Ancient Connections

We're NOT Amused

Synopsis: Doctor Lorado develops Loradoland, 'Cheeriest Locale in Europe' and the only way potential patrons can enter is either becoming an employee of Loradoland, buying a 'VIL' (Very Important Lorado) badge and only being able to attend Loradoland attractions. When it becomes popular and the kids are trapped in the amusement of it will they find a way to beat this nefarious plan or has Cecil won ?

Cast of Characters

Sujatmi "Su" Satsowardoyo Skill/Martial Art: Pencak Silat

Akiko "Kiko" Egawa Skill/Martial Art: Kickboxing

Masaru Takahashi Skill/Martial Art: Kendo

Abdul Djanjo Skill/Martial Art: Stick Fighting

Huan Ang Skill/Martial Art: Praying Mantis Kung Fu

Nava Yadia Skill/Martial Art: Krav Maga

Benjamin "Ben" Hawke Skill/Martial Art: Karate

Ethan Jeremiah Wilde Skill/Martial Art: Street Fighter

Chapter 1--Summer Time Frame of Mind

It wasn't too long after Cecil's last failed plan that he had developed a real jewel in his mind's eye. It was perhaps his most ambitious project to date. He named it "Loradoland". It would be the next Disneyland, or for the more frugal set, Six Flags or King's Island. He would have his cronies begin building it as soon as his design could be blueprinted by LARA, and LARA never objected. She found the doctor's plans delightfully demented and inspired. His mad genius was to be hailed and praised. In fact, when others muttered behind Lorado's back, she was the one rooting him on through her little displays on the large video screen in his technological lair.

Ethan was teaching his friends variations on a form of dancing known in the street as 'stepping'. It was similar to break dancing or 'b-boying'. The methods had been inspired by Bruce Lee's improvisational moves in his fighting sequences in the few films he had made. Ethan was actually thinking of being involved in a step competition even though he was an amateur. Nava supported him, knowing full well that despite the fact Ethan was a newcomer to such a unique style of dancing he would do sensationally in the competitions this year. However, their plans were soon put on hold as soon as they heard about Loradoland which strangely enough, seemed to appear overnight not too far away from the city.

The friends had soon heard of Loradoland thanks to the quick texting fingers of Su, who was quite possibly one of the fastest texters alive, they had been able to access entry to Sector 7 and find their way to enter the theme park. None of the friends even noticed how conspicuous the name of the park was. They didn't directly associate it with their sensei's nemesis because they were far too excited to buy their tickets to enter and rushed into the park completely oblivious that they were playing right into Cecil's hands. All the while, Lorado watched from the comfort of his lair deep underground, kissing his monitor affectionately.

"Everything went off without a hitch, LARA. I owe it to your ingenuity. I never thought of hiring my own goons as employees. You are a genius, my pet.", Lorado complimented his sentient AI. There were times he wondered how he ever got along without her and she was overjoyed to have him succeed for once. The only thing she wished she could do now was to help him forget his ex-wife and realize how much that she adored him. But being praised by him made her 'heart' sub digitally happy.

Chapter 2--All Play and No Work

Sakkoro checked his calendar, realizing that his friends would be coming for martial arts practice and noticed they were unusually late.

"This is not at all like them. I know Ethan has been practicing for the upcoming step competition but that isn't going to be held until the end of the month. This is most troubling.", Saki mused to himself. He decided to contact Ikuto thinking maybe his son would have some insight as to where his pupils were.

Ikuto had been surfing the internet and recently uploaded a video from Youtube about a new theme park that had recently been opened to the public. His blood chilled when he read what it was called. He was given a bit of a start when his phone rang but was relieved when his father picked up the phone.

"I think I know where your students are, dad. It's definitely a bad omen !", Ikuto said.

"We have to figure a way to get them out of Lorado's grasp.", Saki agreed.

"I'll be there as soon as I possibly can be.", Ikuto stated. He hurried his feet as quickly as he could to his metallic turquoise Mazda, turned the key into the ignition and headed to the school.

Entering the secret combination on the numerical lock, Sector 7 opened and after he had walked in, the large steel door shut behind him. Ikuto sat down at the console in front of Sector 7's video screen and began to hack into Doctor Lorado's security system. For the moment, the eight friends were having the time of their lives and were about ready to call it a day and return home. No matter how many times the teens wanted to leave the theme park they were pulled back in against their will. They were already tired of having so much fun and begged to be let go. No such mercy came from the hired hands in Loradoland, which now the friends knew were Lorado's goons. They almost felt helpless to escape, yet they had faith that they would be brought out of this nightmare soon enough.

Other amusement parks were suffering thanks to Loradoland's immense success and it seemed that Cecil had a definite upper hand in his 'grandest scheme ever devised' to conquer the world. Instead of conquering the world, Europe had already fallen to his deceptively clever seduction in the form of frivolity and joviality. He had more than enough money than he knew what to do with and instead of being stingy with it, this time out of the goodness of his heart, he allowed his goons to have a much-needed raise. After all, he had heard the poor fellows (and women) complaining that they didn't receive enough recognition. Cecil knew now that giving them their due was not only satisfying but it also made him feel better about himself as a whole.

Chapter 3--Breaking Free

Cecil was too busy celebrating immanent victory to realize that his security had been breached. Even though LARA kept alerting him, he kept waving her alarms off as annoyances in his 'victory dance'.

"I hate to rain on your parade, Doctor, but your captives have escaped.", she said, nonplussed.

"Tesla's coil ! How is that possible ? My security codes are impenetrable !", Lorado mumbled in angst and frustration. LARA knew that now was the best time to stay silent and allow him to fume a bit as he sent out his best goons to settle the 'situation' that had broken out.

None of the oversized lackeys was a match for the Heroes. Each of them used the brute strength that Lorado's devotees had against them. They only knew how to charge in anger rather than fighting properly. Ethan's fast-moving fleet feet kept Lorado's thugs bewildered. Even Nava was impressed and not much impressed her.

One by one the 'Cheeriest Locale's' employees lost steam and fell over like dominoes. Before Lorado could restart Loradoland's security grid to keep the Heroes from exiting. Unfortunately, they had already left and the circuit boards were becoming fried.

"Might I suggest that you shut everything down, amass your gains and call it a day for this failed plan.", LARA offered. Cecil knew, as usual, his AI assistant was correct.

"I don't know what I would do without you, LARA, love.", he said, leaning forward to kiss the monitor screen lovingly. He sighed with some regret but he felt that having control over Europe, at least momentarily, had been more than he had ever desired. Without any further ado, he saved the information he could, shut down his system and went to bed for the evening.

Chapter 4--Step Up

By the time the Heroes had taken the secret underground tubes back to Sector 7, each one of them had hugged Ikuto for his ingenious hacking work.

"Looks like you were plenty occupied !", Abdul said, chuckling. Ikuto had to admit his hands were still cramping after all of that typing he had done.

"Personally I think we should reward his efforts.", Benjamin said. Ikuto, bashfully, had his hand behind his head, blushing at all the praise he was receiving.

"Really you guys ! It was nothing. I do this sort of thing all the time, it's second nature.", Ikuto chortled heartily. Kiko agreed. The group had consented that they would take Ikuto out to one of his favorite restaurants in the mall, since it was close to the arcade.

"Thank you. I couldn't ask for better friends.", he stated, graciously, hugging them all before they made their trip to the mall for food and entertainment.

Summer vacation returned to normal. Cecil had decided that he too, needed a break from villainy and took a vacation with his trusted goons and even filed LARA on a portable laptop to come along with him. Taking over Europe could wait for another time. For the time being, he was simply enjoying his time soaking up the rays of the sun, hearing the seagulls cry and enjoying the melody of the faraway steel drum band at the cantina.

The end of the month came much faster than Ethan had anticipated but he was prepared for the competition. His seven friends and sensei had come to watch him perform and he felt less apprehensive about dancing in front of so many people. Ikuto didn't have to appear, but he felt it was his duty to support his friend. Even Jennifer had come to cheer him on.

When the time had come for Ethan to dance, he blew all the other competitors out of the water. His suave, seamless and effortless moves on the floor were rapturous as they viewed him practically hover in place. When his dance was through he stood in place, sweat coagulating on his face. Suddenly, the audience erupted in applause, roars and cheers.

"That was unbelievable !", Masaru said, in awe.

"You have got to teach us how to step, Ethan.", Huan agreed. The others nodded amongst themselves.

"Man, I'm gonna have my hands full, but it's gonna be worth it.", Ethan promised.

"Oh, we're sure it is.", Su grinned.

Epilogue

Saki almost felt guilty over his happiness but then remembered his life would be terribly dull if none of this had ever come to exist; the Heroes, Lorado's evil organization (Cecil's World Order), or anything else for that matter. He knew that soon, Cecil's holiday would be coming to an end and the Heroes would have to be fighting against his wily schemes once more. He didn't know how long this battle of good versus evil would continue but no matter how long the battle raged on, good would inevitably profit and he could continue helping the less fortunate along the way.

The End