~Wednesday, March 21nd, 1989...~

"No," Melissa blinked a few times, as she gasped for breath. "T-This can't be happening..."

~The day before...~

"Good morning, Melissa." Her mother greeted her as Melissa walked downstairs in her usual clothing, which consisted of a blue-checkered hoodie, a white T-shirt and black trousers.

"G'morning, mom." Melissa replied.

"How are you doing?" Her mother asked.

"I'm doing fine," Melissa grabbed a bowl with cereal, and she started eating her breakfast.

"What are you going to do for school today?" Her mother asked. "Something with science, I assume?"

"Yes," Melissa nodded. "Technology, to be more specific..."

"Interesting." Her mother replied. "You work a lot with electronics, right?"

"Yes." Melissa stood up after finishing her breakfast, and she grabbed her backpack and she left the living room.

"Have a nice day!" Her mom waved.

"You too, mother." Melissa left the house, and she started walking towards school.

"I'm looking forward to science class..." Melissa thought on her way to school. After a few minutes of walking, Melissa arrived at the school building, and she went into the school.

"Sit down," Her science teacher turned around towards her when she entered the classroom. "You're just in time, Ms. Townsend..."

"Yes, yes..." Melissa sat down, and the lesson started.

"Good morning, class..." The science teacher started. "Is everyone present?"

"There's isn't anyone absent..." The science teacher thought after looking around the classroom. "Okay, we can start with the lesson for today..."

"What's it about?" Another student, a few seats left of Melissa, asked.

"For the next couple of lessons, you, the students, are allowed to work on something you like, as long as it involves technology. You see, the spring season starts tomorrow, and we - the teachers - want to see our students' progress - so far - in their project." The teacher continued. "It could be something like: upgrading a television set, creating something new... long story short: you have to build something you like.. as long as it's convincing and it involves technology."

"Convincing?" The same student asked.

"Your project has to convince us how good you are at science and/or technology classes. It doesn't have to be completely original, as long as you at least do something..." The teacher finished. "Is it all clear for now?"

"Yes," Most of the students replied.

"Well, that's great!" The teacher grabbed a pack full of white paper sheets, and he started handing them out one by one. "For your ideas."

"Thanks, teacher." Melissa said when she got a sheet of paper.

"G'luck."

"Huh?" Melissa turned around. "Oh, it's just my rival Olivia..."

"I can see your failure coming from a mile away, Melissa." Olivia giggled. "I'll definitely win from you this time."

"We'll see about that," Melissa focused on her sheet of paper in order to ignore Olivia. "We will definitely see about that..." Melissa wrote Interests: at the top of her sheet of paper in order to start. After that, she wrote 'Video games' on it.

"The teacher gave us a couple of examples... such as..." Melissa thought. "Upgrading a television..."

"I got it." Melissa said softly.

"You got what?" Olivia grinned. "Some really terrible and bland idea?"

"Hmpf." Melissa grunted softly as she started making a sketch of her idea. After a few minutes of sketching, Melissa stood up and she walked towards the teacher's seat.

"What's your idea, Melissa?" The teacher asked attentively.

"An upgrade to my game console." Melissa replied.

"Interesting..." The teacher continued. "How, exactly?"

"As you might've noticed, video games are cool, but... they need some realism." Melissa continued.

"Realism? What do you mean with 'Realism', exactly?" The teacher raised an eyebrow in confusion.

"Well, more details in the graphics of video games, and extra fluent character movements are some examples... as if you're part of the game." Melissa continued.

"That would be very difficult... and besides, aren't new consoles coming out in a few years?" The teacher asked. "I'm not prohibiting you of anything, I'm just not sure if it'll work. You can just wait..."

"I'm not sure about it either, but I'll try." Melissa continued.

"Okay, okay..." The teacher nodded. "What kind of assets do you need?"

"I need various items, including special types of wiring as well as special types of motherboards and connectors..." Melissa crossed her arms.

"I can provide you some of those things... we've got many things in the storage room." The teacher replied. "But I can't provide you everything."

"Alright." Melissa replied. "I'm still finding it out."

"Good." Melissa walked back to her seat. After half an hour, the science/technology period came to an end, and she left the classroom. Melissa walked towards the door of the storage room, and she went inside.

"Can I do something for you?" The science teacher's assistant walked towards Melissa.

"Yeah, I need these materials." Melissa gave her list of necessities to the teacher's assistant. "Do you have any of these things?"

"I see what I can do for you," The assistant walked around the storage room, looking for the necessities for Melissa's invention. A few moments later, the science assistant walked towards Melissa.

"This is all I could find," The assistant gave Melissa a couple of small motherboards, and some conduction cables. "Be careful with it. Shall I give you a plastic bag with it?"

"Yes, please." Melissa said calmly as the assistant put the motherboards and the conduction cables in a plastic bag. He gave the plastic bag to Melissa, and Melissa put the plastic bag in her backpack.

"Thank you." Melissa left the storage room.

"Have a nice day!" The assistant replied.

"Huh?" Melissa felt a push against her back when she left the storage room.

"You'll lose." Olivia taunted Melissa as she walked through the corridor. Melissa ignored it, and she went into the cantina and sat down at a table.

"Hey, hello Melissa! How are you doing? Are you doing fine?" A girl sitting next to Melissa asked. "Any news?"

"Oh, hey Jennifer." Melissa smiled. "I'm doing fine. And you?"

"I'm feeling fine, too." Jennifer replied. "But do you have any news for today?"

"Well, as you know, I'm in science class, and I have to build something for a technology project." Melissa started. "I'm going to upgrade my video game console."

"Upgrade? How?" Jennifer asked in surprise.

"By adding a couple of modifications, such as more 'realism' in the games." Melissa continued. "Realistic and more details in the visuals, realistic and detailed movements... those kinds of things."

"Interesting, although it sounds kind of difficult..." Jennifer looked down.

"It's just going to be a prototype..." Melissa continued. "And I'm not 100% sure if it'll work."

"Alright." Jennifer said. "Do you want go to the movies anytime soon?"

"When I finish my science project, as well as my homework." Melissa claimed. "Have you picked one out, then?"

"Not yet," Jennifer replied.

"Any other news?" Melissa continued.

"No, not really." Jennifer finished her drink.

"Are you doing good at school?" Melissa continued.

"Surely." Jennifer finished. "I just got a B+ for the test which I got yesterday..."

"That's good." Melissa stood up and she picked up her tray.

"We'll hang out sometime," Jennifer walked away. "Bye, Melissa."

"Bye, Jennifer," Melissa brought her tray back to the counter, and she left the cantina.


~At the end of the school day...~

The final bell rang, and eventually, the school day came to an end. Melissa stood up from her seat, and she went into the corridor and she walked towards the exit. After that, she left the school building.

"Have a nice day, Melissa," Jennifer came across Melissa as she walked home.

"I hope you have a nice day too, Jennifer," Melissa waved and she continued walking towards her house, and a few moments later, she arrived at her doorway.

"Hello!" Her mother said when Melissa went into the house. "Oh hey, it's you, Melissa..."

"Hey mom..." Melissa replied.

"How was school today?" Her mother asked.

"Fine. I'm going to start working on a school project." Melissa continued. "I'm going to build something for a science and technology class."

"That sounds fun," Her mother replied. "Do you already have an idea of what you're going to build?"

"Yes, I have an idea." Melissa opened her backpack, and she grabbed her sheet of paper. "I'm going to upgrade my video game console. Here's my list of the things I need. The ones that aren't underlined are the necessities that I still haven't got yet. Do you know where I can get those?"

"Upgrading your video game console, huh?" Her mother nodded. "Interesting... are you sure it's safe, my daughter?"

"Mom, I'm sixteen, I think I can do this." Melissa continued. "Besides, I've experimented with technology before in class..."

"I understand," Her mother grabbed a pen, and she started writing on the sheet of paper.

"What are you doing?" Melissa asked.

"I'm writing the names of certain stores under the necessities that you still need. These stores probably have some of the things you'll need," Her mom explained.

"These stores," Melissa asked. "Are they far away?"

"No, not at all," Melissa's mother left the kitchen, and a few minutes later, she came back into the kitchen holding a map. Her mother grabbed the pen, and she started pinpointing the locations of the stores.

"Here you go," Melissa's mother gave Melissa the map.

"Thanks, mom." Melissa thanked her. "I'll start shopping around tomorrow. I need to do some homework first,"

"Is there anything I can help with?" Her mother asked.

"No, but thanks for asking," Melissa went upstairs to her room, and she sat down behind her desk.

"Well, where was I..." Melissa grabbed her science book, and she continued her homework.

~The next day, after school...~

"So, have you thought about going to the movies?" Jennifer asked.

"Not really. I always do my homework first, so I can save up some spare time." Melissa replied. "Well, see you later, Jennifer."

"See ya." Jennifer walked towards her house. Melissa grabbed the map from her backpack, and she started navigating.

"So the first store is just 500 metres from here... that's not a lot." Melissa thought as she started walking towards the first store. After a couple of minutes, Melissa arrived at the first store, and she went inside.

"Hello," The storekeeper behind the counter greeted Melissa as Melissa walked towards him. "Can I help you with something?"

"Yeah, I would like to buy two specific CPUs, please," Melissa showed her list of necessities to the storekeeper.

"Are you building a computer?" The storekeeper asked.

"I'm upgrading my game console." Melissa replied.

"Well, I'll look around for you." The storekeeper walked away from the counter, and a few moments later, he came back with the two CPUs.

"Here they are," The storekeeper put them on the counter. "They'll cost $100 each,"

"Just that?" Melissa blinked in surprise.

"Yeah, they are used, but in the right condition." The storekeeper assured.

"Okay, then." Melissa paid $200, and she put the two CPUs in her backpack.

"Have a nice day!" The storekeeper said as Melissa left the store. Outside, Melissa took another glance at the map.

"So the last store, the wiring store, is slightly farther away," Melissa continued walking, and 10 minutes later, she arrived at the second and last store.

"Hello," The second storekeeper greeted Melissa when she went inside.

"Hello, I'm looking for a specific CPU connector, and I'm also looking for these kinds of wiring," Melissa showed the storekeeper her paper sheet.

"Well, well..." The storekeeper took an impressed glance at the list of necessities. "We have some of those, follow me." The second storekeeper walked away from behind the counter, with Melissa following him. Eventually, they ended up in a department called 'COMPUTER WIRING'.

"You need these, right?" The storekeeper grabbed a CPU connector, and he handed it to Melissa.

"Yes, I need this one." Melissa confirmed. "Well, three of these. I also need these, as you know."

"Oh yeah, right," The storekeeper gave Melissa three CPU connectors, as well as the other wiring. "Done?"

"Completely." Melissa and the storekeeper walked back towards the counter.

"That'll be a total of... 100 bucks." The storekeeper looked up.

"Alright," Melissa paid the 100 bucks.

"Everything else?" The storekeeper asked.

"No, this is all I need." Melissa put the cables in her backpack. "Have a nice day."

"You too." The second storekeeper said when Melissa left the store.

"Well, I guess I'll just head home, then..." Melissa looked at the map for a few seconds, and she eventually started walking towards her house, and a couple of minutes later, she arrived at her doorway.

"And? Have you managed to get everything you need?" Melissa's mother asked as Melissa went into the living room.

"Yes, I have bought everything I need." Melissa claimed.

"That's great!" Melissa's mother smiled. "Have fun with your science project."

"Thanks, mom." Melissa left the living room.

"Don't you want to eat something first?" Melissa's mother asked.

"Not necessary," Melissa stated calmly as she walked upstairs to her room. She went into her room, and she picked up her video game console and she put it on her desk. She grabbed a screwdriver from her drawer, and she started her experiment.

"I'll just start by opening up my console..." Melissa opened up her console, and she plugged the two CPUs into the console, while connecting it to the build-in CPU. After that, she grabbed the necessities from the storage room, and she put them on her desk.

"I guess I need to use my personal computer now..." She pushed her game console to the side, and she booted up her personal computer. Then, she grabbed a 'visualization tool' which she got from the storage room. She plugged it into the PC.

"I'll just program and adjust it manually," Melissa programmed the visualization tool, and she plugged it out of her PC, and after that, she attached it to her graphics card. Eventually, she grabbed a bunch of blank micro-motherboards, and she started connecting the brand new parts.

"Melissa! Dinner!" Her mother called her after a few hours of work.

"I'm coming, mom." Melissa left the room and she went downstairs. She went into the kitchen, and she sat down at the dining table.

"So, have you been working on your science project?" My mother asked.

"Yes, I just finished the prototype, all I have to do know is check if all formulas work and if all connections are right. Then, I'll test it out." Melissa explained.

"Exciting," My mother put the food on the table. "I am wondering how it'll work out."

"Where's dad at?" Melissa asked.

"Working. It's payday today, so he'll be back after dinner." My mother sat down and started eating. "Any other news?"

"No," Melissa replied, and a few minutes later, she stood up and she put her plate in the dishwasher. After that, she went upstairs and she walked into her room.

"Okay," Melissa sat down on her desk, and she examined her video game console. "Let's see if everything's on the right place and all..." Melissa said. After a couple of checks, Melissa put the cover back on the console.

"Time to test," Melissa put the console on the floor, and she hooked it up to her television. She plugged the controller into the console, and she turned around towards the cupboard in her room. She picked out a gaming cartridge, and she plugged it into the console. After that, she turned on her console, and she glanced at her television screen. A few seconds later, her screen lighted up.

"Wow..." Melissa blinked a few times, and she pressed 'START'. "The graphics... they are... far more detailed. Have much more color in them..." Melissa thought as she started playing the game, with fluid, human-like character movements entering her eyes.

"Awesome," Melissa whispered as she continued playing. A few moments later, however...

"Hey, did my screen just flash?" Melissa slowly walked towards her television screen. A few moments later, her television screen flashed again!

"Must be some kind of glitch..." Melissa gulped. "Hey, what's that noise?" Melissa listened more closely, and she took another step forward.

"What the..." Melissa sniffed. It came from her console! "There must be some kind of malfunction..." Melissa tried to turn off her console, but then...

"OW!" Melissa jumped backwards in shock. "I need to do something fast..." Melissa turned around towards the door, but then, a dazzling light filled her room.

"Ah!" Melissa screamed and she fell to the ground, and she started to feel sleepy!

"I n-need to get out of here..." A strange feeling went through Melissa's muscles. "I feel... so weird..." Her sight started blurring as she felt disoriented.

"No," Melissa blinked a few times, as she gasped for breath. "T-This can't be happening..." Melissa's eyes felt heavier, and a few seconds later, her vision went black...

~To be continued~