Octus (still disguising himself with his "Newton" hologram) stared at his reflection in the bus window, vaguely aware of the conversions the other people on the bus were having.
"Newton," Ilana called. She was sitting on his right in the same bus seat as him.
When she got no response, she tried again. "Newton," she said, a little louder this time.
"What?" he asked, some-what annoyed, as his blank expression turned into a glare.
"You've been a million light years away since we left the art institute. Are you okay?"
she asked, concerned.
"Sure," he said, still glaring at the window.
"What's going on?" she asked.
Just then, Lance, who was sitting in a seat by himself behind Ilana and Octus, heard the radio.
"Meanwhile, in southern France, a series of strange occurrences" The radio reporter said, before being cut off as the volume of the other students conversions became louder.
Lance stood up and leaned over the top of Ilana and Octus' seat. "What are they saying?" he asked.
"I can't hear it over all this noise," Ilana answered. They both turned to Octus.
Octus turned toward them and sighed. "Okay," he said, still glaring and looking annoyed as he turned back towards the front of the bus. Ilana and Lance watched as black, gray, and white lines appeared and moved up and down "Newton's" glasses lenses' (looking very much like the screen of a TV that couldn't find a satellite signal). A few small sounds like radio static came from Octus as the volume on the bus radio was suddenly turned upwhich caused a few students (including Ilana) to cover their ears because it was so loud.
"According to the reports from our Paris viewer, the population of an entire village, both human and animal, has been thrust into what experts are theorizing as a kind of profound hypnotic state," the radio reporter said as the lines faded from "Newton's" glasses and the three exchanged worried glances.
"French military has quarantined the entire area and" the radio reporter continued as the bus driver began fiddling with the volume dial, and was cut off as the bus driver got impatient and banged his fist down on the machine.
Octus tried to get it back on again to hear more information on the subject, but gave up shortly after.
"Mutraddi?" Ilana asked.
"Only one way to know for sure," Lance said as the bus pulled to a stop and everyone except the trio exited the bus.
"We can't go. If this phenomenon is affecting humans, there is every chance it will affect us too," Octus stated.
"It might affect us, but not you," Lance replied.
"Oh, sure. Send the robot," Octus said, glaring. He stood up. "I'll call you when I get there," he said as he left.
"What was that all about?" Lance asked as he watched Octus leave.
"I don't know," Ilana answered.
Alternating between Sherman, Illinois (where Lance and Ilana are at home) and Paris,
France (where Octus is)
Octus (in his normal bio-cybernetic form) was flying over mountains and forests in the dark of the night.
"Are you there? What do you see?" Octus heard Ilana's voice from his transmitter.
"A beautiful sunrise. The colors make me feel warm, hopeful," Octus replied sarcastically.
Ilana was sitting in a swivel chair while Lance was standing up and leaning on the back of the chair. Both were staring at a big, blue orb (probably made of the same material as Octus) that was sunk half-way into the wall and acted as a camera that let them see what Octus was seeing and also as a transmitter that let them hear what Octus was saying and vice versa.
At Octus' remark, they exchanged glances. "You want to run that by us again, minus the sarcasm," Lance said.
"My robot scanner isn't detecting anything. I guess it's beyond my robot capacity to
" Octus said, trailing off.
Octus stopped flying and landed in a clearing in the forest. As he started walking, he began looking around, his yellow circular light swinging around, acting as a flashlight and indicating his line of sight. It washed over men in military outfits, seemingly frozen in time. Some were holding guns, while others were giving orders, while others still were unloading trucks and signaling to the still-loaded trunks where to park, their hands frozen in various gestures.
"Are you guys seeing this?" Octus asked.
"Yeah," Lance answered, leaning down closer to Ilana while both of them stared at the orb in front of them.
"What could have done that?" Ilana asked.
"Octus, run an analysis of the air and water," Lance said.
"Already have. No evidence of toxins or biological agents of any kind. I'm not sure what's happening," Octus replied.
Octus walked a little farther. "Um, the G3 guys are here also," he said, as he spotted the group of people wearing the familiar red jumpsuits, red helmets, and white scarves that flapped and blew around in the soundless wind.
"What are they doing?"Lance asked over the transmitter.
"Nothing," Octus answered as he stared at the men, who were frozen in time as well. Some were holding guns, exiting their plane, or setting up strange equipment.
Lance and Ilana shared confused glances at Octus' reply before turning back to the orb.
"I'm entering the village now," Octus said through the transmitter.
As he walked on the cobblestone road of the village square, his light washed over the dozens of doves on the ground. His light then lit up two sets of feet, and as he moved closer, the light traveled up the bodies until Octus could see the people' faces. The people, he realized, were probably a young couple, because they had been about to kiss each other right before they were frozen in time. Walking a little farther, Octus discovered the shop owner, who was frozen in mid-sweep, with his apron flapping around from the wind that was creating small clouds of dust at his feet. Octus walked past him and spotted the two little boys that had stolen the apple from the shop owner. He walked past them too, and came to the café. He saw the man on the left of the table for two, still in mid-shout, his hand raised with a white chess piece still in his grip. As he turned to look at the man on the right of the table, his light cast weird shadows behind the chess pieces sitting on the chessboard. The man on the right was poised to pour himself some tea, the teapot having emptied itself long ago from being in that position for so long. Octus walked passed them as well, and came across the man with the bicycle, the bike's wheel no longer spinning, the man himself still lying on his back from falling off the said method of transportation, still position to ride the bike. Octus turned around, and saw the rest of Paris lit up, the Eifel Tower looming proudly in the middle of the frozen city. Octus stared out at the people frozen in their activities for the day, unaware that it was now night.
"All of Paris is affected," Octus said through the transmitter to Lance and Ilana.
"If this phenomenon keeps spreading at this rate, it'll
" Octus said, trailing off.
Octus gasped. "Hello?
" he asked.
Nothing. No reply. Not a sound.
In the blink of an eye, Octus had immediately powered up and was speed-flying back to Sherman, Illinois to Lance and Ilana.