Author: Othello Gooden Jr.

Chapter 10
The Flare

In the snowy part of a forest area was a giant half-pipe. People were standing around it while cheering the competitors on.


“Gordon!” chanted the vast majority of AI fans around him as he snowboarded up and over the pipe.


He kept his eyes fixated on a large number in the sky. Every time he spun around in the air that number increased along with tell him what type of snowboarding trick he did below it.


Gordon did a McTwist 1080 after launching himself high into the air. The crowd went wild along with the flash bulbs on all the reporters’ cameras before him. He hit the ground near one of the reporters, shuffling snow and ice onto them. The reporter flinched a little from the bombardment. He just smiled at Gordon and snapped another picture of him. Suddenly, a loud buzzer rang. Gordon turned his eyes to the big number in the sky that read, “20,000 pts.”


Then the announcer’s voice was heard. His voice echoed throughout the holographic environment. “Next up, Nanako Ruan.”


The cheers that were due Gordon all of a sudden turned to hisses and boos.


One person shouted, “Go home ya wannabe snowboarder!”


Gordon just laughed at that remark. He had programmed the computer insert a random insult every time it was the AI’s turn.


Suddenly, a young Chinese man appeared next to Gordon just reached the top of the stairs to the half-pipe’s balcony overseeing the “dip”.


As the AI Nanako started, the hissing and booing continued. In the air where the numbers were, Gordon’s high score was displayed above Nanako’s. However, Nanako’s score was rapidly approaching his. Gordon’s mouth dropped as the time ran out. He lifted his goggles and stared at the scoreboard as Nanako beat him by another 500 points.


Gordon put his goggles back on but forcefully. “Dangit. How the heck am I gonna beat this punk if he keeps getting all them tricks out that fast? This is just insane!”


It was insane. Some like him use to think like that.  Yet this was an X-Games program within the Raylorian Dream. AI’s were significantly harder to beat than humans. That was until Raylor Mellis Jr. had some of the holography majors add new elements to it several years back. In those changes included new and improved adaptive AI learning. Gordon knew Nanako’s moves frontward and backward but his AI version knew what to to get ahead—all ofcourse within human limits based on a variating algorithm.


The announcer’s voice was heard again. “Next up, the Flare.”


“After all, I AM blazin’ fast!” Gordon mumbled to himself in adoration, grinning as he prepared for another round.


At the moment Gordon was given the okay to start, he was off. Suddenly, everything faded around him. The cold air turned to normal temperature. The half-pipe was now the sky!


“What the… WHO THE HECK CHAN—”


Gordon stopped talking as the image of his uncle showed up in front of him.


“I did! And shouldn’t you be getting to class right about now?” Raylor’s disappointed tone rang throughout the room on. Every corner of the Raylorian Dream had his face on a several giant flat screen TVs. His voice boomed through dozens of megaphones inside the facility.


“But Unk, I’m—”


“Practicing?” Raylor raised his voice as he finished Gordon’s sentence. “What’s more important? School or sports?”


“Both.” Gordon answered apprehensively as he fell closer to the ground.


“Then do them both equally and stop playin’ hooky from school. Understood?” Raylor raised an eyebrow at Gordon as his image got in the young man’s face. Gordon was still in freefall.


“Yes uncle Raylor.” Gordon answered in an apologetic tone. Raylor’s holographic image then disappeared along with his face on the flat screens on the wall.


The sky diving event soon turned to a grassy plain. A giant beanbag broke Gordon’s fall. He started to take off his gear, starting with the snowboard latched to both of his shoes.


 “Next time I’mma let ya drop like Jezebel.”



“You’ll get injured? Meh… That’s Mellis tough love for ya. You oughta know that by now… So deal with it!” Raylor apathetically interrupted.


A door opened next to him and in came Kaitlyn.


Gordon looked at Kaitlyn with an upset look on his face. “You told him didn’t you?”


“Didn’t I tell you this was a bad idea?”


“School is more important.”

“And so is my job!”

“Raylor told me that it was only temporary until you graduated!”

“Blah… What he know?”


“Everything!” Raylor’s voice echoed throughout the room.


“You’re still listening?” Gordon looked up into the dark room, aimlessly looking around while trying to pinpoint the speaker’s location.


“You’re on my property, so what’s your point?” Raylor cynically retorted.


Gordon angrily sighed as he walked out the door, carrying his snowboard under his right arm. Kaitlyn followed shortly behind him. After changing his clothes, he headed to class. The bell rang just as he stepped in the classroom. Kaitlyn waved to him in an empty seat in the back row. He sat down next to her as the teacher started her lecture.


After class, Gordon started walking down the hall towards his room again. Some girls started calling his name.


He turned around and smiled at noticing one of the girls. “Hey Anna! How’s it goin’ babe?”


The young lady swiveled her body around admiringly at Gordon. Her tone was shy. “Oh, nothing. School as usual. You?”


“Eh, same ol’ same old.” Gordon shrugged.


Anna turned her attention to Kaitlyn who came out the classroom a few seconds later. As she came up to Gordon, Anna smiled. “So who’s the droi—Ah so that’s the SECAI you was talking about?”


Gordon’s tone suddenly turned nervous as Anna shifted her attention to Kaitlyn. “Well, it’s not just mine. She’s uh umm… Group project… We’re training her!”


Anna clasped her hands together happily. “That is so cool! So, what’s your name?”

“Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn Mellis.” Kaitlyn introduced herself.


Gordon looked over to her in puzzlement. “Oh, so you’re a Mellis now?”


“Well, I thought, to whom ever I’m with, my last name should be theirs.” Kaitlyn answered.


Gordon rubbed his goatee. “And what if we’re all with you?”

Kaitlyn grinned after a short laugh. “Then I’ll use all of them when introducing myself!”

“So how many of you are in a group?” Anna asked.


Kaitlyn waved her head in thought before answering. “Well, there’s Kayla Dartan, him, his brother Durk Daryl, and Kira Mancini.”


“YOU MEAN TH-TH-THE CRAZY LADY?” One of the other girls exclaimed after hearing her name.


Kaitlyn shrugged. “Eh… Her bite hurts just as much as an old dog with dull dentures.”

Gordon and the other girls started laughing at Kaitlyn’s insult.


“But seriously though. SECAIs learn from their mentors. I know you might display some traits coming from that crazy lady. Watch out, that’s not good.” Anna advised.


“Yeah, so is you trying to get with this looser!” Kaitlyn thumbed at Gordon.

“HEY!” Gordon yelled, insulted by her remark.


“Besides, his brother get’s more respect than this wannabe.” Kaitlyn added with a grin.

That’s when Gordon just lost it. He forcefully pulled Kaitlyn to the side. “KATIE, REALLY? HOW COULD YOU? I MEAN… C-C-C-MON! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?”


His yelling didn’t faze Kaitlyn.


Anna shook her head as she looked around to her friends around her. “Umm… Okay, I think we’ll just leave you two alone. Have fun!” She and her friends then started walking away. Anna turned around at Gordon and waved. “Bye Gord. Nice talking to ya!”


“Umm… Bye.” Gordon nervously waved back to Anna and her friends as they disappeared into the crowd of students walking to and from the classrooms.


Gordon turned his attention back to Kaitlyn. He angrily sighed. “Just great. Thanks a lot Kaitlyn! You ruined my game plan!”


“Oh really?” Kaitlyn paused, blinking at him. “Cuz I saw game over Mario the moment Bowser Jr. ran off with the princess!”


“Duuuuhhhhh… Kira was right, you are impossible!” Gordon sighed in defeat.


Kaitlyn grinned. “Yeah, but not as much as your attempt at tryna score a date with incompatible matches!”


 Gordon raised an eyebrow at the SECAI. “How do YOU know if I’m good enough for them or not?”


“As far as I’m concerned, Kira is the—”

“Um… No, she isn’t my type.”

“Yes she is.”

“How so?”

“Yall act alike.”

“No we don’t.”

“Both of yall drink at the same bar.”

“No we don’t.”

“Both of yall get angry at similar stuff.”


“Yall were both baptized in denial!”


Gordon face palmed himself after Kaitlyn’s last remark. “Gaahh… Y’know what? What-the-frak-ever!”


He put his hand down and started walking toward the stairwell. Kaitlyn started walking beside him.


“So, where we going this time?” Kaitlyn’s tone sounded sarcastic.


Gordon shortly looked at her. “I’mma go home and game until Durk comes over to take you. Probably play some League.”


Kaitlyn laughed. “That’s the best game plan you’ve came up with all day!”

Gordon sighed, shaking his head.  “Yeah, whatever.”



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