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A Drop In Time

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Everything is perfect, scratch that everything is going perfectly wrong! Jeremy scowled to himself as he walked around backstage during the high school’s summer play. Which he will admit, was a pretty terrible idea to begin with. Shakespearean zombies, I guess you could say. Yep, that would totally gain us enough money so the school can stop placing everything into the athletic department.

“You said everything would turn out in my favor!” Jeremy growled at the Squip as he played with the beaker in his hand. Swirling the beaker, the liquid inside sloshed around as little pills started to float to the top.

“You must account for human error, Jeremy. I am just a computer, I can only account for the most likely outcome. Still there is bound to be error somewhere.” The computer chip retorted. Pixels danced across Jeremy’s view before coming together into the Squip’s visible form. One of their arms were propped up against the prop table. Their other arm was on their hip, making it appear to be that they were leaning against the table.

“Well great! It failed.” Jeremy snapped back as he placed the beaker down onto the table in front of him. It was decoratated with a black table cloth with masking tape labeling where every prop should be placed when not in use. The whole backstage was casted in a mix of blues, purples and pinks from the stage lights, it was honestly very pretty. It added a nice pop of color to the black floors and walls of backstage, but now is not the time to muse over pretty lighting.

Up to a few minutes ago everything seemingly looked like everything was going Jeremy’s, or well Squip’s way. It helped Jeremy open Rich’s locker before ordering Jeremy to put the contents into the beaker in Rich’s locker. “I might have to question Rich on why he has the prop beaker” Jeremy pondered to himself before following the Squip’s orders. Then there was that fiasco with Jenna. Actually Jeremy was more surprised than anything that she just took the rest of the Mountain Dew left in the bottle and took the squip. Her scream caused him to flinch though before she mellowed out.

“Honestly everything feels like a drugged up dream. First the Squip is singing about saving the pitiful children, which I didn’t even know it could sing. I question that whole moment since it felt, unreal. Like in what universe was I stuck with a singing computer, that also looks and sounds like an anime villain? Then Jenna starts singing along with it, maybe that was her Squip’s doing? I hope it’s being okay to her.” Jeremy questioned as he thought about what happened next. “God Christine was a whole nother’ mess entirely.”

“Places for act two people.” Mr. Reyes reminded everyone as he walked backstage with his headset on. A quiet “Thank you five” was heard in response as everyone went into their spot as they waited for their cue, so they could go on stage. Jeremy overheard Mr. Reyes as he complimented Chloe on her wonderful job at acting like a zombie.

“Wait, Chloe is terribl-“ Jeremy questioned the Squip, turning his head before cutting himself off as he saw the Squip wink at him. “You’re going to squip the whole cast!” He almost screeched out.

“That’s just for starters!” They said in an almost, cheerful voice.

“That’s not what I wanted!” Jeremy retorted as he tried to grab the beaker full of squips, until Brooke quickly put her hand out and grabbed it.

“I need the beaker my scene is coming up.” she quietly said before adding a small sorry at the end before rushing off to the other side of the stage. The squip locker Jeremy’s legs in place before speaking to Jeremy.

“It’s the only way to achieve what you want! If everyone is squipped there is no possible chance for error! Everyone’s objectives would be lined up with yours making everything almost perfect.”

“Almost?” He questioned as he tried to move his body, him slowly starting to go more and more into a panicked state. Not being in control of his body was starting to bring back horrid memories.

“Well there will always be a small percent chance of error, about two to three.” The Squip said lackadaisically. With a snap of their finger Jeremy felt control in their body again.

“Don’t ever fucking do that again you over used tic ta-“ being cut off from a shock. “OW FUCK YOU!” He shouted before walking on stage for his part, too distracted from what his Squip has done to think about what it said. Speaking his lines perfectly with just enough emotions to feel real. At this point he doesn’t even remember what he is saying, for the Squip says it all for him. It wasn’t until he say Brooke drinking the beaker did he remember what the Squip said. He almost screamed No before Brooke’s screams can be heard through the auditorium as her Squip activated and synced with Jeremy’s. A robotic, glitched chuckle can be heard eminating from the Squip.

“I-“

“You better shut up now Jeremiah or this will be increasingly worse for you in the future.” The Squip cut him off.

“I DONT CARE! ALCOHOL OR NOT YOUR ASS WILL BE GONE!” Jeremy screeched in his head.

“We’ll see about that, only time will tell. Also you might want to turn it down a notch before you even give myself a migraine.” It said rubbing its forehead in frustration. “Besides, you don’t want to end up like Rich.” It said with a smirk.

“What does that m-“ he was cut off as he slowly felt the control over his body less and less as he fell onto the floor almost having a seizure as his body fought it. He though that he was going to lose control of his brain until he heard a shout behind him.

“MICHAEL MAKE AN ENTRANCE!” Michael shouted as he came on stage, holding what appears to be, a version of Mountain Dew? Quietly he deadpanned, “Holy shit there is more people than I thought..” It gave Jeremy just enough time for him to move before the Squip took over his body again.

“What is in your hand?” He questions.

“Mountain Dew Red! Told you I did my research!” A bright smile on his face as he said it.

“What research?” Jeremy questioned as he looked at Michael.

“Research on the Squi-I mean zombies! Like I said.” Quickly cutting himself off, pretending this was all still apart of the play. “It’s said that this elixir can revert the effects!” A happy smile was planted on his face as he turned his head to talk. “Hey Jake, can you come over here and help us out? We need to feed it to someone!” He called out, voice trembling every few words as he glanced to the audience. Jake entered through one of the middle curtains, using his crutches to maneuver around the stage.

“Uh sure, if it will end this.” A look of confusion was plastered on his face as he looked at the audience. Signaling a look of confusion, but played it off in a way that was comedic. Using his crutches he moved over to help him until you see Jeremy leap at him and pretend to bite his arm, from the squip’s command. At the same time you see a smirk on his lips as he stated a code.

“Up, up, down, down, left, right, A” A high pitch scream left the taller boy’s lips. From the audience’s perspective it was because of Jeremy biting him, but from the student’s perspective it was because of his Squip activating. Jeremy bounced back as he got smacked in the face by Jake, pushing him down to the ground. Michael stood there frozen mouthing “what the fuck is happening?” Their grip tightening around the bottle. Jake slouched downward before he started to sing. It was something about him living an upgrade as he lifted his crutches, walking toward them when his Squip deactivated his ability to feel pain. Michael stepped back before tripping on his own feet and plummeting next to Jeremy. Jeremy was confused about the entire situation. Why is this happening? What is so important about Mountain Dew red. WHY THE FUCK IS HIS SQUIP NOT EXPLAINING ANYTHING? He looked around in confusion until said ai reappeared.

“Mountain Dew Red is a special power up for squips, it’s even more effective than the normal formula.” It states as it stood unfront of Jake, almost evaluating Jake. “My best bet is to not believe Michael, since his sources are incorrect.” It turned its body to look at the two boys on the ground.

“And why should I believe you?! After all you have done, why should I?” Jeremy plabbered out, not thinking correctly. “You made me block out Michael for weeks on end, and almost got me..” He cut himself off as he held back a sob. “..to use Brooke” He said instead to take his mind off of it.

“Jeremy when have I ever done or said anything that didn’t leave to a desired outcome?” It questioned its host as it stepped forward in sync with Jake. “I have done everything in my programming to complete your goal. So if you want to throw that all away listen to Michael, or if you actually want Christine listen to me. Which one of us is the Quantum computer with more knowledge than you will ever know? I am the one who stuck by your side through this entire journey and what did he do? He left you the moment you had an argument. He couldn’t even stay by your side after one conflicted feeling, do you really want to listen to someone who so easily left you Jeremy? I think the choice is easy” It’s words slithering it of its mouth, almost chocking Jeremy with what it is saying. Jeremy had to agree, everything the Squip has done ended the way they wanted to. Even if there were bumps on the road and everything didn’t line up correctly. He was stuck in thought until he heard the sizzle of a freshly opened soda bottle. The teen whipped his head to the left and saw Michael open the Mountain Dew red.

“You need to drink this! It’s the only way to end it all!” A scared smile rested on his face. He pushed the 90s soda over to Jeremy, beaconing him to take a sip. He was about to until they were interuptef by two hands grabbing the bottle. They both tilted their heads up to see two faces staring down at them, with devilish faces and crooked smiles. There stood Chloe and Brooke with an expression that would bring fear to anyone close. Jenna was right, they are the devils of the school. Even if most don’t see it they have an almost creepy factor to them.

“There you are Jeremy~” They both cooed our at the same time, fighting with Michael on who will have a grip on the bottle. Michael was pulling with all of his might, but both of their attention was pulled away as Jenna entered through the middle stage curtain.

“YOU CANT STOP US MICHAEL! I KNOW WHAT EVERYONE IS DOING, ALL THE TIME!” She screeched as she stepped onto the stage. Everyone else was looking at her, like a servant to a Queen. With one final yank Chloe pulled the bottle out of Michael’s hands. Michael sighed as the bottle left his hands. Chloe closed the cap of the soda and chucked it at Jake who dumped the substance onto the ground. Michael made a sound of defeat as he bounced up and charged at the group in front of them. Maneuvering so he couldn’t be grabbed at, dodging hands as they flew out. He almost grabbed the bottle back from Jake until he felt someone kick him in the back of the knee, sending him toppling forward and onto the ground. A loud thud range through the auditorium and viewers let out a sigh through gritted teeth. Michael let out a sound of pain as his was pinned to the ground by Brooke and Chloe. Both using one of their feet to hold him down. Michael tried to use his hands to push himself off the ground, but it was useless in the end. Jeremy finally decided to do something and stood up. For a few seconds he started walking toward Michael to help him, yet he stopped.

“I thought you were going to help him.” The Squip surmised as it stood next to Jenna. Jeremy stood there in silence, contemplating what to do or say.

“I should help him..” He thought to himself. “He is in trouble.” Yet he still staid silent as he watched Michael struggle. The words felt hollow and empty in his mind. Breaking and flaking away as soon as they were said. When he finally went to move he paused. Right behind Jenna stood Christine. Right there! There she is! A small smile spread over his lips as he looked at his crush. She had her normal sweet smile, the one she would wear when talking about something she was passionate about. Such as spring, how we need more strong female characters in theater, which Jeremy will admit, was true. As well as gun control which isn’t something you wouldn’t expect her to be passionate over, but she was. Jeremy stepped forward, smile as blatant as ever, until he saw her eyes. They were unnaturally happy, too wide with too big of a smile. They didn’t balance out over her more round face, it looked like she was a puppet on strings. Controlling every muscle and bone in her body to perform the exact action needed perfectly. He jumped back as he looked at her and flinched when she put her arm on his shoulder. His eyes filled up with fear the more he looked at her. “That is not Christine...” He mumbled weakly.

“I assure you it is! Only all of her fears and insecurities have been removed!” His Squip chirped happily. Jeremy looked at her.

“You have to snap out of i-“

“You are the person I want to be with everyday~ It’s something I have been afraid to say.” She gushed as she let go of Jeremy’s shoulder.

“Please Christine. This isn’t you.” He weakly implored, placing both of his hands on her shoulders. Although in the end it was pointless. He let out a sigh in defeat until suddenly Christine leaned up and kissed him. He stood frozen as he tasted Mountain Dew on her lips.

“I love you” she whispered once the kiss ended. It ended as soon as it began. “It can help you Jeremy.” Christine pleaded as she placed her arm on his shoulder. “It can get rid of problems you didn’t even know were there.” Her bright smile as prominent as ever. When everyone was distracted Michael pushed Chloe and Brooke off of him and grabbed the bottle out of Jake’s hands. Pushing Christine away he hands it to Jeremy.

“Please drink it, you need to get rid of it.” One last final look of hope was shot at him as Jeremy took the bottle.

“Okay Michael.” Jeremy passes it to Christine so she can have it. “Drink it.” He whispers, she grabs the bottle and tipped it up to have the last drop. As the last droplets hit her tongue and she swallowed, everything was black.

Suddenly an alarm went off, jostling Jeremy out of sleep.

“Wake up Jeremy.” The Squip directed, a grin plastered on their holographic face.