DISCLAIMER: I DON'T OWN "YU-GI-OH! GX" AND FURTHERMORE, I ALSO...WAIT A SEC...
Do'h! I had the "caps lock" on...! Eh...sorry about that...
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX - Y Duel K
Chapter 3 - Virus
Jaden was breathing heavily as he ran all the way to Chancellor Sheppard's office. And it might have been with good reason, had Jaden possessed prior knowledge of what he was being summoned for.
"Man alive...I don't see why Sheppard...doesn't just say...what he wants to tell me over the...school speakerphones! He should know that I...don't stand on...formal ceremonies or...private meetings around here!" he said, panting and running at the same time.
The young man had been far away from the office (he was outside, to be exact) when the call came in, so he dropped his precious activity of doing nothing and rushed inside, sprinting past a truckload of students and teachers in the hallways. Upon reaching the desired destination, Jaden's exuberant journey (however short it may have been) came to an anti-climatic end as he calmly turned the doorknob leading into Sheppard's office. As usual, the headmaster was quietly stationed at his desk. To Jaden's partial disappointment, Dr. Crowler was cooly standing still nearby, hands behind his back.
The Slifer Red student was granted a minute or so to catch his breath before the conversation got under way.
"Jaden, I've called you here to personally reveal the results of your last test..." Sheppard said, not showing much emotion on his face or in his voice.
Immediately, the emotional atmosphere in the room became slightly tense, as the middle-aged man has previously promised Jaden a chance to test his dueling skills to that of the newly-installed Duel Robot that most of the student body had been raving about. And if Jaden could perform well and overcome the machine's dueling tactics, in woud find a permanent home in the Slifer dormitory. But first he was required to pass an upcoming written examination in order to make any of this possible...
"I thought that's what it might be!" Jaden cried. "Boy, you must really love keeping students in the dark about stuff like this! I took that test like three days ago, and there was no word on it until now! Chancellor, you sure know how to build up suspense!"
Another man might have taken offense to such a statement, but Jaden's outburst was one of his more (for lack of a better word) charming attributes, which Sheppard just acknowledged with a warm chuckle. He then turned to the individual standing next to his desk.
"Dr. Crowler, if you wouldn't mind..."
The tall, blonde teacher gave off a prompt (and expected) "HMPH!" before bringing his hands out from behind his back, revealing a few pieces of paper stapled together. Presumably it was Jaden's exam. He cleared his throat before making his announcement...
"You failed miserably, Jaden! So you might as well just pack up your belongings and move ou-"
Apparently, the chancellor now had to clear his throat, albeit in a much louder fashion than Dr. Crowler. And somehow that action magically caused the teacher to change his choice of words, then and there.
"Fine...you got a 74 on the stinking test, happy?" he quickly muttered, sneaking in a grumble or six.
"VERY much so!" Jaden almost shouted, shooting a fist into the air. "YES! I knew there hadda be a reason I ran here so fast! Musta been my subconscious telling me good things were in store for me today!"
"Congratulations are in order, Jaden! Your score was noticeably higher than the last few exams you took! Such an improvement and accomplishment is to be commended!" noted Sheppard.
"And rewarded..." Jaden quickly added.
The chancellor got out of his seat, walked over to the young scholar, and gave him a pair of friendly pats on the shoulder.
"Of course, of course. I haven't forgotten my end of the bargain, and I intend to honor our agreement. There are other students already scheduled to fight against the Duel Computer, but I'll see to it that you're moved up the list considerably!"
"Why don't we make our way to the dueling area, so I can announce the news?"
"Sounds like a plan to me! Comin', Miss Crowler?"
Jaden turned his head slightly to see the professor's reaction, hoping it would be the one he expected. He was right.
Crowler was as mad as a hornet and his faced showed it exquisitely. His entire body was shaking in rage, his face was red and looked as if it were about to explode.
"That's DOCTOR Crowler to you!" he angrily stated, retaining just enough common sense to keep his cool in the Chancellor's presence. "I swear...one of these days-"
"Yeah, yeah...heard it all before!" Jaden said boldly, knowing that his test score was enough for Sheppard to let his remark slide.
As the three of them walked down the hallway, Jaden and the headmaster were cheerfully chatting about something trivial. The tall man in blue sullenly trailed behind, continuously muttering words that were inaudible but undoubtedly nasty.
The dueling arena was where most the school's important events took place. It was quite the rarity to see it quiet and peaceful. Jaden hoped that the arena would be so for today, as his excitement (to fight the Duel Robot) far outweighed his patience. Such a hope would be a longshot to begin with; Jaden's fears were confirmed as he, Chancellor Sheppard, and Dr. Crowler entered the arena which was bustling with activity.
Numerous students of all ranks were crowded around the platform where a duel was taking place. Jaden wasn't all that surprised to see an Obelisk pitting his skills against the Duel Computer, much less that it happened to be Chazz Princeton. The duelist glared at his artificial opponent with as much determination as he had done in the past with so many others. The atmosphere protruding his being felt almost as dark as his eyes and spiky hair. Among the crowd, Bastion, Syrus and Chumley were also witnessing the fight with interest.
Chazz had a pair of impressive monsters on the field. The first was his Cthonian Soldier, a muscular man dressed in grey armor with a thick, dark turquoise cloth wrapped around his waist. He held a spiked shield in his left hand and a long sword with a wide blade in his right. Paired up with the warrior was Mefist the the Infernal General. This much more lethal-looking fighter was encased in noticeably shiny armor, its face hidden from sight (due to the outfit's matching helmet), brandishing a huge, long double-headed axe. The fiend-type monster was mounted atop a black armored animal which appeared to be a cross between a horse and some other mammel that Jaden couldn't quite identify.
The robot defenses were composed of one face-down card and a single monster that Jaden might've been able to recognize in a flash had he not been more focused on Chazz's next move. However, the monster's identity would quickly became a moot point in a moment.
"Mefist...since that computer's pitiful monster won't split on its own, help it out!" Chazz hissed.
The mounted fiend made quick work of it, effortlessly lifted the heavy-loookng axe and swung it horizontally, slicing its opponent in half.
The audience gave varying responses, ranging all the way from applause and cheer to booing and silent thumbs pointing downward. Of course, the latter reponse was exercised mostly by students wearing red blazers. Not that the active duelist dressed in blue would've cared.
Chazz smirked in pleasure and then laughed as the Duel Robot's Life Point score dropped to 500.
"Man...didja ever see a more helpless enemy before? This is almost as fun as kicking around those worthless Slifer slackers!"
Jaden virtually ignored Chazz's obnoxious ranting, and instead looked around. More technicians were present than the day the Duel Computer was unveiled. A few of them were talking to each other, and some were watching Chazz's duel intently, writing notes on their clipboards.
"Hey, Chancellor Sheppard...how come all these dudes are hangin 'around? I thought the computer was already up and running!" Jaden inquired.
"Well, hooking up a device of this complexity proved to be a much more delicate procedure than originally anticipated..." Sheppard pointed out, briefly stroking his goatee.
"This piece of technology is quite dated, so the programmers have had some difficulty connecting the apparatus to our own! Ergo, the engineering staff are going to be staying for a few more days to run a series of tests to make sure everything is as close to perfect working order as it can get!"
"And what better way to test it than pitting students against it?"
"True enough, but there's a lot more going on than you might think!"
Sheppard pointed upward at a booth above the bleachers (from where he usually watched duels play out) in which a small group of system analysts was hard at work.
"Additionally, the computer's card database is currently being uploaded with a vast library of cards to choose from, allowing the machine to create a multitude of decks to duel with! The Academy's even been in talks with Industrial Illusions to negotiate the rights to some new test cards that won't be released for many years to come!"
"Might it be too much to ask for a certain Slifer Red's dueling deck to be included among the robot's database?"
The chancellor sensed the boy's growing enthusiasm, causing him to chuckle before answering.
"Ahead of you there, Jaden! I've already seen to it that the decks of the school's most talented students have been admitted into the computer's memory! I would be pleased to count yours among them!
"All right! Sweet!"
"Better prepare that deck of yours, Jaden! As soon as Chazz's duel ends, you're on!"
The S.R. had nothing more to say as he switched his attention back to the duel in progress. By now Chazz had three monsters on his side of the field; he'd managed (without too much difficulty) to summon his Infernal Incinerator (2800/1800), a real beast of a monster almost too grotesque to describe.
But the fiend's features was the least of anyone's worries, as the Duel Robot's field was empty. Somewhere during Jaden's conversation, its score had been depleted to 200. The spectators thought the winnner of the duel would be obvious, but they should've known (by now) that at this school, the unexpected (and somtimes the unknown) factor had a tendency to be lurking around the corner on a regular basis.
And the present circumstances was just perfect for more than a little unexpected danger.
Chazz was certainly not a clueless individual. Possessing a level of awareness that equaled his dueling prowess, the O.B. was usually one to assess a cirtical situation almost before it began. But what was about to unravel was a scenario that even he wouldn't see coming. Unfortunately, part of the reason was that he was a bit too focused on the duel to suspect anything was in error. The only idea on his mind was winning, the insurance of which was provided by the trio of monsters he had on his side of the playing field. Further complicating matters were his pair of face-down cards inbedded in the appropriate slots on his Duel Disk, undoubtedly assuring the survival of his monsters in battle.
Another round of (brief) laughing ensued from the teenager as he ended his turn.
"Your turn, robot! But ya better make it good...because after it's over, I'll be adding yet another duelist to my list of victims!"
Chazz turned his head to Jaden and continued his rant, obviously focusing his next group of words on his fellow classmate.
"Y'know, Jaden...having the computer slumming over at the Slifer shack might not be such a bad thing in the long run! This talking tin can is as much a loser as the rest of the red blazer-wearing morons...you and IT were practically made for each other!"
"Don't let it bother you!" Sheppard cheerfully said, trying his best to comfort Jaden. "You're doing your fellow roommates a world of good by challenging the Duel Computer for the rights to its ownership. Be proud!"
"Oh, I ain't bothered in the least!" Jaden quipped, flashing a toothy grin.
The machine drew a new card from its deck and promptly placed it in an empty slot on its body. Then it slowly began rotating, computing its next maneuver.
"Draw card. Processing countermeasures."
"Blah, blah, blah! Just GO already!" Chazz barked, clearly becoming more impatient by the second. "The sooner you make your stupid move, the sooner I can win! MAN, this piece of junk really IS as dumb as the S.R. dimwits who-"
The incompleted sentence was also the last (attempted) insult the boy would employ for a while.
It happened so fast that no one had time to say anything in response. The red circular light located in the center of the device glowed more brightly than it ever had before and what seemed like a minor (and brief) bolt of electricity shot out and struck Chazz; his roar of pain echoing all too well throughout the huge room. Most of the boys gasped and the girls screamed. All eyes widened at the scene playing out.
"What the heck...!" Jaden exclaimed.
"My goodness!" Sheppard shouted. "What's the meaning of this?"
As much as Jaden had his fair share of problems and differences with Mr. Princeton, he took no pleasure in the demonstration of extreme physical discomfort one of his potential rivals was enduring. Chazz's head lowered, and his eyes narrowed. His entire body was shaking, doing its absolute best to shake off the electrical discharge...
...but it ultimately failed. In the space of ten seconds which were almost excrutiating to watch, the boy garbed in blue first fell to his knees then finally collapsed. Even from where he was standing, Jaden could see that the Obelisk student was still conscious. He (and two other boys) wasted no time in racing onto the dueling platform to tend to Chazz, who was twitching.
"Chazz! Can you hear me? Can you move?" Jaden asked in an understandable panic.
"N...not...much..." he barely managed to say through gritted teeth.
"Well, don't worry! Mechanical or not, that thing's gonna pay for this!"
"Yeah...r-right...y-y-you don't...stand...a ch-chance-"
Crowler, who hadn't said anything for a long time, showed much worry. Despite his repeated attempts to discredit and expel the Slifer Reds (Jaden more than any of the others), he was still a teacher at heart. And as much as he would HATE to admit it, the overall welfare of the student body actually did constitute some amount of concern in his mind. He quickly ran off to a specific wall where a small intercom was installed. In a near panic, he furiously held down the red button (only utilized for emergencies).
"This is Dr. Crowler calling the infirmary!" he announced through the speaker. "Medical crisis in the arena! Repeat-"
A sharp screech of static crackled though the intercom. While it only lasted less than five seconds, the sound was certainly irritating enough to cause Crowler to step back and cover his ears.
As the situation wasn't dire enough, the overhead lights began to flicker for a few seconds, finally shutting off completely. Loud clangs and booms were heard as large metal deadfall doors fell, cutting off all possible exits. Normally the activation of such mechanisms would perform as standard procedure for keeping all students and personnel within a single area during an emergency, cutting them off from an outside threat. But now everyone was being kept inside...which was exactly where the danger was.
"Uh, oh!" Chumley cried. "Totally not 'licious!"
"You can say that again!" Syrus whined. "We're trapped in here like sardines!"
Sheppard took a glance at the control booth. The shades inside had been closed, cutting off any chance of someone peekng in. Before the headmaster could request it, a pair of techs and a couple of students ran up the stairs to the booth and tried to open the door. Each one twisted the knob as hard as they could, but to no avail.
"No good! The stupid thing's locked!" one of them shouted.
"I doubt anyone will be getting in there soon!" the chancellor replied. "That door is electronically locked from the inside! It runs on an independant system!"
Alexis watched with increasing alarm as she witnessed Chazz being gently placed on the ground. A nearby Obelisk student removed his long blue blazer, folded it up, and positioned it under Chazz's head to act as a makeshift pillow. The girl began to nervously sweat a little.
"What're we gonna do now?" she almost shouted, asking no one in particular.
But Jaden heard her unofficial plea for help...and had an answer. Some may have argued that it wasn't the correct one, but it was the only solution he could offer.
"I'll tell ya what we're gonna do! Or should say what I'm gonna do!"
A few people who heard Jaden turned their heads, although they already knew what he was up to. The boy ran over to where Chazz was lying. Jaden grabbed the O.B.'s Duel Disk, ejected the cards from it and then inserted his own deck. He then turned towards his friends with a look that simultaneously displayed an angry seriousness in his eyes, as well as a enthusiastic (albeit small) smile coursing throigh his mouth.
"I'm gonna duel this thing and shut it down!" Jaden declared.
Many gasped upon hearing this. Bastion was a person who had a tendency to keep a cool head under fire and was the first to speak up after Jaden's proclamation rather than gasp along with the others.
"Jaden...I strongly suggest you ceast and desist! You saw what that machine did to Chazz! Do you want to be electrified to a crisp?" warned Bastion.
"I've never really been one to wait things out! The robot seems to have hooked itself up to the other systems around here! That means if I can knock its Life Points down to zero in a duel, it might release the lockdown!" Jaden suggested.
"It's always a possibility, but that's something of a longshot! Besides, it's reasonable to assume that whoever or whatever is corrupting the computer has probably loaded up its database with a nasty army of cards! We've already seen it - literally - go on the offensive! There's absolutely no way of knowing what to expect!"
"Then that'll make it all the more challenging! I've seen the Duel Robot turn off and reboot itself after each completed match! In that instant the doors might open and we can escape! On top of that, Chazz sure isn't looking real great...he needs to to be taken to the infirmary for treatment!"
There were a dozen more details Bastion could've brought up, but that last one Jaden mentioned was undeniable. Chazz was in pain, but it was impossible to tell how badly he'd been hurt. An appointment with the school nurse was defnately in order and if there was any possibility that defeating the computer would set them free...
Jaden bravely walked onto the dueling platform and activated his Duel Disk. He was unsure as to whether or not the artificial opponent staring back could actually hear and comprehend his words, but it was all he had to go on in order to initiate a duel.
"All right, buddy! I know Chazz is an annoying dude, but there're better ways to work out your stress! Going all postal on him isn't the way to do it! But I'm your opponent now, and if you think you're so tough, then just try to take me down!"
The Duel Computer hummed and beeped a few times, and the Life Point counter above the red light on its face flashed momentarily. Its scoreboard then glowed a white "4000" that could be seen by all, due to the fact that only minimal lighting had been retained in the giant room; the counter on Jaden's Duel Disk read the same. He took this as a sign that his adversary had accepted the challenge.
The young teen took a deep breath, gritted his teeth, tightened his fists and did his best to keep a tough expression glued to his face. Since his first day at Duel Academy, the difficulty level of Jaden's duels had (usually) never been low. The stakes were exceptionally high on this one and he knew it. Just about everyone present would be counting on him to win, not that he could - or would - do any less.
"Okay! Shuffle your cards, ready that advanced, computerized brain...and get your game on!"
The lights on the large device blinked as its feminine voice spoke. Its following statements would initially seem harmless, but whoever was influencing the computer's system had also (seemingly) corrupted its dialogue. Which (for a split second) made Jaden's blood run cold...
"Reviewing duelists records...isolating duelist tactics...commence restructure of deck...complete! Duel algorithm update completed! Prepare to meet your match!"
TO BE CONTINUED (WHEN I'M GOOD AND READY)...
WHEW! I sure typed up a mouthful! Yeah, yeah...I realize it's been a damn long time since I've served up any new fanfic material, but I'm FINALLY back from infinity...and beyond! You won't believe where I've been! Really, you wouldn't...due to the fact that I usually lie about these kinda things. So while I try to think up a plausible excuse, why don't you go ahead leave your reviews and feedback at the door?
Well...the main feature (Jaden's fight agains the Duel Robot) begins! Now that we've gotten up to the exciting, action-packed part, I'll do my best to spew out new chapters in the near future. (But I make no promises.) Thus keep your chin up, raise the head up high and cross those fingers! See you soon...hopefully.