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Vac Attack

February 23, 2017



                                                                              Vac Attack
                                                                     Chapter One: The Life Chip

In the very heart of New York, New York, an experiment was being conducted. The biggest experiment in history. And this experiment was led by the brilliant Jared Peterson, the most well known scientist since Albert Einstein and founder of J.P. Inc. What, you ask, is this wonderful, amazing experiment led by the infamous Jared Peterson? This experiment was the creation of the LIFE CHIP. The Life Chip was a small chip that brought any inanimate object of the same kind to life within a one mile radius. So, for example, if you set the chip on a mailbox and switched it on, that mailbox and every other mailbox within a mile would come to life. Because it could do this, everyone in the country had heard about it, and everyone wanted it. Every single day, reporters were knocking on the door, hoping for an audience.
Jared couldn’t work on the chip with reporters knocking at all hours of the day, so he decided to take it and work elsewhere. He packed the chip in a small case specially made for it and left a note to his assistant that said “I took the chip to work on it in peace. I’m temporarily assigning you to humanoids. –J.P”  then went home and grabbed his travel bag. After that he headed to the airport, where he was used to the constant eruption of excitement when he walked in. He went through the bag check and all the usual airport procedures, then boarded and found his seat. After a rather long flight, he climbed off and got a cab to the nearest hotel. After being assigned a room, he carefully unpacked the Chip and proceeded to finish it. He worked tirelessly on it, often going days without sleep. Then finally, after months of hard, restless work, it was finished. He had a presentation back in New York the next day. He placed the Chip in his room safe so he wouldn’t forget it, then carefully packed his things, making sure he left nothing behind. He caught another cab to the airport and went through the usual excitement and airport procedures. But they hadn’t stopped him at the bag check for the Chip like they had the first time, which was very puzzling. He boarded and found his seat again. But this whole time, he’d had a nagging feeling that something was missing. He was racking his brains trying to figure out what it was.
Then, just as the plane took to the air, it hit him like a bolt of lightning. The Life Chip. He’d left it in his hotel room. “Oh no,” he cried, jumping up and running down the aisle. “No, no, no, no, no! Stop the plane! Stop the plane!” But the plane had already gone too far and too high to stop and would continue on its original course. Jared collapsed into his seat, moaning, “No…no…no…”

                                                                     Chapter Two: Vacation!
“Guys, when are we going to the baseball game? Nobody ever told me.” 11-year old David Balton asked his family as they climbed off of a train for vacation. David and his family were huge baseball fans. Being from Chicago, their favorite team was the White Sox, but David loved seeing any team. “Game’s tomorrow at three, bud!” his 14-year old brother, Jake said, striking a baseball pose. “It’s gonna be great!” “Well, the first things we need to worry about are transportation and where we’re staying,” his mom, Catherine said. “There’s a rental car service about 5 miles up the street,” David’s dad, Paul, told them. “Let’s go there. “Are we taking the bus to it?” David’s 8-year old sister, Annie asked. “No, Annie, we’re flying to it,” David said tiredly. “Of course we’re taking the bus.”
So they all took the bus to the rental car station, where they picked out a large blue van that Annie promptly named “The Big Blue Whale.” Then they found a hotel that wasn’t too far away. “I want two rooms!” Annie shouted to the hotel clerk. “Annie, stop!” Paul said. “Yes, we’d like two rooms, so the boys can have their own room.” After receiving two room keys, they went up to the doors. “Boys, this is your room key. If you lose it,” Paul told them, “You can’t get back into your room. So be careful, don’t lose it.” “Ha! You think I’m going to lose it?” Jake said, deftly picking the key from Paul’s fingers and throwing his hands in the air. “If anyone loses it, it’ll be David!” But the action of tossing his hands in the air made him drop the key, and as it fell into a nearby air vent, his grin faltered while the others’ grew. “Yeah, way to listen to him, Jake…” David laughed. “I’ll go get another,” Paul said.  After that, they all went and unpacked. Then David noticed something in the wall by his bed. “Hey, guys! There’s a safe in our room!” “There is?” Annie shouted, running to see it. “I want to see! I want to see!” “Annie!” “Sorry.” David worked for about three minutes to open it and finally succeeded. “I got it!” “Now,” Catherine said, “whatever we find in here, if anything, will belong to David, because he found it and opened the safe.” Annie groaned. “The moment of truth…” David and Jake said, and flung open the safe. 

                                                                           Chapter 3: What?
Inside the safe was a small black case and a $20 bill. David picked up the case and shook it a little, but he didn’t hear anything. “Is it empty?” Jake asked in disbelief. “I bet it’s full of money!” Annie said in excitement, seeing the $20 bill. “You’ll be rich!” Paul laughed. “I doubt it Ann.” he said. “But what is in it?” “Well, it has a lock, so it must be important,” Catherine commented. The lock was undone, though. David opened the lid to reveal a small, wiry chip about the size of an SD card, and encased in padding. David carefully lifted the chip and examined it. “What the heck is this thing?” He wondered out loud. But his parents’ faces had paled, for they knew exactly what it was. “M-maybe you should…put it back in there,” Paul stammered. “For safekeeping,” Catherine added shakily. “Yeah, maybe I should…” David said, “and nice pun, Mom!” He placed the chip back in the case and replaced it in the safe. “I’m hungry.” Annie announced. “Hi, Hungry, I’m Jake!” Jake said. “And this is my brother, David!” he added, pointing to David. “Hiya, Hungry! How ya doin’?” David said. Annie scowled at them and the brothers cracked up. Despite the three-year age difference, the two boys were great friends. “Dad, make them stop!” Annie whined. “Okay, okay, that’s enough, boys.” Paul said, though grinning. David wiped away tears. “Oh, man! So what are we doing for dinner?” “Well, what are you in the mood for? Barbecue, maybe?” Catherine said. “Yeah!” So Paul consulted Yelp to find a barbecue place, where David ordered burnt ends on his dad’s recommendation. “What are burnt ends?” Annie asked. “It’s the animal’s tail, burnt black and served on a plate!” Jake told her, trying very hard to look serious and failing miserably. ”Liar! What are they, Dad?” “Well, I hate to break it to you, Annie, but he’s right.” But when Paul saw how white Annie’s face had gotten, he quickly changed his tune. “Joke! Joke! It’s really just the burnt edges of the brisket.” Annie’s face slowly regained its color. “Gross! I’m never eating that!” They all enjoyed their dinner and went to go see a movie David and Jake had been dying to see, then went back to the hotel. David and Jake flopped onto their beds. “So what are we doing tomorrow?” David asked. “Well, we’ve got the game,” Jake responded. “Oh, yeah! I’ll have to wear my White Sox jersey.” David said. His eyes wandered around the room and landed on the safe. “Hey, what do you think that thing is? In the safe?” “I dunno, grab it and we can look at it.” David carefully picked the case up and took the chip out. “Looks like an SD card, but at the same time it doesn’t.” “Well, I’m pooped. Let’s look tomorrow.” “Okay.” Jake laid down and immediately fell asleep while David continued to look at it. As he looked, he noticed a little switch and flipped it. Well, that didn’t do anything, he thought. He set it down on the pillow next to his head to think. Suddenly, the pillow moved!

                                                                      Weekly Serial: Vac Attack
                                                                     Chapter 4: I Figured It Out!
David stared at the pillow. Am I seeing things? Or dreaming? It moved again! Nope, I’m definitely NOT dreaming. Suddenly, Jake’s pillow started moving too! “Oh, my gosh,” David whispered in astonishment, an idea beginning to form. “Is this what I think it is?” He took the square off his pillow and both pillows stopped moving. He placed it on his lamp. His lamp came alive, causing him to jump back, and he heard a woman scream from another room! I’m right, then, David thought, I found Jared Peterson’s LIFE CHIP! But he wouldn’t tell anyone except Jake yet. Not his parents. Not Annie. Not yet.
                                                                              .   .  .   .   .  .  .  .   .
David jumped out of bed the next morning, threw on a T-shirt, and woke Jake up in a very good mood. He would tell Jake about the chip today, and he had to figure out the best time. He decided to tell him when they went for snacks at the baseball game. They ate breakfast and chose to go to a museum for a while. Afterwards they ate lunch at a pizza place, then went back to the hotel. “Well, guys,” Paul said, “we’ve still got a while before the game, so why don’t we go to the hotel pool for a while?” “Yeah!” They shouted, and raced to their rooms to put on swimsuits. “Cannonball!” David and Jake yelled as they flew through the air into the water. They played Marco Polo and Shark, competed in races, and swam around until Paul said, “Guys, the game starts in an hour; we should probably get going.” The kids all climbed out of the pool and went back to their room to get dressed. David put on his White Sox jersey and made sure that he had the chip in his pocket, still surrounded by multiple layers of padding. They drove to the stadium and managed to get to their seats just as the game began. “Yes! Just in time for the first pitch!” Jake cried. “Let’s go!”
They watched and cheered. CRACK went the bat, and the ball sailed into an outfielder’s glove. Two more outs were achieved, but not before they hit two home runs. David cheered with the rest. As the next inning started CRACK went the bat, and the ball flew narrowly into the bleachers. Wow, they’re tough, David thought.
In the second inning, the Sox scored, and by the end of their at-bat, the Sox had scored three runs. But so are we, he thought, his excitement growing. Finally, at the end of the third inning, he could wait no longer. “Jake, you want to get snacks? I’m getting hungry.” “Sure.” They walked up the steps, and each flight seemed to take an eternity. At last they reached the top. “What do you want?” Jake asked him. “Ummm…Hot dog and lemonade.” They walked for a minute until they found it, but the line was very short there. Jake wanted nachos and a Coke, which they got at the snack counter. Before they got there, though, David’s patience ran out and he pulled Jake to the side. “Jake, you remember this?” David said, holding up the chip. “Uh, yeah…” “You know who Jared Peterson is, right?” “Yeah, why?” “J.P. Inc?” “Yeah, why?” “The Life Chip?” “David, I know what all-“ Jake stopped abruptly in the middle of his sentence. “Wait, you mean…” He was too shocked to finish his sentence. “Oh, I mean!” David said excitedly. “We found Jared Peterson’s LIFE CHIP!”

                                                                                  Weekly Serial
                                                              Vac Attack, Chapter 5: And So It Begins
The rest of the vacation was a blur, and David was back on the train to Chicago before he knew it. They had an overnight ride on the train to get back home, since they’d left their car at the Chicago station. David could barely wait to get home so he could see exactly what the Chip would do. He sat and daydreamed, flipped through a magazine without actually reading it, played about a million rounds of tic-tac-toe with Annie (and lost most of them), walked back and forth from the sleeper car to the snack car, and finally, after what seemed like a lifetime, it was time to go to bed. They would be back in Chicago by morning.
                                                                             .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
The next morning, David woke up to the conductor calling, “All off for Chicago! All off for Chicago, Illinois!” David positively flew around the room, packing things he hadn’t the night before, including the chip. He was packed and ready before anyone else in his family was. Soon, they were in their car on the way back home.
Halfway through the thirty-minute drive home, Annie decided that she wanted a snack and started rooting through David’s backpack to see if he had any food. Then she spied the case with the chip in it and held it up. “Hey, did you ever figure out what this thing is?” David looked, and his eyes widened in fear as he grabbed for it and said, “Don’t touch that!” “So you did find out what it is! What is it?” Annie cried, grabbing it back from him. “Give it here!” David shouted, grabbing again. “What is it?” “Give it HERE!” Annie threw the case, aiming for Jake, but she threw it too hard and too high, and it fell out the window onto the street, where the case cracked. “You little-!!!” David was so angry he could barely speak. He sat, seething with anger and not speaking for the rest of the car ride. When they got home, David stomped straight to his room and stayed there, not even coming down for dinner. But, of course, he had to come down for breakfast the next day, since he had school. He stomped into the kitchen and poured himself a bowl of cereal. Paul was watching the morning news very intently on his laptop. “Dad, don’t forget you’ve got to pick me up an hour late after school today. I’ve got my Engineering Club this afternoon.” Paul didn’t respond. “Dad?” David said again, suddenly getting a worried feeling in the pit of his stomach. He went and looked at the laptop screen over Paul’s shoulder. What he saw made the worried feeling grow to the size of an ocean. The screen showed a street sweeper with no driver, followed by an army of vacuums moving on their own! “Oh, no,” he said under his breath. “What happened?” Jake and Annie asked simultaneously, appearing behind him. “Oh, no,” It was all either of the boys could say. But Annie started singing. “It’s the end of the world as we know it…It’s the end of the world as we know it!” David shot her a fierce glare and shouted, “This is all your fault!” “My fault? What did I do?” “You found the Chip in my bag and threw it out the window!” Then realizing he’d just spilled the beans about the Life Chip, he clapped his hand over his mouth and his eyes grew enormous. Annie’s eyes grew even bigger. “What chip are you talking about?” “I found- no, wait. Do you know what the Life Chip is?” “Yeah, we talked about it in school. Is that what you found? I thought it wasn’t finished.” “Well, I thought it was! But apparently there was a glitch or something in it, and then you threw it out the window!” David yelled, his anger returning. “Well, how was I supposed to know what it was? I never saw pictures or anything!” Annie said, now equally angry. “Stop! Stop it! If she threw it out the window, we need to go find it!” Jake shouted over the fighting. “Wait! You brought the Chip BACK with you?!?” Paul said in shock. “That was why we told you to put it back in the safe.” Catherine moaned weakly, falling into her chair. “We’d hoped that you would forget about it.” “Oh… Well, I definitely didn’t forget about it,” David said. Then, looking angrily at Annie, “And obviously neither did she.” “Well, we’ve got to go find it!” Jake cried. “Are you blind? The street sweeper ran over it! And then all the vacuums came alive and started following it! We can’t find the Chip.” David said, frustrated. “But we can destroy the sweeper, can’t we?” Jake said. 

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