Chapter 1: Doctor Doctor?
Chapter 1: Doctor Doctor?
The man called the Doctor ran about the console surrounding the engine, messing with all manner of switches, levers, and knobs. All around them, a strange moaning, grinding sound told them that everything was working exactly as it should. The floors shook, causing Amy and Rory to stumble and grab hold of the railing for support, but the Doctor had been through this dance countless times before, and would do so countless times more. He skipped from control to control, completely unfazed.
After many moments, the room ceased to shake, and the grinding, moaning noise stopped. Amy and Rory picked themselves up and regained their composure, having been through this many times before as well.
"Right then! Paris, France, 2004! Ok, so maybe not quite your time, but you get the idea, right Ponds?" The Doctor strolled over to the front doors and opened them up, preparing to take a step outside. With a small degree of shock, he flailed a bit, almost losing his balance before throwing himself back inside and shutting the doors.
"Doctor? What's wrong?" Amy asked. The Doctor stood up, straightening his jacket and bow tie, then smiled.
"Poor parking job. I'll need to move us. Say, you don't think we'll be towed from the top of the Eiffel Tower, do you?" The Doctor shot his companions a quizzical look before jaunting over to the controls and repositioning them.
"There we are!" he shouted with a little jingle in his voice. This time when he threw the doors open, it was not a thousand foot drop that greeted the group, but a small suburban street.
Stepping out of the blue police box, the three glanced around to get a good idea of their environment. They had apparently landed at the edge of an alley, next to a large fence. The street went on either direction for a good distance, but the first thing the three noticed was that standing on the other side of the fence was a series of large buildings, all one great big property.
"Right, we'll be needing this little toy," the Doctor mused, pulling out a device that strongly resembled a video camera duct taped to a toaster. Amy and Rory looked at the man incredulously, but he simply smiled and hefted the device up for them to get a better look at.
"It's my new and improved timey-wimey detector! You see, my last one would go 'ding' when there's timey wimey stuff, right? But this baby here has different dings for different stuff! Plus, it can toast bread too! That was a planned feature, not a side effect, I assure you."
The Doctor went to work pointing his "timey-wimey" detector all around them as Amy chuckled to herself and Rory just rolled his eyes. Several passers-by stared awkwardly at the strange man with his even stranger device, but said nothing.
Ding ding ding ding went the machine, as a group of five teenagers wandered by. They were quite a colorful bunch. A short nerdy looking boy, likely the youngest, in a blue sweatshirt and glasses. A very tall Asian girl dressed in all black. A brown haired stern looking boy with his hands constantly in his pockets. A girl with bright, pink hair and matching clothes. A short, energetic boy with gaudy purple clothes and hair that looked like it belonged in some sort of anime. They strolled around the corner and through the gate to the large property next to the Doctor, Amy, and Rory.
"You see!" cried the Doctor, slinging his timey-wimey detector over his shoulder with an energetic jump into the air.
"But Doctor, you still haven't told us what we're looking for! What is it?" Amy asked, stepping closer to her friend. Rory nodded, keeping the group of teenagers in his eyesight until he lost them around the corner. The Doctor turned round and began one of his famous explanations.
"Hmm, how to explain this? You see, Pond, back on the TARDIS, I detected something very strange when you asked me the same question twice, after I'd just answered you. It's called a Temporal Perception Field, like time travel, only not." The Doctor began to use a variety of hand gestures to accompany his explanation.
"Imagine a sort of wall of energy. It's not a wall, but imagine it anyway. This wall extends outward through space, encompassing everything until-"
"Doctor?" interrupted Rory.
"Oh what is it, Rory? I'm in the middle of explaining advanced temporal physics!" The Doctor turned toward Rory, throwing his hands up like a child giving a tantrum.
"Are those kids and this Temporal Perception Field really important?" he asked.
"Yes, of course, Rory. End of the world important. Destruction of the universe important. Why do ask?" The Doctor raised an eyebrow.
"Well then why don't we go after them and leave the explanations for later?" Rory gestured toward the large property the kids had entered mere moments ago. The Doctor stood quiet for a moment, staring at the man. He opened his mouth and let it hang for just the briefest of moments before finally realizing that he'd already lost the kids when he went into "professor mode." The Doctor frantically dashed forward, Amy and Rory following close behind.
The three rounded the corner and went straight for the gates. They had mere feet ahead of them, nearly there, when suddenly the gates shut with a mighty jingle-jangle. Amy and Rory stopped just short of the gate, but the Doctor on the other hand, he ran straight into the iron bars.
"Oomf!" he grunted, bouncing back and standing up. Rubbing his nose, he said, "Well, that wasn't too much fun."
"Hey buddy, are you ok?" asked a particularly gruff voice from the other side of the gate. The group looked over to see the man that had closed the gate. A particularly large, slightly overweight man, he wore athletic clothing and had a band-aid on his cheek. "I can take a look at that if you like. I used to be a registered nurse, you know."
Rory's ears perked up a bit, being a nurse himself, and he addressed the large man. "You used to be a nurse?"
"Yeah, well I'd… Rather not talk about it." The man hung his head down a moment and started at the sidewalk as his mind drifted elsewhere. "Anyway, name's Jim Morales. Can I help you with anything?"
"What is this place, exactly?" Amy asked, stepping forward. She looked Jim over and Jim blushed, rubbing the back of his head nervously. Rory sighed as he watched his wife and Jim.
"Uh, well this is Kadic Academy, of course. I take it you're… Not from around here, are you?" Jim looked over the three, but was especially focused on the strange man in the tweed jacket, rubbing his nose.
"Ah, a school, yes!" The Doctor composed himself, straightening his jacket and his hair fringe. "May we enter, then?"
"What are you, kidding me?" Jim retorted, spitting a little. "We're closed! The students are heading to bed! Nobody gets in after hours, especially not any nobodies that are strangers. That's what this gate here is for and that's why I locked it. Locks are important. It's like closing the door to your chicken coop so you don't get any wolves inside. Because once the wolves get in the chicken coop, they start reading the chickens' diaries and watching them sleep, and… Uh… Where was I? Yeah, so nobody gets in the school after hours."
Rory stared at Jim with both his eyebrows raised. The Doctor's eyes shifted back and forth as he was lost in thought, his open mouth pressed to one side of his face. Amy's brow was furrowed as she listened to Jim, nodding along the entire way until the man had finished rambling.
"Doctor, his analogies are worse than yours!" she laughed.
"I thought that one was pretty good," Jim murmured with a sad look.
"Actually, I quite liked it," The Doctor said, his eyes lighting up. "It was very cool. You're cool, Jim."
"Heh. Jee, thanks." Jim smiled widely, regaining his lost composure, while Rory simply shook his head. "But you're still not getting in."
"Of course, of course," The Doctor nodded, turning back. He waved at Jim as Amy and Rory followed. Once they were out of earshot, Amy was the first to break silence.
"So what's the plan, Doctor? We wait until all the lights go out, then we sneak in with the sonic screwdriver?" A wide smile crept across her face as her mind played the scenario out.
"The plan, Pond, is that we come back in the morning when the school is open." The Doctor grinned as they continued their stroll forward. "I have a plan that won't get us into any trouble. Most likely. In all probability."
"You're going to show off, aren't you?" Rory asked. The Doctor just gave him a knowing smile as he opened the door of the TARDIS.
"So then I said, 'Banana? More like BaXana! Haha!" The short boy, Odd, joked as the group crossed the school yard. They passed by Jim as he headed out to close and lock up the gates for the night, having already said goodbye to Yumi earlier.
"We know, Odd. We were there. And it wasn't funny the first time either." Ulrich practically groaned the words and shook his head. Aelita chuckled to herself while Jeremie just rolled his eyes.
"Well you guys are just no fun. And here I thought that was comedy GOLD! Some friends you are!" Odd scowled at them, but it was obviously all in good fun.
"The only thing golden about you, Odd, is that trophy you deserve for worst smelling feet." Ulrich shot out. Odd looked like he'd just been shot.
"Melted down, I bet a trophy like that could supply the necessary wiring for over a dozen super computers," Jeremie chided. Odd just turned his nose up at the group before they came to a stop in the hallways.
"Alright everyone, see you in the morning!" Aelita cheerfully exclaimed, with a great big wave and smile. She headed up the stairs to the girls dormitories. Ulrich, Odd, and Jeremie each waved goodbye in turn before heading down the hall. When they reached Jeremie's room, he waved goodbye to Odd and Ulrich, then took a seat in front of his computer by the window. A moment later, the last two reached their own dorm room. Ulrich pulled out his key, unlocked the door, and the two went in.
Odd immediately ran over to his bed and pulled out the drawers beneath it, releasing a small dog. The dog, wagging its tail excitedly, jumped up into Odd's waiting arms, assaulting the boy's face with his tongue.
"Ah, hahaha, down Kiwi, down!" cried Odd, now lying back on his bed. Ulrich smiled awkwardly at the two before sitting on his own bed, slipping off his shoes, and kicking back.
"I love my diggity-dog!" Odd was strewn out, keeping his head elevated with one arm while he pet a now curled up Kiwi with the other. "Did you miss me, boy? Yes you did. Hahahaha!"
"Hey Odd?" Ulrich asked, staring up at the ceiling. He propped his head up with both hands and kept one leg bent up at the knee. His eyes looked far away, lost in thought.
"Don't you think X.A.N.A.'s attacks are getting a little… I don't know. Too easy? It's like he's not even trying anymore."
"I know what you mean." Odd nodded, expressing only a serious understanding. Such a thing was incredibly rare for the hyper, silly boy. It was a bit unnerving for Ulrich to see his friend act that way.
"What do you think it means?" Ulrich shifted himself so that he could see Odd, who was now living up to his namesake by letting gravity take off his shirt as he performed a headstand atop his bed.
"Well, I think it's obvious, Ulrich. X.A.N.A.'s giving up! He's finally realized that there's just no beating us. Yup!"
Well, that sure lasted long, Ulrich thought. Even Kiwi seemed to have a hard time swallowing that logic, judging by how he sneezed and shook his head. Ulrich just rolled his eyes and started preparing himself for bed, like his friend.
Jeremie sat in a dark room, illuminated only by the multiple computer monitors he was working at. His fingers shot across the keys expertly. Pausing for a moment, the boy looked at the data displayed on screen. He couldn't make much sense of it, which was infuriating, especially considering how unbelievably intelligent he was. No doubt if his friends saw him like this, they'd insist he put it down and get some sleep, but that wasn't the way Jeremie worked. Once he was set on a problem, he attacked it stubbornly, with single-minded determination, until he had it cracked. This time, however, he felt that he would need some help.
A sudden knock at the door startled the young boy. His heart skipped a beat and he jumped in his seat. When the door began to open, he quickly moved to cover up the information on his monitors, but he was relieved to see that it was Aelita coming in. Jeremie sat back down and focused once more.
"Hey there, Aelita. I hope you didn't let anyone see you come in here. You know Jim would have a fit." He joked. True enough, Jim would not approve of a girl visiting the boy's dormitories after hours, but there was hardly any student that would tell on them. Well, maybe Sissi, but only if she were feeling particularly vindictive that day.
Aelita moved in closer and sat next to Jeremie. Her presence and her smile immediately warmed his heart. Her voice was as comforting as an angel's song. It filled him with confidence.
"I figured you'd be working on this," she said, hanging off of his shoulder. Aelita took a look at the coding that ran down his screens. She recognized it. After all, she was the one to recover it, the last time the group had been virtualized and sent to Lyoko. Still, she couldn't make much sense of it herself.
"Of course," Jeremie replied, rather proud of his never ending vigilance. "I can't seem to make any sense of this code. It came from the deepest core of the super computer, but it doesn't seem to operate on any of the same systems or languages as everything else we've encountered before. It's so strange, almost… Alien."
"You don't have to explain that to me, Jeremie. I'm not Odd." Aelita feigned being offended. It was a joke, and Jeremie thought it was cute enough. She could tell by the little he blushed.
"I didn't come down here just to help you with this, you know. I had other things on my mind, too." She nudged his shoulder just a bit. Jeremie turned to face her, taking his eyes away from the coding for the first time since Aelita had entered his room.
"You should know. I think everyone feels it. X.A.N.A.'s latest attacks are… Too easy. It's like he's trying to distract us from something much bigger." Aelita's eyes were showing an absolute seriousness. She knew the horror X.A.N.A. was capable of better than anyone else.
"I agree," Jeremie nodded. "Last year I would have assumed that this was a ploy by X.A.N.A. to get us to abuse the return to the past so he could keep getting stronger, but since he's escaped into the Net… I don't like it one bit."
The two continued their conversation for nearly two hours. In that time, they made many speculations, and tried to crack the code together, but they couldn't get close to the answer for either. Eventually, they agreed that they should get some sleep and tackle these problems from a new angle in the morning.
It was lunch time at Kadic Academy. A group of five youths sat together at their usual table. Jeremie, Odd, Ulrich, and Aelita welcomed Yumi as she sat her tray down and took her seat.
"So what do you guys think of the new lunch lady, huh?" she asked the group, dipping a fry into some ketchup. "I think she's really nice, and pretty too."
"Bah, shows what you know," Odd scoffed, pointing to his tray, which had only marginally more food on it than the rest of them. "She's so mean that she would deny a growing boy like me my second and third helpings! And she called me small! I'm not small, I'm-"
"Svelte, we know," interrupted Ulrich.
"Right. Point is, where is Rosa? She's really nice and she understands that I'm a growing boy that needs a lot of nourishment. We don't need this lunch lady poser, we deserve the real deal! There should be a protest! Picket signs and rioting in the streets! Who's with me?!" Odd took a dramatic stand with one foot on his chair, one on the table, and his fork held high. Had it not been over something so petty, he might have been a little inspiring.
"Sit down, Odd. You're making a fool of yourself." Yumi shook her head and Ulrich pulled Odd down by the sleeve. The boy grumbled as he dug into his food, which all seemed to vanish in seconds.
Twenty minutes later, the bell rang and it was time for classes. The group said goodbye to Yumi again as she headed to her history class. Meanwhile, Ulrich, Odd, Jeremie, and Aelita took off for science with Ms. Hertz.
"You shouldn't be all gloomy, Ulrich. You'll get to see Yumi again after class, big boy!" Odd said, half-joking, half-serious. Jeremie smiled and Aelita chuckled at her friend's antics. Ulrich was not so amused.
"What are you talking about, Odd? How many times do I have to tell you that there is absolutely nothing going on between Yumi and me? We're just good friends, that's all." Ulrich had to admit, saying the words himself really stung.
"Riiiiiiiight, whatever you say, Romeo." Odd gave his friend a slap on the back and hurried ahead of the group, walking backwards toward class so he could face them all. "Just one little science class with Ms. Hertz, and the gang will be back together again, right? We have any missions today, Einstein?"
Jeremie shook his head at Odd. "Not today, sorry. Not unless X.A.N.A. attacks. I'm still trying to make sense of that code Aelita got the last time you all went to the Net."
"Aaaaw maaan! I guess I'll just have to find some other way of curing my boredom today. I already know what's going to get me through Ms. Hertz's class. A nice nap!"
The group turned and entered Ms. Hertz's science lab, but they did not see Ms. Hertz inside. Instead there was a man sitting at her desk, a most peculiar man. He wore a tweed jacket and red bow tie, with his hair parted with a fringe. He sat with both legs crossed up on the desk and read through some papers, most likely the class curriculum, with a pair of thin glasses. Once the class had entered, the young man stood up and addressed them all.
"Good day, students. Ms. Hertz won't be here for the foreseeable future, on account of having won a cruise through the Mediterranean. I'm your substitute teacher, Doctor John Smith. But you can just call me Doctor." The Doctor gave a cheery wink at the class and his mouth curled up into the most child-like smile one could imagine.