Disclaimer: I do not own Ed, Edd, 'n Eddy, nor do I lay claim to anything borrowed from Antonucci's works. Nor do I own any other works which I may borrow from, which I will list as they become apparent. (I do not list works from to which I may indirectly allude or from which I might have gained influences, nor will I list any source considered public domain.) Any scientific hypotheses presented directly or indirectly presented are not mine. I also do not own any specific real-world objects, entities, or persons, public or private, that I might reference in this work. I do not own the following: Ed, Edd, 'n Eddy; any works of William Shakespeare (which is public domain, by the way).
If you identify something that is copyrighted, please inform me so that I might amend my disclaimer to accommodate it.

This work is not copyrighted. I would be honored if anyone bothered to allude to this fanfiction in their work, though I would prefer if the person alluding to my works make their allusion known so that I might be prepared for any questions or comments I may encounter regarding that person's actions. Nevertheless, if one uses any significant part or aspect of my works verbatim, such as the plot or OC's, is in violation of the Terms of Service and/or Content Guidelines, or otherwise implicates me or my works in any sort of serious wrongdoing, I will do everything within my legal rights and power to get the story and/or him/her taken off this site.
Since I am very much like the ancient Greek writers in my views over the use of my work, I consider the borrowing of my works a compliment—do not make it otherwise by using it as an example or portraying it in a negative or derogatory light.
This fanfiction does contain some of my personal views, voices, hypotheses, and opinions. However, not all of these are mine, nor are they necessarily consistent with my own views, voices, hypotheses, or opinions. My portrayal of the government is not necessarily consistent with my own views. I do not mind the borrowing of my hypotheses, but please inform me.
(Translation: Be nice.)

I am NOT a lawyer and I have no intention on becoming one. I am human, and thus prone to making mistakes: I cannot guarantee my ability to maintain what is stated above. Therefore, if one identifies in any of my works something that violates the most recent disclaimer, please inform me concretely so that I might fix the problem.

Note for Readers: I warn you, I can be very verbose, and in places this may be very thick reading or have abnormally complex sentence structures. If you have any issues comprehending my work and still wish to continue reading it, I advise you to use a dictionary and encourage you to expand your vocabulary. I will not "dumb down" my own writing, no matter how many times a single person might review my work. (One or two confused readers are not my problem.) However, I would appreciate any reviews containing constructive and concrete suggestions on how to improve my writing, especially any reviews containing actual examples of how a specific sentence's structure might be made more clear or otherwise improved without losing its meaning. Despite my personal preferences, I welcome any reviews of my work, but I will never pester my readers for them.

Author's Note (Now that all that annoying stuff is over…): Greetings, readers! I am the Arcticourt Spellwright, the authoress. I take the time now to apologize for boring those brave souls who bothered to read that mess above again with such tedium; I doubt I will ever do something like that again in this genre. It was as painful for me to write as it was for you to read.

Moving past that, while this is the second fanfic I have posted on (or anywhere, really), and is hardly the first fanfic I have written, it is the first one I have deemed good enough to post. I got sidetracked, I admit, by the concept of a Code Lyoko fantasy fic, but as I have hit a major writer's block, I thought I would post this, in hopes that by recreating the circumstances that led to my starting Chronicles, I might overcome my writer's block and rejuvenate my enthusiasm in the Code Lyoko show and story. (This, I assure you, is typical of my writing; my interests and focus tends to be cyclical; my aim should be back on Chronicles by November, but in the meantime I hope to finish this.)

Background: This story came to me after reading some EE&E superhero fanfiction; I thought I could do better. So, I started this during English 4 as a warm-up exercise while listening to the teacher's lecturing. I have a feeling that some of that writing energy has filtered into this story; it is by far the most concrete, realistic of my story attempts, (my forays into Lyokoan medieval fantasy aside,) and since it actually has a well-developed plot, I am hopeful I will complete it. As with Chronicles, I have developed extensive notes and backgrounds for each of the characters, all ideally consistent with (or at least not negated by) canon, with particular interest in filling in areas left untouched by the EE&E canon. (If you wish, I might even publish them. In a story format, of course. But, as it would take time to rewrite my graphs into a format acceptable to the Content Guidelines, I would much prefer to have the go-ahead from at least five reviewers.)

I hope you will bear with me through this story despite the potentially irregular and long spaces between updates, (and onto sequels if you so wish,) and hope that you like it. Kudos to those who get the references; there are a lot of them. Happy reading!

Trial By Ed

Prologue: What's Past is Ed

On the outskirts of a placid suburban neighborhood there is a large grey cinderblock building. Where exactly this is located is really not all that important—okay, it is, but the information remains classified. Anyways, inside that building there is a room, a dark and gloomy room without windows or doors.

Inside that room there is a desk. And at that desk there is a man sitting. He is barely visible in the darkness; the only part of him visible is his face, illuminated only by a cell phone as the man, hunched over the desk, squints down in a futile attempt to read some report by its light.

A small ray of light cuts through the darkness; the crack in the dark wall widens and closes. Quickly, the man puts the makeshift flashlight back into his pocket and sits upright. "Do you have it?"

"Yes, sir," the newcomer says.

"Good. Hand it over." The younger man hands over a small object to the desk-sitter. Then the older man said, "Here. Take this. Dispose of it. Don't break it; it's fragile. When you have disposed of it, return. I have something you need to do."

The younger man invisibly nodded and said, "Yes, sir."

"Dismissed."

The assistant nodded, and bolted from the room.

There was a loud WHUMP!

And there was a CRASH!

With tinkling.

The man still in the room sighed; his assistant had run into the wall again. He slipped a hand under the desk, and pressed a big red button. "Room service. Cleanup in the hallway outside room 15-0-5."

"Yes, sir," a cool female voice responded, and then cut off the line.

The not-quite middle-aged man then quickly fastened the delivery in its place. He flipped the device on, winced, and leaned back, smiling slightly, eyes closed. Ahh…

It was so good to have light again.

A few minutes later, the blustery, clumsy assistant scuttled back into the room. "You wanted something, sir?"

"Yes," he said, spreading the manila files out on the desk, and slapping his hand down on the topmost one. "I have received information from the observation team that the last of the test subjects is old enough to handle the next Phase. I believe it is about time to move on to Phase II of the Project." He paused for a moment. "Send a notice out to the Heads of the Departments: that it is time to remove the inhibitors."

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Vast, somber screens along one wall illuminate an otherwise dark room. Their bluish-green glow stains and paints the bleached white lab coats of those who venture too close to their plasma. In the dark, machines whirr, shoes scuffle and squeak on sterile laminate, and whispered voices echo in the dead silence.

Out of the green and grey gloom, a shaft of light appears, and fades away.

The intern blinks, his eyes adjusting to the gloom from the hospital-white brightness just outside. Self-consciously—he was not ordinarily supposed to be here—he pussyfoots across the floor to the tall, gangly figure standing before the screen.

Cool grey eyes looked down on the intern. "Yes?" he prompted, his calm, deep voice thoughtful.

The younger man jumped slightly, and then steadied himself. "We have received orders, Professor."

"Oh?" the expert mused, still only mildly interested. "From whom?"

"Orders directly from HQ…from the Director himself." The younger researcher paused, and then tentatively added, "He says we are to begin Phase II of the Experiment."

"It's about time," the professor rumbled smugly, like the satisfied purr of a cat straight from Cheshire, his piercing grey-blue eyes taking on a steely glint. "Tell Steinmann that it is all but done." He motioned with his hand towards the door. "Dismissed." The intern gratefully dashed to the door, glad to finally leave this room where he felt so out of his element.

The door shut with a click. The professor diverted his attention from the door to the screen. "Well, my boys, it looks like the lab-rats finally have some work to do."

A few muffled cheers rung out from the dark sides of the room.

A subordinate walked up to him and leaned on the rail. "They have been ready for almost a year now," she mentioned almost—almost—offhandedly; the slight accusatory tone was not missed on her superior.

The professor let it go; they had every right to be impatient. Hell, he was, too! But there were higher forces than he, or the subjects' durability, to consider… "Damn bureaucrats," he muttered loudly enough for her to hear, as if he thought it explained everything.

"Hm." The stern woman glared at him coldly; it was obvious that she didn't believe him. Then, knowing she had full well she had no say in this matter, she gave up and exhaled, throwing her full weight against the hard metal safety rail. "At least we got some work to do now," she commented huffily. "Things were getting pretty damn dull around here…"

The professor chuckled slightly, bringing her glare back in full force; he ignored it with practiced ease as she slinked back into the shadows.

"Indeed it was…"

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Miles away, at a water distillation plant, a worker was about to refill the mechanism that adds certain concentrated minerals to the purified, chemical-tasting H2O when his supervisor stopped him. "Nah, Jack. Not that kind; put it in the back; the higher-ups want to try some new formula. For some study, I think…"

Jack cursed, and lowered the lift. "Alright, Bob. Where is the new one?"

Bob pointed. "Storage 5-A."

"Right. Thanks Bob."

"See-yah, Jack; I'm leaving early tonight. It's my anniversary and the wife will murder me if I'm late to dinner."

Jack snorted slightly, and waved him off. "If that's the case, then you don't want to keep her waiting. I'll finish up here and head home myself. Bye, Bob."

As the supervisor took off down the metal lattice, Jack drove the forklift over to the storage rooms, and dropped the block off in Storage A-1. Then he took off pell-mell for storeroom A-5 to see the new shipment.

Now, Jack had worked at plants like these for the past three decades; he had seen all kinds and shades of white and off-white mineral compounds come and go. Thus, he quickly picked up on that this new shipment was exactly the same as the last one… except for one particular thing… It lacked the old one's peculiar minute purplish sheen.

He smiled widely, amused; finally the higher-ups had bothered to read his complaint. "Hey!" the fifty-year-old shouted to no one, his voice echoing through the now empty plant, "This one's cleaner than the last one!"

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