Sam Puckett walked into the iCarly studio to see Freddie typing away at his computer. Normally, Freddie would be designing and encoding the graphics for the show or programming one of the pages at the iCarly website, but on this particular day, two hours before iCarly was to go on the air, he was doing something quite different. He was so engrossed at what he was doing that he was paying no attention to Sam as she drew closer and closer. The blonde noticed this, and she quietly walked toward Freddie, saying nothing as she got closer and closer…
On the screen, a menu was opened up in front of what appeared to be a screenshot of a video game from at least a decade earlier. Sam didn't recognize the game or the program Freddie was using, and to be honest, she didn't care. She crept closer to Freddie, whose eyes remained locked on the screen. Closer and closer still, until she could just about touch the waistline of Freddie's blue jeans. She extended her hand, and with one firm tug, she yanked his underwear up hard, immediately causing Freddie to let out a loud yelp and press several keys on his computer that he hadn't intended to press.
"What'cha up to, Freddo?" Sam said casually, peering over her wedgied friend's shoulder. Freddie staggered into a position where he could face Sam, still rubbing his being and readjusting his underwear as he looked at her.
"What did you give me a wedgie for?!" Freddie snapped.
"Felt like it," replied Sam, a familiar smirk on her face. Freddie just let out a sigh and returned to his work, using the delete key to undo the inadvertent keystrokes Sam had caused him to make.
"I'm working on something," Freddie groaned, an annoyed tone in his voice. "Something you wouldn't understand in a million years."
"Oh, I understand a lot of things," Sam said slyly, continuing to peer over Freddie's shoulder. "That appears to be a computer."
"…yeah, no dip," Freddie responded, briefly looking back at Sam. "And if you must know, it's a ROM hack."
Sam blinked her eyes for a couple of moments, trying to comprehend the cryptic nerd language Freddie must have been using. She recognized the word 'hack', and her lips curved into a smile at the implications.
"Hacking someone's computer, huh? I might not understand that, but I'd sure enjoy seeing you do it, even if it means I have to put up with being near you while you're doing it."
"It's not someone's computer, I'm hacking into a game," Freddie replied. "It's an old game called Time Scraper, it came out right around the time we were born."
"Video games from fifteen years ago? Oh geez, Fredward, you're a bigger nerd than I thought."
"Would you let me explain, or do you wanna keep belittling the stuff I like to do?" Freddie shouted, his eyes narrowed as he glared at Sam.
"Belittling sounds fine."
"Ugggggggh…." Freddie groaned, returning to his work. "Time Scraper is a role-playing game that came out for the Playbox back in 1995."
"Playbox?" Sam muttered, her eyebrow raised.
"Playbox is the system that came out before the Gamepod, which came out before the Gamesphere, which came out before Gamesphere 2.0. Anyway, because the Playbox was before my time, and because my mom didn't let me play video games until I was thirteen-"
Sam snickered at this, drawing another glare from Freddie. He continued.
"I had to download an emulator to my computer, and download a ROM image of the original Time Scraper game to play on my computer. So anyway, the company that made Time Scraper, Sphere Helix, made a sequel to Time Scraper called Time Runner. But they left a lot of plotholes between Time Scraper and Time Runner, and fans like me got really cheesed off."
"Ooooh, scary plotholes," Sam said mockingly, waving her arms in the air.
Before Freddie could continue, Carly walked into the room.
"Hey Carls," said Sam as her friend walked over to where she and Freddie were standing.
"Uh oh, you guys were alone in here for two whole minutes… did you hurt him?" Carly asked, looking over at Freddie. Freddie turned around and angrily indicated his pants.
"She gave me a-" Freddie started before Sam clapped her hand over his mouth and finished his sentence for him.
"A big ol' hug, isn't that right, Freddie?" Sam said with a smile. She looked over at Freddie, who was trying to yell at Sam beneath her hand, but all his words were coming out muffled.
"You gave him a wedgie, didn't you?" Carly asked knowingly, knowing Sam would never hug Freddie unless she was forced to or perhaps if she was being paid a million dollars.
"Yeah," said Sam with a shrug, lowering her hand from Freddie's mouth. Immediately, Freddie began spitting onto the ground and wiping his lips with his hand.
"Your hand tastes like dirty bacon!" Freddie shouted. "I hope you didn't give me any diseases!"
"I'd be more worried about catching something from having my hand near your nasty lips," said Sam, shaking her hand in the air several times.
"So Freddie, what's up?" Carly asked, looking past him at his computer screen. "You preparing something for tonight's iCarly?"
"Actually, I'm just working on a personal project," said Freddie, before explaining Time Scraper to Carly exactly the way he'd explained it to Sam, minus the numerous interruptions. "I'm hacking the old ROM image of Time Scraper and making a new game out of it, it'll take place between Time Scraper and Time Runner. I'm just about finished, too. 98% done, all that's left is to work out the last few bugs."
"That sounds pretty cool!" Carly said, though she, like Sam, didn't quite understand the intricacies of ROM hacking. She just thought it was cool that one of her friends was making a brand new game. "What'cha gonna call it?"
"I'm calling it Time Scraper: Chartreuse Reflections," Freddie said proudly. Immediately, Sam put her hand over her mouth to stifle a snicker. "What? What?! Don't laugh at my title, Puckett, let's see you program your own video game!"
"Actually, I did," Sam said through continued snickers. She walked over to Freddie's computer and minimized his ROM hacking program, then brought up the iCarly website and directed Freddie to a new window on the iCarly website. "Look."
"…what's this… Whack-A-Dork?" Freddie said quizzically. Sam clicked on it, and immediately, a Flash animated game board popped up with Freddie's head popping out of numerous holes. Sam began clicking on the heads, causing the animated mallet to come down and whack them. "Oh, that's real nice!"
"Wow, look who's got the high score!" Carly said, pointing to a scoreboard on the right side of the window. "It's Tareen, from our school!"
"Yeah, she's pretty good," said Sam.
"But I thought Tareen liked me!" Freddie shouted in exasperation.
"Oh, she probably does, but there ain't no one who can resist the allure of whacking a dork upside the head with a mallet," said Sam, continuing to click on the screen. A few seconds later, the screen flashed, and a loud voice echoed through the computer's speakers. "OH YEAH, NEW HIGH SCORE!"
Sam swayed back and forth in front of the computer, doing a victory dance as a visibly annoyed Freddie looked on.
In five, four, three, two…
I know, you see
Somehow the world will change for me
And be so wonderful
Live life, breathe air
I know somehow we're gonna get there
And feel so wonderful
It's all for real
I'm tellin' you just how I feel!
So wake up the members of my nation
It's your time to be
There's no chance unless you take one
And the time to see the brighter side of every situation
Some things are meant to be so gimme your best and leave the rest to me
Leave it all to me
Leave it all to me
Just leave it all to me
Nearly two hours later, iCarly was just about to begin. Freddie had exited his ROM hacking program and was now preparing to do all the necessary technical things that made iCarly happen. At the same time, Carly and Sam were going over their routines for the start of the show.
"You sure these water guns you made us are safe?" asked Carly, holding up what could only be described as a very large Super Soaker. On her back were two gallon-sized cartons of milk filled with water. "I don't know if I'm comfortable having sixteen pounds of pressurized water right up against my spine…"
"There's not sixteen pounds of water in there," Sam replied, dismissively waving her hand.
"Two gallons is sixteen pounds!" Carly quickly shouted, a worried look on her face. Sam's eyes drooped.
"Whoa… I thought two gallons was like… eight quarts or something."
"Two gallons is eight quarts!"
"And eight quarts is four pounds, right?"
Before Carly could correct her, Freddie emerged from behind his computer with a handheld camera.
"iCarly goes live in five… four… three… two…"
Carly quickly returned to her normal, upbeat demeanor just in time to start the show.
"Hi, everyone! I just want to let you know that I'm Carly!"
"And I guess I'd better let you know that I'm Sam!"
"And this fine internet institution is… iCarly!"
Carly and Sam took a couple of steps back, showing off their water guns.
"You might want to know why we've got these big honkin' water guns and these big honkin' milk cartons strapped to our backs!" said Sam, pointing back to the milk cartons.
"That's because Sam rigged up these homemade watercannons out of some household supplies, and we're gonna have us a good old fashioned water gun fight, right here on iCarly!"
"Right you are, Carly, and since this is iCarly, and since I'm such a nice person, I'll let you have the first shot," said Sam, taking a step back and extending her arms. "You may fire when ready, Carly!"
"You got it!" Carly shouted, pumping up the water gun and taking the first shot right at Sam's chest. Almost immediately, the huge force of the water emerging from the gun began blasting Carly backwards, sending her tumbling back to the floor, while the powerful jet of water hit Sam and sent her back into the wall. The force of Carly landing on the cartons of water ruptured them, sending up a big splash that completely soaked Carly, leaving her in a giant puddle on the floor while leaving Sam relatively dry, with only a bit of water covering the front of her shirt. "Okay, that was a dumb idea!"
Carly staggered to her feet as Sam ran over to check on her.
"Uh, Carly, are you okay?" asked Sam, looking her friend over. Carly nodded, shaking some of the water out of her hair. "You're okay? Awesome!"
Sam pointed her own still-intact water gun at Carly and fired, sending herself flying back into the wall again. Carly was knocked back, while Sam's water jugs ruptured against the wall and got her as wet as Carly. The two soaked girls returned to their position in front of the camera, shaking themselves and dousing Freddie with water as well.
"Hey, hey, hey!" shouted Freddie. "Watch the camera!"
"Oh, you should know to get that thing waterproofed with all the stuff we do on here," said Sam dismissively, causing Freddie to just mutter and step back, wiping water from his face. "So, Carly… who won this water gun fight?"
"Oh, I don't know, Sam… I think it was a tie!" said Carly excitedly. "Or maybe… we both won!"
"Awesome!" shouted Sam, holding up the still-working iCarly remote control. "That calls for some… RANDOM DANCING!!!"
The Random Dancing lights went off and the two girls began dancing wildly, getting more water on Freddie and the camera. The show continued as it normally did, with the two girls continuing to do what they normally did on iCarly, the usual assortment of jokes, games, and skits… of course, the girls were still soaking wet while they were performing. Finally, as the show was about to end, Carly had one more thing to tell iCarly's worldwide audience.
"Before we go, I want to tell everyone about something neat our tech producer Freddie has been doing," said Carly, causing Freddie to briefly point the camera at himself. "He's come up with this cool game called Time Scraper: Chartreuse Reflections."
Sam snickered again at the title.
"Anyway, it involves a lot of technical stuff that it's hard for me to really explain on iCarly, but if you want to play, Freddie will be putting up a list of instructions that will let you know how you can play Chartreuse Reflections once it's finished. So play it, people!"
"And… we're clear!" Freddie said as the camera shut off, ending that week's episode of iCarly. "Good job, people… hey Carly, are you sure that the iCarly fans will be into my game? I mean, I will admit it's not really a mainstream kinda thing."
"Well, millions of people watch iCarly every week, so I'm sure there'll be plenty of people who like Time Scraper as much as you do," said Carly encouragingly.
"Yeah, out of millions of people, there's a good chance at least some of 'em are as dorky as you," Sam added.
"I will admit that having my game up for download on iCarly is a great way to make people aware of it. Thanks for letting me put it up there."
"You're just as much a part of iCarly as us, Freddie. You know it's okay," said Carly warmly. "Besides, Sam puts her games up there all the time…"
"…wait, there's more than one of them?!" Freddie shouted in disbelief, running to his computer and checking the iCarly website. "Give Freddie A Wedgie? Lock Freddie In The Freezer? THROW FREDDIE OFF A CLIFF?!"
"Oh yeah, I've got the high score on that one too," said Sam, walking past Freddie and smiling. Freddie let out an exasperated groan, putting his head in his hands and shaking his head.
"Maybe I'll work something bashing Sam into the last 2% of Chartreuse Reflections… I think I'll make her the final boss."
"Hey Carly, why didn't you guys tell me about this?" Carly heard Spencer shout as she and Sam walked into Carly's apartment. The two walked over to Spencer, who was standing in front of the living room computer with a wide smile on his face.
"Tell you about what?" Carly asked.
"You guys are making a sequel to Time Scraper? That's so awesome!" Spencer said excitedly, pointing at Freddie's article on the screen. "Carly, I didn't know you were so good at making video games…"
"Well actually, Freddie's making the game. We're hosting the download of it on iCarly."
"Well, technically this article says you're hosting a patch, not the actual game."
"…huh?" Carly asked, raising her eyebrow.
"Is this more dorky video game talk? Because I've got some good afternoon talk shows I'd like to be catching up on right now," Sam said, migrating to the couch. "Gary Splinter's having midget clowns on today."
"A ROM hack needs a patch to make it work. It's something you add to a ROM file to make the changes to the game. That way, you guys don't actually have to host the actual ROM file."
"What's wrong with hosting a ROM file?" asked Carly.
"Well, websites hosting ROM files have gotten into trouble with the FBI. You know, the people who busted Ms. Ackerman for downloading songs onto that PearPod she gave me."
"Oh yeah, how's she doing in jail by the way?" Carly asked curiously.
"She met a guy through the prison pen pal program. I think his name was Crazy Steve or something?"
"Oh, well, they sound like they're made for each other," said Carly.
"Yeah," said Sam from the couch. "Two cuckoo birds flying over the same cuckoo's nest. How romantic."
There was a knock at the door. Carly went over to open it and saw Freddie standing in the doorway, a grim look on his face.
"You're not gonna believe what happened," said Freddie, holding a piece of paper in his hand.
"You found out you were adopted and that your real parents are walruses?" Sam said.
"No, Puckett!" shouted Freddie, handing the piece of paper to Carly. "Read it."
"This is a cease and desist order from Sphere Helix ordering you to cease production of the illegal ROM hack Time Scraper: Chartreuse Reflections," read Carly. "Oh man…"
"It gets worse!" shouted Freddie. "Keep reading."
"You are hereby ordered to delete all copies of this hack and to remove all mention of Chartreuse Reflections from the iCarly website and anywhere else, including but not limited to your personal computer. In addition, if this illegal ROM hack is ever distributed in any way, you will be held liable."
"They've got our names and our addresses and everything!" Freddie said. "I bet they sent you an e-mail too, Carly."
"Yep! They did!" shouted Spencer from the living room computer. "It says the same thing!"
"P.S.," said Carly, reading the bottom of the letter. "Even if ninjas come into your house, tie you up and steal the files and then distribute them, you'll still be liable. So don't even think about it. …oh man, these guys mean business."
"Yeah," said Freddie, taking the letter. "I guess I have no choice… I have to go delete every copy I made of Chartreuse Reflections."
"And I'll go delete the beta copy you sent me," said Carly, hurrying to her own computer.
"Wait a minute," said Sam, walking over to Freddie. "That doesn't seem entirely fair. I mean, they can't just tell you to delete all your hard work like that."
"Uh, they own the original copyright for the game, yes they can," Freddie replied. "Besides, what do you care? Didn't you tell me that this whole thing was just a big, dorky waste of time?"
"Well yeah, but I'm not gonna let some corporate jerks push my friends around either! Come on, Freddie, we gotta fight this thing! Can't you… I dunno, leak the game through hidden websites or something?"
"You heard what it said in the e-mail," said Freddie, bowing his head. "Even if ninjas come in and steal the game from us and leak it, we'll still get our butts sued. They've covered all the bases, Sam. I don't have a choice. Deleting this game is gonna hurt me more than anything that's ever hurt me before, but I have to do it."
"…more than the time I poured a whole bottle of super-hot Tabasco sauce down your pants?" asked Sam. "Or the time I whipped you repeatedly with that cord from your busted alarm clock that I busted? Or the time-"
"Yes, more than all those things combined!" Freddie shouted. He crumpled up the e-mail in his hands and bowed his head, not even flinching as Carly put a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"It's okay…" said Carly. "I'm sure there'll be other things you can put your time into…"
"It's not just me, either. The letter says that if the game is distributed, Sphere Helix's lawyers can take iCarly away. I might try to leak the game if it was just me getting sued, but iCarly's implicated in this too. I don't want to throw away everything you've worked so hard for either."
"We've all worked hard for iCarly," Carly said. "And you can keep working hard on it. iCarly makes a lot more people happy than that game would have… not that I'm taking anything away from your game, of course."
"No, no, you're right, Carly," Freddie replied, looking at her and starting to smile. "Thanks."
Carly allowed Freddie to wrap her in a light embrace, and she returned the hug quickly, though she pulled back as soon as Freddie started to nuzzle his cheek against hers.
"Freddie, I know you're grieving right now, so I'm not going to-"
"Sorry, sorry," Freddie hastily apologized, backing away from Carly. As the two continued to talk about the game, Sam sat on the couch, trying to concentrate on her show while thinking about just how heartbroken Freddie was about getting a cease and desist letter.
"Freddie might be a dork, but those Sphere Helix jerks are bigger dorks, and I'm not going to let them get away with this. People WILL see Freddie's vision… his geeky, dorky vision… and I'm gonna show it to them."
Late that night, Sam sat in her darkened bedroom, a laptop computer on her lap. In front of her was an e-mail. Attached was the Chartreuse Reflections patch that Freddie had sent to her and Carly the previous day.
"That dork actually thought I was gonna play this thing?" Sam whispered to herself, opening the file. "Guess I should be glad he thought I'd give it a chance. Actually, Freddie's the one that should be glad."
Sam took the file and navigated her browser to BitMonster, a secret internet torrenting site. Sam normally used it to download all the shows she couldn't normally watch because her mother was too cheap to buy cable, but on this occasion, it'd be used for a different purpose…
"All right, world, prepare to be amazed at the ultimate product of Fredward Benson's nerdiness," said Sam, clicking the button that would upload the Chartreuse Reflections patch to BitMonster. "There, it's done. Not only will Freddie stop whining, but I won't owe him that hundred bucks, either."
Sam put her laptop away and went to sleep with a sly smile on her face.
That day at school, Carly and Freddie met up in front of Freddie's locker to once again discuss Chartreuse Reflections. Freddie seemed much happier than before, certainly much more than he was right after getting that cease and desist letter.
"Hey Freddie, what's up? I know what I said to you yesterday made you feel better, but I still thought it'd take you a while longer to get over all that…"
"Well, this morning I remembered that before I told you guys about the game, I played all the way through it and took a video recording of myself playing through the game!"
"Oh… wow, that's um… cool, I guess?" replied Carly, a quizzical look on her face. "I guess it's nice that you'll always have those great memories!"
"The letter I got from Sphere Helix said that I can't distribute the patch of the game… but I can still put the videos I made of myself playing through it for everyone to see! It's not quite as good as everyone getting to play, but at least they can all see all the work I put into the game and all the scenarios I wrote to fill up the different plotholes… I'm posting all the videos up on SplashFace tonight!"
"Cool! If that's what makes you happy, then-"
Just then, a boy in thick glasses walked by Carly and Freddie.
"Hey Freddie, AWESOME game," said the boy, holding up a portable game system. "Look, I'm playing it on my Pentendo GS right now!"
"…what?" Freddie stammered, a bewildered look on his face. "How is that even… what?"
"Cool game, Benson," said Ripoff Rodney, holding up his laptop as he walked past Freddie. "I got detention when I got caught playing in Mrs. Briggs' class, but it was totally worth it!"
Freddie looked at the screen, and to his horror, saw Ripoff Rodney currently in the process of fighting one of the first bosses of Chartruese Reflections, a mechanical tank in the shape of a hippo.
"Awesome spriting on the HippoTank, by the way," added Rodney.
"NO! You're not supposed to be playing that!" Freddie yelled, trying to tug the computer away from his classmate. At the same time, he looked up at the boy playing it on his Pentendo GS and shouted at him from across the hall. "DELETE THAT GAME RIGHT NOW!"
"Freddie, what's going on?" Carly asked, pulling her friend away from Rodney. "Didn't you say to delete all the copies of that game?"
"I did, and I thought we did delete them all!" Freddie said frantically, having no idea what Sam had done. "You deleted your copy, and I deleted all my copies-"
"'Sup, homies," said Sam casually, walking over to Carly and Freddie. As soon as Freddie heard Sam's voice, he immediately realized what had happened to the final copy. "Hey Freddie, guess what?"
"You DIDN'T," Freddie said sternly, turning toward Sam.
"Didn't do what? Oh yeah, I remember now! I uploaded that dorky game of yours to BitMonster last night and sent out some e-mails about it to some people at our school so they knew where to find it. Isn't that great?"
"No, it's horrible!" shouted Freddie. "Now I'm gonna get sued!"
"And those guys from Sphere Helix are gonna take down iCarly!" Carly added, her face red with worry. "Sam, why would you do something so reckless?!"
"Relax, those lawyer dorks are never gonna know. BitMonster is a really secret website, it's where I go to get all of my material of shady legality."
"Didn't you hear what the letter said? About the ninjas?" Freddie put his hands to his temples and leaned back, staring toward the ceiling. "Oh my god oh my god oh my god!!!"
"Sam, if we lose iCarly because of this, I… I… I'm gonna cry!" Carly whined, looking into her friend's eyes with concern. "You remember the last time you made me cry?"
"Don't you dare say it, Carly, don't you dare…" Sam pointed a finger in Carly's face, warning her not to continue.
"It made you cry!" Carly shrieked, loud enough for everyone nearby to hear. "You were crying and sobbing and I started crying harder and you started crying harder and-"
"Sam was crying?" Freddie said, breaking out of his rage long enough to crack a smile. "How long were you guys crying for?"
"FOURTEEN MINUTES!" Carly yelled, her face now completely red. Sam looked around to see everyone starting to snicker, but as soon as she raised her fist, they all stopped and moved on. She then turned to Carly and placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder.
"It's okay. Those dumb lawyers will never, ever find out that I put that game up on the internet. You are both overreacting to this."
A few hours later, Carly and Freddie were staring wide-eyed into the doorway of Carly's apartment. A well-dressed man was standing there, handing both of them a letter.
"You're being served this subpoena for distributing the illegal ROM hack Chartreuse Reflections after you were warned not to. We'll see you in court tomorrow morning."
The door closed, and Carly and Freddie turned to Sam, standing behind them and shrugging her shoulders.
"Guess you weren't overreacting, huh?"
*guitar riff, commercial break*
Carly and Freddie faced Sam, Carly holding the subpoena she'd just been handed by the lawyer who'd shown up at her door.
"Sam, this is serious… do you know what this letter means?"
"It means we gotta show up in court tomorrow morning, big deal. I've been in court lots of times before."
"Sam, we are in DEEP CHIZ! And you're the one who put us there! I'm mad enough to… to… to stand up to you right now!" shouted Freddie, his face contorted in anger. "Come on, threaten me!"
"All right, if you don't calm down I'm gonna shove a whole orange in your mouth."
"BRING IT ON, PUCKETT!" Freddie ran at Sam, only to have her grab him by the back of the neck and drag him into the kitchen. "Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow…"
Sam dragged Freddie all the way to the kitchen and walked over to the basket of fruit on the table. Freddie tried to resist, but Sam was far too powerful, and was now holding his neck with one hand and an orange with the other.
"Don't you dare tell me to calm down, or I'm gonna urrrrrk!" Freddie coughed and gasped as Sam shoved the whole orange into his mouth, and he began clawing at his face in an effort to extricate it as Carly stormed over to both of them.
"Sam, quit messing around! Freddie's right!"
"Freddie's never right!" Sam yelled. Freddie staggered over to Carly, who reached up and with some effort began to pry the orange from his mouth. "You guys are making too big a deal out of this! I read up on this whole dumb thing and what Freddie did isn't illegal! It's like writing dumb fanfiction or drawing a dorky picture of an anime character or mmmm!"
Carly had removed the orange from Freddie's mouth and shoved it into Sam's, immediately halting her tirade.
"Now will you LISTEN for once?" snapped Carly. Silenced by the orange, all Sam could manage to do was meekly nod her head. "Okay, now listen! This is a really serious situation! We are being sued by a huge video game corporation with really expensive lawyers for doing something that may or may not be really illegal! There is a good chance-"
"Sam, what you did was really, really nnnk!" Freddie began to say before Carly grabbed a lime out of the basket and shoved it into his mouth. He looked over at Sam, who hadn't even begun to try and extricate the orange from her own mouth. Both of them then looked back over at Carly, who tried to be as calm and serious as she could.
"There is a good chance that we could lose iCarly. Forever! And it's all because you went and did something really irresponsible, Sam!"
"Bmmt Cmmrrly, mm-"
Sam began pawing at the orange as Carly continued to speak.
"Now I don't know how we're going to fix this, but we have to start by taking that game down off BitMonster. Then maybe tomorrow we can go in and tell the Sphere Helix lawyers that we're sorry and maybe they'll go easy on us. Okay?"
Both Sam and Freddie nodded, and then Sam finally got the orange out of her mouth. She threw it down and began spitting like crazy, furiously wiping her mouth with the back of her hand as Freddie pulled the lime out of his mouth.
"That was terrible! That orange was in Freddie's mouth first, having it in his mouth and then in my mouth was like having to kiss him all over a-"
Sam immediately stopped herself and looked to see that Carly was now staring at her with a bewildered expression.
"…did you say it was like having to kiss mmmk?"
Freddie had shoved a lemon in Carly's mouth and was now slowly pulling back his hand while looking at Sam and giving her a knowing wink. Sam brushed her hand across her forehead and mouthed 'never again' to Freddie, who nodded in agreement as Carly pulled out the lemon.
"Okay, can we stop playing with fruit now and focus?" said Carly, putting the lemon back in the basket. As she was doing so, Spencer walked over to them.
"Did you guys say iCarly was getting sued?" asked Spencer, a look of concern on his face.
"Yeah…" said Sam. "It's… kinda my fault."
"Wow, Sam, that was really big of you to admit that," Freddie replied, causing Sam to give him an angry glare.
"Well, if you need help, I could come to court with you guys tomorrow and be your lawyer."
"It's okay, I was thinking you could just take the money Dad sent you to buy me Christmas presents from him every year and just use that to hire a lawyer for tomorrow," said Carly, somewhat dejectedly. "I'd rather lose all my presents than lose iCarly."
"No way," said Sam, putting her hand on Carly's shoulder. "I got us into this, and I'll get us out. Mom won a bunch of money betting on the horses yesterday, we can use that to hire a lawyer."
"…I thought you told us once that your mom was too cheap to buy cable, why would she give us money to hire a lawyer?" Freddie asked.
"I didn't say she was going to give us the money," said Sam. Freddie quickly rolled his eyes, knowing he probably should've realized that as soon as he said it.
"Nobody's going to use Christmas money or horsey money to hire a lawyer. I told you, I can handle it," said Spencer.
"But Spencer, you only went to law school for 72 hours! How are you going to beat Sphere Helix's expensive legal team?" asked Carly skeptically.
"I don't know!" Spencer declared loudly. "But I've got fourteen hours to figure that out and I'd better get crackin'!"
Spencer quickly ran up to his room as a worried Carly and her worried friends looked on. Tomorrow morning was going to be rough indeed…
The next morning, Carly, Sam, Freddie, and Spencer stood in a Seattle courtroom, awaiting the legal team from Sphere Helix to arrive. Spencer had a large briefcase on the table and nervously thumbed through its contents as his sister and her friends looked on.
"Anything there that can help us win our case?" asked Carly.
"I think so," said Spencer, holding up a fairly large stack of papers he'd printed off his computer. "Once the judge hears this, it'll be an open-and-shut case."
"What is it?" Freddie asked curiously.
"Is it a bribe offer?" Sam said, trying to read what was on the paper. Carly and Freddie both glared at her. "What? I brought my mom's winnings from the horse racing track just in case we needed a bribe."
"Sam, what have I told you about taking your mom's money?" Carly asked.
"It's illegal and rude," Sam groaned.
"Thank you," Carly replied. "You're giving it back once we get-"
The doors to the courtroom swung open, and a group of well-dressed men and women entered, each of them holding two briefcases in their hands.
"Oh my God," said Spencer in disbelief. "Those guys must be good… each of them has twice as many briefcases as I do…"
"Focus, Spencer!" Carly whispered, flicking her brother on the back of the head.
"Hey, aren't those lawyers…" Sam started, recognizing them from somewhere else. One of the lawyers looked over at Carly's group and angrily glared at them, indicating that he recognized them as well.
"They're the lawyers from Daka! The Techfoot guys!" Freddie said with a gasp.
"Well well, it's a surprise to see you again," said one of the lawyers, extending his hand to shake Spencer's. "But not really. I should've expected a bunch of miscreant contract breachers like you would be in trouble with the law again. This time, you won't be so lucky."
"That's right, not so lucky, not so lucky indeed," the other lawyers murmured, nodding their heads.
"Well, my brother Spencer is the best lawyer I know, and he'll show the judge that we're right and you're wrong!" Carly shouted, crossing her arms over her chest.
"Order, order!" shouted the judge, pounding his gavel and gesturing for the two groups to assume their positions behind their respective tables. "This case of Sphere Helix vs. iCarly will come to order! Carly Shay, Sam Puckett, and Freddie Benson, you stand accused of gross and blatant copyright infringement against the intellectual property Time Scraper, held by Sphere Helix."
"Your honor, may I say something in my clients' defense?" said Spencer. The judge nodded, and Spencer continued. "My clients have made every effort to remove the infringing material from the internet. Even after it was uploaded to a file sharing website against their knowledge and without their consent, they tirelessly worked to delete every copy from the face of the Earth, and I think you'll see that-"
"Your honor, Sphere Helix would like to call its first witness!" said one of the lawyers.
"Hey, I didn't get to finish talking!" Spencer shouted back.
"Quiet, you filthy software pirate!" shouted the judge, pointing his gavel at Spencer. Spencer quickly stepped back, and Carly and Freddie exchanged worried looks. The judge looked over at the plantiff's table. "You may proceed."
"Your honor, we'd like to call Rodney Jacobs to the stand."
The doors to the courtroom swung open, and Ripoff Rodney walked into the room. Sam and Carly both shot him dirty glances.
"Rodney, you're our friend!" Sam whispered.
"Yeah, you can't testify against us!" whispered Carly.
"They made me an offer I couldn't refuse," said Rodney, shrugging his shoulders and holding up a letter. "I got a subpoena."
Rodney took the bench and was sworn in, and was then approached by Sphere Helix's lawyer.
"Now, Mr. Jacobs…"
"Call me Ripoff," said Rodney, a sly smile on his face.
"Uh, yes, all right… Mr. Ripoff, the defendants claim that they wiped every copy of Chartreuse Reflections from the face of the Earth. Is this true?"
"Well, last night after Freddie e-mailed me telling me to delete my copy of the game, I was gonna do it, but… that part where they all got sent to the land of the dinosaurs… that part was so great… I just had to see what happened next, so I kept playing, and by the time I finally pulled myself away from it, my mom was telling me it was morning and that I had to come into court."
"So did you delete the game from your computer?"
"Uh… no, no I didn't."
There was an audible gasp in the courtroom. Carly put her head in her hands, while Freddie shook his head and Sam angrily shook her fist at Rodney. She then turned to Freddie and shook her fist at him.
"Why'd you have to make your dorky game so good, Benson?"
"What are you talking about, you never even played my game!"
"Order, order!" shouted the judge, pounding his gavel as Sam and Freddie began to fight. He then turned to Rodney and smiled at him. "You can step down now."
"Sure thing, judge," said Rodney, who then opened his jacket to display the various goods inside. "But before I go, I'd like to tell you that I've got a special on PearPods this week! Only 500 bucks!"
"That's awfully expensive…" muttered the judge. "But that granddaughter of mine is always bugging me to buy her one… oh, what the heck, here."
The judge reached into his robe and pulled out five fresh $100 bills, handing them to Rodney, who gave him the PearPod and exited the courtroom. The lawyer from Sphere Helix smiled and began to speak.
"As you can see, the defendants did not take sufficient pains to remove the infringing material from the internet! They are liable for its distribution and all damages that consequently result!"
"My clients are only liable if their actions are in fact illegal," said Spencer, turning to the judge. "And while distribution of ROM files is illegal, distribution of ROM hacking patches is not! It's on the same level of legality as common fanfiction! The original game was never intended to be distributed with the patch, and so the creation of these patches costs Sphere Helix nothing!"
"You can't prove that!" shouted Sphere Helix's lawyer. "In fact, I'd like to posit that something like fanfiction is VERY damaging."
"Mr. Shay, do you have prove that what you are claiming is true?" asked the judge. "Can you prove that things such as fan fiction and ROM hacks are not damaging to the intellectual property holder?"
"I certainly can! And to prove it, I'd like to call… Spencer Shay to the witness stand!"
The courtroom let out an audible gasp. Carly and Sam looked worriedly at one another.
"Can he do that?" Carly asked frantically. "Can he call himself to the stand?"
"We can go out and hire another lawyer!" said Sam, waving a wad of her mom's money in the air. "There's still time!"
"Put that down!" said Carly, taking Sam's wrist and shoving the money down.
"I guess there's no precedent against calling yourself as a witness… but this had better be good," grumbled the judge, gesturing for Spencer to take the stand. Spencer took the stand and was sworn in, and he immediately held up the large ream of paper he'd carried into the courtroom with him. "And just what is that…?"
"Your honor, this is an example of fanfiction," said Spencer, holding it up for the court to see. "This is a fanfiction story I wrote ten years ago, based on the Japanese animated series Starlet Luna and the Starlet Scouts."
"You mean that horrible cartoon about the five girls me and Carly's age who go around fighting demons in Tokyo?" Sam blurted out, drawing Carly and Freddie's attention. "…what? I said it was terrible! It's not like I watched it all the time when I was five… or anything like that…"
"Well… yes, that's the cartoon, but it's not… I wouldn't say it's horrible," muttered Spencer.
"Is there a point to all this?" shouted the judge.
"Yes there is! I'm going to prove that fanfiction, and by association, ROM hacks like Chartreuse Reflections, are not damaging! I'm going to do that by reading an excerpt from my fanfiction aloud for the court."
Spencer began thumbing through the story, trying to find the very best part to read as Carly and her friends looked on.
"He's not actually going to read that horrible thing, is he?" whispered Sam.
"Spencer and I watched Starlet Luna all the time when I was little… he um… he liked it more than I did," Carly whispered back.
"How much did he like it?" Freddie asked.
"Um… enough to beg mom and dad to import the action figures from Tokyo for his birthday. The whole set… all five of them. …and their friends. And their pets. And the villains."
"…I think someone just passed Nevel on my dorkometer," Sam groaned, receiving an elbow from Carly.
"Chapter Sixteen," read Spencer with all the appropriate flair. "I'll save you, Starlet Luna… shouted the heroic Spencer Slashvale as he raced to the beautiful Luna's rescue…"
"…the hero of his fanfiction is named Spencer?" Sam whispered. Carly already had her head buried in her hands in embarrassment as Spencer continued to read.
"My hero!... shouted Starlet Luna as Spencer slashed through her bonds with one mighty swipe of his space sword. As Spencer took the beautiful heroine into his arms, the two looked longingly into each other's eyes… they kissed once, and then they kissed some more. Oh, Spencer Slashvale, you are the greatest hero I have ever known… and the most handsome…"
A chorus of groans echoed through the courtroom as Spencer read from his fanfic. The judge was rubbing his temples. Freddie had his face buried in his right hand. From the front row of the courtroom, Freddie's mom reached over and covered his ears.
"Mommy doesn't want you to hear this, sweetie…" said Mrs. Benson. "Exposure to such terrible writing at an early age can cause irreversible mental harm!"
"ENOUGH!" shouted the judge, looking right at Spencer. "You may step down now!"
"…don't you want to hear how Spencer Slashvale saves Starlet Luna and the other Starlet Scouts from the evil-"
"No! Let the record show that fanfiction is EXTREMELY damaging, not just for the intellectual property it's based on, but for everyone's sanity as well!"
The Sphere Helix lawyers looked at one another with smiles on their faces. Spencer turned dejectedly toward the plantiffs' table and started walking toward it with his printed out fanfiction in hand. As he was starting to sit down, the baliff approached him.
"I'm sorry, I'll have to confiscate that from you," said the baliff, taking the fanfiction from Spencer's hand.
"…why?" asked Spencer, a quizzical look on his face.
"You're not allowed to have deadly weapons in a courtroom," the baliff replied, glaring at Spencer. "If it was up to me I'd have you arrested right now."
"…yes, sir," Spencer said meekly, sitting down at the table.
"Awww, Spencer…" Carly said sympathetically. "It wasn't all that bad-"
"Yes, Carly, it was WORSE than that bad," Sam replied. Freddie nodded in agreement.
"Well, after some… illuminating testimony from both sides, I'm ready to start deliberating," said the judge, rising from his bench. "Unfortunately, that fanfiction reading took everything out of me… I'll have to come back with my verdict on this case tomorrow morning. I'm sure we could all use the time to recover."
The weary courtroom patrons nodded their head and got up immediately after the judge had left, many of them glaring angrily at Spencer as they exited the courtroom.
"Oh, COME ON!" shouted Spencer, throwing his arms up in exasperation. The courtroom patrons were followed by Sphere Helix's lawyers, the leader of whom stopped and smiled at Carly's group as they left.
"Guess you should've thought twice before messing around with our intellectual property."
"Guess you should've thought twice before buying that toupee," replied Sam, pointing at the lawyer's head, on which his toupee was barely hanging onto. He reached up and fiddled with it for a few seconds, only succeeding in causing it to fall off his head to the ground below. He let out a frustrated shout and put it back on his head, then ran out of the courtroom. After he left, Carly, Sam, Freddie, and Spencer stood alone in the courtroom, Freddie's mom standing off by the door. The group looked dejectedly at one another.
"Well, I think I know what the judge is going to decide tomorrow," said Freddie.
"I do too… it'll take a miracle to save iCarly now," Carly added, bowing her head.
"You guys, I'm… I'm sorry…" said Sam, the energy almost totally gone from her voice. She knew she'd screwed up by putting Freddie's game up on the web. What's worse, she'd totally gone behind his back to do it. She hadn't just endangered iCarly, she'd betrayed her friend's trust. "Freddie, I-"
"Sam, save it," Freddie replied, looking into her eyes. "You know what you did. iCarly's going down because of you, and all over a game you didn't even like or understand or even cared about."
"Freddie, stop…" Carly said quietly. "Sam was just trying to help…"
"The thing is… you were right about iCarly. It's a lot more important than that dumb game… and I liked working on iCarly a lot more than I ever did working on Chartreuse Reflections. …do you know why that is? It's because I worked on iCarly with my friends… and now I won't even have that to work on anymore."
Freddie walked back over to where his mom was standing, while Carly and her brother followed them out of the courtroom. Sam stood alone behind the defendant's desk, looking down at the floor and thinking about everything Freddie had said.
"If he liked working on iCarly so much, and he's a dork, then… that makes me a dork too." Sam let out a long sigh. "Ugh, I've been SUCH a dork."
The sun was just rising in the Land of the Rising Sun as an elderly Japanese man sat down at a computer to check his daily e-mails. On the top of the list was something very peculiar.
"iCarly…?" read the man, clicking on the e-mail. He'd first heard of iCarly while attending the Webby Awards, and he'd been a faithful iCarly viewer ever since. "Why would iCarly send an e-mail to me?"
The e-mail was in English, but the man was well-educated in both English and Japanese, and his eyes widened as he read the letter. Attached was a file, and being well-educated in technology as well, he knew exactly what to do with it.
"Now where did I put that old ROM image…?"
Carly, Sam, Freddie, and Spencer were back in the courtroom the following morning to hear the verdict that would spell the end of iCarly forever. Sphere Helix's lawyers were there too, confident that the verdict would go their way.
"I've reviewed the facts of the case, and I've made my decision. Would the plantiff and the defendant please rise to hear the verdict?"
Carly was trembling as the judge began to speak. Her lips quivered and she appeared as if she would cry. Spencer was behind her with his hands on her shoulders, but it didn't help… it was then that Carly felt two hands grasping her own, simultaneously. Freddie was holding her right hand, and Sam was holding her left.
"It'll be okay, Carly…" whispered Sam, her own voice giving the slightest hint of a quiver. "I promise."
Sam's words didn't reassure Carly at all. She knew her website now had only seconds to live.
"After reviewing the facts of the case, I rule in favor of the-"
The doors to the courtroom swung open, and a small Japanese man entered the courtroom. The judge immediately pounded his gavel and looked sternly down at the man.
"What is the meaning of this?" shouted the judge. "Who are you and what are you doing in my courtroom?"
No one in the room had the slightest clue who the man was… except for Freddie, who immediately ran up to the man and dropped to his knees.
"It's… it's you… oh my God, it's actually you! I don't… I don't believe it!"
"…okay, who are you, and why is Freddie treating you like I'd treat a giant piece of bacon?" asked Sam, her hands on her hips.
"This… this man is my hero!" shouted Freddie, composing himself enough to stand. "It's Iziru Yamagawa!"
"Who?" Carly asked.
"He's the man who created the original Time Scraper and Time Runner games!"
"That is correct," said Yamagawa. "And if it pleases the court, I would like to approach the bench."
"It would please me to have you arrested for disrupting my courtroom!" shouted the judge. "And besides, I've already rendered my verdict!"
"I have come here on the authority of Sphere Helix to make a direct statement concerning this case," said Yamagawa. "I believe that statement has legal authority overriding any decision the court has made."
Sphere Helix's lawyers looked at one another, then one of them turned to the judge.
"Well, he is the creator of the game… I'm sure he'll be especially offended by this egregious copyright infringement. Your honor, you should let him speak."
"Well… all right," said the judge, slumping back down in his bench. "But be quick about it!"
Yamagawa approached the bench, while Freddie withdrew to his position near Carly and Sam.
"If that's the guy who made the original game, then… he's gonna be really, really, REALLY mad that you changed his story and everything!" Carly said worriedly. "He might even have us thrown in jail!"
Freddie's eyes went wide, finally realizing the gravity of the situation.
"M…Mr. Yamagawa!" Freddie began to stammer. "I didn't… I mean, if I offended you, I-"
"Freddie Benson has taken the original code of my game and has altered it to tell a brand new, unauthorized continuation of my original story," Yamagawa said, looking at Freddie. "And this new continuation is now being played by hundreds, perhaps thousands of gamers who found the game uploaded to secret torrent sites throughout the web."
Freddie trembled violently, hearing the sternness in his idol's words. He felt as if he would faint, and had to be supported by Carly and Sam to remain standing.
"He has taken my story in directions I would never have dreamt, directions I could not possibly have foreseen…"
Yamagawa's stern expression did not change. Freddie felt Sam and Carly's hands grip his just as his and Sam's hands had gripped Carly's just moments earlier.
"And… I could not be happier."
Yamagawa's expression melted into a warm smile. Freddie's jaw dropped, while Sphere Helix's lawyers all looked dumbfounded. The leader of the lawyers walked over to Yamagawa, trying to convince him otherwise.
"But sir, he infringed on your copyright! He damaged Sphere Helix's property, he-"
"He made a heck of a game!" Yamagawa turned to the judge. "If it pleases the court, I'd like to drop all charges."
"Well, I'm just pleased to get out of here," said the judge, tearing up the verdict he'd previously printed out. "It's settled, then. The court dismisses all charges against iCarly."
"YES!" shouted Carly triumphantly, leaping into the air and giving Sam a high-five as Freddie stood stunned with his hands on the desk, his mouth still wide open.
"Uh… you got a little bit of drool… right there," said Sam, reaching up to wipe it off. "On second thought, you get it."
Yamagawa walked over to the defendant's table, where Spencer quickly came out to greet him, shaking his hand and expressing his gratitude and admiration.
"You don't know how many hours I spent playing your games. They're awesome, and I promise that as soon as Last Destiny 57 comes out this spring I'll buy it the moment it comes out, I've already got my tent set up outside the Supermart and everything!"
"That's… very nice," said Yamagawa, turning away from Spencer and toward Freddie, who was finally starting to get over the shock of being complimented by one of his idols and heroes. "Freddie, I meant everything I said about Chartreuse Reflections. I was barely able to stop playing long enough to hop an airplane to Seattle as fast as I could. Your friend Sam e-mailed me and told me everything."
"Well… thank you, Mr. Yamagawa, it's… it's a real honor- wait, Sam e-mailed you? Are you sure it wasn't another person named Sam?"
"Sam Puckett? One of the webmistresses of iCarly? Asked me seven different times in the e-mail if I could bring some Kobe beef with me?"
"…yeah, that's Sam."
"I have to go back to Japan and finish playing your game, but I want you to know that if you ever want to come work for Sphere Helix, I believe I could put in a good word for you."
"Thank you, Mr. Yamagawa… but for right now, I think I'm going to stick with iCarly."
"And my boy isn't working anywhere until he finishes eight years of college!"
"Mom!" Freddie shouted, looking back at his mother. Meanwhile, Mr. Yamagawa was now facing Sam and Carly. He handed Sam a wrapped package, and the blonde knew immediately what it was.
"Got a special order made just for you," said Yamagawa, smiling. He looked at Sam and Carly and gave them a thumbs up. "You girls run a heck of a website!"
"Thanks, Mr. Yamagawa!" said Carly, smiling from ear to ear. "And thanks for saving iCarly!"
As Mr. Yamagawa left, Carly turned to Sam, who was already tearing into the package to get at the Kobe beef she'd just been given.
"I screwed up, but I fixed things. You don't have to thank me, I'm just glad iCarly isn't gonna be shut down," said Sam, pulling the meat out of the box and shoveling it into her mouth. "Ohhhh…. this is the best thing I've ever tasted…"
Carly just giggled and shook her head, looking over to see Freddie continuing to get a scolding from his mother. She let out a sigh, overwhelmed with relief… she'd come closer than ever to losing iCarly, but a wonderful miracle had once again saved the day… and her friend Freddie would be able to share his hard work with the world.
And her friend Sam would be able to enjoy a wonderful, wonderful breakfast.
Some time later, Freddie was walking up to the iCarly studio when he saw Sam doing something on the living room computer. A quick look made it apparent that she was playing through Chartreuse Reflections… in fact, she'd played almost to the end.
"Sam, I thought you said my game was dorky."
"Yeah, well, everyone at our school is talking about it, and I hate being left out of the loop. I still think this is the dorkiest thing I've ever done. Even dorkier than when I kissed…"
Sam barely stopped herself before saying it. Freddie let it go.
"I want to thank you for sending that e-mail to Mr. Yamagawa."
"I didn't do it for you, I did it for iCarly," said Sam. "I leaked the game for you."
"Well, as sneaky and deceptive a gesture as it was, it was nice to see you doing something for me for a change."
"I did it so you'd stop moping and whining about it, okay?" Sam snapped before re-focusing her attention on the game. As Freddie watched Sam continue to play, a realization suddenly crept up on him. His mind raced, before finally he decided to reach out and grab Sam's hand away from the keyboard. "Hey Benson, what are you doing?"
"I just realized… you can't play this game anymore! The court, they uh… issued an emergency injunction!"
As Freddie kept trying to get Sam's hands away from the keyboard, she turned around and shoved him back several feet, then continued to play.
"Back off, I'm almost at the final boss… just a few more…"
"That's what I'm afraid of…" Freddie muttered quietly. A few seconds later, ominous music began to play as the final boss battle began. Sam lifted her hands from the keyboard and stared wide-eyed at the screen.
"What… what is that?" Sam asked, pointing at the screen. Freddie looked over, though he already knew what it was… a demonic rendition of Sam in sprite form. "That looks like… like…"
"…and I'm gone!" Freddie shouted, racing toward the stairs. Sam leapt off of her stool and ran after him, her voice furious with rage.
"MAKE ME THE FINAL BOSS? IT'S GAME OVER FOR YOU, FREDWARD!!"