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Episode 5: Alpha finds Omega

Zack thought he probably looked pretty silly standing there, his mouth agape, his hand on the door, his eyes as big as golf balls.

"You're... you wrote... I mean, you tried..."

"Yes, Zack. I wrote the initial program that you have obviously been working with. May we come in, please?"

Zack could hardly have stopped them. They could have knocked him over with a single finger, so startled was he at this revelation. They walked past him into the house, and he shut the door rather mechanically. They seated themselves comfortably on the couch, and waited for him to settle. After a great deal of effort, he was able, barely, to manage this, and moved across from the couch, but didn't sit down. He felt vulnerable, and he needed to be standing to keep his cool.

"How in the hell... I mean, how did you find me?"

Adam chuckled. "You led us on a merry chase. It did take us quite a while. You missed some special coding we put into the program." Seeing Zack's eyes narrow, he quickly added, "Don't be too offended: the code looks very innocuous by itself. But when the lines are put together, well... they become less so. It informs us when the program is used for the first time on a computer... or for the first time after it's been compiled. That's how we knew you were using it. Of course, we had to break through your security defenses, but... well, we have a lot of resources to do that sort of thing."

Zack was suspicious. "That can't be all. I am a very careful person."

Adam nodded. "You're right, it's not. We pretty much knew where you were, but we needed proof. Your friend Valkyrie works for me."

Zack's expression darkened. He muttered, "Bitch."

Adam nodded again. "I understand your feelings, but, realize, she does work for me..."

Zack abruptly changed the topic. "What do you want?"

"Well, dear boy, I thought that would be obvious. I want my program."

"You expect me to just give it back to you, after all the work I've done?"

"No, no. You misunderstand. I don't expect you to give it up, but I would like a copy. After all, I did have my reasons for writing the thing in the first place. I would like to continue with those reasons." Adam and William rose, not threateningly, but just because it felt more natural if all of them were standing, rather than just one. "I know you've spent a lot of effort on this program. Our last report suggests you've made some major modifications to it. I wouldn't think of asking you to just hand that over."

"So, I give you a copy of the program, and you go away?"

"Well... no. Actually, Zack, I'd like to make you a proposition." Zack stood straighter, but Adam continued as if not noticing. "Although you obviously have the intelligence to make the program work, you do not have the resources of our company. Your ability to use the program has to be severely limited by that."

Zack stiffened. "Hey, I've been doing just fine without your help, thanks." He kept speaking as William moved toward him slightly, hoping to calm this boy down. "For your information, I've managed to get pretty much whatever I wanted."

William reached him, and went to place a hand on his shoulder. "Calm down, Zack, we just - WAAHGH!" The rather undignified scream was the result of William watching the world rotate very quickly, and then feeling a very hard surface connect with his back. He was staring up at the ceiling, waiting for his vision to clear.

Adam stared, rather impressed at the Aikido move that had been rapidly applied to his subordinate. Adam said, with some degree of mirth, "It appears you missed something in your evaluation, William."

William shook his head and struggled to his feet. "No way. There's no way you can have taken martial arts classes without us finding out!" William was very nearly livid, but also knew he was completely outmatched. He had never learned any self-defense style.

"Actually, you're right. I've never set foot in a dojo." He paused, and, seeing the look he expected from them, simply said, "It's the program."

"The program turns you into Bruce Lee?"

Zack sighed. "The program allows you to learn anything. Very quickly. I studied the basics of martial arts under the effects of the program. I hadn't realized until just now that it had been so fully incorporated into my brain. I wouldn't advise touching me like that again, though."

William stifled a hot-headed reply, and just nodded instead. Adam was far more interested in this application of his - was it really his anymore? - program than he was William's bruised ego.

"You say that the program allows you to learn? How did you get it to do that?"

"Good grief, that was easy! You just write a script for it that makes you remember everything you read, see, hear, whatever, during a certain time period. I suppose, you could have it make you remember everything, forever... I never tried that."

"I see. Well, I know this is probably a stupid question, but, as I wrote the program initially, I must ask: What did I do wrong?"

Zack actually laughed. "Yeah, I suppose, if you're anything like me, that would be bugging you. Come on back to my room, and I'll show you." Zack led them back to his bedroom, sitting down at his computer. The men sat down on the bed. Zack pulled up his journal, and paged it to the first entry. "There were six spots where you had flubbed the code. It wasn't anything major, but in two cases, you'd gotten the frequencies wrong. And that threw off the whole thing, since they were the base frequencies off which everything else modulates."

"Shit," William said. "How the fuck did we miss that?"

"Well," Zack offered, "Chances are that you assumed that this research had been done properly, and you didn't actually look here. When I started working on the program, I didn't know anything about it. I analyzed everything."

Adam could tell by William's deflated look that Zack was right. We could have had this thing working months ago?

"Anyway," Zack continued, "It wasn't the only problem, anyhow. Your will matrix was off, as well. Actually, I still don't have that worked out yet."

"How do you mean?" Adam inquired.

"Well, your original matrix worked on me, though there are some changes I've made since even to that, but it didn't work on women at all. My initial subject," Zack slipped into scientific-speak to try to conceal his unease at what he and his "subject" had done, "did not react to the matrix until I had made a few seemingly minor alterations."

"Hmm," Adam commented.

William, however, was more vocal, "Seemingly minor? You changed a quarter of the code!"

"Yeah, but that wasn't for this... subject. Once I got the program to work with the first female, I also had to make some alterations to the matrix to get it to work with both genders at the same time... but at this point, the program was still... um... 'user-specific'. The matrix had to be tailored for each individual that I used it on. Now, I ran across a subject who was extremely resistant to the program... due, I found out, to her extreme dislike for me." Adam and William both reacted to that. Neither had thought that human emotion would play any part in the program.

"How did you overcome that?" Adam asked.

"Well, that's where the big change he mentioned came in. After Shirley sent me that file, I found the information I needed, and I had to make some significant modifications to the will matrix. It's a lot stronger now... though I'm still worried that the changes may have long-term side effects."

"Perhaps I could look it over for you. I am familiar with what it's supposed to do."

"Maybe," Zack allowed. "Anyway, once I had gotten over that hurdle, I also created a video version of the program-"

"What?" interrupted William.

"I made a version that can be played on a TV. The normal program won't work if you just convert it to video... the TV interlacing fucks it up. Anyway, I did that, and got it to work... it has been tested on at least three subjects."

Adam looked at William. "William, I think I can handle it from here. Why don't you go back to the hotel and wait?"

William was about to protest when he realized that his boss was about to try to strike a deal with the young man, and that Zack would probably feel more comfortable if he wasn't outnumbered in his own home. "Yes, sir. Zack, nice meeting you. I hope we can talk about this in the future."

"Yeah."

Adam waited until he heard the front door close. "Look, Zack, I'll be honest with you. All of this impresses the hell out of me. I spent two years designing and writing the program, and in just a few weeks, you've managed to fix all the problems in it, get it working, and expand the function of it beyond what I had ever planned. I'd like to offer you a deal."

"I'm listening," Zack responded cautiously.

"Look, TV and computer screens are great, but they're hardly portable, are they? What we really need is a portable version of the program. By the way, how long does it take to run?"

"A little over four and a half minutes for the stronger version."

"Any thoughts about getting that time reduced?"

"That's already down from an original time of six minutes. I suppose there are ways to refine the algorithms, but I hadn't wanted to mess with that too much."

"See, that's where my company can come in handy. I've got mathematicians who can refine the algorithms for us. And, if we can figure out how to do it, perhaps we can make a fully portable version of the program."

"What do you mean, fully portable?"

"Put it into a device... oh, like a PDA. But one with good speakers, and a really good LCD screen."

"It would be expensive," Zack noted.

"That's... not really a concern."

"Ah."

Zack and Adam talked for some time, and they finally came to an arrangement. Zack would put all his materials together, and send a copy to Adam. Adam would provide Zack with the information and equipment to continue his own research. They would share all information.

Well, not all. Zack still didn't trust Adam completely, and so he would not give him the one major change he'd made to his own matrix: that he could not be programmed by anyone without a special code to do so. It was vital to his security, and his peace of mind.

Zack spent the next couple of hours until dinner putting together and vetting the information that he would send, via email, to Adam. There were certain bits and pieces of information that he just wasn't going to let him have. With that job done, he zipped it all into one file, and emailed it off to the address Adam had given him, then he went down to dinner.

-----

After dinner, Zack returned to his room. He didn't bother telling his parents about Adam. After all, they wouldn't understand what was going on, anyway. He did, however, call Brian.

"Hey, Bri. What you got going tomorrow?"

"Nothing much. Dad moved out yesterday, things are real quiet around here. What's up?"

"I wanted to come over. I have to... uh, get that project going with Bonnie and Wendy, and I wanted to talk to you about something, but... um... not on the phone." Adam's visit had made Zack even more paranoid than usual. If they were tapping the program, what else might they be listening in on, now that they knew who he was?

Brian got the message loud and clear. "Gotcha. Sure, I can come get you a little after noon, if that's cool."

"That works perfect. See you then." He hung up, and turned to his computer. "So, you've been spying on me, have you? We'll see about that."

Zack didn't know how many lines of code he had to find. He didn't know exactly what the program was telling them, nor when or how. He'd have to figure out what lines in the program were causing the program's tattling before he could disable it.

But if I disable it, Adam will know. He'll know then that I don't trust him, and what kind of confrontation might that cause? Hmm. But I suppose... once I find out what the program is telling them, I guess I can write up a fake program, and have it inform them every once in a while... give them some bogus numbers or whatever. It depends on what it does, exactly.

And Zack knew that the only way to find out what it did was to trace the program's execution. And he'd have to be very specific about it. He dug out some old work he'd done; a special debugger for finding special network-related issues. It would require heavy modifications to fit this task, but he would spend the entire weekend on it, if necessary. He didn't want Adam looking over his shoulder.

-----

Zack was up until four in the morning trying to get his old program up to specs. He fell into bed, exhausted, but not having completed the task. It looked as if it would take him another six or seven hours in order to have it ready, and then he could only hope it would find what he needed it to. His thoughts were disordered as he fell asleep, and his dreams were unpleasant.

∼∼≈≡≈∼∼∼≈≡≈∼∼∼≈≡≈∼∼

Zack awoke with a start, unsure of where he was for a moment. He'd had some horrid dreams, and he knew they were caused by the appearance of Adam. Zack was worried, and until he knew exactly what Adam was up to, and what he wanted, Zack would not be comfortable with the situation.

It was nearly noon when Zack got up, and so he hurriedly made himself something to eat. His program could wait until after he got back from Brian's house. He wolfed down a sandwich and chips, and then headed back to his room to get dressed. His parents were once more off looking for a car, but he had told them the previous night where he was going, and they had not objected.

When Brian arrived, Zack packed his stuff up in his backpack and they hustled over to Brian's house. Things were, indeed, quiet. Much quieter than they should have been. No one was making any excessive noise, and the attitude was beyond subdued.

"Hi, Mrs. Selman," Zack offered as he walked into the kitchen with Brian.

Mrs. Selman looked up, her expression brightening on seeing the young man. "Oh, hi, Zack! How are you today?"

"Oh, can't complain." Seeing that Brian had wandered off somewhere, Zack settled down in the chair next to his mother. "Mrs. Selman, what's the matter? I mean, it's so quiet around here. Normally on a Saturday, you guys would be off doing things, and busy. I know that Mr. Selman moved out and all, but..."

Mrs. Selman smiled at him. "Yes, but. It's hit us all a little hard, I'm afraid. We just don't seem to be adjusting to the loss. Twenty years, down the drain. How am I supposed to get over that?" Her face fell again, and Zack could see she was close to tears.

Putting his hand lightly on her arm, he said, "I'm sorry, Mrs. S. If there is anything I can do, or that my parents can help with, you just say the word, okay?"

Mrs. Selman smiled at him again, and though her eyes were watery, the smile was warm. "Thanks." She reached over and hugged Zack, and he enjoyed it immensely. He wished there was more he could do for his friends, but he couldn't think of anything that would help the situation. She broke the embrace after a few moments, and said, "Well, where'd Brian get off to? I'm sure you came to see him, not to console a lonely old woman."

"You're hardly old, Mrs. S," Zack said without thinking. "And I like talking to you. But yeah, there was something I needed to talk to Brian about."

"You go do that, then. Will you be staying for dinner? We're having spaghetti."

Mrs. Selman's spaghetti should be a food group, or so Zack thought. "You bet, if you don't mind."

"I never mind having you here, Zack. You're like a member of the family."

"Thanks. Well, I'm gonna go find Brian." Zack wandered out of the kitchen, but looked back just long enough to notice that she was watching him go down the hallway. I wonder what's up with her?

Zack found Brian in his room. "Hey, man."

"Hey. Sorry I kind of abandoned you, but Mom's been so depressed the last couple of days, and I just can't stand to see her like that. I hope you managed to cheer her up a little."

"I tried. Shit, you guys are taking this hard. Not that I can blame you; I can't even imagine what it would be like if my Mom and Dad split. Hell, my life is complicated enough without that sort of thing. Did you at least get him to watch the tape before he went?"

"Oh, yeah. Let me get that for you." Brian pulled the tape out of a drawer and handed it to Zack. "Thanks. At least I don't have to worry about us getting kicked out of the house."

Zack stuffed the tape into his book bag, and sat down in Brian's computer chair. He looked at his friend. "Now's probably not the best time to talk about my problems, is it?"

"Hell, yes it is!" Brian retorted. "Anything to take my mind off all this crap. What's up?"

"Remember I told you that the program was written by a guy named Adam?"

"Yeah..."

"Adam came to see me yesterday."

"Oh, shit. What did he do? I mean, you're still in one piece..."

"He offered to work with me. He wants to develop the program even further. He wants to make a device, kind of like a PDA, specially designed for using the program on people."

"Can you do that? Make it that portable, I mean?"

"If the screen's got enough pixels, sure. And if there are decent speakers on the thing. But I'm worried."

"About what?"

"Adam. He told me that he found me because of some lines of code. If he's been peeking over my shoulder like that, what's he going to do with the program?"

"Good point. I don't know. Any way you can find out without him knowing?"

"I've thought about that. I have one contact inside his company. The bitch lied to me, and squealed on me to him. I think I could program her without him finding out."

"Might be a good idea to have an inside source. Just in case, you know?"

"You're right. And I'm going to try to disable the snooping code in the program."

"Won't he notice that?"

"He would, yes, but I'm going to mimic the output in another program that sends him false data."

"Good idea. How does this change what you were going to do at the media presentation?"

"It doesn't. He says he doesn't care what I do here in Martina. He wouldn't elaborate on what he wanted the program for, though. I couldn't get him to tell me why he'd written it."

"Shit. He could want it for anything. I mean... what's his company do?"

"They make hardware and software, they do some network stuff. It's a basic medium-sized computer corporation."

"So... what could he want the program for? I mean, maybe he just wants to do what you've been doing with it."

"Then why the need for portability? Also, he wants to get the run-time down below a minute. What's the need for that if you're only going to use it on a few people to have some fun?"

"Shit. You're right. I don't know."

"And he knows about you, by the way. Which is my fault. The code that tells him about the program ran on your sisters' machines, so he knows all about you, too."

"Fuck!"

"Sorry, man."

"Not your fault, you didn't know about it. I just don't like people spying on me."

"Yeah."

"So, what are we going to do?"

"We?"

"Hey, I owe you big time for the program. And I can't leave my best friend dangling at the mercy of some corporate scum."

"Thanks."

The two spent the next few hours considering how to protect themselves against whatever Adam might do. Zack ran a protection script on himself and Brian, so that neither of them could be programmed without the proper code, which each had entered on their own, so Zack couldn't even program Brian without his say-so.

-----

It was about an hour before dinner when Zack figured it would be a good idea for him to deal with the girls, before he forgot. There were only two weeks left in the school year, so he'd have to work fast. Brian left the room as Bonnie came in. Zack gave her the orders she would follow, and she responded as expected. She was quiet, but polite, and accepted her instructions without question. Zack handed her the disk with the screen saver on it. This one had been modified to run on the school's computer systems One of the things in the program said that no teacher or student would deactivate the screen saver.

Zack knew he wouldn't reach all of his targets this way. Not everyone went to the computer lab on a regular basis, and some of his subjects might not be exposed to the program. It was Bonnie's job to steer as many of them as she could, without undue notice, to the lab to see it.

Similarly, Wendy would do this job with her grade. She came in next, a minute after Bonnie left. Wendy, however, did not stand facing him, as Bonnie had. Wendy sat down on his lap and leaned back against him. Zack's arms automatically wrapped around her waist, and she snuggled in Zack was confused by her behavior, as he had not written any such thing into her command script, but he didn't object to it, so he let it slide. He gave similar instructions to her, and she nodded in acceptance of them.

When he was done, he didn't tell her to "go play", but instead gave her another key phrase that merely told her he was done instructing her. "Go play" was also an order that would make her leave, and Zack was curious to see what she would do now that he was done giving her orders.

For several moments, she did nothing at all, just sitting in his lap quietly. Finally, she turned so that her legs were across his, and she could face him. With her height, they were nearly eye-to-eye, even with her in his lap. He could see the concern that had been written into her face by current events, and there was something else there, as well.

It took her a few moments, but she eventually got up the courage to speak. "Zack, do you think I'm cute?"

"I think you're way beyond cute, Wendy. I think you're gorgeous." While this was true, Zack would have said something like it anyway, just to cheer her up. He wondered where she was going.

She smiled at him in kind of an odd way. "Am I... sexy?" she asked, wiggling her hips. This question wasn't really necessary, as her current behavior was giving Zack a raging hard-on.

Zack took just a moment to figure out exactly how to answer that question, then decided to confide in her one of his dirty little secrets. "You're one of the sexiest girls I've ever met. You've got a hell of a bod, Wendy. I've been sneaking peeks at you all year." Wendy had not begun to blossom until earlier this year, and she had done so rapidly. Zack had trouble taking his eyes off her in the early portions of the year, as her growth had intrigued and aroused him.

"Really?" she asked quietly. Zack nodded in response. Shifting her weight again, she leaned in a little closer. "You don't have to sneak anymore. You can look all you want." She wiggled her hips again, and Zack had trouble controlling himself. Looking into her eyes, though, he saw what appeared to him to be an invitation.

Zack leaned forward slowly, and Wendy did not retreat. Her eyes closed as their lips met. Their kiss was forceful and passionate, and Wendy's tongue was soon forcing its way past his lips. Zack's hand slowly rose from her waist. He was taking a chance that he'd read her right: Wendy wasn't "under", and so her reactions were genuine, and he just might be about to get in a lot of trouble. Hesitating for a brief moment, he decided to take the plunge, and moved his hand onto her breast.

He felt her moan in his mouth, and her hand immediately moved to his. Not to pull it off, but instead to force him to grasp her more firmly. He kneaded her tit as they continued to kiss for several more moments. Finally, the pair came up for air. She put her arms around his neck, but he did not remove his hand from her breast. She smiled at him in a very seductive way.

"That was great," she said in a purr. "I've been wanting to do that for a while now."

"What kept you?" he asked with a smile, allowing his hand to slip from her breast, and to drop softly onto her thigh. She immediately parted her legs ever so slightly so that his hand could slip onto her inner thigh, which it did.

"I was afraid you'd laugh at me if I just came up and asked you to kiss me."

Zack paused for a moment. A month ago, had she made the offer, would he have taken her up on it? He didn't know, but he had to admit he was glad that she had, for she was a very hot young lady. Seeing that she was waiting for a response, he said, "I would never have laughed at you, Wendy. Even if I'd said no, I'd have done it nicely. But I didn't say no, did I?"

She smiled, and blushed slightly. Zack's hand was very gently massaging her thigh through her jeans, and it was sending tingles to all her important body parts. "I'm glad," she whispered.

"You can kiss me like that any time you please," Zack said lightly. She smiled at him again.

She hesitated to make her next admission. "I'd... like to do more than kiss you. But I can't, not with the others around."

Zack was taken slightly aback that she was so forthright about it, not that it was a total surprise, as she had not objected to where his hand was at any point. He thought for a second. "Maybe I can work something out for us," he offered.

"Really? You mean, you'd want to?" she asked, somewhat incredulously.

"Really. I would love to see... uh... more of you," he replied with a chuckle, as she blushed. "Until then," he continued, "we can have these little sessions here." This led to another long, hard kiss during which Wendy's knees slid even farther apart, and Zack's hand worked its way almost all the way to her crotch. He stopped not because he couldn't go further, but because if he did, he might do something they weren't prepared for. Wendy was squirming in his lap, and breathing heavily as they necked.

Eventually, they had to break it off. It was reaching dinner time, and he didn't want to get caught. Although Mrs. Selman was programmed to ignore Pam and Brian, she wasn't programmed for anything else, really, and would react normally if she caught Zack feeling up her baby girl. He gave Wendy one final, soft, kiss, and then he let her go. She stood up only reluctantly, but she knew they had to be careful. It was somewhat exhilarating to Zack to actually have to worry about getting caught again. He ran his hand along Wendy's hip as he said, "Don't worry, I'll figure something out. It may take me a couple weeks, though."

"No problem, Zack. Meanwhile, I'll do what you asked me to." She smiled warmly at him again, and then left the room.

Brian was inside the room almost immediately after she left. He closed the door, and moved to the bed, speaking in a stage-whisper. "Shit, man, what did you do to her? I came to see what you guys were up to, and I heard her talking. I didn't mean to eavesdrop, really, but it was hard not to, right outside the door. Is Bonnie like that, too?"

Zack looked at his friend for a moment. He wasn't sure what to tell him. Finally, he decided that he wasn't going to lie to his best friend. "That's not her programming, Brian. I didn't program anything like that into either of them."

Brian looked at him, stunned. "You mean... you mean my sister actually wants you?"

Zack took some mild offense at that. "I'm not a complete loser, you know."

Brian retreated quickly. "No, man, I didn't mean that. It's just... I don't know, you're my best friend, and I just never thought..."

"Does it bother you? Would it bother you if I went out with her?"

Brian thought for a moment. "Nah, I guess not. I mean, she could do a lot worse than you. I've seen some of the jerks that hit on her. At least you're nice to her. You always have been. You've really been checking out my sister all year?"

"Dammit, Bri, look at her! Shit, is she hot!"

Brian shrugged. "I just never really paid her that much attention. Pam was always on my mind, I guess."

"The easiest way for me to get anywhere with her is to program your mother. You do know that." It was not a question.

"Yeah. I don't mind, just don't mess up her head, okay?"

"I do try not to do that. You think there is any way we can get her to look at a computer screen?"

"Why?"

"Otherwise, we have to wait until Monday, when I can get back to the media lab to make a new recording."

"Well... if you ask her," he said, considering, "she might go for it. I've never been able to get her to."

"Okay. How long before dinner?"

"About ten minutes."

"Damn, that's not long enough. Oh, well, I can do it after dinner, and see if we can get her to come look at it."

"Sounds good to me. You're not going to screw her, too, are you?"

Zack was taken by surprise. "Uh... I hadn't really considered it, why?"

"Oh, just wondering," he said with a chuckle. "I've seen you look at her."

"Hey," Zack said defensively. "At least I'm not doing my own sister!"

"Only 'cause you ain't got one, I'll bet," Brian retorted quickly, completely unhurt by the jibe.

Zack laughed. "True, probably. Is she off-limits?"

Brian grew serious for a moment. "You'd really do my mother?"

Zack shrugged. "Like I said, I hadn't thought about it. I wasn't going to mess with your family at all, but it seems that at least one of them wants me to mess with them. I'm just wondering what my limits are with you."

Brian sat back and considered it for over a minute. Zack wondered what thoughts were running through his mind. Suddenly, he sat back up and looked at Zack. "I want Bonnie. You can have Wendy, and if you want her, my Mom. I just... look, I think she's nice, and good-looking, but I couldn't do my own Mom, okay? But I want Bonnie. She's been kind of bitchy to me this year, and I think she needs to be a lot nicer."

Zack laughed.

"What's so damned funny?"

"We're dividing up your family like some kind of prize," Zack said, continuing to chuckle. "Look, I'll get you Bonnie, and I'm going to play it by ear with Wendy. I won't program her unless she needs it. As to your mother... um... well, I'll play that by ear, too."

"Cool."

Just then, Mrs. Selman called the two boys to dinner. It was a very interesting meal, to say the least. There were looks being passed around and around, and it was hard for Zack to concentrate on the meal, good as it was.

After dinner, the boys retired to Brian's room, and Zack fired up Brian's computer. He inserted his zip disk, and brought up the program. Brian looked on with only vague interest, as he didn't really know what his friend was doing.

Zack looked at him for a second. He had brought something for Brian to watch, if things had developed this way, but he still wasn't sure if he wanted him to see it. What the fuck. He already knows about them.

"There's a tape in my backpack for you to look at, if you're bored."

Brian reached in and grabbed the tape, turning it over in his hands and looking to Zack.

"What, you think I'm trying to program you? I can't. Not after that program I ran earlier. Just put the damned thing in. And you might want to turn the sound down." Zack returned to his coding as the VCR started playing the tape.

"Holy fucking shit!" Brian whispered loudly. It was the tape Zack had made of Claudia and Stephanie together. Brian watched with rapt attention the two ladies onscreen, while Zack revised the program.

By the time the tape ended, Zack had finished one file, and was nearly done with the other. Brian rewound the tape and put it back in Zack's bag. "How the hell did you get them to do that, Zack?"

"It's just part of their instructions. They'll do what I tell them to, and I told them to do that. I've rewritten instructions for Pam and Bonnie onto this one screensaver. Wendy will no longer be affected by it at all; her programming is complete as it needs to be. I'm just... okay, there, I think. This version here is for your mother."

Brian looked at the code on the screen. "What language is that? It doesn't look like anything I've seen."

"It's not. This is the scripting language used for commands. It's really complex, because these are the instructions that go directly into the person's brain. Doing this has always taken the longest amount of time, because it's so... unintuitive the way it's written, and because you really don't want to screw up here."

"What's this bit?" Brian pointed. "You mention my sister here. Why, if this is for my mom?"

"This code is what tells her how to react to sexual activity in the house. It gives me access to Wendy, and it gives you access to Bonnie, without your mother's interference. Actually, if she finds out about it, this script will actually make her somewhat happy about it."

"Well, what about Pam, then? I don't see her mentioned here at all. I don't want to lose her."

"That's the last bit here. Those commands have already been entered, and I don't want to mess with them, so I'm referencing a file number that was implanted in her through the video she saw. It has the commands that refer to Pam."

"Cool. Now all we have to do is actually get her to come look at it."

"Leave that to me. Take this to your sisters' computers. Tell them I told you to install it, and they won't question you at all. Otherwise, you'll have to put up with their bullshit."

Brian laughed. "Okay. How long will this take with my mom?"

"Should be just the usual four and a half minutes."

"Okay."

As Brian took the disk to put it in the other computers in the house, Zack made his way back to the kitchen. Mrs. Selman was there, finishing up the dishes. Zack stood for a second and looked at her in a new light. Well, not entirely new; he'd thought she was hot for years, but now he wondered if he wanted her. He let the question rest for the moment, as he walked fully into the kitchen.

He put his hand gently on her arm, as she had not heard him come in. She jumped slightly, startled.

"Oh! Zack, sorry, I was a bit spaced out there for a minute. Is it time for you to go home now?" He thought he heard the barest hint of regret in her voice.

"Not yet. There was something I wanted you to see in Brian's room. I found something online that you really need to look at."

"Zack," she said patiently, "I don't have any interest in that computer garbage."

"C'mon, Mrs. S. It'll only take a minute, and I think it'll make you feel better." Zack had turned on his little-boy voice, and the puppy-dog eyes, and he knew that she would relent.

"Oh, all right. It's not as if I have anything better to do now." Her voice was downcast, and that bothered Zack. He'd put a considerable effort into adding a pick-me-up into her command script, so that her husband leaving wouldn't depress her so badly. He led her down the hall to Brian's room, and directed her to sit in the chair.

"Where's Brian?" she asked curiously.

"Talking to Bonnie, I think. Anyway, just hit the Enter key." Zack had already cued the program so that it would start easily for her, as she was completely computer-illiterate.

"Okay," she said skeptically, and pressed the key. Zack's program started up, and he was gratified to see that she was instantly under. The new will matrix, with its added power, packed a real punch, and he hadn't had it fail yet.

Four and a half minutes later, the triple-shrug gesture indicated that Mrs. Selman had completed her programming session successfully. Zack waited as she turned to him.

"Wow! Thanks, Zack. That was really uplifting. I feel a lot better."

"I thought you might like it. If I find anything else like that, I'll let you know."

"You do that. Now, it is time for you to be getting home, isn't it." She looked at her watch with a frown.

"I guess so. Let me just say good-bye to Brian." Brian picked that moment to walk in the door.

"Oh, hey, Mom. Did Zack show you that thing he found?"

"Yes, and it was wonderful. Unfortunately, I think we need to get him home. It's getting late."

"True. Well, I guess I'll see you at school on Monday, then."

"Yeah. See ya." As Zack was walking down the hall, he turned to see that Bonnie was whispering something in Brian's ear, and Brian had a big grin on his face. Zack just smiled as he followed Mrs. Selman out the door.

Nothing was said on the ride home, but once they got there, it was obvious that she wanted to say something. Zack turned to face her, but didn't say anything; he waited for her to speak.

"Zack, I appreciate the time you spend with us. I know it sounds odd, but you seem to be able to cheer up the entire family, and we need that just now. I'm glad Brian has you as a friend."

"No problem, Mrs. S. I like you and your family a lot."

Mrs. Selman turned to him, and reached out, embracing him. He leaned into the hug, and wrapped his arms around her as well. The hug was platonic, even if Zack's thoughts were not. As she pulled away, however, she gave Zack a quick kiss on the cheek, which she had never done before. Zack's groin stirred.

"Thanks again, Zack. If you want to come over again, just call, and one of us will come get you."

"Thanks. Good night," he said as he got out of the car. That was odd. She has never offered to come get me herself before... Zack pondered this as he walked into the house. Oh, well. I guess she just likes my company.

∼∼≈≡≈∼∼∼≈≡≈∼∼∼≈≡≈∼∼

Zack got up Sunday intent on completing his work on the tracing program he had started. Luckily, this week was not one of his mother's get-together Sundays, and he was able to make lunch a very short affair. He stayed in his room until dinner time, when his mother interrupted him to eat. He was very quiet at dinner, and his parents, seeing this, knew that he was hard at work on another project. They silently wished their son luck, but didn't comment on it, as he seemed reluctant to talk about his work these days, and his private life was his business, wasn't it?

It was in the days since Program Alpha-Omega.

-----

It was nearly nine o'clock by the time Zack finished updating the old program to do what he needed it to. After three compile attempts to remove typos, he finally got it compiled and it was ready to run.

Zack disabled his Internet connection by brute force; he pulled the phone cable out of the wall. His computer was now isolated. This was the ultimate precaution, in case his tracer didn't prevent the program from activating its secret codes.

Backing everything up onto a zip disk, Zack was ready. He opened his tracer program, and it asked for a source file. He typed in the name of the Alpha-Omega program, and pressed Enter. The tracer popped up a small output window, which Zack minimized immediately. He also turned his speakers off. These were all precautions against what other nasty items might be in the code. He didn't really think there was anything dangerous in there at this point, but he didn't figure there was a reason to take chances.

Because running the program in this manner was the equivalent of a newly-compiled version, the eight lines of code woke from their normally dormant state, and tried to perform their task. Zack's tracer program noted the network activity attempt, and caught it, finding the precise lines of code that had called for it. The tracer program kept a record of line-execution, and so it was possible for it to look back through its history at which lines had called for which other lines. The program popped up a box asking if Zack wanted to stop the execution of the program. Since he wanted to make sure that there were not other snoopers in the program, he let it continue, but had it log the complete path of the activity it had found.

It took an extra three minutes to run the PAO program without it being compiled, and it didn't break at any other point. The tracer program beeped to let Zack know that it was finished. This beep he had executed through the system speaker, so he'd actually hear it. Preparing for a long night's work removing a hundred lines of code, Zack opened the log file that his tracer program had generated.

"Eight?" he muttered to himself a minute later. "Eight? They pulled this off with eight fucking lines of code?" Zack was dumbfounded. He had not expected it to be that tightly-written of a virus. Was this really a virus? Well, no, not in actuality, but it acted like a virus in that it was a separate program hiding inside of another program. Zack traced those commands throughout the program's execution, to be sure that they weren't accessed by any other code. He didn't want to break the program by removing these lines. But nothing else called these eight lines of code. They were run initially by the simple act of initializing the program, and it was a simple task to remove all eight lines. Zack cut them from the source code, and pasted them into a separate file. He would study these eight lines intensely, later, to produce a mimic-program, so that Adam would not know what Zack had done.

By the time he was through clearing out the code, it was nearly ten, and he realized that he was exhausted. It had been a long, hard day of intensive code work, and he really needed to rest. He wasn't so tired that he forgot to password-lock his computer, however.

He collapsed into bed, and was asleep in minutes. He had dreams of Wendy.

∼∼≈≡≈∼∼∼≈≡≈∼∼∼≈≡≈∼∼

A warm, wet feeling was washing over Zack's ear, and a soft, warm feeling pressed against his chest. Zack smiled as he opened his eyes, and they focused on Stephanie.

"Good morning, Zack," she said sweetly. "Should I assume my position now? We don't have much time..." she stopped, and waited for his answer, seeming to understand that he was too groggy to react quickly.

Zack looked over at his clock. His alarm had not gone off, and they only had twenty minutes to get to school. Guess a shower's out of the question this morning. "No, Steph, that's okay. We don't have any time for fun this morning. Too bad," he said, running a hand along her jean-clad ass as he got up to go to the bathroom. She shivered at his touch.

Zack hurriedly got dressed. While he was putting on his shirt, he asked, "Something the matter with Claudia this morning?"

"No, I just asked if I could pick you up today. Your Mom let me in."

Hmm. A drawback to the program I used on them: normally Mom would have woken me up at the right time. Oops. Zack wasn't overly worried about this, as he was never tardy, and being late once all year would be no big deal. Better to be on time, though. He finished dressing, and grabbed his book bag out of the corner. "Okay, babe. Let's go," he said to Stephanie, putting his hand on her waist and giving her a kiss on the cheek. She blushed slightly at his words, but followed him out the door for school.

Zack and Stephanie made it to school with a full two minutes to spare, which Stephanie almost did away with as she kissed him at his first class. He reluctantly pushed her away.

"I don't want you to be late for class. I'll see you at lunch."

"Okay, Sweetie. Bye!"

She's much nicer now, Zack thought to himself as he entered his class in high spirits.

-----

Zack's mood remained good throughout the day, and he made it to seventh hour without any unpleasantness at all. At this point, Zack had to consider what to do with his time. He couldn't just leave, as a teacher might ask for use of the ITV system. On the other hand, he was in a holding pattern with his projects until Thursday, when the media presentation would take place. He sat down in front of the computer and yawned, signing on to see if there was anything exciting going on. He thought briefly about Pat Barron, but he already had one tape of her, and another one would be repetitive.

His problem was solved a few minutes later by a knock on the door. He hollered for whoever it was to come in, and the door opened to admit Larissa Marks. Zack swiveled quickly in his chair to face her, and his eyes swept over her form, studying her wonderful curves.

"Hey, Larissa. What're you doing down here?"

"Mr. Grosner wants to use the ITV system tomorrow. He said I should come down and help you bring it down to him. I guess it's pretty hard to move, huh? 'Cause he told me not to worry about how much class I missed."

Zack praised the Fates for his luck. Larissa was a real knockout, and while she'd always been nice to Zack when she was alone, she had been downright rude to him whenever she was with her two friends, the wicked bitches of the Sophomore class, as they were known. He didn't like hypocritical people, and Larissa's behavior had always struck him as just a little two-faced. While she talked, Zack's left hand closed out his internet connection and brought up the PAO program on the school's computer. This was the same version of the program he'd used on Brian's parents, and he glanced sideways to make sure he entered the script that he'd used on Pat Barron. It looked as if his seventh period would be fun, after all.

Turning back to Larissa, he said. "Oh, okay, no problem. You'll need to watch this little video first, so you know what we're doing."

"Sure, no prob," she responded.

One can hope, Zack thought to himself.

Larissa slipped down into the chair, and Zack hit the Enter key to start the program going. He stepped back to make sure that Larissa had a good view. He could tell that her big brown eyes were already transfixed by the screen. He was tempted to stroke her dirty blonde hair while she was watching the program, but he didn't know how that would affect the outcome, so he refrained. It was only a few minutes before the triple-shrug indicated that she was his to command, anyway. She turned to face him, her eyes somewhat glazed as she waited for his orders.

Zack went over and made sure that the door was locked. It would be hell to try to explain to anyone what they were about to do. He moved back to his new toy, and had her stand up. He moved over into the chair, and said simply, "Strip for me. Sexy." Zack hit another key on the computer, and brought up some music that was being used at the media assembly on Thursday. It wasn't strip music, but it had a beat, and Larissa immediately began swaying to it, her hands moving along her sides as she stared intently at Zack.

Larissa's hands moved to the buttons on her blouse, and began to undo them as her body continued to gyrate before him. She was doing a much better job than Pat had, and his dick was already hard in anticipation of where this was going. He knew he didn't have all hour, but he figured he could get away with about twenty minutes.

It wasn't long before the blouse was not only unbuttoned, but on the floor. Her lace bra was enticing, and it became more so as it was removed from her body. She tossed it into Zack's lap, and he picked it up as he watched her now-naked tits swaying with her body.

Larissa kicked off her shoes, and then undid her jeans. She wiggled her hips seductively as she squirmed out of the tight pants. They finally passed over her hips, and she pushed them easily to the ground She stepped out of them, and kicked them out of her way. Remaining bent over, she turned to face away from Zack, and then began to work her panties down off her body. Her position gave him a very nice view of her pussy as her panties fell off her body. He stood up as she stepped out of the undergarment, and he unzipped his pants, shoving them and his briefs roughly down his legs. He pulled his T-shirt off, and dropped it on the desk, on top of Larissa's bra. He sat back down in the chair, and motioned her to come to him.

He pulled her into his lap, and he could feel the heat radiating from her cunt. He pressed his lips to hers, and roughly pushed his tongue into her mouth. She was quickly squirming in his lap, and he could feel her wetness. Now that he knew she was ready, he lifted her hips up, and pulled her into him. She held herself up as he positioned his cock at her entrance. With a look from him, she then settled down on his prick, wiggling her hips to make his entrance more comfortable and enticing. Zack began to kiss her again, as he used his hips and his hands to move her on his dick. She was immediately moaning into his mouth, and her hands were sliding along his back. He thrust hard into her, causing her to lift up off his lap slightly, and then slam back down hard. They were both grunting from this sensation, and Zack knew that he wouldn't last long. He thrust his hips harder and faster, and he could feel her tits sliding along his chest, dragging trails of heat along his skin. It was soon more than he could take, and he blasted his load into her. Larissa groaned in his mouth, and she squirmed on his cock, milking all of his cum out of him.

It took Zack a minute to calm down from his orgasm, during which time Larissa did not get off him. He looked at her, and she smiled back at him, as she should. "Okay, babe. You can get off me now," he said, not unkindly. She did, and he could see their combined juices leaking down her leg. "You'd better clean up a little," he said, and she grabbed some tissues to wipe herself off.

Zack looked at himself, and he knew he couldn't put his pants on yet. "Come here, babe," he said, and she immediately complied. "You need to clean me off. With your tongue and mouth," he added.

Larissa dropped to her knees, and her mouth engulfed his prick. Zack groaned at the feel of her tongue sliding along his sensitive dick. She worked over his cock repeatedly, cleaning off every remnant of fluid. Then she expanded her search, sucking his balls, and then licking her juices off his thighs. Zack was about ready to come again from her ministrations, and so he had her suck him off. Her tongue played along his shaft as her lips worked his length. It wasn't long before he shot his load down her throat, and she took every drop, so as to keep him clean.

As Larissa was getting dressed, Zack put his shirt back on and pulled up his pants. When Larissa reached for her bra, he stopped her. "That's mine," he said. She blushed, but complied, putting on her blouse without it. Her firm tits didn't really need the bra, and she looked very sexy without it. Without further delay, Zack packed up the ITV cart, and they took it down to Mr. Grosner's class. Though he looked at them funny, he said nothing about how long it had taken.

Damn that was fun!

-----

When Zack got home, he settled down in front of his computer. It had been an interesting day so far, and he wondered what else might happen. He logged on, and checked his email. There, he found a message from Valkyrie359.

Bitch, Zack thought to himself. The message read:

Zack:

Sorry to have lied to you for all that time, but that's my job here at Adamant. Finding a solution to the problem of the program has been high priority for a long time. I hope you'll understand that I was just doing what I was being paid to do. It wasn't anything personal.

Shirley

Wasn't personal, huh, bitch? Well excuse me if I take it personal! Zack fumed as he thought about the best way to get back at her. Program her to be a dog for the rest of her life? Nah, too noticeable. Program her to orgasm at the word "meeting"? Cruel, but not satisfying. After tossing a few ideas, Zack decided the best thing to do to her would be to turn her into a spy. That way, she could do for him what she'd done to him.

So, how to get her to watch the program, now that she knows I have it? Zack was still thinking about this when it came time for dinner.

∼∼≈≡≈∼∼∼≈≡≈∼∼∼≈≡≈∼∼

The next day at school was very peaceful for Zack. His life seemed to have settled into a comfortable pattern. He sat with his two beauties at lunch, each of whom would now kiss him at the beginning and end of the meal. Stephanie's friend Sarah did make an appearance, but Zack's leering look and cocky grin warned her off before she made an annoyance of herself. He knew that she wouldn't be an issue after Thursday, and he was content to let her mouth off until then.

When he got to seventh hour, he knew he wouldn't have any work to do unless something went wrong. All three of the school's ITV systems were out in classrooms, and were supposed to stay that way for the next day or two. He booted up the media lab's computer, and loaded his zip disk.

After dinner last night, he'd finally come up with an idea how to ensnare Shirley. He only hoped it would work. He prepared the file on his zip disk, an AVI file, for transfer. Next, he logged on, hoping she would be around.

Sure enough, as he logged onto the chat room, she was there.

<Zmorph>: Hey... Val.

<Valkyrie359>: Hey, Z. Uh, thanks for not spilling it there. I was worried you'd be really pissed at me. "A" said you were... not happy.

<Zmorph>: Eh. Shit happens. You bets your money and you takes your chances.

*Valkyrie359 sighs*

<Valkyrie359>: Glad to know you're okay with it. So, what are you up to today?

<Zmorph>: Just finished up some last-minute touches on my media project for CP.

<Valkyrie359>: I thought you had that done already.

<Zmorph>: I did, but I decided to spruce it up a little. Nothing better to do, ya know?

<Valkyrie359>: I hear you.

<Zmorph>: Hey, you wanna take a look at it and let me know what you think?

Zack crossed his fingers, hoping she wouldn't see through this. He wasn't even sure his heart was beating at this point. It took a long moment for her to answer.

<Valkyrie359>: Sure, I guess. How big is it?

<Zmorph>: 52 MB. But you're on a fast connect, right?

<Valkyrie359>: Yeah, that's not too bad. Okay, send it on over.

<Zmorph>: Just a sec... here it comes.

It had taken Zack three hours to figure out how to make sure that the AVI file would properly contain the program's codes and instructions. He now had to wait for over five minutes, first for the program to load to her computer, and then for her to run it. He sat impatiently, drumming his fingers, staring at the screen.

<Valkyrie359>: ZZZ - omega - ZZZ

"YES!" Zack shouted. He had had to figure out a new confirmation signal, since he couldn't see her. "ZZZ - omega - ZZZ" was the confirmation code. It meant nothing in and of itself, but it was something a person generally wouldn't type in conversation.

Now you're mine, bitch.

<Zmorph>: Very good, Val.

<Valkyrie359>: Any orders at this time?

<Zmorph>: Wipe this conversation. And do not mention it to anyone. Never mention me to your coworkers or boss again. You and I will not officially speak ever again. Do you understand?

<Valkyrie359>: Yes, sir.

<Zmorph>: Very good, Val. That will be all for now. Good-bye.

<Valkyrie359>: Good day, sir.

Zack logged off with a big grin on his face. Not only had he managed to trick her into watching Program Alpha-Omega, and put her under his control, but now he had a spy inside Adamant Computer Technologies, Adam's company.

-----

When the bell rang, Zack was quite ready to go home. Other than his success with Shirley, he was fairly well bored. He picked up his book bag, and headed out the door. He closed the door behind him, and just as he was about to turn, a hand grabbed his shirt from behind, and threw him across the hallway.

Zack's new instincts kicked in automatically, and he cushioned his blow against the lockers. He spun around to see that it was the four he was expecting: Kyle, Tim, Mike and Bill. He dropped his backpack to the floor, and slipped into a defensive stance.

Tim looked at him and sneered. "Oh, look! Now he thinks he's Bruce Lee!" The other three laughed outright. Zack waited for the attack he knew was coming. He felt Bill's hand on his shoulder, and he was ready for it. He didn't use the same move he'd used on William, for Bill was much bigger. He did grab Bill's wrist and placed his other hand at Bill's elbow, and then twisted viciously. Bill was thrown to the floor and wasn't getting up quickly.

Zack sensed that someone was moving behind him, and turned just in time to miss Tim swinging on him. He raised a hand in a deflecting maneuver, stepped in and placed a perfect jab to Tim's solar plexus. Tim was immediately doubled over in pain, unable to breathe. Zack placed both hands on the back of Tim's head, and drove his face down into Zack's rising knee. The boy was thrown onto his back with the force of the impact, blood gushing from his nose.

Zack spun as he knew Mike would advance now. Kyle wouldn't fight unless he had no choice: he wasn't in any mood to get kicked out of school again. Mike came on menacingly, his bulky muscles rippling beneath his T-shirt.

It was at that moment that Mr. DeVain stepped from the office. He had heard the initial slam, and thought he knew what it was. He was just about to yell, when he saw the scene: two boys lying on the ground, and Zack standing, facing off against the largest of the four.

Before Mr. DeVain could say anything, Mike lunged at Zack. In a flash, Zack whirled around and delivered a spinning back kick to Mike's balls. Mike, unprepared for the assault and in no case ready to deal with it, screamed in agony. Zack returned to his defensive stance for only a fraction of a second before shifting forward, and then leaping upward and delivering a hard front snap kick to Mike's upper chest. Mike, already staggering from the first blow, went flying. Zack landed before Mike did, and he watched with some satisfaction as Mike collapsed on the ground, completely unmoving except for his hands, which were clutching at his groin.

Zack turned to face Kyle, who was, by now, a pasty white color. Kyle took an unsteady step backward, and then turned to run. He found that he was now staring Mr. DeVain right in the face. Kyle nearly panicked, but had nowhere to go anyway.

"Apparently you don't learn easily," Mr. DeVain said in a deep, menacing growl. "You spent a week cleaning buses because of behavior just like this, and it didn't teach you a damned thing! Well, fine. You're expelled. All four of you."

"But... I mean, we've only got a few days..."

"You should have thought of that before you brought this kind of violence into my school! Consider yourself lucky. If Zack hadn't managed to defend himself, you'd be on your way to jail! You want to be a bully, that's fine, but you aren't doing it in my school, and you aren't doing it with a diploma from my school! Now get the hell out, all four of you!"

Kyle turned, and looked at Zack, who remained in his attack posture. Then Kyle looked to his friends, two of which were just beginning to rise. Mike wasn't going to be moving without help. It took a solid two minutes before the three relatively unhurt boys managed to walk Mike out of the hallway.

Mr. DeVain turned to Zack. "You sure improved a lot in a week's time, Zack," he said, suppressing a laugh.

"I'm a fast learner," Zack replied, a little winded.

"I guess! Look, Zack, I'm glad you're okay, and I know it wasn't your fault, but I do have discipline to uphold here. I won't put this on your record, but I'm going to have to punish you somehow. So... don't come in tomorrow."

"What about the media assembly?" Zack said with some small panic.

"That's not until the day after tomorrow. Unless you plan on skipping, you'll be here for that."

"Oh," Zack said, finally understanding. "Yes sir. Sorry to have to do that." Zack made it clear that he was only sorry for causing Mr. DeVain trouble.

"Not a problem, Zack. See you Thursday. Oh, Miss Merris. Come take your boyfriend home before he beats up the rest of the senior class over you, would you?" Mr. DeVain turned and walked away, laughing.

Claudia looked at Zack with a puzzled expression.

"The senior four came up against my new martial arts lessons. They didn't do so well."

"Oh. Zack, I don't want you to get hurt..."

"They didn't lay a hand on me," he exaggerated. "C'mon, let's go home."

"Okay."

-----

Zack's parents were concerned, but not upset, when he told them what had happened at school. His mother, knowing what had happened the last time, immediately asked him where he hurt. When he told her that they had not managed to hit him, she looked very skeptical.

Grant was proud of his son, in a distant way. He had never been violent; in truth, he had never been accosted violently. It was not something Grant had ever had to deal with, and so wasn't sure how to take his son's new strength. As with all such things as of late, Grant let it pass by, not worrying over something he couldn't change.

∼∼≈≡≈∼∼∼≈≡≈∼∼∼≈≡≈∼∼

The following day, Zack enjoyed getting up late, and lounging about. He ate a leisurely breakfast, and then played on his computer for a while. While entertaining, this sort of thing quickly became boring.

Zack took a trip to the kitchen to get a snack, and that's when he saw the notice posted on the fridge. It was to remind him that he needed to go up to the local university and register for his summer session. Zack was taking a special program designed for college-bound students. It would get him started on college coursework in computer programming and system design. He had applied for the program at the beginning of the school year, and had only received his acceptance letter two months ago. He was excited about spending time on campus, with the older kids and with professors who might actually be able to teach him something about computers he didn't already know.

Zack decided that today was as good a day as any to go up and register. He didn't have a vehicle to get there, though. Sighing, he called for the city's shuttle bus, which operated only by appointment. He got cleaned up and waited outside for the van to arrive, and then rode in silence to the college.

Zack walked into the registrar's office, looking around rather obviously like a first-time student. The clerk at the desk smiled at him, and asked, "Can I help you?"

"Yes, ma'am. I'm here to register for the SCOT program." SCOT stood for Summer Computer Orientation and Training. It was a fully accredited program, and would give him six college credits when he was finished.

"Oh! Okay, do you have your acceptance letter with you?" Zack handed it over, and the lady looked it over quickly. "Great. All you need to do is fill out these forms, and then bring them back to me. You can have a seat over there," she directed him to a table, obviously set up for the purpose, and he went to do the paperwork.

It didn't take him long. The clerk made sure all his information was filled out, and then speedily entered it into a computer. The system popped back with some information which she looked over intently. Turning to Zack, she said, "Okay, you're one of our scholarship students. All of your materials are being paid for through a state grant. Let me get you your school packet." As she walked over to a filing cabinet, Zack frowned. The only way he'd been able to go to this program was through the state's educational grant; his parents simply could not afford the extra expense.

The lady returned with the paperwork, and a special identification card. "Okay, these are your orientation materials. There is an on-campus orientation the Friday before class starts. You aren't required to attend, but it is strongly recommended. This is your student ID card. You'll need this to access certain rooms and labs. Also, this card will tell the bookstore to give you your supplies. You can do that any time up to the third day after class starts."

"Can I do that right now?" he asked.

"Sure. You're in the system, they'll have your information down there. You know where it is?"

"Yes, ma'am. Is that everything?"

"Yep. I hope you enjoy the program."

"I'm sure I will. Thank you."

Zack walked out of the registrar's office, and turned toward the bookstore. He had another hour before the shuttle van would come back for him, so he walked slowly, taking in the sights and sounds of the campus.

Some of the sights were very attractive, indeed. Zack smiled as he watched the college students pass him by, ignoring his presence. Zack would have felt insecure about that, if he didn't know about his program. He could have any one of these females, if he could just get them to look at Program Alpha-Omega.

And how do you do that, ace? It was at that point that Zack realized the usefulness of the PDA device that Adam was building. If you can't bring the girl to the program, bring the program to the girl.

Zack encountered no trouble in the bookstore, and was surprised that the student cashier actually seemed to be flirting with him. Maybe she's just bored. He smiled at her and was very nice, anyway, on the grounds that she was pretty, and she might be fun to be around. He took his books and supplies, said a very pleasant farewell to the girl, and left. He wandered over to the bench where the shuttle was supposed to stop, and sat down. He spent the next half-hour waiting for the bus and looking over his textbooks.

-----

Claudia dropped by that evening with Zack's homework, but while they cuddled for a while, she had her own homework to do, and by the time they had both finished, it was a little late for anything really intimate. They spent a little time necking before Claudia reluctantly headed home.

Zack sat back down at his desk, and checked, for perhaps the twentieth time, that his presentation for the next day was ready. Mr. Parks was so impressed with Zack's work - he'd shown Mr. Parks the latest version of his presentation, with a little "push" added - that it was to be the final, most important, presentation in the assembly. This position was usually reserved for a senior's project, but Mr. Parks freely admitted that none of the seniors had done work half this good.

Satisfied that the program was ready, he downloaded it to a zip disk, and put it in his book bag. Thursday would be a big day for Thorndyke High School.

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The next morning, Zack was a little nervous. When he gave his zip disk to Mr. Parks before the assembly, he asked to be excused, because, he said, he felt sick to his stomach.

"Okay, Zack. But you need to be back here for your presentation."

"You still planning on doing mine last?" he asked, already knowing the answer.

"Yes. It's the best one we've got this year, by far."

"Thank you, sir. I'll be back in time, don't worry."

Zack quickly left the room, trying to look queasy. It wasn't that hard. What he really needed to do was to see who wasn't in the assembly. He knew that there would be maybe as many as ten students who would be somewhere else. Perhaps even a teacher or two. The media assembly was a very big deal at Thorndyke, and Zack was certain that the principals and all the other faculty would be there, with the exception of those who had to get work done.

It took him fifteen minutes to look over the entire school, and found one teacher and five students who were somewhere other than the auditorium. He made a note of who they were before heading back to the media lab.

Slipping into the lab, he closed and locked the door. He was sure that no one would come looking for him. He had over an hour, still, as the media assembly was over two hours long. It was the last day of school for the seniors, and the media assembly was one of the ways that the principal repaid them for actually showing up.

Zack slumped into his chair, and tried to relax. He slowed his heart rate down with some deep breaths, but he still felt uneasy. He needed to do something to get his mind off of the project. Never had he tried to control so many people. There were over one thousand people in the auditorium, and if he had screwed this up... He didn't even want to think about it.

Looking over his list of people not in the assembly, he noticed two that jumped out at him. Monique and Katelyn were working on something together in Mrs. Sanders' room. Mrs. Sanders was a math teacher, and he couldn't think of what they would be doing. He did, however, know that there was an ITV system in that room currently.

Getting a naughty idea, Zack turned on the school's computer. One of the things he had realized, after reading through the manual, was that he could, using some software the company had sent along, turn any computer into a receiving unit for the ITV system. He activated the software, and then typed in the appropriate location. Immediately, the video window popped up, and Zack saw the two girls. Mainly, they were giggling and goofing off, but it looked as if what they were supposed to be doing was assembling some papers into booklets.

Zack only watched the two girls for a minute or two, before he decided that he wanted to have a little fun. The two girls had never been terribly friendly to him, though they were in his grade. They acted very superior, and that annoyed Zack.

So, how do I do this? Zack brought up the copy of Program Alpha-Omega that he had stored on this computer. A few quick changes to the script, and the program was ready. Now, the question was, how to send it to them? Technically, the system wasn't capable of this.

Zack knew differently.

Bringing up some other software that he had brought to the school, he activated it, and hacked into the ITV system remotely. This was child's play for him. The system wasn't really protected against such attacks, especially if they came from its own internal network. In seconds, Zack had control of the ITV system in Mrs. Sanders' room, and he was ready to make his plan work.

A few commands entered, and he pressed "Return." The first thing he heard was a high-pitched squeal. This was to get the girls' attention, and what he'd heard had come through the microphone on the ITV system. Simultaneously, PAO began running on the TV screen in front of the girls. They had turned toward the squeal to see what it was, and were then caught by the PAO signal. Zack watched to see that they were entranced, and then he exited the media lab, heading for Mrs. Sanders' room.

Zack moved leisurely down the hallway, wanting to arrive as the program was finishing its job. He walked into Mrs. Sanders' room, closed and locked the door, and waited. The program finished up in just a few more seconds, and then the system kicked back off, as programmed.

The two girls did a triple-shrug, and then stood, waiting. Zack smiled, and walked over to them. He ran his fingers through Katelyn's dirty blonde hair, and she smiled dutifully at him. He looked her over to find that her T-shirt was straining to encase her 36D tits. Standing behind her, he grabbed her tits and groped them roughly. Katelyn gasped at the feel of his hands on her body.

Looking over at Monique, he said, "Okay, remove her pants for me." Monique bent to comply. He could barely see past Kate's glorious orbs, but he did see Monique's dark brown hair flop back and forth as she struggled to remove Katelyn's rather tight jeans. "Panties, too," he said, as he was yanking Katelyn's T-shirt up off her body. Katelyn was not struggling, and she was panting slightly from him feeling her up.

Katelyn's bra was a front-clasp, and Zack loosened that, to finally have Katelyn stripped naked. It had taken the two of them less than thirty seconds. He turned her around, and looked her over. Her tits were topped with tight, dark areolas which held pert little nipples. He tweaked one, and Katelyn shuddered.

"Kneel. You know what I want," he said. She complied, her hands going to his belt. Once she had it undone, and his jeans, she pulled his jeans roughly off his hips, and then quickly lowered his briefs as well. Zack's cock stood out from his body, fully erect from the sight of her body, and the sheer nastiness of what he was doing. His thoughts faltered as Katelyn's mouth engulfed his prick, her lips working over his shaft to pull more and more of it into his mouth.

"Come here," he grunted to Monique, and she complied. He pulled her tightly against his side, and his lips locked onto hers. Her tongue slipped into his mouth, and they were kissing hotly as Katelyn continued to work over his cock. Zack's hand groped Monique's tit through her blouse as his other hand caressed her ass. She was moaning heavily already.

He broke their kiss, and said, "Strip." Immediately, she stepped back, and began to remove her clothes, teasing him as she did so. While his eyes watched more and more of her luscious skin being revealed, his hands rested on Katelyn's head, to encourage her to keep up the wonderful movements of her lips and tongue. He was already close to shooting his load into her mouth.

It didn't take long before Monique, too, was fully naked. She then approached Zack again, and pulled his shirt over his head. She rubbed her soft tits against him, dragging her hard nipples along his skin. He grabbed one of her nipples with his fingers, and twisted. Monique squealed in a mix of pleasure and pain. Seeing the look on her face shoved him over the edge, and he came in Katelyn's mouth. She did her best to swallow it all, but some leaked out and dribbled down onto her chin, and then fell onto her ample breasts. Before he could order her to, she was wiping it up with her fingers and guiding it into her mouth.

He could see that Katelyn had been finger-fucking herself while blowing him, and she had come when he did. He knew she needed to rest a second, but it appeared that he did not. Stepping out of his clothes, Zack moved Monique over to the teacher's work table. He picked her up and plopped her down onto it, her ass on the very edge, so that her cunt was right where he needed it to be.

Monique was already dripping, and so he wasted no further foreplay on her. He placed the head of his cock at her pussy, and pressed in quickly. Monique cried out in slight discomfort, until her pussy adjusted to him, and the pleasure kicked in. He pushed her down onto her back, and she reached up to grab hold of the other edge of the table. He grabbed her under each knee, and put her ankles up on his shoulders. Bending over slightly, he had her nearly folded in half.

Now, Zack began to rut into her, slamming against her hard enough that his balls slapped against her ass. Monique was immediately writhing beneath him, her hair flailing as she twisted her head from side to side. As he continued to ram into her, he reached down and mauled her 36C tits, twisting her nipples and groping her flesh. She was screaming out, now, which would have been a problem, if there had been anyone else in this part of the building, but there wasn't.

He felt a presence at his side, and turned to see Katelyn. He straightened up a little, so that he could kiss her. His tongue slid into her mouth, massaging its partner and arousing her further. Her hands played with her own tits, keeping herself aroused and ready for him.

Zack pounded even harder into Monique, and soon she was thrashing about in the throes of her orgasm. He hung on for the ride as she screamed and bucked on the table. He continued to thrust throughout her climax, and watched in wonder as she twisted and contorted in her pleasure.

Soon enough, Monique's gyrations subsided, and Zack pulled out of her. She lay, limp and exhausted, but well-sated. Zack turned his attention to Katelyn, who was more than ready for him. She bent herself over that same table, her ass stuck high in the air, and moved her legs apart. Her pussy was calling to him, its juices already running down her legs.

Zack wasted no time sliding his dick home into her hot, wet tunnel. Her cunt grabbed at his dick like a velvety vise. He quickly set up a rhythm, and had her moaning and thrusting back at him. His hands reached around to play with her pillowy tits, kneading and mauling them vigorously. She groaned out, "Yes, Zack. Fuck me, fuck me harder!"

Zack increased his tempo, slamming into her harder and harder, moving his hips faster. Her hips started bucking even more wildly against him, her feet nearly coming off the floor. He reached his hand down, and began to frig her clit. This sent her far over the edge, her body froze, her back arched, and she groaned loudly for many seconds, her pussy rippling along his shaft, trying to get its juice from him.

But he wasn't quite ready yet. He pumped through her orgasm, and then pulled out of her. He pulled her off the table, and lay her out on the floor. He looked down at her full, wonderful tits, and he knew he had to have them. He straddled her waist, and placed his cock between her breasts. He grabbed her tits and pushed them together, forming a nice warm, fleshy place for his cock to penetrate. He began thrusting between her breasts, building up a fast pace. Katelyn was only semi-conscious, but she soon grasped her tits with her own hands, pushing them tightly together, and freeing his hands to twist at her nipples as he fucked her chest.

It wasn't long before Zack loosed his load. His cum spilled all over Katelyn's face, even running in her hair. She opened her mouth to catch as much of it as she could, but most of it spilled over her skin. When Zack was done, he leaned back, and watched as her hands quickly sought out and escorted his cum right into her mouth.

As he stood up from watching Katelyn, he saw that Monique was conscious again. He motioned to her, and she came to him. "Clean me off," he said.

Quickly, she knelt and took his cock into her mouth. If he had not been completely spent, he would have been hard in an instant. Her tongue and lips worked him over like a professional, and it was less than a minute before she had him completely cleaned off.

He helped them both back up, and then kissed each one on the cheek. "That was a lot of fun, ladies. Thank you." Each of them beamed at him, and then they all went to get dressed. Once Zack had put his clothes back on, he left the room, now relaxed enough to deal with the media assembly.

-----

Zack spent a little time freshening himself up in the bathroom before heading back to the assembly. He still looked a little disheveled, but all his teachers knew that he supposedly wasn't feeling well, and that was as good an explanation as he needed. He took his seat next to Larissa, who had saved him a spot. He would have preferred to sit with Claudia, but there were strict divisions of class at the media assembly. It was okay, though, as Larissa gave him a nice kiss when he sat down.

"You feeling okay?" she asked with genuine concern.

"Sure," he answered. "Just nerves."

She smiled and squeezed his hand before returning her attention to the display on the screen. They were into the juniors now, but Zack had even helped some of these students, so he found them familiar, and not terribly interesting. Even Zack's original presentation had been more interesting than these dull bits of work. He tried to stifle a yawn as he watched the mediocre work pass before the screen.

Soon enough, they passed into the senior class presentations. He hadn't seen any of these, and so his interest perked up. The work was well done, but in most cases, it still wasn't up to his expectations. They'd had four years to work on this stuff. Didn't they have any pride?

He sat through the remainder of the assembly, bored to tears, as those around him oohed and ahhed about the work. He tried to look interested, but it wasn't really working. Larissa saw the expression on his face, and leaned over. "Not everybody can be as good as you are, you know," she said lightly. He smiled weakly at her, but then returned to staring mutely at the screen.

Finally, after what seemed an interminable length of time, the senior class presentations were over. Mr. Parks walked onto the stage, in front of the screen.

"We have just one presentation left. We always save the best one for last. Usually, we pick a presentation out of the senior class to show you what can be achieved after a lot of work and effort. However, this year, we want to show you what can be produced by talent.

"This year's first place winner, chosen by the assembly council, was done by a sophomore. The vote was unanimous. Zack, could you come up here, please?"

Zack stood up and walked to the stage, amid a round of applause. He actually blushed at the attention. Mr. Parks shook his hand when he arrived, and handed him the obligatory plaque. Mr. Parks held him in place as he continued to speak.

"Not only has Zack Griffin produced perhaps the best presentation seen to date in this competition, but he spent a lot of time helping out the other students with their own presentations. Although he has caused me certain amounts of grief..." This comment was met with widespread chuckles; Zack's pranks were well-known. "I have to say he is one of my best students. So, we now present you with his masterpiece, 'Alpha and Omega Unite'."

Zack stepped back out of the way as soon as Mr. Parks let him go. He walked back down off the stage as the screen flashed. He kept his body facing the audience, rather than the presentation. He wasn't worried it would hurt him, but he wanted to see what would happen to them. He wondered if anyone would be unaffected by the presentation, and he thought he would notice if they were. His eyes scanned the darkened room, but it appeared that everyone was under. Not that he could adequately see over a thousand people, but no one was moving about, at least.

Five minutes later, the program complete, Zack found it interesting to watch over a thousand people shrug three times, all at once. Then the applause started. It was, of course, fake, but it was also expected, and would seem out of place if it wasn't there. Zack wandered back to his seat as the applause continued. He sank into his seat, and received an immediate kiss from Larissa.

Well, at least that's over. Now, the real question: did it work? He knew that Sarah would be the answer to that question.

-----

After the media assembly broke up, it was time for lunch. Zack found two lovely girls waiting for him at his usual table. He gave them both a warm kiss. This time, he noted a total lack of reaction from the rest of the cafeteria. Good. Maybe this worked, after all. Of course, it was kind of late for it to matter, as this was their last day, but he knew that the programming, if successful, would hold through his next two years here, and he'd be able to have a lot of fun unseen, or at least unnoticed.

They were about halfway through lunch when Sarah came over and, without any preamble, sat down across from him. He continued to eat, waiting to see what her reaction would be. It took a couple of minutes before she said anything.

"I'm sorry, Zack."

He looked up at her, an imitation of confusion on his face. "Hmm? For what?"

"For accusing you of something. I guess maybe I was... I don't know, jealous or something."

Zack smiled. "That's okay, Sarah. We all make mistakes."

She smiled at him, and they continued their meal in silence.

-----

Zack was bored that night, as both Claudia and Stephanie were out with their families, celebrating their graduations. Of course, the ceremony wasn't until Sunday, but it was now official: the two were no longer "high school kids." Claudia had been upset that she couldn't invite Zack, but since they had kept their relationship somewhat quiet, it would have been out of place. Stephanie offered to take him out with her family, but he knew that her family wouldn't like him, either. So, he stayed at home that night, did his homework, and killed time.

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The next day at school was almost as bad. Claudia had picked him up and taken him to school, and they necked for a full five minutes once they got to school, but then he had to go in without her. It wasn't her building anymore. He promised to see her on Sunday, at the graduation ceremony, and she blew him a kiss. Before she roared off, she called, "I love you!" But she was gone before he could respond.

The school seemed empty without the seniors. Without Stephanie and Claudia to walk him to first-hour, it was very lonely. He slumped into his chair, and barely paid attention to any of his classes. Ms. Pinches was able to perk him up a little, but that only reinforced feelings of something he hadn't achieved. It was a dismal day as Zack plodded to lunch.

He sat in his usual seat by habit, but without anyone next to him. He started in on his food, and didn't pay much attention to the world around him.

"Hey, bud," Brian said, sitting down across from his friend. "You seem a little glum."

"Lonely," Zack answered. "This place is dull without Claudia." It wasn't lost on Zack that he was less concerned about Stephanie's absence. She hadn't been his main target, after all.

"Sure, I know what you mean. I kind of miss Pam, too. That reminds me, you wanna come over tomorrow? Mom said she'd make us pizza again. And, uh... Wendy has been pestering me about you."

Zack laughed for the first time that day. "Okay, yeah, sure. Bri, I might um... need some time alone with Wendy tomorrow."

Brian nodded. "I figured. I'm sure Bonnie, Pam and I can find something to do..." He winked, and Zack laughed again.

"Good for you, I..." Zack's voice trailed off as he saw Larissa walking over to them. "Hey, Larissa," Zack greeted.

"Zack, can I sit with you? I know that you're going out with Claudia and all, but..."

"Sure, have a seat. You know Brian, right?"

"Hi," she said quietly. Brian nodded a greeting, and went back to his lunch.

"So, Brian, about... one?"

"Yeah. Mom said she'd come get you." Brian stared levelly at his friend. Both of them understood the oddity of that.

"Okay." Turning to Larissa, he said, "How'd you like the assembly yesterday?"

"Boring, as usual," she answered. "Why do they make us non-seniors go to that thing?"

"Equal rights. We have the right to be as bored as they are." Zack laughed, and Larissa smiled at him, her pale lips parting to show her teeth. "Anyway, you ready for exams next week?"

"Ugh, don't remind me. I'm cutting a few of my classes pretty close."

"Well, if you need some help, let me know..."

"I'd appreciate it, really. I just can't get a handle on this math."

"How 'bout Monday night, you come over to my place, and we can work on it?"

"Okay, thanks!"

Zack smiled, knowing there would be more anatomy than math studied on Monday. Not that he wouldn't make sure she passed her test, but that was much easier to do now. He leaned over and kissed her on the cheek.

"Thanks. You made this day a lot brighter." She smiled her response, accompanied by a blush.

-----

Zack was just finishing up getting changed into his after-school clothes when the doorbell rang. He paused, remembering what happened the last time that doorbell rang on a Friday afternoon. He slowly walked to the door, and was relieved to see a FedEx delivery person standing at the door.

"Package for Zack Griffin," the cute young woman said.

"Yeah, that's me." He signed the form, and took the package. She smiled, offered him a pleasant day, and trotted back to her truck. Zack took the package indoors, and went to his room.

He had an idea what was in the package, as it came from Adamant Computers, Adam's company. He opened the box to find in it two PDAs, a reprogramming device, and a set of disks. Also included was a note.

Zack:

It didn't take the boys long to finish the PDA device. I've included two, in case you have reason to need a second one. PAO is hard-wired into the PDA, and so if you want to change the program, the programming device is necessary. The enclosed disks contain the software for the programming device, as well as the encyclopedia of research we did in starting the PAO project (we never had a name for it, yours is as good as any).

Please let me know how field-tests go with the device. There is a user's manual included on Disk 1. If you run into a problem, please contact us.

Good Luck,

Adam

Zack unpacked the materials, and looked them over. There were a half-dozen CD-ROMs, only one of which had programs on it. That's a lot of fucking information.

-----

Sitting back in his chair, Zack looked at it all. Well, I suppose it's time to play. The first thing is to find out what kind of snooping code he put into these things. Looks like I have another project for this weekend.

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