Ancient Connections

Fools in Love

Synopsis: With Valentine's Day around the corner, Cecil invents a chocolate that causes the digester to fall in love with the first person he or she looks upon. Of course this causes mass chaos and there is no antidote. With Europe falling into mass hysteria and the Heroes falling prey to the candies will anything stop Lorado from overthrowing the world with his plan to offer 'counseling' for a heavy fee ?

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

Arjuna 'June' Patel Skill/Martial Art: Judo

Rory O'Shea Skill/Martial Art: Tae Quon Do

Chapter 1--Rory's Introduction

The friends had been introduced to another exchange student who was transferring his credits to Plank High in order to attend one of the best colleges in the area. Plank was one of the higher ranking schools in the area and more often than not, its students had better success rates out of other private, smaller schools in the region.

The foreign student's name was Rory O'Shea. He came from Belfast, Ireland and had been taught Tae Quon Do by his father, who owned a dojo of his own. He came from a fairly large family and for once was glad that he would have a chance to live a fairly solitary life. Rory would be living with Benjamin's family. He had already made a quick friendship with Ben because the two had quite a bit in common. Both were rough and tumble guys with hearts of gold and interests in the ancient way of martial arts as well as its implications and adaptations in every-day life. He didn't know much about the 'Heroes in Ancient Ways' but seeing all of the advertisements around Plank piqued his interest considerably. The other members didn't want to push him or seem overly eager for him to join but they knew there was strength in numbers. Somehow they knew that Rory eventually would come around and give the group an invaluable asset in his knowledge of a martial art none of the rest of them knew, and it didn't take much time at all. He would have to be briefed on the secrecy of the order of the Heroes as well as their nemesis, Cecil Lorado, but all that would come in due time.

Chapter 2--LARA's Desire

It was a particularly chilly February and students were rapidly entering into Plank from busses to ward off the cold, shivering all the way into the building. Valentine's Day was close and those who had loves in their lives were busy buying small trinkets of affection. Many of the friends bought chocolates for their sweethearts but they had no idea that these particular chocolates had an added ingredient. While they had been busy acclimating themselves to returning to school after a long holiday with parents, friends and relatives, it was back to work as usual. Lorado had been the same and his recent development, 'the instant aphrodisiac' had been perfected. He had sneakily sold his own brand of chocolates to shops that he knew the teens would visit first to make sure the potion had its effect and later his chocolates were sold in Europe. Without much trouble, the chocolates sold in droves and his second plan was initiated. He began 'counseling' for a fee. What he was actually doing was misleading people and charging them unbelievable fines for his so-called 'advice'. LARA, who usually would've been impressed with his despicable plans was a bit upset with him. Over the years, he had seemed to become more and more delusional and despite her best efforts she could do nothing more than cheer for him and help him accomplish his tasks. But there was a strange longing she had, one she felt was unusual for a machine, sentient or not. She wanted to have the ability to discern between right and wrong. She was also beginning to lose her affection for the evil doctor. He was dreadfully handsome as well as fiercely intelligent. In fact, he was the only one who could really understand her, her wants and her needs. But, she knew there was more to life than that. Someday, she prayed, that she would be able to be outfitted with a conscious and a life apart from making others lives miserable. She knew from observation that such a thing was wrong, especially making profit out of others' misfortune. As she watched everyone beginning their celebrations for a world on the verge of being conquered, she sighed silently and in her own way, wept out of pity for the malevolent master that had created her.

Chapter 3--Cupid's Gone Wild

Masaru had gone berserk for Huan, who in turn had fallen for Su. Su had fallen for Abdul, who had fallen for Rory and the insane love hexagram continued. The only one who hadn't been affected was Arjuna, who hadn't touched the chocolates that Rory had bought her only hours earlier. She had sensed they had 'bad vibrations' coming from them and listened to her intuition about not consuming them. She had been proud of her decision, but wasn't quite certain about what course of action to take now. Everyone was fighting each other, and the teachers weren't much help, since they too had been consuming the unusual chocolates. It seemed that everything had been delved into the pit of uninhibited chaos.

Arjuna wasn't the type to lose hope. She had a feeling that Ikuto wouldn't be effected by the tainted chocolates that were now no longer being sold. Upon her deduction, she was absolutely certain that Doctor Lorado had been the mastermind behind this "Cupid's Gone Wild" scheme.

"Everyone's gone crazy ! I don't know what to do to make them stop bickering. At least no one is getting into a physical fight. And here I thought Valentine's Day was supposed to be about romance.", June said, noticing that her new boyfriend was trying to lock lips with a Hispanic girl. Arjuna was a calm, cool-headed girl, but seeing this made her absolutely irate.

"Don't get involved, yet ! Anger isn't the way to solve this problem.", Ikuto warned, noticing her tone of voice shift from peaceful to steamed in an instant. June sat down at a table near "Nebula", the school canteen.

"What do you suggest then ? Lorado might be halfway conquering Europe by now, laughing all the way.", June stated, sounding a bit dejected. She was always straightforward in her opinions and never beat around the bush when it came to expressing the truth of reality.

"If it is one thing that awakens people from dreams or nightmares, its cold water. It's a stretch, but it will have to do.", Ikuto said. It sounded like an illogical counterattack but it was the only method that Arjuna had on hand. Without thinking twice, she found a bucket of ice that was holding bottles of water behind the counter at 'Nebula', filled the bucket with cold water and began soaking everyone that had been affected by the aphrodisiac-laced chocolates.

Chapter 4--Caught Red Handed

No sooner had those who had fallen under the confusing spell that the Heroes had been assembled and whisked away to Lorado's den and witnessed him 'counseling' those who were having problems thanks to his tainted sweets. The poor couple was sobbing after yelling for hours at each other, until the Heroes drenched them both with water. Lorado was discovered as a fraud, his credibility went downhill instantly and his stranglehold on Europe was released.

"You always know how to ruin my fun, Heroes.", Lorado sighed, completely dejected. Typically, LARA would comfort him at this point but she felt he had deserved his punishment for this particularly heinous act. The couple that the Doctor had 'counseled' earlier had fled the secret lair and were enjoying a proper Valentine's Day dinner together in a quiet chateau; chardonnay, quiche, sorbet--the works !

Everyone was forgiving each other and getting along normally. As for Lorado, he accepted his fate of being locked away by Interpol. This time, he was going to be sent to a maximum security prison where he would have less attempts at freedom than before. But, it didn't really matter. Eventually he would escape and his battle against the inherent goodness of the Heroes would begin once more. Only now at the present moment, he could've cared less whether LARA was going to bail him out this time or not.

All he wanted was to be alone and have some time to collect his thoughts about what his next "Operation" was going to be. Besides, he mused to himself, it would be beneficial for him to have time away from the secret lair, his loyal employees and LARA.

For once, he would be solitary and he could have serenity.

Chapter 5--For More Than Just a Day

After the absurdity of what had happened earlier had been labeled as 'hallucination' as well as a 'dream' by half of the population that had experienced it.

"Why do you suppose Lorado did this to begin with ?", Masaru asked Sakkoro, the Heroes' sensei while they all enjoyed some homemade treats he and his wife had made for everyone involved with the martial arts programs Plank had available to everyone.

"Perhaps he has been jaded in the past and wants to cause everyone else to feel the misery he has been harboring in his soul ? Who knows why Cecil does these things. I have been trying for years to figure him out and he's an enigma to me !", Sakkoro said. The others had to chuckle. Indeed, Cecil could be quirky and mercurial in his moods but Sakkoro felt that he and his mighty band of adolescents that were rapidly maturing into young adults would soon put a stop to Cecil and his loyal followers. The only matter that was important was the fact that he was enjoying his time with his students. This moment, as well as others that would be had in the future, would be memories that were imprinted in his mind and theirs as well. They would never forget, even long after victory was achieved, that they had done so together and had learned so much from him as well as his son. He would always be their spiritual father as well as closest friend. Even when far from his beloved pupils, his influence could still be felt through his emails with their motivational quotes kept them uplifted and encouraged through life's jubilations and tribulations.

To Be Continued…