By putting Zirconia and the Dream Token together, Duchess Lucinda found she can re-defy "Virtual Reality" and use it to ease the hacking process, but just as she was showing that method to Kowalski, Zirconia catches a computer virus, trapping the minds of both brainiacs into the World Wide Web! (FYI, that wasn't what Dr. Blowhole had in mind, but he likes these results better.) Will the genius-duo manage to get back to the not so virtual reality they know... before someone pulls the plug?!
Lucinda knew the Arcade was one of the places off limits to all non-humans, but being an alchemist able to turn any toy into a weapon (if sturdy enough), she goes into many forbidden areas in the city for inspiration... and sometimes for a little fun.
"WHO DARES CHALLENGE TYRANT OF THE ARCADE?""Dangerous Duchess Lucinda, that's who!" "TYRANT" was her favorite game, as it was one of few in the Downtown Arcade that used virtual reality and required her entire body movement (instead of the usual joysticks and triggers) to play, not to mention it was a online battle game that requires jumping, running, and the use of gadgets. Seemed perfect for her vigilante practices, until a glitch in the program brought her back to true reality. Removing the virtual battle-helmet (yet careful not to knock off the disguise sunglasses) Lucinda finds it was Zirconia "snacking" on the TYRANT game's circuits... that metallic goo ball loves electricity, but it makes her grow! Fortunately, Duchess Lucinda always carries a rubber glove to remind Zirconia she's on a diet.
"Can't say I blame you for helping yourself," Lucinda sighed, "TYRANT is practically one of the oldest VR games in the Arcade, it's been here half as long as Rockgut was underground. No doubt the humans will have to retire the machine any day soon. If only I can go virtual more often."
The thought stuck to Lucinda all the way back to the zoo (thank goodness it was still closing time), where the sound of a chainsaw in Alice's office put the lady lemur's train-of-thought on a different track: "Those idiots would blow their cover sooner-or-later if they keep hacking the mainframe that way! Didn't they run through enough mazes to know how 'and/or' gates work? Just think if it were an inside job... a-ha! Zirconia! Looks like we'll be going virtual after all, but first, a detour."
Along the way to her workshop, Lucinda makes herself a tropical-fruit slushy at the cafeteria, and passing by the Dolphin habitat, she gives Doris the cold shoulder, literally, with whatever she didn't drink.
"Oops! Sorry Doris!"
"Hey! You did that on purpose, you freak-of-a-geek! As if it's not bad enough that you try to steal my nerdy-birdy away from me!"
"Your Nerdy-Birdy? Excuse me, Little miss Shallow, but I'm beginning to think that you like-like Kowalski!"
"What?! No! I only like him... barely. He's not hip enough for a girl of my star-quality, he's lucky I at least see him as a friend!"
"I read the 'Top 20's' books about 'star-quality', and you don't seem to have any... yet. Besides, De-Nile isn't just a river in Egypt! Good Night, Doris."
"I WILL GET YOU IN THE ROYAL HINNY FOR THIS, LOSER!"
..to be continued...
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