Disclaimer: I do not own Jimmy Neutron in any way, shape, or form in this or alternate dimensions past, present, or future. Ever. Got it? Good. I can't afford a lawyer. If I could, I doubt I'd be writing fanfictions with my spare time.

Chapter 8

A Plan In Motion

Cindy had to admit, it was a brilliant plan, much like any of Jimmy's other plans that actually worked. It was a type of Trojan horse plan, now that she thought about it; under the guise of cooperation, they would begin to slowly sabotage whatever they could concerning the base, the personnel, and of course, the devious Ebola Ragnarok virus itself. While they sabotaged whatever they could without getting caught, they would either snoop around and look for the layouts of the base itself, or try and befriend some of the staff so that they could determine just where the hovercar and the all-important infection management systems were located. Those were the two pinnacle factors of their escape plan and would spell either success and survival for the two teenage Texans or failure and death.

A lot of subtlety was going to be necessary for nearly all aspects of the plan. If their plan was somehow discovered by any of the base staff, if their sabotage attempts were somehow detected, or if Meir or the mysterious, enigmatic military mastermind backing the entire operation known simply as the General somehow even suspected that they were not cooperating with them in the fullest... The consequences would be dire.

She knew what would happen to her if they failed. They would kill her, plain and simple. It wasn't a way that the blonde teenager had ever thought as to how she would finally go. Sure, there were the numerous close calls with the League of Villains and all of Jimmy's other assorted enemies over the years, but never had the reality of her own mortality been so clear. These weren't silly men in pajamas floating around like they were on movie wires. Meir wasn't an insane, incredibly short, and incredibly bald mad scientist that couldn't complete anything. And unless he was really wearing a very clever disguise, she highly doubted that that the General was really an exiled former king of Yolkus.

No, if they failed, if they were found out, she knew she would die and the world would be doomed. But if she didn't try, she would be alive, the world would still be doomed, and she'd have to live with the knowledge that she did nothing to stop the rapture. So failure, in any case, was not an option because if there were two things that Cynthia Aurora Vortex refused to allow was her own death at the hands of megalomaniac nut jobs and the end of the world. She was not afraid of death. If they failed, they all might as well have been dead.

Jimmy, on the other hand, didn't exactly share her fierce determination and steely resolve. In many ways, he was secretly hoping to just curl up in a ball and wish that the world would disappear, at least for a moment. For once, it was an opposite situation than what the two American teenagers were usually used to. Cindy was all for his plan and outwardly, so was he, but there were far too many risks for him to even count.

First and foremost, while Cindy seemed to be completely at ease about the possibility of her own death, Jimmy couldn't help but feel rattled by the prospect. This was Cindy, he was talking about. Strong, brave, resilient Cindy, puncher of bad guys, tenth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and one of the most violent girl's he had ever met other than April the Gorlock. Then again, April was an alien whose entire racial culture celebrated war, battle, and bloodshed. Cindy was just born that way.

Yet the threats on her life that both the General and Meir promised would come to her made her seem so... vulnerable in his eyes, now. Even now, as they rode the lift back down presumably towards Meir's lab, he couldn't help but imagine an invisible horde of death bringers ready to drag her down into the underworld. He had none of his fancy technology this time around; they'd been careful to confiscate him of everything once they had arrived, his watch included. They were sure to be closely monitored at least to a point where he couldn't hope to build himself another one from the plentiful resources around. Caution was the key and if they failed at that... Cindy was gone from his life forever, and there was nothing he could do to stop it.

Countless times in the past, he had put his life, her life, and the lives of his friends and families in perpetual danger, all because of his childish scientific ventures. It wasn't until he had reached at least middle school that he realized that sometimes, there were instances when the pursuit of science just wasn't worth it, and instead of trying to create the ultimate brain washing candy, he settled for simpler things, such as improving his book gum designs, toying with automatic translation devices, and seeing if Goddard would like having a lady friend to occupy him on Friday family nights. No more putting his friends' lives in danger, at least not on his own anyways. Naturally, old wounds never really heal and his old enemies, somehow having found their way out of the Cretaceous Era, have periodically gone after him from time to time.

Even Professor's Calamitous' latest attempt on his and Cindy's lives wasn't as dire as the situation they found themselves in now. Roughly a year ago, Calamitous had broken out of jail with the help of his daughter and new, alien son-in-law. Using the tractor beam on the Junk Man's ship, their nefarious scheme this time around was to use the beam to alter the trajectory of an upcoming meteor shower so that the meteors would land all across Retroville. Naturally, Jimmy didn't care much for the plan and he set forth to put an end to their scheme.

Cindy tagged along.

Okay, actually, she stole one of his many prototype rockets and followed him into the meteor shower racing down towards Retroville.

A long story short, after much radio frequency argument and name-calling, it was agreed that Cindy would make sure no asteroids ever made it to Retroville while Jimmy disabled the tractor beam. Cindy was successful on her end, for the most part, and by the time that Jimmy fired a lucky phaser blast into the tractor beam's drive core which led to a subsequent reversal of the beam, almost all of the asteroids had been destroyed. Jimmy raced away from the Junk Man's fiery, broken down ship as it limped away in defeat. He soon found that Cindy's rocket was suffering a severe design flaw (which was not his fault, by the way, since there was a reason it was still a prototype) and was barreling towards the last, remaining asteroid, and it was a big one. A leap of faith was all that it took to save Cindy from impending doom as she jumped from her cockpit into that of his larger, more stable rocket.

No, racing against time and flying rocks burning up in the Earth's atmosphere was somehow less dangerous than what they faced right now. Before, it was just so surreal that their demise at the hands of asteroids seemed laughable. But Jimmy had seen the cold blued steel of the gun barrel that Meir had pointed at her face. It made his blood both hot with anger and cold with fear at the same time, something that he had never felt as strongly when fighting against any other villain. This time, it seemed as if it really could happen. And if he failed, it would.

Snapping out of his thoughts to derail the discouraging line of thought he found himself following, he glanced over at the strong-willed blonde as her hazel eyes glanced around the elevator shaft, rocking back and forth almost boredly on the balls of her feet as the lift made its slow descent downwards towards Meir's lab. 'Why isn't she more afraid?' he pondered thoughtfully. Her life could be in danger if they failed. And yet, she seemed as if she were waiting for the escalator at the mall to take her to the floor where her and Libby's favorite shop was located.

A high-pitched, angry voice from the deepest recesses of his mind viciously berated him for allowing his train of thought to wander as it had. The more and more Jimmy listened to it, the more he could feel himself calming down. Now was not the time to think about failure. It just was not an option. The fate of the world rested in his hands. Cindy Vortex's very life rested in his hands. He couldn't fail either of them. He had to succeed... He just had to...

They were slightly surprised when they hadn't been taken directly towards Meir's lab, where it seemed as if the most critical aspects of the project would be held. Instead, they were taken to another portion of the subterranean, volcanic base. It was a vast metropolis of computers, dashboards, and test tubes small and extremely oversized. A city of scientists trekked here and there on levitating anti-grav scooters, a scientific novelty that more than irked Jimmy; it seemed, then, that he now wasn't the only one to have cracked the secrets of hover transport technology. For a scant moment, he had hoped that their knowledge of anti-grav technology was limited only to elevators.

The elevator let them off at a catwalk of sorts that seemed to span across the entirety of the research metropolis. As much as he was hellbent to bring the entire operation down in a lava hot blaze of fiery glory, Jimmy couldn't help but be amazed by the expansive scope of the laboratory, as that was what it obviously was. It wasn't just a city. It was a massive lab, all interconnected by wires, computer chips, and a highly effective main operating super computer that was processing all of the data that each scientist was collecting on his own. If Jimmy had to bet his soul on it, he'd bet that that super computer was in the room of a certain German mad man.

The guards led them onto one of the mini-lifts that were placed at each side of the catwalk in periodic intervals across the span of the catwalk. The lift was only large enough for four people at a time, so to remedy the problem, three of the four armed guards went down the lift first, followed by Jimmy, Cindy, and the remaining two escorts, the guard and the officer. Once they had all assembled at the bottom, the officer drew his pistol and gestured for the two teens to follow him.

"Welcome to the heart of this entire grande operation of ours," the officer that had escorted them into and then out of Meir's lab cordially stated. "The General has given me orders to escort you, upon your agreement to work with us, to your new working facilities. I will be your official escort for the duration of your stay here, meaning that if you have any fantasies of escaping, I would kindly suggest that you abandon them now." The officer cast them each a droll look before continuing.

Several of the scientists cast them curious glances as they walked by. "Every member of our facility is armed to a point. They have been told to shoot on sight if you are seen without myself or any other member of the staff escorting you." Jimmy and Cindy each exchanged a knowing glance. That was going to make their escape attempt all the more difficult.

It was only a few moments before Jimmy and Cindy found themselves in a very familiar yet definitively foreign environment. Test tubes and beakers lined the walls. An impressive supercomputer sat stoically against the wall opposite the entrance. Sealed pressurization chambers were in a connected room to the left. Hydraulic air lock doors with a decontamination chamber in between them led into the room. It was Jimmy's lab yet at the same time it wasn't. It was a cold, sterile, and unapologetically plain laboratory more akin to Professor Meir's lab, including, as they were informed of shortly, their new quarters, a room to the right of the airlock leading into the room that contained two plain beds with simple white sheets.

And of course, the General was there to greet them.

"Since you're both alive and here, I guess I can say that I'm glad that you have both decided to cooperate," he called out in a cheerful tone that made Jimmy's blood boil. He approached the two of them and put a friendly hand on each of their shoulders, a gesture that was unwelcome by both. "Come on, lighten up! We're all friends here, now, right?" Letting go of Cindy's shoulder, he clasped one of Jimmy's hands tightly in a firm handshake while the hand on the boy genius' shoulder shook him in a light, friendly manner. "Neutron, my boy, I hope you know just what an honor it is to be a part of this project. It's a new world in the making, Jimmy."

The secretly seething teenage scientist snatched his hand tersely from the General's grasp. With narrowed eyes and barely controlled contempt for the man, he bit out curtly, "Yeah. The honor's all mine."

"Indeed it is," the General replied coolly with an arrogant grin. "If there's anything you need, anything at all, don't be afraid to ask." He walked past them and began to head out of the room with the officer in tow before Jimmy called out to him to wait, much to Cindy's confusion.

'What is Neutron doing?' she mused silently to herself as she watched, just wanting to be alone with Jimmy so that they could try and figure out what they were supposed to do now that they weren't allowed to go anywhere else around the base without an escort.

"My watch," Jimmy said as the General turned around to face him. "I need it back."

Cindy's eyes darted over to Jimmy's wrist. Silently, she berated herself. How could she have not noticed? The watch was as much apart of Jimmy as that giant brain of his was. It was, in her opinion, the second greatest invention he had ever made, with the all-purpose mechanical dog Goddard coming ahead above all as his greatest scientific achievement. From what she had seen, it was a laser, a buzz saw, a time piece, and a GPS all in one. They must have taken it from him when they had first abducted them.

The General paused for a moment and stared at Jimmy's face for a considerable amount of time. Then, his hand dug into his front left pocket and pulled the watch out. "Our scientists have looked through it, but there's some type of encryption code on it that none of them could get by. Even Meir couldn't get past your firewall. He was annoyed, as was I, but very impressed." He turned the stainless steel multi-purpose time piece over in his hand. "Such a well-protected object must have a lot of important files and functions in here to protect."

"Why should I give it to you?" the steel haired man challenged.

Cindy looked at Jimmy's face, searching for a hint of struggle or panic, but found none. "Unless you want me to just sit around doing nothing all this time, I suggest you hand me back my watch."

At the tone of his voice, the officer found something that he didn't particularly like and drew his pistol, aiming it at Jimmy's head. The General's hand snapped up, catching the officer's eye. As the General lowered his hand, the officer lowered his, and after nervously clearing his throat, Jimmy continued speaking as the General's good eye narrowed ever so slightly in suspicion.

"You don't think I've done my own research on viruses?" Jimmy asked rhetorically. "Of course, I'm not a complete psychopath like you or Meir. My research has been about how to prevent them, how to stop them, and how to create a virus that destroys other viruses."

Cindy's heart raced as she glanced nervously over at Jimmy. He can't be serious, could he? Of course he was; Cindy remembered that sick patch Jimmy made back when they were in grade school. That was probably just a small part of his research into viruses. Given how his science has matured, of course he had to have at some point even jokingly looked into how to cure one of the major viruses plaguing mankind. But, that would mean that Jimmy was actually helping the bad guys, or at least, he would appear to-


Oh, James Isaac Neutron, you are one sly son of a gun...

The General, oblivious to the plan being set in motion, came across a sound conclusion with a wry smirk. "With a head that big, I wouldn't doubt that you've got a few tricks up your sleeve on how to fight viruses, especially since you already seem to be bent on fixing the world's food crisis. Nice work on that, by the way. We may definitely need that acceleration formula for the new world order."

"Alright, I'm sold," the man finally said with a slight sigh before tossing the watch over to Jimmy. "Take your stupid watch. It's not like anything you can program in there can actually bail you out of here anyways. What's one watch against an army of well-trained soldiers?" The last part was obviously aimed as a threat and when it appeared to not have fazed either of them, the General snorted slightly and left, the officer following hot on his heels.

When the hydraulic doors to the lab sealed shut with a hiss, Cindy leaned against one of the walls of the lab. "Alright, Nerdtron, that was a pretty nice move tricking him into handing your watch over. But why?"

Jimmy cast her a concerned look that took her aback slightly. His eyes glanced around the rooms warily before glancing down at his watch. His fingers tapped away hurriedly at them. "Why what, Cindy?" he asked in a tone that unnerved the blonde-haired girl. "Look, I've been doing some thinking and I think that they're onto something. I mean, look at the possibilities: a vast world all for the taking, scientific possibilities unhindered by other human progress! It's a gold mine for scientific progression!"

And now, Cindy was thoroughly freaked out. "Jimmy, just what are you talking about? What about what we talked about? Are you honestly-"

"Yes." Jimmy's voice was flat and plain as he glanced up at her, away from his watch. His fingers still danced across them, but less quickly than before, probably because he wasn't concentrating as much on it as before. "I think we should help them." An index finger typed in a single command that caused the watch to pulse blue for a moment before the entire room was engulfed in a light, cerulean glow.

The hairs on the back of her neck stood up as a light static charge coursed through her body. She looked confusedly at Jimmy, her face expressing both shock and fear. "Neutron! What is going on? What are you talking about?"

Jimmy simply let out a small sigh. "Just give me one second, Cindy. I need to reprogram the room's bugs to send a ghost signal back to the main surveillance room. Quick, give me an emotion read out."

Blinking for a slight moment as Jimmy thrust his watch towards her face, Cindy narrowed her eyes and glared at him, "NEUTRON! STOP BABBLING AND JUST TELL ME WHAT'S GOING ON?"

Rolling his eyes, Jimmy chuckled wryly. "Anger," he muttered softly. "Of course. Well, at least it's a natural read out." Pressing a few more keys, the room pulsed red for a slight moment before returning to its normal, sterile white hue. Wiping a bead of sweat from his brow, Jimmy sat down on a nearby surface. "Phew," he muttered. "Glad that's over."


He looked up slightly at a more than irate Cindy who now towered over him, glaring down at the sitting scientist, a look in her hazel eyes projecting her urge to maim the boy in front of her. If there was one thing Cynthia Aurora Vortex hated most, it was being left out of the loop.

Gulping nervously, Jimmy hurried to explain himself. "I just emitted an EMP to neutralize the room's bugs. That's what I needed the watch for. Now, at least this room is safe for us to talk freely in. The emotional readout I asked for is just going to display us arguing like we always do, and on the surveillance system that's monitoring the room, all that it'll see going on is a very life-like holographic projection of us working and arguing. All that stuff I was saying while I was setting up the EMP was stuff to make sure that they think we're on their side. As far as they know, I've gone off the deep end and have started to comprehend their... logic. And I mean that in the loosest sense of the word."

Cindy blinked. She then blinked again. She blinked a third time. "... Uh, go through that second to last part with me again?"

"Certainly," Jimmy drew out with the tone he always used before breaking out into another one of his long-winded speeches. "By using out bodies' own electromagnetic signatures, I've programmed into the EMP pulse to cancel out our signatures on the surveillance systems and instead use the bugs planted around the room to project a simulated holo-projection of us arguing as we work. I use it in my room a lot to fool my folks when me and the guys want to catch a midnight premier," he admitted guiltily.

Although at least half of that was lost on her, Cindy was able to grasp the other half, enough to know that apparently, Jimmy believed the room was bugged, and that he fixed the problem. That led to another question. "How did you know the room was bugged?"

"Better safe than sorry," Jimmy replied handily as he stood up and headed over to examine his new lab, the giant supercomputer in particular. "I mean, come on. This guy is locking us in a room by ourselves with a supercomputer that probably has access to the rest of the base if I tried hard enough and if the firewalls aren't scientifically impossible to breach. He had to have set up some type of monitoring device around here."

The blonde merely rolled her eyes. "I am never letting Sheen take you to another Jet Fusion movie again," she muttered as she crossed her arms and sat down beside one of the control consoles of the supercomputer as Jimmy took the sole chair situated in front of the massive screen. Despite her comment, however, she did have to give Jimmy credit. After dealing with so many super villains in the past, she was a little miffed at herself for not thinking of the possibilities of surveillance bugs in the room herself. However, that did pose quite a problem about their earlier discussion in their first room...

"Do you... think they heard what we were talking about earlier in our room?" she asked, concerned about what that could mean about their plan to escape.

Jimmy's hands froze in place, hovering above the keyboard of the supercomputer slightly. "Since we're both alive..." His voice dropped a few decibels, "or more importantly, you are..." He cleared his throat and continued, "Since we're both alive, I'm going to have to assume that they didn't have that room bugged."

"And why not?" came the inevitable response.

He sighed. That was a good question that he didn't have much of an answer for. Perhaps they were just unprepared for their arrival. Perhaps they were planning on just shooting them anyways or escorting them here right away. Or perhaps they thought that they had everything in control. Whatever it was, Jimmy realized that they had been very lucky that the roomhadn't been bugged, or else they would doomed right from the beginning.

"I don't know," came his honest answer. "But the fact that this place even has guest rooms..." It was an attempt to divert his mind on just how close they had come to biting the bullet, perhaps literally, but it was also a disconcerting thought. There was a detention center and there were guest rooms. Which mean people frequently went in and out of the facility. The detention center could possibly hold unruly guards, but more likely than not, the General probably would have just had them shot dead and thrown into the lava or into the sea or forest for the animals to eat. Or, and this was a more chilling thought, that eventually, they were planning to start bringing in human test subjects. They had to eventually, to test the true potential of the virus, and those detention cells would do to hold quite a bit of subjects... And possibly a sizable number of initial carriers.

The guest rooms themselves were another matter altogether, but simpler to hypothesize about. This was a large operation. The General, no matter how much he wanted to, couldn't rule the entire world by himself simply because there wouldn't be enough people helping him. And to build such a project in the first place meant that he needed money and lots of it. Investors and fellow megalomaniacs were probably frequent visitors.

Great minds think alike, it seemed. Although she had no way of knowing about the detention cells, seeing as she had been in the med bay when she came to, she knew about the guest rooms and had come to the same conclusion as him."There's more than just these people, isn't it, Jimmy?" Cindy muttered slightly as she cupped her chin in the palm of her hand as she bent over, peering at him slightly. "If we stop these guys, we have to stop them, or else they just start it all over again with different people."

Jimmy nodded slowly before sighing. "One step at a time, Cindy. I promise. We'll put an end to all this. I swear on it."

She always found his youthful determination so endearing and cute. It was almost as if he was that same naive little boy she remembered all those years ago, going on so many adventures with. Right now, Jimmy had once again become that same little boy in the red T-shirt and blue jean shorts, devising a plan to break them out of a Yolkian prison to save their parents. And that was only the beginning of a series of adventures that lasted well into their junior high school years.

Once again, they were being held captive by a terrible enemy. And once again, Cindy trusted this boy genius to pull through.

l 21°20'N 157°30'W l Pearl Harbor United States Naval Base l Aboard the USS Liberty l

The din of loud dock machinery loading crates of supplies and several tanks of fuel onto multiple naval vessels more than overpowered the soft call of the seagulls as they flew as far away as they could to escape from the insufferable racket. All of Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard was a blur of activity as supply trucks moved from one end of the base to the other as they all attempt to load up the seafaring vessels docked in the harbor.

Rows and rows of sailors marched up the gang planks, their rucksacks tossed over their shoulders as they headed into the bowels of the impressive steel behemoths. Aboard the flagship leading the small flotilla, aircraft were being given one last land-based routine check up before the naval group headed out to sea for their next mission, by order of the Joint Chief of Staff and the President of the United States of America.

The mission itself was simple. The USS Marlin was reported sunk three days ago with no word of survivors. For lack of a better term, the pre-mission briefing stated that it was as if the reconnaissance submarine had simply fallen off the face of the Earth. The media circus that quickly ensued gave way for a demand for answers that the military would have been more than happy to give if it weren't for the fact that they honestly didn't have any clue on what was going on. The highest military authorities wanted to know just as much as anyone else stateside just what exactly happened to the USS Marlin and her crew.

Given that it was an American vessel, that a submarine is one very expensive piece of military equipment, several seamen were lost at sea with no bodies to return to their loved ones, and one Hell of a lot of questions that top military brass would love to have answered ASAP, it was only a matter of gathering the right amount of resources before committing to a search and rescue operation around the location of the Marlin's last distress transmission.

And so, the temporary special Naval Task Force 3.11 was born, with Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Liberty leading as the sole flagship of the operation.

It was a small-scale operation. A submarine lost at sea was as difficult as it could get, what with the whole business of being underwater when it went missing in the first place. The distress communication reported that it had run aground some underwater reefs. The USS Liberty was simply to serve as a platform to launch search helicopters that would view the surrounding area in search of possible threats or signs that there had indeed been some form of survivor that had washed ashore somewhere. The two destroyer escorts were simply there for protection purposes. Meanwhile, more reconnaissance submarines would be combing the murky depths in search of the remains of the USS Marlin, where ever it was. If possible, any bodies that they could recover would also be taken aboard the USS Liberty or one of her escort ships.

Saving anyone was a pipe dream, however. To have survived a submarine running aground an underwater reef was something that was both difficult to survive as well as believe. If the immediate implosion of the vessel hadn't killed the crew, the ensuing intense pressurization of several hundred thousand gallons of water crashing down around the human body would be suffice to put the remainder out of their misery. No, this was a search and rescue op only in name.

Something had attacked the USS Marlin. With modern radar, running a submarine aground was nigh impossible unless an idiot was at the helm, and the top military brass would rather not think that countless crew men lost their lives at the hand of some bumbling idiot that had been allowed to sail an expensive submarine into international waters.

It wasn't until an hour or so past the break of dawn that all of Task Force 3.11 was completely fueled up and had enough supplies to carry them for a round trip. Air horns blaring, the small naval flotilla headed out from Pearl Harbor and towards the coordinates of the last known location of the USS Marlin. The Rear Admiral helming the USS Liberty glanced down at the mission specs one more time before calling out to the bridge navigator.

"Mr. Sampson! Set course for bearing fifteen degrees and fifteen minutes north; one hundred and sixty degrees twelve minutes west." As the bridge navigator began to input the commands into the control console, the commanding officer of Task Force 3.11 stepped up to stare out the bridge. Ladies and gentlemen, let's find us a submarine."

It wasn't until after the hydraulic doors had let in the officer and a few chefs carting around several forms of breakfast that Jimmy realized two things: 1) That he was very, very hungry and 2) That they had been up almost the entire night as captives of these agents of a new world order that the mysterious General and Professor Meir were attempting to create. As the food was displayed before the drooling teenagers, the officer made no attempt to hide his disdain that "a gentleman of [his] status was to be degraded as a babysitter for mere insignificant specks."

Naturally, Cynthia Aurora Vortex did not take kindly to being called an insignificant speck, but, and bless her heart that she did, this time around, she knew that pummeling the pompous major to within an inch of his life with her bare fists was not a very recommended course of action, considering that as far as the rest of the staff was concerned, she was only a bargaining chip. Instead, she used a devious bit of cunning that appalled even Jimmy. Before he joined in on the fun, of course.

"Hey Jimmy, what's that thing?"

"Huh? Oh, that yellow thing there Cindy? Why, I believe that's an omelette."

"An om-e-lette? Really? I had no idea. Of course, after all, I am just a mere insignificant speck. What do I know?"

"Oh, don't be so hard on yourself Cindy. I barely know much about it."

"Are you so sure, Jimmy? Come on, tell me allll about this omelette you speak of."

And so followed a forty five minute presentation on the origin of the word omelette, the origin of the food itself, a brief history of the nations it was rumored to have its origins in, and the various national variants of the omelette. And this was, of course, after the shorter, thirty-minute long lecture on the wonders of milk pasteurization. By the end of their little game, the chefs were leaning against each other attempting not to fall asleep, the officer appeared as if he had at some point developed a possibly permanent angry tic to his left eyebrow, and the two teenagers, although even hungrier than before, were doing their best not to burst out in laughter.

Their hunger finally winning the fight against their need to get some much needed revenge against their captors in some way, they quickly chose whatever plates that were still warm enough to eat. The officer and the chefs made a beeline immediately out of the lab and for the next hour, they were both alone again, eating in a comfortable silence. That is, until they eventually caught each other's eyes and burst out in laughter at the successful ploy they just pulled.

That was at least three hours ago. Immediately after eating, the adrenaline of the events that had unfolded since their abduction several hours ago inevitably wore off and they both decided to crash in the beds provided to them before they ended up doing so in the main laboratory. Jimmy was the first to wake up, due not so much to any internal alarm clock as it was to a rather terrifying nightmare that began with Cindy lying in his arms, smiling warmly at him as the tropical sun baked their bodies gently and ended with Cindy lying in his arms, her body cold and rigid, and a victorious Meir standing watch with a smoking gun clutched in his hand.

Jolting up in his bed in a slight start, Jimmy's eyes immediately traveled towards Cindy, who was thankfully well alive and still asleep, her back to the wall and her angelic face pouting cutely in his direction, her hands clasped innocently in front of her. Slowly rising from his bed, Jimmy cautiously approached Cindy's bed, wary of her habit of punching out any who tried to wake her, and crouched by her bedside.

His hand found itself unconsciously brushing a stray golden tress behind her ear before coming down to slowly run itself gently across her soft cheek. It felt like silk. Sighing, he bowed his head low so that his forehead laid against her mattress. His eyes closed forlornly as he attempted to clear the images of his nightmare from his head. "No..." he muttered softly to himself as he raised his head back slightly. "I won't let it happen... You're not going to die on me, Cindy... Not this way... Not ever... I promise..."

Dismissing himself before she could stir herself to semi-consciousness and clock him out, Jimmy made his way towards the lab, eager to get to work on setting their plan into motion. No sooner had the door closed did Cindy mutter under her breath those three precious words that she had never had the courage to say to him while she was awake, not even after all these years of knowing it.

"Jimmy... you idiot..."

No, not those words.

"You... arrogant... dolt..."

Nope, not those either.

"Don't you... know..."

Just a second...

"... love you... too..."

Eh, close enough.

Alright, as a reward to all of my loyal readers and reviewers who just so happen to be J/C fluff fanatics, I added a little bit of something for you to enjoy. Romance isn't really a heavy factor in the story, but it is present, you know, in a belligerent sexual tension sort of way. It's a bit of a sub-plot, something to help add as filler to make the story more cohesive as a whole.

Any who, I hoped you all enjoyed another chapter of Biohazard and with the school year starting up again soon, I don't know if I can promise as many frequent updates (as if they were frequent at all in the first place), but rest assured, I will not be abandoning this story anytime soon. I want to see it to the end, if not for the satisfaction of doing so, then just for the sake of me having no real social life.



Thank you for reading.