Seeing Double

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//Desert Sector//

"There are three Tarantulas on their way. Watch out." Anabel mentioned into the headset.

Leeah and I maneuvered to dodge their attacks. Leeah was shot in the back and was devirtualized. I turned around and charged at the monsters. Jumping off in time, the overbike crashed into one, destroying it. Then I had landed several feet in front of the other two.

A Tarantula sat on its hind legs and began shooting at me. The other, moved behind. I struggled to keep up with the monster's lasers. Strafing and dodging all that came my way. Becoming frustrated, I finally found an opportune interval and destroyed the Tarantula, but the remaining monster shot me in the back; my body fading into data.

I reappeared inside the scanner, leaning on its walls. I gritted my teeth and began punching the door in anger.

Leeah and Michael looked at me in concern. At first they didn't know what to say, and stood there as I tried fighting the anger. "Dude," Michael began, "are you alright?"

I sucked in a deep breath, and loudly exhaled. "No, I'm not 'alright'. Just leave me alone." They parted so that I could walk past them and enter the elevator. All the while they watched me - worry in their eyes.

*~~*

Jordan sat alone at one of the tables in the cafeteria. The other students, noticing his darker demeanor, avoided him like the plague. Leeah, Michael, and Anabel had never seen their cheerful friend so down before. They would occasionally sneak glances at him, in the hopes that he would look at them smiling like he did before.

"What could be wrong with him?" Anabel asked, who was terribly distressed about Jordan's behavior, "It can't be the practice fight we had this morning... Right?"

The others shook their heads. "No, he was already upset before then." Leeah replied sadly. "Something must have gone wrong at home."

They all looked at him. His gaze was distant, as if nothing around him had mattered. Even his face was contorted into a scowl. They watched him get up, had barely eaten a thing, and leave. They looked at each other and nodded, they were determined to cheer up their friend. "C'mon, let's go." Leeah said, nodding in the same direction Jorden had left.

Out of one of the sockets in the cafeteria, small electricity surged, and black smoke emitted. As if the smoke had a life of its own, it slithered on the floor and out the door. From within the shadows, it grew to a humanoid shape. Stepping out into the light of the sun, it took the form of Jordan.

"Jordan!" Anabel called out to the 'double', "We've been looking for you!" She ran over to him, grabbed his hand and pulled him to the group. Anabel turned around and smiled. "We just want to know what's wrong."

'Jordan' glared at Anabel and struck her. She held her stomach as she curled to the floor. "What's wrong with you, Jordan?!" Leeah shouted, kneeling down to check if Anabel was alright. She was coughing hard and in terrible pain, other than that, she appeared to be fine.

Michael marched over to Jordan, grabbed him, and brought him to his level. "Just because you're mad, doesn't mean you can beat up your friends." He said sternly. The doppelgänger stared at Michael and grabbed the arm holding his collar down, electrocuting him with no remorse. Michael hissed in pain and immediately let go of 'Jordan'.

Michael was too busy cradling his seared arm to notice the doppelgänger pick him up and throw him across the dirt. Anabel, screamed as Michael landed in front of where Leeah and her were. "That's not Jordan." Leeah muttered in disbelief as she helped Anabel and Michael to their feet. "I think it's one of XANA's specters, the things Jeremie and Aelita mentioned." Leeah said.

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