Ben Wuest's

The Chaos Theory:

Time-keeper

You waited.

Let's get it going.

Prologue:

Young

Containing secrets is crucial to finding the key to control; a law we've all secretly understood, whether or not we realized it. We all hide secrets – either from ourselves or from each other – and we all see how powerful secrets can be. We all also understand that if we do not have clues to origins of secrets, they can hurt; either ourselves or those we love. Sequels are powerful. Sequels contain the continuations of powerful stories. This sequel was a secret, and this secret may come back to hurt even me. Only time can tell.

----- Ben Wuest

(Cut Scene)

The Ajax Corporation had gotten out of hand. Ever since the shoot-out in 2002 (four years ago), all employees of the corporation (the ones that hadn't been re-atomized into the form of a cloned 'terrorist' – a time flaw due to the destruction of the past and the change of the future) had fallen into a state of insanity.

John Ko had been foolish. He had been warned. He had been warned that if time-travel were opened to the public, even to one single outsider, their entire corporation would fall. John Ko didn't listen. John Ko took bullets for his mistakes.

"John Ko killed my father," Coran Young whispered to himself as he looked upon yet another application. He glanced up from the clipboard in his hands and looked into the eyes of the character standing ten yards away in the dark auditorium. He had been here since about five that morning, and now it was looking close to midnight, and he was tired. But they needed help, and this he knew, and this thought is what kept him here.

"Was it the wand? Because I can leave it at my house whenever without a problem if you would like." The character called out to him nervously.

Coran looked upon the character auditioning to service his companions in their new assignment, and then he looked to his left and to his right to his two companions; Morgan Jane and Michael Ko.

Coran looked back at the application in his hands, desperately searching for words to fit into sentences, and all the while his mind is looping the images of Michael and himself gunning down the John Ko of three years ago.

He finally gave up and brushed his red hair out of his eyes and set down the clipboard. "You're…" He cleared his throat and looked across the stage at the six year old girl dressed in a shining blue tutu with a tiara and a plastic wand in her hand. "You're just too young for the part, Clara." Coran finally said aloud, his voice echoing throughout the empty auditorium.

Morgan gently tugged his shoulder and she leaned forward with her hands raised and fingers spread. "Now Clara, don't take this personally, but Coran's right, sweetie; this is a high-school play, and we're not allowed to assign the part to people not in high-school."

"But you're a very nice Fairy Godmother, Clara." Michael added with a superficial smile, "Have a safe trip home, thank you."

Clara looked severely disappointed, but she lifted her head high and smiled and hopped off the stage, waving good-bye to the three.

When the metal double-doors off the stage closed behind her, Coran collapsed in his chair and rubbed his fists into his sleepy eyes. "Alright, that's the last one for the night, let's call it quits and get out of here."

Michael leaned forward and placed Clara's application on one of nine tall stacks of clipboards and he took a sip of his latte, which was disappointingly cool at this point. "I can't believe Mrs. Rosamarie put us in charge of casting for this year's play."

"Yeah," Morgan agreed. "I mean, I can understand me, but you two are her two worst students!" They laughed, all agreeing silently without contemplation.

"Alright," Coran called out, shifting through the two-hundred applications, "I think for Pinocchio we'll have that sophomore kid, um, Adam Something-or-another."

"Coran, just let it go," Morgan called exasperatingly from beside him. She stood up and wrapped her arms around Michael's shoulders and rested her chin in his hair. "I'm tired, and I'm cranky when I'm tired, and it's a Saturday night. Let's call it a night and go home, ok? I'm sure your mom is waiting for you to get back anyway, Core."

"Ok," Coran said finally, "I'll tell you what; you two go on without me, and I'll catch you all at Burger King at about two-ish. Sound like a plan?"

"Why two?" Michael asked.

The two 'love-birds' stood with arms around each other and Morgan cocked her head, "Yeah; and why go on without you?"

Coran shook his head and waved his hand, "I've just got some things to get done here and at home. Don't worry about me, you two just go on without me and I'll catch up with you later."

Morgan and Michael exchanged untrusting expressions, but they both shrugged simultaneously. "If you're sure, man," Michael said slowly.

Morgan gave Coran a sour expression. "You… are sure, right?"

There was a brief pause from Coran, but he gave a superficial smile and a thumbs-up. "Yeah, I'll be fine. Go on now; I'll never finish it all in time if you two keep holding me up."

Morgan was about to say something, but Michael pulled her closer into his arms and they both nodded before walking away and out of the auditorium. When the doors closed with an echoing bang, Coran stood and made his way through the fold-out chairs to the stage and he walked over to the light panels and began to flip switches; shutting out each individual bulb on the stage.

"Can I help you put some things away?" An unknown-to-Coran voice called gently from behind him, so as not to startle him.

Coran immediately swung around and saw a rather beautiful girl standing shyly beside the tall blue curtains of the stage. "Who are you?"

The girl smirked and brushed her long black hair out of her face, revealing deeply violet eyes, and she took a small step toward him. "My name is Jade, you don't know me; I'm the new kid."

"Oh right, I think I've heard of you," Coran said honestly. It was seven days into the new school year, so of course Coran knew none of the new kids, but finally having the chance to meet with one excited him. "But what are you doing in the auditorium this late at night?"

Jade smirked again and slid her hands into her pockets and rocked back and forth on her heels. "I'm doing a report for the school newspaper about the play. I knew you'd be busy, so I decided to wait until auditions were done before I bothered you. Is this a good time?"

(Cut Scene)

12:38 AM

"Turn the truck around, Michael," Morgan ordered as she shifted through her purse frantically. "We need to go back to the auditorium."

"Why?"

"I left my car keys sitting on the table."

"Can't you just call Coran and ask him to get them for you? We're already here." Michael asked as he pulled his truck into the driveway of his home out in the country. Morgan gave him a hard look. "Fine, we'll go back in a little while, ok?"

(Cut Scene)

1:48 AM

"Jade Lanswit, huh?" Coran asked from his seat in a fold-out chair across from the girl. "Where are you from?"

"Oh, I'm from a small town just south of here called Auburn," Jade said. She glanced at something behind Coran's shoulder and she gave a quick wink.

Coran caught this act and his eyes narrowed and he slowly began to turn around when suddenly Jade pulled him back with one hand behind his neck and the other on his cheek and she slid her tongue into Coran's mouth. Coran's eyes enlarged greatly at this new turn of events and he tried to pull his mouth away, but her strong grip held him tight as her tongue twisted around his own.

Behind him, Scott Graves focused his camera and took the picture perfectly; with Coran's back to him, and Jade's facial expressions showing superficial lust toward the boy. Graves smirked as he snapped the lens cap back onto the camera and stealthily exited the auditorium.

When the door quietly closed behind him, Jade released Coran and batted her eyes at him. "I love you, Coran Young."

"We just met." Coran exclaimed, jumping backward from his seat. "What are you thinking?"

I'm thinking I just got the perfect picture for my story, Jade thought, mentally smirking. She gave him an innocent look and then began to cry. "I'm so sorry, Coran. I, I don't know what I was thinking. I just…"

"Well, well, well," A female voice called from behind the two. Coran whirled around and saw Morgan lifting her keys from the table beside the stage, and Michael standing in the doorway at the top of one of four staircases; both with crossed arms. Morgan placed her keys in her purse and as she walked up the stairs to stand with Michael again, she called, "I'm guessing our dinner date in ten minutes has been cancelled?"

"I thought there was something odd about you requesting we leave the auditorium up to you to shut down." Michael stated. He put his arm on Morgan's shoulder and turned her around and as they walked away from the auditorium entrance, Michael held up a raised thumb. "Smooth move, genius."

"Guys," Coran called out in studded speech, "Wait. This isn't…"

He knew it was too late. Their footsteps had faded.

"Get out of this auditorium, Jade." Coran demanded, turning back to face her. "And don't speak to me again."

Jade didn't speak; she just turned and marched up the staircase to the same entrance doors Michael and Morgan had just left. She glanced over her shoulder and saw Coran very glumly wrapping around his backpack and he walked toward the light panels and once more began to turn out the lights of the auditorium.

Jade watched him for a moment – watching his self-pitying expressions and the rage in his eyes – and then she ran her fingers through her black hair and pulled off a wig and tossed the black, stringy mess onto the tile floor. She shook out her short blonde hair and reached into her pocket to pull out a pair of glasses and she placed them on her nose as she walked away from the auditorium.

I think I'll call it 'Unfair Auditions', the reporter thought as she removed her latex nose and threw it into a passing trash can. She smirked; that was by far my best role yet.

She pushed open the large Emergency Exit doors and stepped out into the parking lot and walked straight forward to her emerald-colored 2004 Volkswagen Beetle.

The reporter lifted her keychain level to her ears and she pressed the unlock button and walked around the front of the car and she climbed in behind the steering wheel.

"That was great, Leslie," Scott Graves called subtly from the seat beside her as he fumbled with his camera. "Chrison really did a great job with your make-up; I didn't even recognize you!"

"You think?" Leslie Card asked as she steered the car in reverse out of the school parking lot at a rather fast speed so that Coran would have no chance of recognizing her car later on. It was all part of her plan.

"Tell you what, Les," said Scott, setting his camera in the backseat. "I'll write up the story, but I'm going to use an alias."

"Like what?"

"Something that Coran won't be able to crack, like…"

"Like Jade Lanswit."

"Who?"

"It was the name I used during this charade." Leslie said as she steered her car up Central Avenue toward her house downtown, watching the raindrops pounding her windshield from all directions. "Think about it, Scott; if we continue to lead him on that there really is such a person as Jade Lanswit, then maybe we can fool him a second time, you know?" There was a pause. "The newspaper gets published tomorrow, and from there the next one won't come out for another month; can you promise me you'll have it done by tomorrow morning? If not, then we just wasted all of these efforts for absolutely no reward."

"I'll have it on your desk and printed, Les; don't worry."

Leslie reached forward and turned on her radio and listened to the sound of Simple Plan's Untitled:

I've made my mistakes, got no where to run…

(Cut Scene)

Coran brushed his teeth hard, listening to his wet clothes from the storm outside (he rode his bike home) in the drier, and the sound of the stereo in the corner as it played a song he liked:

But life goes on as I'm fading away. I'm sick of this life; I just want to scream…

"Coran," his mother, Natasha Young, called from upstairs, "phone; it's for you."

Coran looked at his reflection in the mirror and felt the hairs on his legs stand up as the air-conditioner vents beside his feet turned on. He bent over in his boxers and tank-top and spat the toothpaste out of his mouth and quickly rinsed and he left the bathroom to his bedroom across the hall in the basement and he lifted the phone off the receiver in his room.

"I've got it, mom, thanks." Coran said into the phone as he wondered who on Earth would call him at two in the morning. "Hello?"

"Coran," it was Michael, "man, I'm really sorry about what I said to you at the auditorium." He sighed, "Just… just what was all that about? You're dating Morgan's sister, dude; you can't be kissing other girls like that; that's not how dating works, Core."

"Michael, you have to believe me!" Coran exclaimed, plopping onto his bed with his left leg underneath his right, which hung off the side. "This girl shows up, Jade, and she says she's a new girl and that she wanted to get to know me a little better."

"Yeah, and I'm sure she got to know the inside of your mouth better too."

"That's not funny, Michael; we're talking about where she's from and then she winks to something behind me. I turn to look at what she winked at and she pulled me to her and shoved her tongue into my mouth."

"You think she's trying to break you and Shana up?" Michael asked; finally speaking with a serious tone of voice, which made Coran feel better already.

"I don't know what she was doing, but I certainly didn't kiss her intentionally." Coran said honestly.

"Did you kiss her back though?"

"No." Coran stated. "I was actually trying to pull away, but you know me; everyone's stronger than me."

"True, true." Michael said. They both paused. "Coran, I don't know what to say. I believe you, but Morgan is pissed off now."

"Did she tell Shana?"

"She said she won't, but she also said she doesn't want to speak with you for a couple of days."

"I guess that's better than 'I don't want to speak to you again.'" Coran said with a sigh. "This is bad, Michael."

Michael laughed. "Why don't you just use the time-machine to go back and stop her?"

"Michael," Coran said slowly, "That's not funny either."

"Yeah, you're right." Michael said, reverting to his serious voice. There was another long pause as both of them reviewed all the mistakes the machine caused, but also all the mistakes the machine fixed. "They still treat them as a freak, Core. Even their own families don't trust them anymore."

"I know, Michael; I know." Coran said. Another pause. "Do you think it would have been better had we not brought Morgan and Jared back? Do you think it would have been better had we just allowed them to be dead?"

"Look, Core; I love Morgan to death, man, and I know you and Jared are best friends, but fate is fate for a reason, and we created chaos by disabling fate. I'm not saying things would've been better for anyone had they been dead right now, but I know that the existence of life would have been better had they died correctly. Who knows what bringing back as few as two people has altered our entire futures? Who knows what killing my father and talking with yours and destroying a major corporation can affect our future lives and the lives of over four-hundred-eighty trillion other things on this planet?"

"I know, Michael," Coran said, "I too wonder that same thing."

(Cut Scene)

Monday…

"Who wrote this story without my permission?" The journalism teacher, Mrs. Kavan, shouted angrily to her students.

Nobody responded. Leslie and Scott both held serious, concerned expressions on their faces. They both knew what happened to school reporters who wrote vulgarity about a student; permission or no permission.

"Nobody?" Mrs. Kavan called out. "Well, then I guess in this instance, it should be the Chief of Staff's fault, am I right?"

Everyone looked to Ben Eddy, who looked back at them with a frightened expression on his face.

(Cut Scene)

"I'm sorry, Ben," Leslie cried as Ben marched toward the principal's office. "If I'd known it would harm you like this, I wouldn't have done the project!"

"Well, it's a bit late for that now isn't it, New Chief of Staff?" Ben called as he pushed open the office entranceway and walked in. He walked over to the secretary's desk and briefly explained the situation, and she nodded and told him to go to the waiting room beside her station.

Leslie followed him into the waiting room and watched as he glumly flopped into a metal chair and slammed the back of his head against the wall. She stood in front of him and put her hands together. "Please don't tell on me, Ben; I'll do whatever you want, just don't tell!"

Ben looked up at her and glared. "I have never once gone to the principal's office and I never once thought that I would have to go there for journalism class, Leslie. This isn't over yet. Please go now before you make things worse."

(Cut Scene)

2:11 PM

"Coran, please tell me you didn't do it. Tell me this isn't you in the picture." Shana Jane begged as she and Coran stood in a completely empty band room (with the excuse to their study hall teachers that they needed to go to the bathroom).

She was a freshman, but she was very popular around the school premises because of her beautiful figure and her gentle attitude. She had mid-length blonde hair, like her older sister, and the same bright sapphire eyes. Unlike her sister, she wasn't very muscular, and she was much shorter than Morgan too.

Tears gently ran down her cheeks and at her side in her hand there was a copy of the first edition of this year's Otoean school newspaper. Front headline, big bold letterings read Unfair Auditions: Coran Young to be removed from staff of 'Pinocchio' play, due to 'lustful' requirements from female candidates.

(Cut Scene)

9:58 PM

Coran laid his head gently onto his pillow and felt his own tears roll off his nose and onto the pillow beneath his head. He felt humiliated. Everyone in the school saw the picture, and today his dream came true; he was the talk of the school, but not how he wanted it to be. He was single now as well, and for all this, he probably would be for a long while.

I'm slipping off the edge, I'm hanging by a thread, I want to start this over again…