By WebMaster Noah
Cry For Help
By Andy (in an email to Agent Tilly Waterson one week ago)
I’ve been Captain Americut for about a month now. Since then, I have been on many missions for F.O.L.D. I’ve been sent to capture test cheaters, I’ve chaperoned middle school field trips, I’ve done…other…things. I don’t know. To be honest, it’s been kind of boring.
You know, as Captain Americut, I thought I’d be doing more. Taking down bullies, drug busting (it’s a problem, probably), important stuff. At this point, I’ve been an overhyped hall monitor. I want to do more. To be honest, I kind of want something to happen so I can finally be a hero.
Could you do anything to help me out, Tilly?
P.S. I still haven’t finished designing Captain Americut, so don’t bother asking.
This Isn’t Good
By Agent Tilly
So, yeah…we have a big problem.
The Standards of Learning Tests are coming up. Those are the huge, statewide tests where we see where our school stacks up on the national level. If we do well, the school continues to get funded, we get to keep all of our regular classes plus electives, and everything is great. If we fail the tests, the standard goes down, we lose funding and we have to cut classes out of the school, which usually means electives and stuff.
The Standards of Learning are extremely important to F.O.L.D., because we’ve been going for so long that we’re considered an official elective by the school proper, even if we operate mostly in secret. Almost every teacher and member of the faculty at Kirby was a member of F.O.L.D. when they were a kid. Of course, there are exceptions, but none too major to list.
If Kirby fails the Standards of Learning, we get electives cut, and F.O.L.D. might die. That would not be good for anybody. Thankfully, Kirby students are usually a very smart bunch. We’ve never been at the threat of closure before.
Until this year.
The whole grading system at our school is electronic. It’s very intuitive and advanced, and we’re all pretty proud of it. We perform the tests, the teachers input the answers in the computers, and the grades come out, crisp, clean and concise. But, being that it is technology, it’s susceptible to failures…or worse.
It started last week. At the end of the week, I got my report card, took it home and looked over it with my parents. I don’t mean to brag, but I’m a fairly ‘Straight A’ student. But, to my horror, over every single subject was a malicious-looking ‘F’. I couldn’t believe it, and my mom and dad couldn’t either. It had to be a mistake. Or, I just had a very off week.
I returned to school on Monday pretty upset. But, I was determined to fix this problem. What I didn’t expect was to see every student I passed with the same look of melancholy sadness on their faces…including one of the smartest people in the school, Clark Largent.
“What’s wrong, Clark?” I asked, passing him in the hall. He was slurping a coffee and looking over a slip of paper with his girlfriend, Emily Madison.
He looked up at me, seemingly pretty annoyed. “Good morning, Tilly. Being one of the heads of F.O.L.D., and seeing as F.O.L.D. has their finger in every little thing that goes on at this school,” he held up the paper so I could examine it for myself, “Could you explain why I went all the way from ‘A+’s to stinking ‘F’s?”
I took the paper, which turned out to be his report card, from his hand. It looked exactly like mine, with the big red ‘F’s stamped on every subject, like soul-crushing brands of pain.
“It’s the same with mine, as well,” Emily said, handing me her report card. Again, it looked just like mine.
“This is bad…” I murmured. “We have to go see Trent- er, Director Adams.”
Clark and Emily nodded, and the three of us headed down to the basement. We found Trent standing next to his laptop, monitoring…something.
“Tilly, great to have you,” he said, turning to look at us. His eyepatch was just slightly off kilter, so I could see his second brown eye underneath. “We have a situation.”
In answer, I held up both of Clark and Emily’s report cards, then fished mine out of my backpack. “I’ve noticed.”
“What the heck is going on, Trent?” Clark asked, indignantly. He took a big swig of coffee before continuing. “This could really hurt my college transcript unless this is fixed.”
Trent began typing away at his laptop, apparently monitoring something. Emily, who was known for her computer skills, walked over beside him.
“What’s with that internet spike on Thursday night?” she asked. “Nobody is supposed to be in the school that late.”
“And you’ve stuck to that rule hard and fast, haven’t you?” Trent chuckled. Emily grinned, sheepishly, before turning back to the screen.
“This means that somebody was here on Thursday, using the Kirby internet.”
“And when are all of the report cards graded at this school?” Trent asked, rhetorically.
Clark gasped, in spite of himself. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“Somebody has been hacking our grades.”
“Yeah, okay. That sucks,” Clark muttered.
“And this was found in the teacher’s computer room,” he continued. It was a patch with a big, bright blue ‘W’ on the front. One that could only have been on a Wheeler jacket. Clark was now fully invested in the conversation.
“Okay, so, what is the plan for this one?” he asked, suddenly very focused.
“Well, I just got a new team-” I started, remembering our previous adventure.
“They’re a good team,” Trent interrupted, “But not the ones for this job. They operate more in the shadows. This is a very public problem, and I want a very public solution.”
Trent readjusted his eyepatch, then faced Clark directly.
“Do you have Iron Fold, Clark?”
“Of course, why?”
“It might be time to form the OrigAvengers.”
Clark choked on his drink.
The Best Idea
Let me be honest; this made sense.
However, I was not at all ready to start working with a team. I was working perfectly fine on my own.
“Sir, do you really think this is the best idea?” I asked. “If Wheeler really did this, why don’t we just attack them back?”
“That’s not how we work, Mr. Largent. That’s not how you work, either, if I remember correctly.”
“That was different! This is a huge deal. Why don’t we just hack them back?”
Trent paused and glared at him. “The best I can do explain it is that there are kids like you and me at Wheeler. But there are also kids like the ones who sabotaged the grades at Kirby. Kids who wouldn’t hesitate to give Wheeler worse than what they gave us. The innocents don’t deserve it.”
Trent led us out of the basement, as it was time to go to class. “And besides, Clark, a couple of your teammates are Wheeler alumni.”
“Ask Tilly. See you later, Clark. I’m almost late for Physics.” Trent rounded the hallway, still wearing the eyepatch.
“Does he ever take that off?” I asked Tilly.
“I don’t think so. It gives him such a ‘Man of Mystery’ look, doesn’t it?” Tilly looked smiled, happily.
“Hello, Tilly?” Emily said, waving her hand in front of our dazed comrade’s face.
“Oh, yeah, the rest of the team. Sorry.” Tilly held out her ever-present clipboard, which had four different slips of paper clipped to it. Apparently, they were student files, as a file about me was the one on top. I was slightly offended; the picture for me was awful. “The OrigAvengers have slowly been forming these last few months, and I’m not just talking about you.”
She lifted up my sheet to a page about a girl named ‘Ally Weber.’
“She’s the Unshreddible Hulk,” Tilly explained. “She transferred here from Wheeler last month. She’s cool, but a tiny bit shy.”
She turned to a page that was about two people, a guy and a girl. So, I guess the team includes five people, then? “These two are Jesse Rodriguez and Jessica Smith-Holt, but the two are basically inseparable so we save time by calling them ‘Jesseca’. They’ve been freelance F.O.L.D. Agents for a while, and part of my own awesome team. Jesse has Hawkpleats and Jessica has an Origami Black Widow.”
She turned to the last page, about another F.O.L.D. Agent, a guy I’d actually seen walking around the school. He sort of acted like a hall monitor, looking over people’s’ shoulders to make sure nothing bad was happening. It got pretty annoying. He once busted me for eating one of the ‘banned’ sweets on the front lawn. (I was eating a beautiful chocolate Ding Dong…Andy grabbed it and just threw it away. I still haven’t forgiven him.) “Andy Gardner is actually the newest origami wielder here. He has just been given Captain Americut. He’s also really cool.”
“Fantastic,” I muttered. “So, how the heck am I supposed to get us together?”
Tilly shrugged. “Well, I can give you their phone numbers. Beyond that…to be honest, I never thought we’d get this far along.”
“That is really reassuring.”
Tilly walked off, leaving me and Emily behind.
“So, what are you going to do?” Emily asked me.
“No idea. Where’s Robby? He’s better at this kind of thing.”
“He’s in Colorado, remember?”
“Oh, yeah.” I shuffled my feet for a bit. “Could you do something?”
Emily rolled her eyes. “No, Clark. This is your job. You started this, so you’ve gotta bring this whole thing to fruition.”
“I really hate it when you make sense.”
Conversation recorded by Jessica Holt, on official F.O.L.D. mission
Place: Striker’s Bowling Alley
Time: 4:00 EDT
Jessica: Jesse, focus.
Jesse: I am focused.
Jessica: You have not taken your eyes off of those cheese curds since you got here.
Jesse: If you honestly expect me to ignore a steaming batch of cheese curds like the ones in front of me you don’t know me at all.
Jessica: You disgust me.
Jesse: Love you too.
(Bell above bowling alley door rings. Sound of footsteps. Sound of a thud. Sound of scuffling on the floor.)
Jesse: Did you see those reflexes? Tell me that wasn’t an awesome move.
Jessica: You stuck your foot out, tripped him and then sat on him.
The Kid Jesse is sitting on: Let me go, jerks!
(Sound of Jesse picking kid up and sitting him at the table.)
Jessica: So, Mr. Malcolm Grant, is it, do you or do you not go to Wheeler Academy?
Malcolm: Yes, I go to Wheeler. What’s the deal?
Jessica: Has there been any plans going around Wheeler for a major strike against Kirby?
Malcolm: No, why?
Jessica: We’re asking the questions here.
Malcolm: Well, why are you attacking me for answers?
Jesse: Dude, you’re the smartest guy at Wheeler. You’ve planned so many attacks it’s staggering. Plus, you always come here after school and they have the best cheese curds in town, so we thought we’d kill two birds with one stone, you know?
Jessica: He thought.
Malcolm: I don’t know where you got your info, but nothing is being planned or enacted at the moment. Granted, I wouldn’t tell you if there was, but I’m not a liar. So, leave me alone. I’ve got some bowling to do.
(Sound of kid getting up from table. Sound of cheese curds being crunched.)
Jesse (with mouth full.): So, do you trust him?
Jessica: Not fully. There was no sign that he was lying, so…I don’t know.
Jesse: That’s weird. You’re always so sure-of-yourself, calm, collected…ah, man, I got Hawkpleats greasy.
Jessica: Jesse, you’re an idiot.
What’s up? Only THE END OF THE WORLD.
Not really, but close.
So, a big morning assembly was called this morning. It had to deal with the now infamous grade-hacking scandal.
The gym was full of kids, as they all got situated in their bleachers. There was a small podium with a mic in the center of the gym, which Principal Ainsley stood at. When all the commotion, died down, he did a mic check then started to speak.
“Good morning, kids. Thank you for being so punctual about this impromptu assembly. Most of you already know why this assembly has been called. It has to do with the hacking scandal, which we believe was pulled off by students of Wheeler Academy.”
For those who didn’t know what was going on, this was outrageous. Even the kids that knew the whole story weren’t any happier. ‘Boo’s were bellowed, jeers were thrown, and some of the worst insults I’d ever heard were uttered. High school, man. It’s a rough place.
“Quiet down! Yes, it’s terrible, but we must keep level heads about this. Let’s not overreact about the whole situation,” Ainsley shouted, trying to keep the peace.
“On the contrary, Principal Ainsley,” a calm, crisp and clear voice shouted over the din. I would know that voice anywhere; his attempt to take over Wheeler was legendary by now. “It’s a fight they want, so it’s a fight they’ll get.”
None other than Judah Decassius stepped down from the bleachers onto the court. I hadn’t seen him in months; his suspension had obviously ended. His failure hadn’t hurt his confidence, obviously; he strutted out onto the court like a circus ringmaster. His hair was shorter and he was even a bit more muscular. His face looked really determined. Just seeing him made my blood boil. Someone was walking behind him, too…no way. Was that Nard Broderick? His attempt to paint-bomb Wheeler was legendary, too.
Ironically, knowing my place as the Unshreddible Hulk helped keep my anger in check. I wouldn’t make a scene right now, even though I really wanted to. Hulk himself was in my pocket, his head barely sticking out.
“Principal, if I may?” Jude asked when he got to the podium.
“Only for five minutes, young man. Don’t think we haven’t forgotten your previous stunt,” the principal replied.
“That’s all I need,” Jude replied, smiling.
Ainsley stepped back, rolling his eyes, while Jude took full control of the microphone. Nard stepped behind him. “Wheeler has been relentless in the attacks performed against the school, haven’t they, Kirby?”
A few “Yeah!”s could be heard around the gymnasium.
“It’s never stopped, ever since the ‘40’s, when their own blatant racism and prejudice started the war. We’ve been way too accommodating of it over the years, I’d say. Sure, we’ve launched our fair share of attacks, but nothing like this. Even those of us who try to strike back are punished for it, like my friend Nard here.” Jude gestured to Nard, who stepped forward, looking very solemn.
“Wheeler students constantly bullied my older sister when she was a student here,” Nard started. “All I wanted to do was get back at them, but some Wheeler apologists stopped me.” He pointed dramatically at Clark Largent, one of the ‘apologists’ in question.
Clark stood up, quickly. “For your information, Nard was being pretty extreme. I totally would have let him paint the school if I’d known this was coming.” He sat back down again. I noticed his girlfriend punch him hard in the arm. I would have punched him, too. Wasn’t he Iron Fold, one of the first ‘revived’ heroes at Kirby? He wasn’t supposed to be such a wuss like that.
Jude returned to the podium. “Even I have been told to sit down and shut up after trying to strike against our enemy. After trying to show Wheeler the error of it’s ways and make it more like our own beloved school, I was beaten by it’s students and suspended, here, for what I’d done. That is not what I call fair. And after what happened last night, we couldn’t possibly have that happen again, now could we?
“So, what say you, students of Kirby High, that we launch a final, once and for all attack against our enemy? Give ’em a taste of their own medicine, or…worse?”
I couldn’t believe it. Jude had probably been waiting for an opportunity like this, to get his revenge on Wheeler for the problems he caused. This whole prospect was terrifying to me; Wheeler was my home school, after all. I still had friends there! I almost started to break down. But, Jude had a way with crowds, I’ll admit. They ate up every single word he said and at this last call-to-arms, the entire gym erupted with enthusiasm. I scanned the crowd for anybody I knew, and sure enough I saw a good amount of reactions from my friends.
Tilly looked dazed, even dropping her clipboard. Andy was scowling. And there was Jasmine…I hadn’t talked to her a lot lately, but I felt better seeing her as mad as I was.
So…we are going to battle. That isn’t good.
Immediately after the assembly, Clark Largent ran up to me.
“Meet on tomorrow morning after school. We’ve got some things to discuss.”
“What- why would I meet with you after what you said in there, traitor?”
Clark shuffled his feet, nervously. “I was saving face. We’re about to go public and we don’t need such bad PR this early.”
“‘Going public’? ‘Bad PR?’ Who or what are you even talking about?”
Clark handed me a card. It had a big letter ‘A’ on the front, styled just like the Avengers symbol. Suddenly, I knew exactly what this was about. “Tomorrow morning,” he repeated.
“But-” I sputtered. “Why not this afternoon or something?”
“I’ve got a date with my girlfriend! Wouldn’t dare cancel.”
That was the last I saw of him until the next day.
So, I didn’t leave right away to get ready for my date (an afternoon screening of a new movie starring Roxie something or other, Emily had picked it out), because I had my own agenda at the moment; talking to Jude.
I found him in the hall next to the trophy case, Nard right behind him. They were waving and shaking hands like politicians. It was weird.
“Mr. Decassius?” I asked.
Nard stepped in front of me, blocking my path. “Jude, this looks like a potential threat.”
“Nard, you idiot, move over right now or I will-”
“That won’t be necessary,” Jude said calmly. Nard stepped aside and allowed me through.
“So, Jude, what’s your game?” I asked. “I’ve seen your work. It’s pretty impressive. You’ve always got huge elaborate schemes. So what’s the plan here?”
“Payback, of course. Just payback, plain and simple.”
“I’ve read your F.O.L.D. file. You don’t work plain and simple.”
Jude shrugged. “Okay, maybe I have a few things running behind the scenes, but aside from that I saw an opportunity and took it. I’ve been looking for revenge against Wheeler and this came up. Carpe diem, as they say.”
“That was on Phineas and Ferb once,” I replied. “Wait, so, you’re not the bad guy here?”
Jude couldn’t believe it. “Of course not! I’m the one working for Kirby to defeat it’s enemy.”
“Oh, well, okay then.”
I walked away, thinking it over. He sounded great and I didn’t see anything wrong with the plans.
Maybe the OrigAvengers weren’t supposed to stop him, but to join him.
Chillin’ At Wendy’s
Me, Dove and Adrian were all hanging out at Wendy’s on Monday night, as was the weekly standard. Technically, this was a weekly date for me and Dove. But, since Dove and Adrian are best friends, and Adrian is a really trustworthy guy, my parents and Dove’s parents agreed to send him on our dates to act as a chaperone. I didn’t like the idea at first, but he doesn’t do much to ruin the date, and he’s a pretty fun third-wheel!
So, End of the School Year plans is what we were discussing tonight. I’m the head of the Student Body Government still, so I explained how we were planning a final dance for the last week of the month. Every dance is themed, and the theme this year was Under the Sea! It’s going to be awesome!
I could tell the boys couldn’t care less about it, though. The conversation was already getting a bit uncomfortable too, because we started dancing around the subject of graduation, and neither me or Dove want to think about that…
“The dance will for sure be wonderful, Shelby,” Dove reassured. “Would you like to be my date to the dance?”
I giggled. He was so cute. “Of course, Mr. MacLeash. I would be honored.” Dove blushed. Adrian rolled his eyes.
“You guys are kind of…sickly-sweet adorable,” he said, laughing.
Dove blinked. “Is…that bad?”
Adrian playfully punched him in the shoulder. “Nah, man. It’s just like you guys are meant to be.”
“Ah, then yes. We are sickly-sweet adorable!” Dove announced.
At that moment, Adrian’s phone rang, some synthesized song. He answered.
“Uh huh. Oh. Yeah, that stinks. Okay. Cool.” He hung up and put the phone in his pocket.
“What is the matter?” Dove asked.
“Big problem at Kirby. We think it might have something to do with your archenemy.” Adrian looked at Dove. “And, they might need your help.”
The First Assemblance
I think I might finally have a job.
Obviously, it’s related to the hacking. Now, also related to Jude. I’d read the F.O.L.D. file on that guy; he was devious. I refused to believe his motives were to help the school.
Anyway, that afternoon I got a text from a number I didn’t recognize. All it said was ‘Meet on the playground before school tomorrow. By the way, this is Clark.”
Clark Largent, the Iron Fold. This had to do with the OrigAvengers, I was sure of it.
I was right.
I arrived at the playground, bright and early. I was the first one there, which didn’t put my faith in our leadership at ease. A good leader always has to be the first to arrive and the last to leave.
Two kids arrived soon after. One was a blonde girl, looking annoyed and sleepy, the other a shorter red haired boy, equally irritated. I had seen both of them around the F.O.L.D. base, always together.
“Morning,” I greeted.
“Wassup, Red,” the boy replied, noting my bright red hair.
“The name’s Andy. Yours?”
The boy climbed onto the nearby monkey bars and hung upside down, to apparently jog his senses. “Woo, head rush, “ he muttered. “Oh, yeah, uh, I’m Jesse. The grumpy one is Jessica. You must be the new Captain Americrease.”
“Americut, actually,” I corrected.
The girl glared at Jesse. She still didn’t say anything.
“So, are you guys a part of the OrigAvengers?” I asked.
Jessica rolled her eyes, which slightly offended me. “No way I’d be here if I wasn’t.”
“Ooooookay…” I muttered. “What’s your, uh, puppets?”
“I have Hawkpleats,” Jesse announced, pulling a smushed purple puppet out of his pocket. I noted how he’d gone for the old comics design, with the dumb purple face wings.
“I have Black Widow,” Jessica said, producing her own puppet. It was more movie-accurate, specifically based on the Winter Soldier design with straighter, longer hair. I appreciated that, as that costume was my favorite from the movies.
“You have your puppet?” Jesse asked.
“Uh…It’s not finished yet,” I replied.
“Not finished?” Jessica asked. “Why?”
“I’m too worried I’ll screw it up.”
Nobody said anything for a while. It was pretty awkward, with Jesse messing with Jessica and I having no one to talk to. I leaned against the school’s wall and waited. Just waited.
Thankfully I didn’t wait too long as another girl walked onto the playground. Again, thankfully, I knew who she was. This was Ally Weber, the Unshreddible Hulk, someone I had actually recruited to F.O.L.D. I waved to her and she waved back. She walked over to where I was standing, avoiding eye-contact with Jesse and Jessica, who were now arguing about which Doctor was the best.
“So, how’s hero work treating you?” I asked.
“It’s been fine,” she said, quietly. “I mean, it’s about what I expected. Kinda boring. Aside from the big speech, there’s not much for an origami wielder to do.”
“Of course there is,” I replied, slightly surprised. “It doesn’t really matter that we have origami figures. Granted, it’s fairly dorky. But the origami figures help to show the other kids that we’re the protectors of the school. That’s the reason we have the Marvel superheroes; they fight the jerks so the regular people don’t have to. We’re not rebelling against some bad regime, we’re not just waving them around for fun. We have been given the duty to protect the kids of this school, and I believe the duty to protect Wheeler, too. There’s injustice everywhere, and you should be doing your best to fight it day in and day out.”
Ally looked at me, a bit taken aback. Jesse and Jessica had stopped fighting to listen, apparently. And, while I was talking, Clark had finally shown up. He was giving me the finger guns.
“Beautiful speech, Captain America. Nice work. Okay, on to brass tacks.”
Jesse’s hand shot up. “Before we continue, I vote Red over there for team leader.”
“He can’t be the leader, he’s the newest one out of all of us.”
“He’s obviously the wisest,” Jessica added. “And way better looking than you.” I blushed.
“Okay, shut up,” Clark said, exasperated. “I’ve been here the longest, I’m the one that got you all here, and I am by far the best looking one here. I’m Iron Man, he’s the best. You guys are just the supporting characters like Captain America, Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow. I’m the leader.”
“It’s okay, Red, we all know you’re the real leader,” Jesse not-so-subtly whispered.
“This does not give me faith in our ability as a team,” Ally groaned. I agreed.
“Quiet, all of you,” Clark commanded. “Okay, so, the problem at hand is that Wheeler is hacking our grades and we have to do something about it. Who’s votes joining the Mob For Wheeler’s Annihilation?” Clark himself raised his hand. I couldn’t believe it. Did he not hear a word I said?
“Actually,” Ally interrupted, “I think we should be stopping the Declarations of Total Destruction. I’m from Wheeler, I know what it’s like there. They’re not all bad kids.”
“I agree with Ally,” Jessica added. “Some people there are jerks, idiots, and (My note: she called them something bad so I’m editing it out). We have all of those at Kirby, too. Kirby and Wheeler have both pulled stunts like that; whatever happens, they should be given the same, equal consequence.”
“Now, wait a second, Jess,” Jesse said, “We’ve never pulled something as bad as attempting to kill any student’s hopes and dreams of a bright future. You were nearly brainwashed over there.”
“It was a cover, dork. Don’t tell me you’re agreeing with the Iron Warmonger over there?” Jessica replied, indignantly.
“Quiet, both of you,” I butted in. “While I may not agree with Clark’s idea, we’re still a team. We should function as a team. As such, let’s put this to a vote. Raise your hand if you’re for Kirby and Kirby only.”
Clark raised his hand. Jesse raised it slowly, trying and failing to ignore the infuriated look from Jessica.
“Now, who’s for Kirby and Wheeler?”
I raised my hand, of course. So did Ally and Jessica.
“Okay, so, majority rules. We fight for both schools. I feel like that’s a good place to end the meeting on. Homeroom starts in five minutes, anyway.”
So, we ended the first meeting of the OrigAvengers on a fairly sour note; Jessica kept giving Jesse the death glare and Clark looked disgusted at the losers he’d wound up with. Me and Ally were cheerful on the way to class, though.
It’s Bad At Kirby
What’s up, again? Well, what’s up is that the hacking stuff is leading to even worse stuff.
I was in History Class with Mrs. Holzkamper. We’d been studying major conflicts, and today the subject was Pearl Harbor. I really did not like how apparently ‘applicable’ some kids found it.
“Very quick, simple pop quiz; who bombed Pearl Harbor?”
A kid behind me answered “Japan.”
“Correct,” Mrs. Holzkamper replied. “Why was Operation Z, as the Japanese called it, launched?”
I knew, but I hated to raise my hand in public. Nobody else seemed to know the answer. Mrs. Holzkamper waited a bit longer before explaining.
“Operation Z was launched as a preventative measure to make sure the US Pacific Fleet wouldn’t be able to move, so the Fleet wouldn’t be able to do anything about Japan’s planned attacks on various US allies. Why did this go very wrong, from the Japanese point of view?”
This time, a ton of hands went up. Everybody knew this answer.
“Ah, yes, Jasmine, what’s the answer?”
I glanced at Jasmine on the other side of the classroom. Since the Speech, she was kind of ignored. I was kind of proud of her for answering at all.
“The day after the attack the US declared war on Japan,” Jasmine began. “This led to Japan being on the losing side of the war and losing Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”
“Very good. And so-”
A kid in the back interrupted, “So, the enemy attacked and that’s when America went nuts?”
“I’d say so, yes,” Mrs. Holzkamper replied. “Until that point, America had done it’s best to remain neutral in the war. It wasn’t until Pearl Harbor that they decided to fight.”
“And that turned out to be the best course of action, right?”
I could see where this was going and I didn’t like it.
“So, if someone who we’ve been way too nice to makes a devastating attack against us, shouldn’t we have the right to do the same?” Some kids around him seemed to agree.
Mrs. Holzkamper finally caught on, and she felt the same way I did. “Okay, kids, the grade hacking in very bad. However, I’ve heard some of your plans. You may not go to Wheeler with sledgehammers and try to destroy everything in your path. That is both illegal and nonsensical.”
“But it’s the Pearl Harbor method,” the kid replied. “And that attack won the war for the US.”
“You know it!” someone shouted.
“I totally agree,” someone else added.
Finally, I was sick of it. I stood up and turned around. “SHUT UP, all of you. Wheeler doesn’t deserve this anymore than Kirby does, so stop it!”
“Oh, look, Weber is Hulking out,” the annoying kid snickered to his friend. Suddenly, I realized what I was doing and quickly sat down. I looked up at Mrs. Holzkamper and she smiled at me, so that gave me a bit of a confidence boost.
It’s Bad At Wheeler
It has been awhile since I wrote a chapter for a story such as this, but I was told to do so to record the events taking place.
I learned things at Kirby were pretty horrible later, what with preventing a war march, but it was even worse here at Wheeler.
First and foremost, I do not believe that anybody at Wheeler Academy would perform an action so devious as mess with the grading system at Kirby. Up until this point, the troublemakers have only been pulling pranks against the students of Kirby. Nothing so serious as actually illegal hacking. I do not believe the hacking actually was done by Wheeler students.
Here is why: Adrian was given a tip from…someone, he didn’t say, that my old enemy Judah Decassius was in charge of the event. That possibility fits Jude very well; manipulative, very charismatic, and vengeful. Jude had been cast out of Wheeler at the peak of power by myself, and he would want revenge. This opportunity, if it went well, would utterly obliterate Wheeler if the threats the students have received are any indication.
However, that is not the point of this chapter. This chapter is supposed to tell you what is going on at Wheeler.
Students are actually scared, I believe. Just like Kirby, many students genuinely love going to school here, and the threat of a forced closure weighs heavy on all of their minds. Of course, the ‘bad eggs’ as you say here in America are planning some way to violently stop this impending doom, but most of the kids, good kids, I might add, just want the school to stay open.
My girlfriend, Shelby, who, as the head of the Student Body Government, is usually very calm under pressure, is worried. She has poured countless hours into making this school a very fun place, trying to wipe away the influence of its early days, and make it a very loving and accepting place for all kids.
Even I am worried. Wheeler is the only American school I have ever attended, yet it feels like home. It is far better than any school Iceland has to offer, at least. I am worried that if the school is closed, I will have to return to Iceland for a long time.
When I told Shelby of this possibility, she was very upset. For a moment, she fished around her purse before pulling out an origami puppet. She wielded the Allfather of Asgard, Foldin (origami Odin, of course) which fit very well with her managerial position. She looked me in the eyes, very closely, and I felt compelled to pull out my own puppet, Thorigami.
“Thorigami, my son,” Shelby said in a very funny impression of Foldin. (She was probably doing it to keep my spirits up.) “You must do whatever you can to stop the closure of this school. Unlike Asgard, Wheeler is a place, not a people. It must not close.”
“Of course, Allfather,” I responded in my best impression of Chris Hemsworth. (It was not very good either.)
“Seriously, Dove,” Shelby said in his normal voice. “Don’t let the school close. You were able to stop Jude before, so I know you can do this too.” She gave me a very big hug. I hugged her back.
“I will do my best,” I murmured, a sudden wave of emotion almost making me cry.
Suddenly, I realized that I had no idea what to do. So, I needed an idea. Thankfully, I had my friend Adrian to help me out. I went to seek him out at his regular post; guarding the trophy case. He cared much for Wheeler, even though he was technically a Kirby student. He wanted the war to stop, and he was a big supporter of unifying the school. The fact that he knew what went on at Kirby mostly at all times was a very useful skill, too. I was proud to have him as a best friend.
“What do you require, Foldinson?” he greeted, in a pretend British accent. He held Heimdollar proudly on his finger.
“Assistance is what I need, my friend.”
“Just ask and I will provide it.”
“What do I do about Kirby?”
Adrian thought for a moment. “Hmm…I think I have an idea. “
You gotta hand it to the students for waiting until school hours were over to start a war rally.
As soon as school let out, almost nobody left. Most people went out behind the school, where Jude Decassius was leading what looked like a rally to inspire Kirby’s students to war. You’d think that would go against school rules, but I guess not. I’ve just stopped questioning things at this point.
If I’m being honest, Jude didn’t seem that bad. He seemed a bit haughty and self-important, but he was charismatic, smart, and able to get things done. I was half-tempted to join his cause, but what kept me back was the fact that he was working with Nard. Nard was still as soft-spoken as ever, and was still standing behind Jude like a bodyguard. Gosh, I hated that guy.
“Wheeler thinks they can stamp us into the ground. Let’s show them that’s the biggest mistake they’ve ever made!” Jude cried. The crowd shouted in agreement, mostly.
“What about F.O.L.D.?” one kid asked.
Jude smiled in reply. “F.O.L.D. as an organization doesn’t do much. It couldn’t prevent this attack, so I think you all should just forget about it!”
Emily came running up to me.
“Well?” she asked, expectantly.
“Well, what?” I responded.
“This is your job. Fix it.”
I started pushing through the thick crowd to get to Jude’s makeshift stage, a chipped concrete slab leftover from Kirby’s construction.
“Show those Wheel-idiots who’s boss!” Jude shouted, once again garnering cheers.
“Let’s, uh, not that,” I interrupted. I jumped up onto the slab.
“Clark,” Nard, who was also on the podium, sneered. “Nice to see you again.”
“You know, I was really hoping I’d gotten rid of you, but you’re like a popcorn kernel stuck in my teeth. You just won’t leave.”
“I see you’ve just gotten snarkier, if that’s even possible,” Nard shot back. I ignored him, remembering my mission. I turned to the crowd.
“Okay, so, Kirbians, maybe assault isn’t the best idea. There has to be a peaceful resolution to this. Or even a different, less violent one, where I’m not involved.”
“He’s right!” Emily shouted, supportively. I rolled my eyes. I couldn’t help glancing around the crowd, looking for any of my teammates. Why weren’t they jumping to help? My question was answered a second later as Andy came stumbling around the side of the building, looking kind of beat up with a giant black eye.
“What happened to you?” I asked.
“Some big guys wouldn’t let me out to see this rally,” Andy explained, stepping onto the slab. “So, I pushed my way through, and one of them punched me in the face.” He pointed to his black eye.
“Looking good, Red,” Jesse shouted, he too coming around the building pulling a guy much bigger than him behind him. Jessica held another guy by the ear. Ally was walking behind them. “Just so you know, Ally did this without even throwing a punch. She is fierce.” Ally sheepishly grinned, looking a bit shy.
Suddenly, I realized I recognized the ‘guards’; they were the same two guys who busted my Mindstorms bot awhile ago! Sure, I’d stopped them from getting paint-splattered, but I still hadn’t gotten over Dummy’s death.
“What the heck are they doing here?” I shouted at Jude.
“They’re still friends of Nard,” Jude said, looking surprised. “They are still students of Wheeler, too.”
Jude turned to the audience. “So, these White Knights apparently share the same ideals as we do! As you can see, even they aren’t above beating up Wheeler students!”
Andy stepped up front. “Now wait a second. We didn’t know these were Wheeler students, so Ally would have beaten them up anyway, probably.” Ally shrugged to confirm Andy’s claim. “And why were they stationed there in the first place? Obviously, Jude didn’t want us out here, did you, Jude?” Andy turned and glowered at the leader of the rally. I had to admit, Jude had played us and played us well.
Jude just grinned in answer to Andy’s questioning as the crowd of students started to boo us.
“Nothing different, is there?” one person shouted.
“More proof that we should get on with it!” another replied.
“Hypocrites!” people started chanting.
Andy looked around in horror. Jesse and Jessica joined us on stage, closely followed by Ally.
“Seems like you’re not popular with the crowd, OrigAvengers,” Jude sneered. “I’d suggest getting rid of them,” Jude said, addressing the crowd. “They’re obviously the real troublemakers here.” Jude and Nard, left the slab, taking the two Wheeler grunts with them.
Some big kids jumped onto the slab to grab us, probably to hang us all on the flagpole or some other dastardly way of making sure we didn’t mess with their plans. The rest of the crowd dispersed, probably not wanting to get caught watching a fight and doing nothing.
“Get off the stage, losers,” one, a guy I recognized as Jameson Tanner, growled. Jameson was a huge member of the football team, always pulling pranks of Wheeler students. It didn’t surprise me that he was on Jude’s side.
“Nice work, Sparkplug,” Jesse said, looking at me.
“Not appreciated,” I shot back.
“Now, guys, let’s think about this,” Andy said, calmly, trying to diffuse the situation. “Violence only breeds more violence.”
“Only if the other guy gets back up,” Jameson replied. “That won’t be a problem with you.” He threw a powerful punch, sending Andy to the floor.
“We just lost Red,” Jesse murmured.
“Serves him right,” I muttered.
“We can still take them,” Jessica replied.
“Take us? You guys are all a foot smaller than us,” Jameson said, chuckling.
“However, I am not,” a European voice said.
Suddenly, one of Jameson’s buddies was thrown backward by a big fist, belonging to an equally big guy. He had blonde hair and an origami puppet on his finger. It looked like…Thor?
“My name is Dove, and this is Thorigami,” he said, courageously. “These kids are the protectors of Kirby, and I’m the protector of Wheeler. Thus, we are allies and you are our enemies. Understood?”
The new guy, Dove, bent down and helped Andy back to his feet. Andy’s lip was bleeding.
“Eh, so you guys have got a big guy on your side,” Jameson said, practically yawning. “Won’t matter.”
“Oh yeah?” Andy said, wiping blood from his lip. “OrigAvengers, assemble. You too, New Kid.”
“Of course,” Dove replied.
“Hey!” I interrupted, quite angry. “That’s my line!”
“Since when?” Andy replied.
“Since I’m the leader!”
“Fine, say it then.”
“No, no,” I groaned, turning to face Jameson. “You ruined it already.”
The Second Assemblance Plus One
I’ll admit it; we would’ve been toast.
However, the arrival of Dove gave us a fighting chance, even though 5 of us were way smaller than the big guy and his gang.
“Okay, guys, go for Jameson. He’s the biggest, and the toughest, probably,” Clark ordered.
“No, go for his two lackeys, three to a guy,” Andy re-ordered. “Do you see the size of their muscles? They’ll be the minibosses to the easier mega-boss.”
“Sure thing, Red,” Jesse replied.
“For crying out loud!” Clark shouted, exasperated.
“You do realize we can hear you, right?” one of Jameson’s friends said.
“Um….totally,” Clark said, not-so-confidently.
“Go!” Andy shouted.
One of the guys dove in my direction. I jumped backwards, really trying to avoid a fight. Since what had happened at Wheeler, I’d become wary of any physical confrontations.
“Thanks for the warm-up, actually,” the guy said, getting into a boxing stance. “This is great practice for our fight against the Wheeler kids.”
“Yeah, uh, sure, goon-dude.” I wasn’t good with snappy comebacks.
“‘Goon dude’? I’m offended. We’re not just random muscle-heads.”
The Goon dude looked pretty annoyed. “Of course not. We all have names. Mine is Brody.”
“Oh, sorry.” Realizing a me fighting was unavoidable at this point, I threw a punch. However, Brody grabbed my arm.
“I don’t think you guys realize we are trained members of the wrestling team,” Brody taunted. He grinned but a punch came out of nowhere and struck his cheek. Dove pulled his fist back.
“That doesn’t matter. We can still beat you,” Dove said, confidently.
“Okay, ow,” Brody said, rubbing his cheek. “Listen, lead-fist, I don’t really have any beef against Wheeler, but Jude promised me fifty bucks for beating you guys up. I intend to receive that money.”
“Hired hand, huh?” Jessica said, coming up to face Brody with me and Dove. “I’ve tangled with you types before. How are your grades doing?”
“…Not good…” Brody admitted.
“What if I told you I could get Lane Leicester to personally tutor you until testing week?”
Brody suddenly brightened up. “Holy- you could get Lane Leicester to help me? Dang.” He put his fists down, then looked at Jameson. “Sorry man, I need those grades more than fifty bucks.” Brody hopped off the slab and ran into the school.
I was relieved. Brody seemed like an okay guy. I didn’t want Dove to have to beat him up. But I had to admit, Dove looked good while doing it.
The other guy (who I now wondering the name of) was still fighting Clark, Jesse and Andy. He didn’t seem to want to go down as easily as Brody.
“You know, I’ve noticed I’ve had a one-hundred percent increase of brawls since joining F.O.L.D.,” Clark said, dodging a punch. “You guys stink at pacifism.”
“Tell me about it,” Jesse replied. He punched his opponent hard in the stomach, sending him falling backwards off the slab into the grass. The guy rolled over, accepting defeat.
Now it was just Jameson, who seemed less confident now that he was alone.
Dove picked him up by his collar. “Do you have any idea what Jude is up to?” he interrogated.
“What do you mean?” Jameson asked, squirming, trying to get free from Dove’s grip. I noticed how strong Dove was.
“His behind-the-scenes plans, villain,” Dove replied. “How he is manipulating the schools against each other.”
“He’s manipulating the schools?” Andy asked. “How?”
“Wait, you were unaware of this?” Dove said, surprised. “A scoundrel like Jude shows up and takes control and that does not seem suspicious?”
“I thought it was suspicious, actually,” I said, suddenly.
“You’re saying Jude is behind it all?” Jessica questioned. “Why didn’t we know this?”
“Obliviousness, apparently,” Dove replied, annoyed. He turned back to Jameson, who he hadn’t set down. “Now, what is his plan?”
“Fine, fine!” Jameson blurted out. “He’s trying to get Kirby to totally destroy Wheeler as revenge for something that happened a few months ago.”
“The Student Body Council thing?” I asked.
“Something about that, yeah,” Jameson confirmed. “It’s not really much of a plan, kind of obvious really. But this war has been a powder keg and Jude lit the spark.”
“So Jude’s been the one hacking the grades? He framed Wheeler?” Andy asked, dumbfounded.
“Again, kind of obvious.”
Dove rolled his eyes. “Thank you for the information.” Dove tossed him onto the ground next to his friend. They both scrambled back into the school.
“So…Wheeler isn’t to blame?” Clark asked.
“Of course not. Wheeler did nothing wrong,” Dove replied.
“‘Nothing wrong?’ They’ve been worse to us than we have to them!”
“I could say the same thing to you, Kirbian.”
“Well excuse me, Thor, god of Dunderheads!”
“Þú ert nú meiri lattelepjandi lopatrefillinn!”
“I don’t speak viking!”
Andy finally jumped in between Clark and Dove, putting a hand on both of their shoulders. “Quiet, both of you! Focus on the task at hand, which is taking down Jude.”
Dove backed down first. “Of course. I apologize, hot-headed boy.”
Clark had his fists in the air, but seeing us all glaring at him, he lowered them. “Fine.”
“Okay, now,” Andy started, “Dove thinks that Jude framed Wheeler, and I believe him.”
“Come on!” Clark shouted. “He’s a Wheeler student! He can’t join us!” Clark was really starting to get on my nerves.
“Clark, shut up!” Andy shouted. I jumped. “Dove is honestly the most connected to this problem, he brings some much-needed muscle and he’s got Thor. That works out really well, so he’s on the team. Got it?”
“Fine,” Clark grumbled.
“Okay, like I was saying…to get Jude, we need evidence. Tomorrow is Thursday night, when all the grades are gathered. Jesse, Jessica, you’re the spies, right?”
“That’s what we’ve been told,” Jesse replied, nonchalantly.
“Great. You two stake out the place. Wait for Jude.”
“Fantastic,” Jesse replied.
“The rest of us have to keep the peace. Got it?”
“Yeah, sure,” we all replied.
First of all, I would like to say that I am enjoying being a part of the ‘OrigAvengers.’ It gives me a sense of duty and responsibility I did not have even when I was just Thorigami. It feels very good.
What does not feel good is the reaction to my new role.
“Traitor!” “Jerk!” and other, less kind American insults I have since learned were said by the more fanatical Wheeler students when I walked into school this morning. I was apparently considered an enemy since joining the mainly Kirby-centric group. I was no longer liked. That…did not feel good at all.
I was hoping to find Solstice solace from Shelby. She had supported me in everything I did. Well, besides that time when I first confronted Jude and she thought I was bullying him. But that was a misunderstanding which was quickly cleared up. For a long time, it seemed that everything was ”just peachy.” Oh wait, I think I may have messed up that phrase. Perhaps, I meant “just appley?” It was some kind of fruit…
Anyway, the current state of our relationship quickly changed the day after the fight at Kirby. While studying in the library with Shelby, I noticed her face was unusually tense. She seemed tired and perhaps even upset. For a moment, I thought it might be all the studying and homework that was causing her grief, but when I offered to help with some problems, she coldly “brushed me off.” Now, I knew something was on her mind.
“Shel, is everything okay?” I asked.
“I’m fine,” she said quickly.
“I have been told that, in American culture, whenever a female says she is so-called ‘fine,’ she is actually not doing well. You are acting unkind to me.”
“Oh, I am, am I? And you think you know me real well, don’t you, Dover McLeash?”
I reached for her trembling hand, but she yanked it away.
“Hey, look at me. Shel. Shelby. Please,” I pleaded with her.
Slowly, her eyes drifted back so that we were gazing into each other eyes. Much can be seen in one’s eyes. They are the “window into one’s soul.” When I looked into her eyes, I saw anguish, despair, and fear. Her whole body was starting to shake.
“Do you need a break?” I asked after a moment of quiet pause (and give that this was happening in the library, the silence of the moment was incredibly tense and dramatic).
She finally spoke, in a whisper, “We can’t do this anymore, Dove. I… I can’t do this anymore.”
I had a feeling I knew what Shelby was implying at, and I could feel fear wrap around my heart as I patiently awaited her next words.
“Dove… please, don’t look at me that way. I can’t bear it. I don’t know how I can put this into words. I just…”
Shelby’s face squinted with emotional pain, like she was about to let loose a fountain of tears. Then, before I could do or say anything, she shoved her textbooks away, got up from her seat, and quickly walked out of the room. I thought she was going to the restroom so that she could compose and calm down herself. Because i felt very guilty for causing her so much pain, I decided to leave immediately, leaving a note telling her I was not mad at her, but I was extremely concerned for her. In the note, I also mentioned that if she wanted to finish explaining herself to me, we could meet together whenever she wanted.
Later that night, Shelby texted me to tell me she was ready. We met together at a nearby park. She was sitting on a park bench. The moon and stars were sparkling in the sky. Her own face seemed to shimmer in the moonlight. She was no longer filled with pain; instead, she had a melancholy face, with wise eyes that seemed to be considering something, something of great gravity and importance. At that moment, I would have thought she was contemplating the movement of the cosmos, and could even feel the earth spinning underneath her feet.
I stood a distance away, watching her. However, after a moment, she noticed me and gave a sad smile. Then, she patted the spot on the bench next to her. I obeyed her wish, and for a minute that felt like eternity, we just sat there, listening to the chirping of the crickets.
Finally, with a deep inhale and exhale, Shelby took out a small book, her diary, from her purse, and started reading from it. “Dove, my love, I want you to know how happy you have made me. You are a simple joy, you know that? Who knew the cold lands of Iceland could have fashioned a warrior with a heart as warm as yours.”
Now, I was the one who was trying not to cry. Sensing that I was now feeling the same burden she felt, she moved closer to me and held my hand.
She continued reading. “I should have told you this much earlier: I got a full-ride scholarship to a college in Nevada. I will be living in one of the dormitories there. Now, this is not why I feel our relationship should come to an… an… an end.”
Shelby had to pause for a moment, since those last few words were especially difficult for her to say. However, she quickly recovered.
“No, that is not the entire reason. In fact, if I truly felt we were meant to be together, I would forget about college altogether and go back to Iceland with you. Yet, the truth is, you have been drifting away from me for a while already. You have dedicated so much of your time to the school, which is a wonderful and incredibly noble pursuit that I completely approve of as the current Wheeler Student Body President. However, as your girlfriend, I believe that I am not the most important thing that you cherish. I feel that I am being seconded by your steel dedication to your fellow students – your people – as a whole. It is not your fault you have such a passion. But this is how I feel. Am I wrong about this? Please tell me if I am, Dove.”
Shelby finally stopped reading and look to me for a response. After a moment, I nodded and spoke while shedding a few tears. “I do love Wheeler. I have been very busy with things lately, especially Student Body Government. I did cancel some of dates a few times and I have been somewhat distant. The only thing we’ve done together recently was that Wendy’s date, and then studying together. Yes, yes, Shelby, you are right. As much as I would like to defend myself and protest, you are very much correct. I am a terrible boyfriend.”
“Oh, Dove, don’t say that. You’ve been fantastic. I think this is a lot of my fault, too. I haven’t told you everything that I should have because I was afraid. But… you’re so compassionate and understanding. I never had anything to fear.”
“So this is it? It will not be a normal break-up with shouting, anger, and hard feelings?” I asked.
Shelby shook her head. “Not at all. We will depart into the quiet night without any quarreling.”
I received a final, tight hug from Shelby, before she stood up, ready to leave. But before she did, she whispered, “I hope you find a woman who is kind and worthy of you.”
“I hope, with all my heart, you find what you are looking for, whether it be another guy, a successful career, a family, or anything like that.”
For one last time, Shelby gave me a smile that warmed my heart a little, the moonlight still on her face. Then, with that, she turned and walked away into the darkness. I stayed at that bench for a long time, until I finally gained the strength to walk back home.
That is when I felt brotið hjarta for the second time since coming to Wheeler.
Recorded by Jessica Smith-Holt
Jesse: How long have we been here?
Jessica: About two hours.
Jesse: Gosh, this is boring. Don’t know why we have to do this, either.
Jessica: What are you talking about?
Jesse: I dunno, maybe Wheeler…deserves what’s coming to them.
Jessica: You can’t be serious.
Jesse: You’ve read the history, Jess. Wheeler started out as a bunch of racist dweebs. Who knows if it’s still like that?
Jessica: Jesse, listen to me. Wheeler has changed. I don’t know why you don’t like them so much, but I was there. It’s different now.
*Sound of door opening*
Jessica: Someone’s coming.
Jesse: Oh boy, here we go.
Jessica: Shut up.
*Sound of footsteps, someone sitting down and typing on the computer*
Jesse (whispering): It’s him!
Jessica (whispering): Obviously. Snap a picture.
*Jesse pulls out phone and takes picture of the silhouette at the computer. Accidentally leaves flash on.*
Jude: Who’s there?
Jesse: YOUR MOM!
*Sound of Jesse trying to run out of room before slamming into another body.
Jude: Nard, get the phone.
Nard: Got it.
*Sound of more struggling. Sound of Jessica running to assist Jesse. Sound of Nard slamming into wall. Sound of Jesse and Jessica running out into the hall chased by Nard. Sound of Jesse and Jessica running back to Jesse’s house.*
Jesse: Thanks for that.
Jessica: No problem. Got your phone?
Jesse: Yeah, right here.
*Sound of Jesse pulling phone out of pocket.*
Jesse: This isn’t my phone. Looks like it’s Nard’s.
Jessica: *Bleep* you, Jesse.
We’re in a worse spot than we were before.
Dove seems to be right about Jude being behind everything. The only problem: we can’t prove it.
Jude is way too smart for his own good. There are security cameras everywhere in the school, of course, but they all conveniently shorted out on Thursday night. And since we don’t have the photo evidence on Jesse’s phone is lost. Jude is clean, at least from the public’s point of view.
What makes this worse is the fact that there is a bright blue ‘W’ spray painted onto Kirby’s front lawn. Massive, too. You could see that thing from a satellite.
As to be expected, people are outraged.
And so any possibility of a peaceful solution are out the window.
Plans have been made to go to Wheeler immediately after school with any busting weapon they can find, and F.O.L.D. is powerless to stop them. F.O.L.D. is fairly sizable, but only the best, hand-picked by Trent, get in. That means that there is still a huge majority of students not in F.O.L.D. heading to war, and Jude is the leader of the whole thing.
Our only chance of averting this huge crisis is the OrigAvengers. If they don’t succeed…it’ll be really bad.
As soon as we heard that Jesse lost his dang phone, we knew the war was going to be coming soon. So, what did we do?
We set chairs in the middle of the dirt path to Wheeler and Kirby and waited. Just waited.
“This is so boring…” Jesse groaned so many times. Each time Jessica would flick him by the ear.
“You think we can stop it?” Ally asked to nobody in particular.
“It has to. There’s no way else I can think of,” Andy replied. He’d brought a Rubik’s Cube and was fiddling with it, probably to take his mind off the whole thing.
I’d been hooked on origami since folding Iron Fold, so I’d brought some origami paper to mess around with. I’d been working a huge origami fold lately; it was based on Yoda. I think some guy named Van Jahnke made it? I don’t know. In any case I was doing terrible.
Isn’t it in the middle of the school day, you ask? Well, being an OrigAvenger apparently means you have the ability to play hooky for a day if saving the schools are a priority. Maybe the school’s should be in danger more frequently, because I love me some chill time.
Everybody was apprehensive the whole time, so that lessened the fun.
Dove was even less fun than usual, because apparently his girlfriend broke up with him last night or something.
That…was rough. I actually felt for him. If Emily had dumped me, during this stupid feud no less, I’d feel…well, I wouldn’t feel good. At all.
He was sitting by himself, a good distance from everybody else. Andy had decided to leave him alone or something (Gosh, he was annoying) but I knew that wouldn’t help him at all. I moved my chair over by him. He didn’t look up at me. I thought about what you say.
“Uh…thanks for helping us,” I said, awkwardly. I didn’t really mean it, as I still didn’t fully trust him.
He thought I meant it, though. “It is no big deal,” he replied, quietly. “My job is to defend Wheeler. Your job is to defend Kirby. Our agendas are similar, so it was easy to join you. I didn’t…expect it to have such an impact.” His voice cracked at the last word.
I nodded. “Yeah, I guess.” I gingerly pat his back. “What’s this girl like?”
“She is amazing. She is my best friend, and my first friend after coming to the US. We have dated for a few months. I…don’t know at all why she broke up with me.”
“How old is she?”
“She is 18.”
“Oh.” I figured something. “Do you think maybe this is her way of letting go?”
“What do you mean?”
“She is graduating at the end of the year. If what you told me is true from her point of view, too, she does really like you. What if she didn’t want to break up with you, really, but she knew she’d have to at some point, so she just bit the bullet and did it?”
Dove looked blank, processing the information. “So, she’s…saying goodbye?”
“Something like that, I guess.”
We sat in silence for a bit. I don’t know where all the advice had come from, but I realized I meant all of it. I hoped it had gotten through to Dove. “And I just gotta say…I don’t know what the kids are gonna be like when they get here. Whatever it’s like, I hate to say it, but we’ll have your back. Can’t have you blubbering the whole time. Got it?”
Dove sniffed. “Yes.”
I smiled. “Did the advice help?”
“I believe it did, yeah.”
Suddenly, we both turned around when two voices started shouting at each other. Jesse and Jessica were fighting again.
Love (And More Important Things)
Recorded by Jessica Smith-Holt
Jessica: I can’t believe you’re still willing to let Kirby destroy the ‘enemies’. Why the heck are you so against the Wheelers? What have they ever done to you?
Jesse: It’s what they could have done, Jess.
Jessica: What the *bleep* does that mean?
Jesse: Oh, for crying out loud. Must I tell you, Black Widow?
Jessica: You better, Hawkeye.
Jesse (groaning): Fiiiiine. Back during the the mission with Tilly, when you were on your special espionage or whatever, I WAS WORRIED ABOUT YOU, OKAY? You were gone for a really long time! Trent said you’d been compromised. How was I supposed to know it was just deep cover? You’re too good for your own good. I was worried…because I didn’t want anything to happen to you.
Jessica: You…were worried about me?
Jesse: Well, yeah, of course.
Jesse (stammering): Because, uh, well, I care about you, and I don’t-
Jessica: Spit it out, Jesse.
Jesse: Spit what out?
Jessica: You know what.
Jesse: I don’t-
Jessica: For crying out loud, Hawkeye. It’s because you like me.
Jesse: What? Nooooooo, I was…fine, yeah, I like you.
Jessica: Aha! I knew it!
Jesse: Knew it? What do mean knew it?!? You knew and didn’t tell me?!??!?!
Jesse: What could possibly be your reasoning behind that?
Jessica: I had to…decide.
Jesse: Decide what?
Jessica: That I liked you too.
(More awkward silence.)
Jesse: So does this mean I can finally ask you out?
Jessica: Of course it does, you idiot.
(Even more awkward silence.)
Jessica: We should probably focus on the task at hand.
Jesse: Oh yeah, of course. Last thing, for our first date, wanna go to the theater downtown? I hear The Parasite Within 3: Internal Bleeding is actually really good.
Jesse: Yeah, apparently Tevon Riley finally found his groove. He kills in the role.
Jessica: Sure, yeah, let’s do it.
*Sound of rest of the team clapping.*
Ally: That took way too long.
Dove: Congratulations, lovestruck dummies.
The Dawn of Americut
I don’t think a ‘what’s up’ would be appropriate for this circumstance.
We hadn’t been able to stop Jude’s plan, and now we were paying for it.
I sat next to Andy while we were waiting. It was about 2:30, then, so the army would be here any moment. I was scared.
One of the things with Andy is that he was so quiet, most of the time. That’s why he made a great leader; if he spoke up, people listened. However, when someone needed to talk, he usually didn’t say much. I couldn’t tell if it was because he was upset, planning something, or he just didn’t know what to say. So, I started the conversation.
“You think we can win?”
Andy shrugged. “Jude’s got pull. Not sure how to beat him. But hey, we’re pretty good ourselves. I think we have a chance.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“I can’t. I’ve just got a feeling.”
I didn’t know how he could feel that way, but I nodded.
Andy pulled a slip of blue paper out of his pocket and looked it over. I took a peek and noticed it was Captain Americut. It didn’t seem finished, though; the folding was completed, but any extra details weren’t drawn on yet. No star, no A on the head, none of that. He was even missing his shield.
“What’s up with that?” I asked.
“Oh, well, it’s, uh, not finished.” He turned it around in his hand a bit. “I’m so worried about drawing on it and screwing it up.”
“But then you’ll be able to make it your own.”
He shook his head. “No, no. I know it sounds ridiculous, but there is a lot of…stuff attached to this puppet. It’s previous owner was a big name, so…I don’t know if I can live up to that skill.”
I understood, a bit. I stuck my hand in my pocket and pulled out a sharpie. I took it with me everywhere, along with my diary, in case anything needed to be written down really quickly. I handed it to Andy. “Don’t worry. You’ll make this your own and you don’t have to worry about any legacies or anything. Got it?”
Andy smiled. He took the sharpie. “Yeah, I got it.” He popped the lid off and started to doodle.
It took a few minutes, but Captain Americut was finished pretty soon. Andy had decided to base the design after the Captain America costume from his first movie, with all the wartime stuff added. It looked very good.
“So, that’s Captain Americut?” Clark asked, coming over.
“Yeah, it is,” Andy said, smiling proudly.
“He doesn’t have his shield.”
Andy’s smile drooped. “Crud, you’re right.”
Clark shook his head, then pulled Iron Fold out of his pocket. He looked at it for a moment, then turned it over and ripped a piece of red paper off the back. He handed it to Andy. “You can’t be Captain Americut without a shield, Andy.”
Andy took the paper. “Thanks, Clark.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Now go ahead and get folding. I think I see the bad guys coming.”
Sure enough, on the horizon, a big group was stomping down the road.
It was time to get to work.
Andy jumped up, Captain Americut held high. “OrigAvengers, assemble!”
The Third, More Epic, Assemblance
Ally’s talk had done wonders for my confidence. I stood up from my chair, finally with Americut held proudly on my finger. I looked around me, and all of the others had their puppets too; Jesse and Hawkpleats, Jessica with Origami Widow, Ally with Hulk, Dove with Thor, and even Clark with Iron Fold. He walked beside me, apparently finally accepting my leadership. We stepped down the dirt path, ready to face whatever problems Jude had to throw at us.
To my relief, the group before us was not as big as I expected. There were only a few people I knew personally. There was, of course, some of the bigger bullies like Jameson Tanner and James and Brian Faber. Some students I did recognize; disappointingly, some F.O.L.D. agents were in the mix like Bobby Lang and Avery Brawner.
“Afternoon, traitors,” Jude shouted upon seeing us. “If you’d step aside and let us do our work, we’ll forget about your previous actions.”
I stepped forward confidently, waving Captain Americut. “I’m afraid we can’t do that, Judah. We work for the good of both schools. You’re against all that, so, here we are.”
“I’d suggest listening to him, Andy,” Nard, still standing behind Jude. “Demons run when a good man goes to war, and you’re a good man.”
“Oh heck no,” Clark breathed. “You did not just use that quote against us!” He started to move toward Nard, fists clenched, but I held my hand out.
“I don’t want to resort to violence, but we might have to. We’ll fight hard, too. Jameson over there can confirm.” I pointed to Jameson, who was in the pack. He glared.
“Well, we’ve got the numbers and the muscle,” Jude replied, smirking. “You’re not exactly the strongest there is. Except for maybe Dove. What’s up, Dove?” Jude waved to Dove genially. Dove growled.
“Well, I guess we’re going through you. Guys?”
Jameson, Brian, James and a few other guys and girls stepped forward, led by Nard. We squared up, ready to start fighting. Jesse stole Jessica’s phone and started playing the ‘Avengers Main Theme’ to get us in the right frame of mind. We were ready to throw down.
Jameson stepped forward and got ready to throw a punch…before he was interrupted by a loud “STOP!”
Everybody froze and tried to find the source of the disturbance when who else but Mr. Leonard Broderick cleared his throat.
“Stop?” Jameson asked. “What do you mean, stop?”
“As in, stop, you idiot.” Nard walked over next to me. He pulled a phone out of his pocket and tossed it to Jesse. “I believe you still have my phone, Jesse.”
“Wait, what?” Jesse looked pretty confused.
“Jesse, can I please have my phone back?”
“Oh, yeah, sure.” He fished around in his jacket pocket for the phone and tossed it to Nard.
Jude strode over, looking as confused as the rest of us. “Nard, what the heck are you doing?”
“Doing the right thing, Jude.” Nard looked him right in the eye. “You caught me at a bad time, Jude. Back before this idiot,” he gestured to me, “became Iron Fold, I would have joined your cause immediately, no hesitation. However, you caught me after I’d been suspended and taken down a peg. Some other stuff happened, and I realized that Wheeler isn’t the bad guy. Sure, I’m still mad at the stuff those Wheeler idiots did to my sister, but I’ve accepted that they’re not the whole school. Just some bad parts of it. Unfortunately, Jude, you’re a bad part of Kirby.”
“Oh, woe is me. I’m truly hurt, Nard,” Jude said, deadpan.
“Wait, so you’re on the side of us?” Dove asked.
“Yes, of course,” Nard replied.
“Woah, woah, woah,” I said, striding up next to him. “Last time I saw you you were ready to paint-splatter Wheeler. How could you ever think we’d believe you?”
“Because I’ve been working against Jude this whole time. Thankfully, you were never the wiser.”
Jude snickered. “No, I was, man. I was wiser when I realized you never deleted the classified stuff that got stolen from me and put on Jesse’s phone. So I made the switch pretty early on.”
I heard Jesse groan. He held up his phone, and the screensaver was a big picture of who else but Loki, the God of Mischief.
“Wait, that’s your screensaver?” Nard asked. “Weirdo.”
“Jesse’s screensaver is the Infinity War poster but every character is Hawkeye.”
“Wait, what classified stuff?” I heard someone ask from the group.
“Don’t worry about it,” Jude called back. “Thankfully, I’m pretty good at the mischief that comes with the character I own.” He pulled his own puppet, Loki, out of his pocket. “So the switcheroo was pretty easy.”
Nard growled. “You’re way too cocky for your own good.”
“Maybe.” Jude turned to the thugs, who were still standing, waiting for instructions. “Guys, get them. Nard too. Then, we march on Wheeler.”
“Get the phone,” Andy shouted.
“I can tell you’ve not been a good guy long, Nard,” I taunted. “That plan sucked.”
“Quiet, Clark,” Andy ordered.
The bullies sprang into action, all ready to fight. Jesse, Jessica and Ally tried to evade and avoid to get Jesse’s phone. Me, Dove and Andy were the ones fighting the goons. Thankfully, Dove was massive so I was able to avoid most punches while Dove took them all. I noticed Andy was fighting Jameson. I noticed he needed help.
I jumped over to his side. “Art thou in need of any assistance, O Captain, My Captain?”
“I’d love some, buckethead.”
I shoved Jameson from behind, right into Andy’s fist. Jameson toppled to the ground. He got back up, but he was dizzy and dazed.
Ally was running towards Jude. Two of the kids noticed and chased after her. Noticing Ally’s problem, Dove bolted over to protect her. He picked up the two kids by their hoods and smashed them together effortlessly. They sprawled on the ground in a daze.
Ally, who had tripped and fallen onto the ground, looked up and sheepishly smiled at Dove. “Oh. Uh… thank you?”
Dove grabbed her hand and pulled her up quickly and nodded stoically.
“I SHIP IT!” Jesse shouted from across the path.
“Shut up!” Jessica shouted back.
“You are the last one who should be talking about shipping, Jesse,” I replied. “Especially after, ‘Oh, let’s go kiss at the movie theater’ garbage!”
“Hey, Clark, shut your pie-hole,” Jesse snapped.
Jesse and Jessica made it to Jude first. The both pounced on him and and tried to wrench the phone from Jude’s grip. I found it funny how none of the kids behind Jude did anything. They stood and watched, very entertained.
Jude shoved both of the lovebirds off of him and stood up, but not before Jessica got her hands around the phone and hurled it behind her.
I realized it was coming towards me.
I reached up and caught it. I knew what I had to do so I had to do it quickly. Thankfully, Jesse doesn’t keep his phone locked. I quickly typed some stuff in.
“Give that back, Clark,” Jude shouted, barreling forward. He slammed into me, making me drop the phone. He grabbed it and swiped into it.
“You really need a passcode on this thing, Jesse,” Jude said snarkily. He held the phone up. “OrigAvengers, this is all that you’ve done to stop the inevitable. You’ve done nothing, actually.” He clicked on the camera application, swiped to gallery, and simply deleted the photo of him at the computer before anyone on his side could see.
“Oh, thank goodness,” Jesse said, breathing a sigh of relief. “I thought you were gonna stomp on it or something.”
“Thanks for the idea,” Jude smiled. He threw the phone of the ground and stomped his heel into the screen. Jesse was horrified.
“That’s the fifth phone this month…” he murmured, sadly.
“How rich are your parents?” I asked.
Taking in the sight of the now smushed phone, I noticed how upset everyone was. I wasn’t, though.
Because, pretty soon, two new people walked up to the group. It was Tilly and Trent. And Tilly was holding her phone up proudly.
“Thanks for the text, Mr. Largent,” Trent said gratefully to me. I nodded. “That’s some pretty good evidence.”
Jude looked dumbfounded. “What is he talking about?”
Nard looked at me, realized what I’d done and nodded approvingly. “Jesse has the Director of F.O.L.D. as one of his first contacts. I would have sent Trent the text last night, but you took it away before I could. I guess Clark had the same idea.”
Jude looked at Tilly and Trent, back and forth. “So you waited for the right dramatic moment, when all hope seemed lost?” Jude asked.
“Pretty much, yeah,” Tilly said, beaming. “Also, we have the phone numbers of everyone in the school, so you should all be getting a text from Trent right about now.”
Sure enough, phones starting dinging all through the group. Kids reached into their pockets and pulled out their phones. Each one contained the picture of Jude hacking into the school computers. Even mine got a text, along with a special ‘Thanks for the help’.”
“Thanks, buckethead,” Nard replied.
“This still does not mean we’re friends,” I warned. I was willing to give him a shot, though.
Jude smiled. “First rate work, Clark, Nard, Trent, OrigAvengers. I’ve been beaten. Wheeler is saved. Nice work.”
Trent glared. “Oh, you’re not getting off that easy.”
On cue, I could hear police sirens wailing in the distance.
“You’ve tried to take over or wreck Wheeler twice. You are legitimately trying to break the school. You hacked into school records. Those are illegal things, man.”
“You can’t be serious.”
Trent flipped his eye patch up, revealing both eyes, both narrowed in anger. “Dead serious, Judah Decassius.”
Jude gulped nervously, and started to back away from everyone as all eyes stared angrily at him. However, he immediately ran into an immovable object. Dove, actually.
“Going somewhere, old friend?” the blonde titan asked with a chuckle.
“Ah, Leif Erikson,” said a frustrated Jude. “Did I ever tell you how much I hate your guts?”
With a mighty pull, Dove threw Jude over his shoulder and marched towards the incoming police cars.
As he marched away, Jude, hanging over Dove’s shoulder like a dead deer, did some obscene gestures at all of us, which made us all boo at him as he got dragged away.
Ally laughed and ran after the two nemeses. “Hey, Dove, wait up! Do you need any help carrying him?”
“Not really, but thank you anyway,” Dove responded. “He is a very small man. Almost like a baby.”
Ally and Dove continued talking and walking off while Jesse tried not to die laughing. “Yeeeep, I’m shipping them.”
“I hate you,” said Jessica.
“I hate you even more,” replied Jesse gleefully.
After Dove and Ally returned, the police and Jude left, and all of the mob returned to the Kirby school grounds, just leaving the OrigAvengers, Trent, and Tilly there in that dirt path.
There was an awkward pause for a moment, until I asked, “So… who wants to go eat at IHOP? I hear they have excellent celebratory chocolate chip pancakes.”
What Happened Next
So. Yeah. That happened.
Our celebratory pancakes were fantastic. Never eat them without heaping piles of whipped cream, however.
Jude was arrested, but only for a little bit. I don’t know why they bothered, because they just let him out a couple days later. However, after being a problem to both Wheeler and Kirby, he was expelled. Last I heard, his parents are starting to homeschool him for the last few years of high school. That’s gotta be rough.
Nard is actually reformed, from what I can tell. I still don’t fully trust him by any stretch of the imagination, but…I’ll give him a chance. I’ll have to wait till next semester to find out for sure, though.
Biggest thing: Testing went perfectly fine. By reevaluating all of the worksheets and crap written during the hack, all of the grades went back to normal. Testing came and went and Kirby is on top for yet another year. Take that, Wheeler.
But…after hanging around Dove and Ally for awhile, I realized how stupid this war is. Wheeler is…fine. But the war needs to end. That’s the next goal for the OrigAvengers. We have to bring the schools together.
All that will have to wait till next semester. Next semester will be strange, too. My younger brother, Cal, is finally coming up to high school and I have no idea what that will be like. Jesse and Jessica are a thing now, so good for them. Who knows if they make it through the summer. Dove is going back to Wheeler as it’s ‘sole protector,’ so hopefully he gets some help there. F.O.L.D. is doing what it does, Ally is now an Agent, and Andy has been throwing himself into learning the origami history of this school. It’s all interesting stuff. Interesting stuff makes for an interesting year.
And what am I planning on doing? Well, I’m planning on continuing to date Emily, win everything I’m a part of, and be an OrigAvenger. The name is dumb, hokey and whatever. But it’s still a title we’ve been given because we’re trusted. I don’t want to betray that trust.
I can’t wait to see what brings us together the next time.
Recorded by Unknown Person; Acquired by Unknown Circumstances
O: Welcome, T. Thank you for assisting during the OrigAvengers fiasco. Judah had to be stopped. Also, meet the new N. He’s been delighted to replace the former N.
T: Nice to meet you.
N: The pleasure is mine.
T: So, anyway, I’ve been told that the next ‘mission’ for the OrigAvengers is to unify the schools. Should we move to stop them?
A: No, of course not! That’s a good thing!
O: A is correct. That’ll make our job so much easier.
S: But wouldn’t it make it easier for them to strike against us as one unified group?
O: It’ll make stopping this war a heckovalot easier, I think.
O: So, nice work everyone. We’ll meet again soon. Good night.