you later for an answer,” Dustin adds.
With that, Chad squirms a little before he walks away from them. Dustin and Aaron exchange looks.
Aaron slips his hands into his pocket and grins, “So that’s the Chad Blackman you told me about, huh?”
Dustin fixes his jacket and nods in thought, “Yup. He’s my last hope to get out of this mess.”
= = =
Still stuck in the office since last night, Vitani and Josh have managed to take showers in the small bathroom built on to his father’s office without the electrical oscinade showing up. They have just made some breakfast from the food in the small fridge.
Josh remarks, “In all real seriousness, what I wanna know is why you couldn’t tell me you and Evan were just looking for some person who might be in danger from kidnappers all this time?”
Vitani sighs and says, “Look Josh, it was both a complicated and personal situation for both of us and if I were to tell you that, I would have a lot more explaining to do than I was ready for.”
Josh shakes his head and reaches into his pocket and takes out a roll of pictures, “I guess you’re already gonna have an explanation for why the Milano sisters said they found these photos of you in Evan’s office at WP.”
Vitani grunts at the thought that the Milano sisters were so nosey that they even followed Evan around before she takes the photo roll from Josh. She sees pictures of a girl in a blue shirt with a half heart printed on it and sighs deeply as she looks at them. She clarifies, “Well this isn’t me in these photos.”
Josh says, “But look at the shirt, Vitani. You have the exact same shirt that you said was your favorite because it was unique and specially made for you.”
Vitani replies, “I don’t have the exact same shirt. My shirt has the opposite half of that heart printed on it. And it’s my favorite because it was specially made as a sign of the friendship between me and the girl in this photo. The same person we’re looking for. Before she left Evan and me …”
Josh asks, “Left you guys where?”
Vitani exclaims, “Before she left us at the orphanage!”
Josh looks up in shock.
= = =
Meanwhile, in an area secluded by shady forest trees, a car pulls up outside the fenced military school just outside of Westpoint City. Aaron has driven Dustin and him there with a nervous Chad in the backseat, who has agreed to help them out after all.
Dustin says, “I know you’re nervous, but as long as you follow our plan you’ll be fine.”
Aaron tells him, “And I’ll be right there with you the whole time.”
Chad blushes and nods a little, “Okay. So let me go over our plan one more time before we go in. Aaron and I will go into the infirmary at the school and pass me off as a volunteer nurse because I’ll have access to the quarantine rooms once the nurse leaves for her usual dinner.”
Dustin nods, “Whoever is behind stealing it has to use it here since it only works with the military school’s WiFi system. Unfortunately, they can’t triangulate its location like that because it’s designed to scramble its own signature so it can’t be tracked, and it was stolen before the school could put in their own decoder.”
Chad wonders, “How often do these military trials backfire?”
Dustin says, “You’d be surprised. But it could backfire on the security of the whole city without your help. Now, Aaron found out that up to five other boys have suddenly been put under quarantine recently and I personally believe it’s nothing but a guise to use the code at the base without anyone being allowed to come in and investigate. You, as a volunteer, have every right to be in the infirmary.”
Aaron says, “I’ll need an excuse to be in the infirmary for a while with Chad. Dustin, punch me.”
Dustin frowns, “What? No! Fake a sprained ankle or something!”
Aaron says, “Like we haven’t tried that in physical training and got caught. Just punch me in the jaw.”
Dustin shakes his head, “I’m not going to punch you, Aaron.”
Aaron then glances back at Chad before he leans over from the driver’s seat and whispers something into Dustin’s ear. Dustin’s eyes suddenly bulge in shock and he punches Aaron right in the jaw. Chad rushes forward to Aaron’s aid and looks at Dustin in disbelief.
Chad asks, “Omigod. Are you alright?’
Aaron smiles, “I’m ready when you are.”
Chad looks at Dustin and Aaron strangely before he nods in agreement. Chad and Aaron exit the car and walk up towards the entrance on foot. Dustin watches them from the car and ponders.
= = =
Josh looks up surprised and muses, “Omigod Vitani. I didn’t know. I just always thought that –”
Vitani admits, “Evan, his cousin Eliza and I were all best friends when we were at the same orphanage together in New York State before Eliza was adopted while we were still young, and she disappeared. I was soon adopted by Professor Rossi and we moved here to Westpoint City. Evan’s been searching for his cousin via cryptic messages in newspapers and magazines, including the one he was trying to launch. He also hired a bunch of P.I.s who recently got that photo roll of Eliza here in Westpoint City outside of the convent. So he and I went to check it out. That’s when the twins tried to hide the truth from us.”
Josh apologizes and hugs her, saying, “I’m so sorry. You shouldn’t have been pressured like that into admitting to me that you were an orphan if you weren’t ready. But I always thought that Professor Rossi was your real father. I remember how hard a time he had with you moving in with me last year.”
Vitani cries as she explains, “Um, Professor Rossi was apparently a friend of my Italian parents and adopted me to save me from being lost in the system. Now we have to find a way to save ourselves from whatever the Milano sisters have gotten us into.“
Josh hugs her tightly in sympathy as she cries in his arms. He still wonders what exactly is going on here.
= = =
Inside the military school that night, Chad nervously enters the otherwise empty infirmary and finds the nurse behind the front desk. She’s discussing dinner plans on the phone with someone she calls ‘commander’ and giggles flirtatiously each time. Chad raises his eyebrows curiously before he goes to the desk.
Chad clears his throat and says, “Um, hi, I’m the new volunteer nurse.”
The nurse immediately hangs up the phone and eyes him suspiciously, “Can I see your –”
Just then, Aaron ‘stumbles’ into the infirmary complaining about his bruised jaw and exaggerates the pain. Chad quickly goes over to him. He grabs a clean white cloth and some ice water from on a nearby table and gently tends to Aaron’s bruise.
The nurse is apparently impressed enough by this and grabs her handbag to head to her dinner. She throws Chad a ring of keys which she says he needs to unlock any medicine cabinets for any other visitors before she gets back. She also forbids him to go anywhere near the quarantine room under any circumstances. Chad nods casually as he continues to nurse Aaron’s jaw.
After she leaves, Aaron puts his hand over Chad’s on his face, “You’re really good with your hands.”
Chad blushes hard before he replies, “I got those hands on the keys to the quarantine room as well.”
Aaron nods, “Let’s find out what really is going on and get Dustin out of this mess. I hope he’s right.”
Chad ponders and replies, “Something in the air tells me we’re both about to get into something.”
They look over at each other for a minute before they head towards the door downstairs. They follow the stairs downward cautiously. Aaron whispers he had never been in quarantine before they turn down a hallway. They finally reach the view window for the quarantine room and slowly peek inside.
Chad and Aaron discover four boys in quarantine suits using a laptop. Aaron nods to Chad that he does recognize them as military school students. He then takes out a tape recorder and warns Chad to be quiet before he presses the intercom button meant for contacting the quarantine patients from outside. They hear the boys discuss how they will upload the code and send it to the laptop at T.S.E. to break the password and access the financial accounts.
“What the hell are you two doing down here!” comes a sudden voice.
Chad and Aaron turn to see the fifth boy without a quarantine suit behind them. It had unfortunately been heard over the intercom, grabbing the other boys’ attention. The fifth boy tries to grab the tape recorder, but Aaron responds with a swift punch to the jaw. The other boy quickly hops back on his feet and he and Aaron engage in physical combat.
As this is going on, the other boys in quarantine suits rush towards the door to stop them. As they open the door to exit and charge towards them, Chad realizes their quarantine uniforms are potential health risks to him and Aaron if they are touched. Chad then swings his hand outward and a gust of wind blows all of the boys back inside of the room. He then runs to lock the quarantine door.
The fifth boy stumbles back by the intercom and yells, “The boss said destroy the laptop now!”
Chad subtly maneuvers his hand to send a gust of wind to blow the boy to stumble back away from the intercom. Aaron grabs the boy and is about to throw one last punch.
“Our boss won’t let you get away with this!” the fifth boy snickers, “And he’s on his way!”
Aaron thanks him for the comment with a punch that knocks him out cold. Chad is amazed by his skill.
With the new evidence they have, Chad and Aaron run to get out of military school as soon as possible.
= = =
Back at the T.S.E. building, Josh is consoling Vitani over her revelation of being an orphan, when the laptop on the table suddenly lights up. They stand back anticipating the electrical oscinade to appear when the screen says:
NO CODE SIGNAL DETECTED. ACCESS TO TRENT ACCOUNTS DENIED.
Josh looks up and then realizes, “So the plot all along was to hack his father’s financial accounts!”
Just then, some bolts of electricity pool together from electrical outlets in the room and form into the electrical oscinade. There is an unnerving sound of tiny pops from the crackling static of its body, which emits an eerie blue light across the room.
The electrical oscinade hisses, “I’ll just have to use his son as a bargaining chip then! It’s lights out, baby!”
It raises its hands and shoots a large bolt of electricity towards Vitani and Josh. In a moment of panic, Vitani blows her icy mist, which seems to dissipate the electrical attack. It hisses in realization that she is an auranade and so aims another bolt right at Josh. Josh turns his hands to steel and tries to absorb it again while maintaining balance. However, his metallic arms become overcharged due to the amount of electricity. Josh flails his sparking arms around and Vitani panics worriedly. Josh opts to use it to blast open the door from the electrical surge with the security system. As the door opens,they run out to escape.
Josh breaks through the security bars on the stairs and they head down. The electrical oscinade follows through the hallway lights and hisses angrily.
“They’re both auranades! I’ve failed one mission tonight, but the ultimate goal is to destroy the auranades!”
= = =
Meanwhile, Chad and Aaron have snuck off the military school grounds through the lone forest back road. They’re in the darkness trying to find Dustin’s waiting car. However, the vehicle is nowhere in sight and they panic. Just then, there is a bright light coming down the road and they hope that it will be Dustin. Aaron waves it down.
He leans in the car window, “Hey Dustin, we have proof that … Commander Davenport? I thought you left on retirement from the force years ago! And where the hell is Dustin?”
The retired commander smiles and sneers, “Don’t worry; you two will be joining him soon!”
Suddenly, Commander Davenport pulls the car in reverse before speeding right towards Chad who is standing in confusion. Aaron quickly jumps over to push Chad out of the way. They both land on the other side of the road and the car speeds on down the road.
“You- you saved me …” Chad stutters, as Aaron helps him stand up.
“This isn’t gonna be the end, Chad,” Aaron tells him, “It’s gonna be the beginning.”
Just then, Commander Davenport whirls the car around and speeds towards them again. They quickly run to opposite sides of the road to confuse him. The retired military officer decides to head for Aaron since he was the most critical in ruining his plans. Chad panics for him and swings his hand outward. A sudden gust of wind of sends the commander’s car out of his control. He steps on the brakes and stops suddenly, hitting his head on the steering wheel and knocking himself out temporarily.
Aaron runs up to the car and pulls Commander Davenport out and tells Chad to get in. When they hear sirens whirring in the air, Aaron drives them away just as the military patrol jeeps arrive and find the groggy retired military officer standing in the middle of the road.
As they drive away, Chad and Aaron give each other a high five and smile at one another.
Chad then jumps, “Wait? What about Dustin? What happened to him?”
Aaron smirks before he hands him his cell phone, “Here. Read this.”
Chad takes the cell phone and looks to see a text message from Dustin, which explains everything else that happened. He smiles in relief and says, “So I guess we really did it, huh?”
Aaron looks at him and smirks, “You and I did it together, Chad.”
Chad nods, smiling to himself.
= = =
Later, out in front of the T.S.E. building, Chad gets out of the car and says he has some friends who he believes might be in the building and who he needs to make sure are okay. He thanks Aaron for saving him and Aaron thanks him for everything he did.
Aaron says, “Be careful. And be at the party Dustin’s gonna throw to celebrate clearing his name.”
Chad nods. “Will do.”
With that and a wink, Aaron drives off. Chad thinks about what Vitani and Josh said had happened up at the guest house with the attempt to sabotage Mr. Trent’s company. Now Commander Davenport and his boys were trying to hack Josh’s father’s financial accounts.
Did Vitani and Josh try to intervene and somehow get caught?
He heads inside of the building. He is surprised to find the reception area empty, while the lights in the building are flickering violently. However, he hears Vitani and Josh’s voices echo from the staircase, so he runs towards the sound.
Chad runs into Vitani and Josh who warn him, telling him, “The oscinade of shock is behind us!”
His eyes bulge when he sees the electrical body converge into human shape. It shoots a violent bolt of electricity at the three, but they duck around the corner of the staircase. However, they bump into an electrically charged security gate controlled by the oscinade.
Chad looks up in realization and exclaims, “I know exactly what’s going on!”
The oscinade of shock hisses, “You three are going into shutdown! That’s what’s going on!”
It puts his ‘hands’ together and shoots an even larger bolt of electricity. Josh resorts to using his steel arms and tries to absorb it again. He then ropes the entity closer by pulling on the electromotive force of the electrical bolt.
“Argh!” Josh struggles to immobilize the oscinade, “Hey squirt, you’re the chem whiz, so tell us what to do, fast!”
“Vitani, try to use your ice powers to freeze the oscinade!” Chad nods and says, “Pure water is actually a poor electrical conductor and pure ice can’t conduct electricity. It should be trapped inside of the ice, but it can probably generate enough heat to melt it soon. We’ll have to banish it now!”
Vitani blows her icy mist on cue, which freezes the electrical oscinade within the ice. Josh stumbles back from the overcharge on his hands. Before the three can all say the banishment verse, Josh is too desperate to relieve the overcharge on his arms and goes forward in an attempt to strangle the oscinade. It absorbs the overcharge of electricity from his steel and hisses loudly.
The power surge created causes it to dissipate in a bright explosion of light. Chad, Vitani and Josh shield their eyes and withstand the small shock wave created. When they move their hands away, the oscinade is gone and the lights in the building suddenly return to normal.
Vitani wonders, “Do you guys think it’s really gone?”
Chad muses, “The surge of electricity should have destroyed it.”
Josh looks around as everything returns to normal and says, “I think the shock is finally wearing off.”
At the Libretta the next day before class, Chad explains to Vitani and Josh why the oscinade of shock had been in the laptop in the first place. Chad says, “It seems a retired commander and some boys from military school used the oscinade of shock to power down T.S.E.’s security system long enough while they tried to upload a hacking code to access your dad’s accounts. But they were stopped from doing it just in time by me and some guys from military school yesterday.”
Josh realizes, “It must have been those boys who gave Amber and Christy the laptop disguised as a gift from my dad. They really thought it was from him all along, but just used it as a way to get to me.”
Vitani rolls her eyes and sighs, “I guess the Milano sisters really were telling the truth about everything after all. Well so much for my theory that Amber and Christy were supposed to be the two upper level oscinades.”
Chad frowns with a smirk, “I’m surprised that you of all people would give those two that much credit.”
Vitani giggles and says, “Well I didn’t want to either because it would mean giving them credit for something more than being annoying. But the ditzy cheerleader thing could’ve been all a disguise.”
Josh sits back and says, “At least we all know what’s really going on now. If my dad would actually do his job as a business owner, or even as a father, none of this would have even happened. How convenient is it that he’s out of the country again on business? Now we had to make up excuses for missing classes thanks to being trapped in his office yesterday. You know, sometimes I wish I didn’t have-”
Vitani pats his back, “I think we should always be thankful for what we all have at the moment. We might not have exactly what we want, but what we do have might not be as bad as we think.”
Chad thinks about his situation with Ray before he says, “Well I don’t have what I thought I did with Ray anymore, but I do have an invitation to a party at the military school from a pretty cute guy. You think I should go?”
Vitani and Josh nod that he should go to the party and have himself some fun. Chad thanks them before he says he has to get going to his Chem class. He grabs his backpack and leaves the Libretta. The Milano sisters, meanwhile, come in and glare at Vitani and Josh sitting together before they go to their own table. Vitani sees them staring at her before sighing to herself and turning back to face Josh.
Josh gets a text on his cell phone from his ex-girlfriend Ellie saying she will miss him, but she wants him to remember her with a picture. He looks at the picture and smiles warmly. Josh decides to show Vitani her picture, “This is the amazing girl I’ve been telling you about. I can’t believe she has to leave town.”
Vitani looks at the picture on his cell phone and gasps, “Omigod. Ellie is none other than Eliza, Evan’s cousin and the girl we’ve been looking for all along!”
Josh pauses in shock before he says, “You know she always avoided telling me why exactly she had to leave.”
Vitani looks at the picture of her, “The fake letter said she was going to live with her old adoptive family. The real letter said that she had to leave to save the convent from something that’s been haunting her for her whole life. We wouldn’t have even known the truth if it weren’t for the Milano sisters catching that nun trying to trick us. And if the nun has an underhanded part to play in all this, it really seems like Eliza’s on the run. And from something big.”
= = =
At the party at the military school dorms that night, Chad soon arrives to see a bunch of military school boys partying to some pop rock music. He feels a little out of place before Dustin quickly runs over to greet him. He hugs him tightly and twirls him around in his arms thanking him for everything he did yesterday.
Dustin exclaims, “Omigod! You don’t know what a hero you really are, do you, Chad?”
Chad smirks and says, “I get that a lot,” thinking about Ray and his little nickname for him before he asks, “So you’re really out of that whole mess now?”
Dustin nods, “Yeah. It’s like I’d said in the text, I’d been waiting outside for you guys in the car when I spotted the nurse from the infirmary meeting with Commander Davenport, who I knew had retired from the force about the time I first enrolled here. I found it strange to see him around all of sudden, so I followed them to this diner and waited in the parking lot.”
Chad muses, “You have no idea how worried I was about you when Aaron and I didn’t see you there!”
Dustin smirks and muses, “Hehe. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you cared about me there, Chad.”
Chad punches him lightly in the shoulder, “Hey! We’re in this thing together, right?”
They look at each other and smile when Dustin nods silently. Dustin feels himself get warm and fuzzy.
He then continues, “Well, I was thinking me following the nurse was nothing and I was about to head back for you guys when the commander came back to his car after getting a call from his boys at the infirmary about a problem. He told them to destroy the computer with the hacking code to destroy any evidence. The nurse overheard and realized he’d only been dating her to get her out of the infirmary. He knocked her out with ether and left her on a bench before he drove away. So I rescued her and once she recovered, she called the base and exposed him.”
Aaron strolls over and adds, “And once the boys were caught in the quarantine room and I handed in the tape recording to corroborate the nurse’s story, Dustin’s name was cleared. Commander Davenport and his guys were taken in for theft and conspiracy. And we’re here to take the night out with a bang!”
Chad takes a look at how hot both Dustin and Aaron looked dressed casually for the party and feels better about himself hanging out with them, despite the whole Ray situation. He then admits, “Hehe. I should also let you guys know I’m kind of a nerd so I’m not really good with parties and stuff.”
Aaron says, “Oh c’mon. I’m here and I think we make a pretty great team when it matters, don’t you?”
He puts his arm around Chad’s shoulder and tugs on it. Chad blushes to himself. Dustin looks at them.
Aaron then says, “So, Mr. Allen, when is your sister going to show up to celebrate your exoneration?”
Chad opens his eyes in alert as he looks up and says, “Hey, Dustin, I thought your last name was Riley.”
Dustin admits, “Oh. Um, that was kind of an alias while I was trying to lay low at your school.”
Chad ponders and cautiously asks, “Who were you hiding out with when you were at SyndAcad?”
Dustin says, “Some arrangements were put into place by my resourceful little sister, the school reporter.”
Chad gasps and asks, “Wait a minute. Are you trying to tell me that your sister is … Rita Allen?”
Dustin smiles and nods, “Yeah. You know her?”
Chad says, “I do. And I sure as hell won’t let whatever little plan this is of hers to get to me work either!”
With that, Chad storms out of the party. Dustin is about to follow when Aaron says he will handle it and goes after him himself to find out what’s going on. Chad quickly makes his way across the hall while Aaron following behind.
= = =
Meanwhile, Ray and Rita Allen show up outside just as Chad passes by. Ray pauses in confusion.
“Hey Ray, is there something on your mind?” Rita Allen asks when she notices him staring off.
“I could swear I just saw Chad here,” Ray muses as he looks around the crowd of partying students.
“Oh c’mon, Ray. I can’t think of one reason why he’d possibly be here,” Rita Allen says, rolling her eyes.
Ray ponders to himself what it means that he can’t seem to get Chad out of his mind recently. They enter the party. Dustin immediately goes over to them. Rita Allen runs up and hugs her brother affectionately.
Rita Allen says, “Thank God you got out of that mess. I more than knew those military guys were gonna come to SyndAcad to search my room for you. I’m glad I had you hide out in Ray’s dorm room in the meantime!”
Ray and Dustin glare at each other. Dustin then says, “Um sis, can I talk to you for a minute … alone?”
Rita Allen looks at him strangely and shrugs, “Um, I guess. Ray, do you mind if we-?”
Ray replies, “Uh, no. I’m just gonna go over there and try to get a few things sorted out in my head.”
Rita Allen kisses him on the lips briefly before Ray walks down into the party. Dustin turns to his sister.
She looks at him and asks, “Okay bro, so what’s up?”
Dustin retorts, “You tell me. I wanna know what’s up with you and a boy named Chad Blackman!”
Rita Allen pauses.
To be continued…
© 2013 Chad Blackman