The True Enemy
"Even if you kill me, you can't stop my friends" Aelita said as she stirred in her captor's arms. "No, I probably can't" the man replied, confusing Aelita who stopped struggling for a moment. "What's that supposed to mean?" she asked the man, who continued to drag her out of sight in the alley. "I am pretty sure your friends can beat me" XANA said through the possessed man. "Then…" A bewildered Aelita replied. "What's your plan?" XANA chuckled before releasing Aelita, letting her fall to the ground.
"Insanity is not in my base code" XANA said as he walked around Aelita, lying on the ground. "You know I can attack you right now?" Aelita pointed out, observing XANA's irregular behavior. "Yes, but I know you won't because I have info you desire" he said, continuing to pace around Aelita. "As I was saying, it's pretty obvious from experience that trying to kill you and your friends is a waste of time for me". "You could kill me right now if you wanted to" Aelita pointed out sternly. XANA stopped pacing and faced Aelita with a smile. "I could, but my associates wouldn't be happy about that" he said, startling Aelita. "Associates?" she asked slowly.
"It's nothing, but a good time" Jim was singing along to the radio in his car. Jim was leading William to the train station, and they were now embarking on the highway. "Don't you to like classic rock?" he asked to Sissy and Odd in the backseat. "I'm a Subsonics fan" Odd said. "Didn't they only release, like one song?" Jim asked in return. "Yea, but it's a good one" Odd responded. "And you Sissy?" Jim continued. "I like that "I'm a Barbie Girl" song" she answered eagerly. "If the shoe fits" Odd responded as he rolled his eyes. "No, that's Cinderella" Sissy said.
In the car behind Jim, Odd, and Sissy, Ulrich was trying his best not to bring up the relationship tension between himself, Yumi, and William. "So, uh, William, see any good movies lately?" he asked the car's driver. "I watched Pirates of the Caribbean for the first time with Yumi last week" he replied. Mission failed. Yumi, sitting in the passenger seat next to William, turned around and smiled weakly at Ulrich. "As friends" she added. "Right, of course" Ulrich said with a nod. "Quiet down for a moment" William said abruptly, waving one of his hands to get attention. "Some ass is trying to cut me off".
"I think someone's trying to cut William off" Jim said to Odd and Sissy as he looked out his window. In the lane to the left of them, a blue SUV was trying to cut between Jim's and William's cars. William aggressively honked at the driver while simultaneously giving him the middle finger. William started speeding up to close the gap between his car and Jim's. "Stay calm William" Yumi said as she watched him hit the gas pedal. "People don't know how to drive anymore" he replied, staring at Ulrich through his rear view mirror. "That was years ago" Ulrich commented. "I've learned a lot since that driving test Jim put us through".
Meanwhile, Jim noticed William picking up speed, and decided to do the same. Unfortunately, the blue SUV decided to speed up with them in unison. Jim grabbed the stick shift and upped his car to the fourth gear. He looked out his window, and saw another car on the lane to their left, about a quarter mile ahead. The SUV would have to slow down before reaching traffic, while Jim and William's lane was clear. "This might get bumpy" Jim said to his passengers in the backseat. Odd swiftly buckled up, while Sissy tried to fit the seatbelt into the buckle. "The other one, Sissy" Odd said, noticing her struggle, and she quickly clicked her harness into the correct buckle.
William accelerated faster, realizing the SUV was also moving faster in tandem with his car and Jim's. William also noticed upcoming traffic in the SUV's lane, and smiled when he realized Jim's plan. "Hang on guys" he said to Ulrich and Yumi, and floored the gas pedal. William glanced at his speedometer. One second it said 60, then 65, and 70 just as quickly. The number kept rising until… Ulrich's phone went off. "It's Odd" he said, reading the caller ID. "What's the plan?" Ulrich asked his friend. "Hi Ulrich" came Sissy's voice from the other line. "How the hell did you get my phone?" came Odd's voice from the background. There was some fidgeting, and some static, and then Odd's voice came through clearly.
"Sorry about that, she must have taken it back in the parking lot" Odd said. "Something like that" Ulrich commented. "Who did you piss off in the SUV?" he asked. "Oh, ha ha" Odd snarked sarcastically. "Just because someone is chasing us means it's my fault"? "It normally is" Ulrich replied. In the front, William let off the gas pedal when he reached 80 miles per hour, but the SUV would not slow down. "Ulrich, give me the phone" William commanded from the front. "I'm capable of communication, thanks" Ulrich said. "Fine, then ask Jim if we should take a detour". "Odd, can you put Jim on the phone?" Ulrich asked Odd. "Hold on" said Odd, who clicked a button on his phone. "Now you're on speakerphone" Odd said. "Good idea" Ulrich said, putting his phone on speaker as well.
"Jim, what's going on?" William asked Jim quickly. They, along with the SUV in the lane to their left, were quickly approaching a pick-up truck in the lane to their left. "If this guy doesn't slow down, he's going to crash" Jim said. The approaching truck was only 30 feet away, and the distance was closing quickly. "What is he doing?" Yumi wondered aloud and stunned. 25 feed. "Can he not see the traffic?" Ulrich added on. 20 feet. "I'm honestly thinking about cutting him off just to force him to slow down" Jim said, amazed of the SUV driver's commitment. 15 feet. "Hold on, I have an idea" Odd said from the backseat of Jim's car. "Sissy, roll down the window and duck" he said confidently. 10 feet. With time running out, Odd removed the glove from his left hand, and aimed it at the SUV's tires. 5 feet. "What's Odd doing?" Ulrich asked, seeing Odd moving around from Jim's car's back window. He was about to find out. "Laser Arrow" Odd said to himself, reassuring himself. 2 arrows fired from his hand, and flew through the open window, hitting the SUV's front two tires. However, while their failure to pop the SUV's tires initially disappointed Odd, the disappointment was only short lived, and quickly replaced by the realization that on impact, the entire SUV turned into a giant static image.
Back in the alley, Aelita was trying to process this new information. "How can you have associates?" she asked XANA, with her curiosity being the only thing restraining her from attacking her foe. "I don't want to spoil anything for you" XANA said, enjoying the ability to tease her. "But let's just say that some people are just pure evil. If you think I'm bad, just wait until you meet who created me" he continued. "Damon Dunbar and my father created you" Aelita responded. "They created a prototype of me, but what you see today, is the result of the ZAIA organization" he smirked. "And as for the man who repurposed me, the less said the better".
"ZAIA" Aelita wondered out loud quietly. "Jeremy was researching that group" she continued. "ZAIA is the reason I was created, and is the reason for what I have become" XANA proudly conceded. "And how does Damon factor into it?" Aelita questioned XANA. "Damon and your dad were trying to take down the organization. Then I recruited him" he replied. "You possessed him" Aelita pointed out. "Same thing" XANA said with a shrug. "I posed as him to get into the government, and as you know, have since infected the entire system". "And what about this person, the head of ZAIA?" she asked. "Jeremy was close to finding out who he was. I'm sure you will find out to, but not by your own choice" he said.
"Jim, floor it" William said into the phone, still on speakerphone after witnessing the blue SUV shatter into static after Odd tried to flatten it's tires. William didn't even finish his sentence before Jim hit the gas pedal. Ulrich grabbed onto the handle on the door as he watched the SUV phase right through the truck in front of it.