The Year 2013
Every student from the cafeteria had run out in horror from the shrieks heard outside, yet all they were left with was an empty room and at the center of it all, a box.
"Move outta the way!" Lizzie screeched, pushing people from their spots to see what the big commotion was. "Why the heck is there a useless box here?"
Mumbles of confusion spread through the corridor, every student perplexed with what occurred. The crowd had split and scurried away once a row of teachers began marching to the center of attention, however, each teacher was additionally confused as to what this meant.
Although there were only three students appalled, faces growing pale of shock. Virginia clutched onto Bartie's arm, her face hidden into her shoulder as he stood agape. Herbie stood beside the two, blinking in disbelief with his arms dangling by his sides.
"A bloody time machine," Herbie gasped out, pressing his glasses up closer to his face.
Virginia scolded from the sentence, her hands clenched. "If Hoagie and Rachel are still alive, I'm murdering those dumbasses."
Bartie slipped his fingers into Virginia's dainty ones out of comfort, using his free arm to wrap Herbie into a side hug.
"They'll be okay," Bartie mumbled, yet he didn't look convinced himself, "this is Hoagie and Rachel we're talking about."
"The same Hoagie that electrocuted himself when fixing the TV," Virginia said, teeth gritted.
"But he did get it fixed."
"Out of sheer luck," Virginia snorted. "Not to mention Rachel's missed the last two Doctor Time Space Continuum episodes. If she was helping Hoagie, she could've been wrong with her measurements… or-or get them stuck into a wrong time…"
Herbie's shock had finally disappeared, turning into worry. "If they had asked for my help… I really could've helped them secure this time machine… If only I knew—"
"Stop!" Bartie said firmly, almost like a command. "If you guys couldn't already tell, Rachel and Hoagie aren't the only ones gone. Notice any missing dumb jocks? Missing dimwitted cheerleaders? Our best friend's blatantly obvious crushes? All not here!"
Her and Herbie began scanning the room, seeing if what Bartie said had been true. After a full minute, Virginia finally nodded in agreement.
"Satan's cock, you're right," Virginia muttered breathlessly. "Nigel and Abby… Kuki, Fanny… Wally, Patton… they're not here." Visible stress crept onto the goth's features. "How did they all get wrapped up into this… this mess?! What if they're all d—"
Herbie instantly covered her mouth before she could finish her sentence, his eyes shooting daggers into her chocolate, wavering pools. Her eyebrows knit together furiously, biting down onto his hand as he silently reacted, eyes watering with his hand shaking rapidly off her mouth.
"There was no need for that," He hissed, examining where she had bitten.
"I didn't need to smell where you've been jacking off, Herbs!" Virginia retorted, no longer leaning onto her boyfriend. "I'll be quiet about it, just don't shove your hand down my throat next time."
Herbie's cheeks were bright pink, Bartie chuckling softly, yet Herbie ignored him. "I don't think there will be a next time after the way you bit my hand. Goddamn, Gin, how does Bartie deal with you every Friday at the back of his car?"
Herbie was soon clenching on his right cheek, moaning miserably. She huffed, her hand pushing away a strand of her in the frame of her face before taking a step closer to Herbie.
"Stop being perverted, get your shit together, and let's find out if our friends are dead or not."
Bartie sighed, restraining himself from laughing. "Finally you've got some sense into your system."
Virginia eyed him annoyedly, folding her arms. "Shut up or you're next. But first off are Rachel and Hoagie, the Tweedle Dumb and Dumber of Gallagher High School."
Herbie nodded hesitantly, hand still softly touching his red cheek. "Okay, so what now?"
Bartie grabbed both of their arms, pushing them up to the front of the crowded abundances of people. Each Herbie and Virginia looked at each other perplexed, yet followed along regardless. Finally reaching to where the teachers were, he tapped Science teacher Mr. Swelm on the shoulder.
The tall, thin figure turned around, smiling at the sight of Bartie Stork. He was in his mere late twenties with coke-bottle glasses and a mop of black hair.
"Hullo, Bartie," He said kindly. "Wish we could've been speaking in better circumstances, but here we are."
Bartie nodded, glancing sideways to Virginia and Herbie who soon mirrored his reaction, nodding as well.
"Well," Mr. Swelm began, "what seems to be the problem?"
Bartie's expression became serious, blinking innocently. "We think we know information about this whole 'box' thing."
The Year 2038
All future operatives turned their attention to Nathan, before he nodded and stepped at the front of the group.
"Okay, okay," He mumbled, staring up to the baffled looks of every past operative. "What we're — well, I'm about to tell you is top-tier secret. We're not even allowed to do this, however, we're so desperate that we're going to. Can you agree to not tell anybody?"
"Who would we tell?" Abby blurted, her eyebrows knitting together. "We're in the future. We don't know anybody besides ourselves, unless we're dead, of course."
Nathan sighed, before stating, "You guys aren't dead."
There was a cheer of applause from the past operatives, high-fiving one another before Nigel suspiciously glared back at Nathan.
"If we're not dead, then how do you know us from the future?"
Nathan chuckled, but it sounded forced and tense. "People from school. I'm friends with… um, Rachel's brother's son."
"Harvey got married and had a kid!" She gasped, eyes open as saucers. "Wow, do you know if I got married and had a kid?"
"See, that's the thing!" Spencer soon walked up beside Nathan. "We can't tell you these details, it could change the future if you know."
"But I'm not asking who I married, I'm asking if I get married," Rachel clarified, leading to Nigel mocking her word by word. She growled before continuing, "I mean, that shouldn't affect my future. Right?"
"Okay," Nathan sighed, before mumbling, "you're married and have kids."
"Awesome!" She exclaimed, before her face dropped. "Wait, kids? How many?"
"Enough questions, Rachel," Kuki said, before eagerly facing the future operatives. "How about me?"
Spencer raised his hands up, causing Kuki to silence. "We can't explore anymore into that subject matter. Can we please focus on the main reason why we're keeping you here instead of sending you back to the past?"
"Why?" Hoagie questioned, trying to fold his arms yet failing because of the rope. "I made the time machine to have fun and explore what my future was. I deserve to know who I'm married to, what my job is, and if I'm happy, goddamnit!"
"Because!" snapped an infuriated Anastasia, who strutted up to the front with the others. She took out her bazooka from her back pocket, tossing it in between her hands as she faced them. "We need help saving our fucking home or we'll die! Now you will listen and remain seated like the prisoners that you guys are until we allow you out! Do you understand?"
Each person nodded instantly.
"Good! I wouldn't want to use this thing — even though it's against orders and Denise looks like she wants to murder me." She turned around and smiled nervously to the fuming girl, before walking back to them.
The attention returned to Nathan, eye-rolling at Anastasia's actions. He folded his arms, serious as can be. "What we're going to tell you is incredibly important and confidential. So we need you all to be focused and listening. Now if you have any questions—"
A hand rose in the air already. Nathan bit his tongue to prevent his scoff, looking up at Nigel.
"—you may ask at the end of this," He finished off, yet Nigel's arm had not fallen back to his side. With a sigh, he said, "What on earth do you have to say right now?"
Nigel's arm finally dropped. "What if we don't agree to whatever you say? Anastasia previously said that you need help in the future, but what if we disagree."
"Then we kill you!" Anastasia stated profoundly, only for Denise to clasp her hand over her mouth furiously.
Nathan looked from Anastasia back to Nigel, then shrugged. "Regardless you'll die if you don't help us. Or we'll just go back in time and escape our reality, but that's Plan B."
After a moment of silence, Nigel nodded, urging for him to continue. Nathan smiled softly, before returning to his strict self.
"Okay. Please refrain from any interruptions while I explain." He glared amusedly at Anastasia, whose mouth was still covered by Denise. "This place is our hideout, selected because this part of town is deserted from pollution and a bunch of crap. Nobody ever comes here because of that. We're currently underneath ground-level, along with several other groups. These series of groups are called the Kids Next Door and we are specifically the Teens Next Door out of the organisation. Are you following through?"
All past operatives nodded tentatively.
"The organisation of Kids Next Door was created several years ago, made against corporate evil adults. As pathetic and childish as that may sound, long ago a minority of adults grouped together — sort of like a weird cult, if you will — against children for one main reason: to form us into responsible adults like them. But that's the whole point of being a child, you see; you're a young human being curious of the entire world and just wanting to have pure fun. They thought differently, however.
"One child soon realised what capabilities us children could have against these adults. So we started fighting against it, thus creating Kids Next Door. We fight for our own rights to just be children and have fun, as weird as it sounds. But the certain group of adults, going against us, went overboard the more we fought.
"It started with simply attacking one another, but soon it became a war. The most — and excuse my language — fucking horrible of them all is called Father. Father took a group of kids and 'delightfulized' them, which I'll now explain. Delightfulization is a machine created to change children into perfect, obeying children. And this group of children he delightfulized, they were pretty much zombies. All five of them would say the same thing in unison, they were creepy as.
"And he continued doing it to members of Kids Next Door, mainly because we fought against him. Now the thing with Kids Next Door is that once you turn thirteen, you're decommissioned, which means your memories of being a part of Kids Next Door and the existence of Kids Next Door is erased from your memory. If you've wondered in your life why you can't remember your childhood, that's why.
"But there was the secret Teens Next Door, where they selected the most powerful of the Kids Next Door as spies. That's who we are. Only nowadays a certain few from the Kids Next Door know about us, and when they know, they're sworn to secrecy. Now, I'm going to pause for a moment. I understand this probably doesn't make much sense to you guys, does it?"
They all nodded instantly, curiosity tracing their features like children.
"It'll make clearer sense soon, just be patient. The eight of you were a part of the Kids Next Door, in fact all eight of you were so powerful that you were going to be selected for the Teens Next Door. But here's the thing: when a member of the Kids Next Door is decommissioned, they're gone for life. There's no way to recommission them, it's a law in the Kids Next Door after the fiasco of Operation: Zero. And Father learnt this, which is why you were all decommissioned.
"We lost our best members. War got out of hand and Father kept decommissioning almost every member of the Kids Next Door. Few, however, survived. They simply pretended as if they were decommissioned so Father would think he caught all of us. Those few continued the Kids Next Door out of secrecy.
"But in the present time, Father has a horrible plan, which will be explained after this." Nathan turned around and signalled Spencer, who soon clicked a remote, causing TV screens and headphones to drop neatly into their ears, eight in total.
Spencer and Amaya walked up to the past operatives, clicking on a folder of the name of whoever was sitting in front of it.
Their confusion grew, either glaring at the screens, headphones, or to Nathan. Nathan sighed calmly, finishing off what he was about to say once Spencer and Amaya finished.
The two returned back and Nathan smiled softly.
"We can't recommission you or we'll be decommissioned instantly, so we'll be returning your memories a different way." His smile grew. "Ready to review your past?"
They barely had time to answer before static appeared in each screen, then the figures of their past self.