The Auranades

Episode 16



Chad watches as Ray and Rita Allen walk into Amber and Christy's party hand in hand. He sighs and tries to stay out of sight. He decides he is not up for an awkward run-in with Ray and his girlfriend right now – especially after what just happened upstairs with said girlfriend's brother.

"I really need to get out of this place," Chad muses, "I don't think this party can do anymore for me."

Chad so opts to try to find a back way out before they spot him. He takes a hallway leading away from the crowd towards the back when there is another room where all of the kids are watching some guy, who he thinks used to be in his science class, dancing around hysterically on a table top.

He rolls eyes and is about to head another way when some hands yank him into a nearby room.

After the door closes, Chad turns around in surprise to see it's none other than Amber and Christy.

"Hey, why are you guys here at a party?" Chad asks them, "Aren't you two supposed to be coming up with some plan to vindicate Josh from those claims that he vandalized the principal's office?"

"Like, this is our house," Amber and Christy tell him, "And that is, like, what is this party is - our plan!"

"Of course your plan involved a party," Chad rolls his eyes, "So how's the party – I mean – plan going?"

"It's, like, going great of course – like, because we planned it," the twins tell him, "But it couldn't get any better now, because we think we may, like, actually have someone."

= = =

Meanwhile, over at the restaurant, Vitani is waiting for Josh to get back when a whole fifteen minutes pass since he left. She decides to go find out what is keeping him so long and who the person is that sent them the flowers and music. She heads to the back door.

Vitani steps outside before she gasps when she sees someone she knows badly beaten in the alley.

"Brett Klein? What the heck are you doing here?" Vitani asks incredulously, "What happened to you?"

With that, her shady ex-boyfriend Brett Klein wipes some blood from his mouth before he points to the end of the alley. Vitani looks over only to see Price and Marco putting handcuffs on Josh.

"Joshua Trent, you are under arrest for assault on Brett Klein!" the policemen declare.

Vitani panics and begins screaming for help. Some waiters run outside as the police car drives off.

"Could you get this guy some help?" Vitani tells, "I really need to go help my friend before it's too late!"

With that, the waiters tend to Brett while Vitani runs off to head to Josh's jeep to follow the police car before they got too far. Meanwhile, Brett tries to talk but Vitani has already run off.

"Wait, Vitani," Brett tries to say before wincing in pain, "There's a lot more going on than you think!"




Chad looks up in surprise that Amber and Christy might've actually figured out who was framing Josh.

"You see, we like set up a private room and announced that it was only for the party hosts – which according to the flyers we put out were us of course – and our Joshie, to lure them here. So then we, like, leave the room `unattended' every half hour, so whoever wants to set Josh up thinks they have an opening. But, like, the whole time, it was being `attended' by our dad's state of the art security cameras – which we were watching from in here," Amber and Christy show him a laptop with camera footage.

Chad looks intrigued but then panics that they might have had cameras in the bedrooms – what if Amber and Christy had video footage of what he and Dustin were doing upstairs? However, he sees the cameras all seem to be downstairs – which was how they knew he was passing by the room and he sighs in relief. But he had to admit that the girls had a good idea going, "Hmm. Not bad at all, girls."

"Like, we know!" Amber and Christy beam before they continue, "So, like, here we see that of course a few people poked their heads in out of curiosity. But here, one person came in and started digging around and look as they even put something in our drinks!"

"Omigod!" Chad remarks, "They were gonna set Josh up by drugging you guys? Who is this?"

"We caught their face right here," the cheer co-captains show him and zoom in, "Look, right there. We figured since we didn't know him – and we know, like, everyone at SyndAcad – that he must just be some geek who didn't even make a blip on our popular radar, so you might know who he is."

"He's the same guy out there dancing on your table tops!" Chad exclaims, "I think he was in my science class repeating the year before he dropped out all of a sudden. What was his name again? Tad?"

"Tad? Like as in your name but with a T? Maybe the T stands for `terrible idea for a name'," the two girls remark as they search the name on their Facebook account, "Aha! Here he is! Tad Logan. And his Facebook friends explain his dropout from school. He's supposed best friends with Jed Steele!"

"Jed Steele? He used to be friends with Josh and you guys before I came to SyndAcad," Chad muses.

"Yup. We were all a little wild back then, sure, but we, and Josh, eventually learned that, like, the one thing you had to keep under control was your direction and your future," Amber and Christy admit, "But Jed let his circumstance, like, control him and his direction; and thus his future. That led us all in different directions and we guess he gave up his future - to be nothing more than, like, a petty criminal!"

Chad recalls that Jed Steele was the thief he and Vitani had caught into the condo that had lured Josh back into drag racing when he had been experiencing bouts of amnesia. He certainly had motive to set Josh up if he wanted revenge after he had been arrested and the drag racing ring had been shut down.

"I think Jed Steele might blame Josh for where he is now, instead of himself," Chad reckons, "So he has the motive alright, but not the means or the opportunity. He's in jail right now. But, he could have had his little friend Tad here frame Josh for vandalizing the principal's office and then try to make it look like he was also using drugs at your party. Good thing Josh wasn't here at all."

Amber and Christy nod, "And the jokes on him again because we made sure to re-send those same drinks back to Tad in a different cup to let him get a taste of whatever he was willing to give us."

Chad nods in amusement, "That explains why he's break dancing on your tables out there!"

"I swear if that miscreant breaks anything other than his own leg, he'll be even sorrier. After all, when his little gift for us started to kick in, we managed to get his cell phone off of him and looking here now his phone records show numerous calls from a B.K.," Amber and Christy add, "They exchanged texts talking about how this B.K. wrecked the principal's office and that it was Tad's turn to follow through tonight if they want to get their hands on Jed's money."

"Okay. So Jed Steele was willing to pay this B.K. to vandalize the principal's office and Tad to try to drug Josh at this party to frame him," Chad states, "That video of Tad and his cell phone is the evidence we need to prove Josh's innocence. Now all we need to find out is who this B.K. is."

Just then, Tad's cell phone rings. It's the same B.K. Chad, Amber and Christy all exchange looks.

"Like, hello?" the twins answer trying to put on their best male voice and put the phone on speaker.

"Hello? Dude, why do you sound like – omigod!" the person on the other end says and hangs up.

"I think the `like' totally gave it away, girls," Chad muses mockingly, "But that voice ..."

"We know that voice," Amber and Christy snap, "It's that creep Vitani used to date, Brett Klein."

"Oh that's right. He's the WP basketball captain and it was thanks to Josh that Vitani realized what a sleaze he is," Chad nods as everything falls into place, "That, plus the promise of getting paid what I can only assume is Jed's criminal money, is the perfect motive to want to frame Josh. Now let's get this all to Vitani so we can get Josh out of this mess."

"Like, hold it!" Amber and Christy say, "Like, we want to deliver the exonerating evidence to our Joshie personally, so he can thank us over and over again and finally show us much he really appreciates us!"

Amber and Christy put the cell phone and video footage in a decorated envelope and grin widely.

"Look, I'm sure Josh will be thankful for what you guys have done once he gets this and I'm not trying to steal your glory here," Chad sighs and tells them, "It's just that I was just about to leave anyway and you girls have a kid out there to deal with who's high on drugs and breaking stuff in your house."

Smash! The three hear from the room. Chad looks at them. Amber and Christy exchange looks.

"The geek's right. Daddy will so not be pleased if we break a fourth antique vase this week," the twin cheerleaders muse, "We're already, like, putting our necks on the line by trying to save Josh's by messing with Dad's expensive security stuff while he's away on business. The best thing we can do right now is make Tad pay for doing this to our Josh in the first place. `Table-top Tad' is like so going viral tonight!"

"And I'm going to go get this stuff to Vitani and Josh!" Chad nods as they hand him the envelope.

"I guess it was a good thing we invited your hot friend to our party," Amber and Christy note.

Chad frowns until he realizes they meant his boyfriend Aaron. They must have invited him at school.

"It was a good thing he invited me too," Chad muses, thinking he would have never found out the truth about Dustin either if he hadn't come, "Speaking of good things, I never thought I'd ever say this, but you girls did really good for Josh tonight with all of this."

"Now it's up to you help put an end to whatever Jed Steele has planned for Josh tonight!" they tell him.

Chad nods solemnly and leaves the room, happy that he could do something to help after all.

= = =

He rushes out of the room before he remembered he had to get out as discreetly as possible, as he could now run into Ray and Rita Allen or her brother Dustin at any corner. He turns to head out back when he hears his name. He panics until he sees it's just a concerned looking Aaron.

"Hey Chad! Where were you?" Aaron says, "I was waiting out by the car. I thought we were leaving."

"I guess I just had to process all the information I got tonight," Chad tells, "But I'm all ready to go now."

Chad grabs Aaron by the arm and tries to get them out the back when they butt into someone else.

"Omigod! Look what you did to my dress!" Rita Allen exclaims, as her drink had spilled all over her.

Chad huffs in frustration that he just had to run into her. He tries to explain, "I-I'm sorry. I was just -"

"You'll be sorry when I'm through with you, Chad," Rita Allen whispers in his ear before storming off.

Chad sighs deeply before he figures they should really get going, as Ray may be right behind her.

"Hey there, C.K.," comes Ray's voice and Chad shakes his head to see Ray himself walk up to them.

"Oh hey, Ray," Chad turns around and pauses when he takes a look at Ray. He looks really handsome tonight for the party, he thinks but then scolds himself as his boyfriend was literally right beside him.

"I'm surprised to see you here," Ray says, with that smile of his, "I know parties aren't your thing. Is there a side to you I still don't know about? Or this must have been your friend here's idea."

"My friend? Oh, you mean -" Chad registers that Ray of course doesn't know that he and Aaron are-

"I don't think we've officially met," Ray says with an extended hand, "Hi, I'm Ray. A friend of Chad's."

"I'm Aaron," Aaron smirks as they reach out to shake hands, "Nice to finally meet you. I'm Chad's -"

Chad cuts in when he begins to feel awkward about Aaron and Ray talking - especially after Aaron has admitted to being jealous of Ray before, "Sorry to cut this little meet and greet short, but Aaron and I have to get going. My friend Josh is in a bit of trouble right now and I really need to go help him out."

"That's my C.K. Always the hero, isn't he?" Ray smiles and looks over at Aaron.

"Just one of the reasons I can't help but love him," Aaron smirks and puts a bold arm around him.

Aaron raises an eyebrow when he notes to himself that Ray seems to be somehow bothered by his arm around Chad. He tightens the embrace. Chad feels really awkward when Ray gives him an almost inquisitive look. Chad clears his throat and steps out of Aaron's embrace.

"Okay! Well, we'll see you later, Ray," Chad cuts in again and turns, "We really have to go, Aaron."

"Yeah, I guess I'll see you – like how we planned?" Ray says before he adds, "Oh and C.K.? I know your friend Josh is gonna be okay because he's got you there for him. No one knows that better than me."

Chad smiles at Ray, but when he sees Aaron's unamused face, he pulls them along to leave the party.

= = =

Ray watches Chad and Aaron leave through the back and ponders on something when he looks down and sees none other than Chad's friendship bracelet on the floor. It must have fallen off somehow.

"Hey! It's Chad's bracelet," Ray muses as he picks it up, "I'm sure that girl Cassie gave this to him."

He figures he will just return it tomorrow since Chad is in a hurry to leave with that Aaron guy. He notes that Aaron was the same guy that Chad showed up and left with at the pre-game lunch last year when he exposed Cameron Levine's sabotaged oranges. He figures Chad and Aaron must be pretty close, especially if Chad, who doesn't like parties, is going to parties with him ...

"Hey Ray, guess who I found?" Rita Allen says coming over with someone, "My dearest brother!"

Rita Allen slinks her arms around Ray's waist as her brother walks up to them with a small smile.

"Hey Ray," Dustin greets him with a small wave. Ray spots the friendship bracelet on his wrist, which he notices looks exactly like Chad's own. He figures although he had never seen them around, that maybe Cassie and Dustin just got them from the same store somewhere ...

"Hey Dustin!" Ray asks curiously, "By the way, where's everyone getting those little bracelet things?"

"I dunno. it was actually a gift from ... a friend," Dustin says sadly, wondering if he and Chad still were.

"He means a really special friend," Rita Allen cuts in, "After all, he blushes every time I point it out."

"Let's not start," Dustin warns her with a sigh, "Look, I'm gonna grab a drink from the counter –"

"No. I'll get us all something to drink," Ray offers, "You stay and let your sister try to cheer you up."

Ray pats Dustin on the back and heads over to the counter. Rita Allen gives Dustin a telling look.

"Yeah, it's all over your face. What's up with you?" Rita Allen asks him before clearing her throat, "You weren't here because of a certain someone named Chad Blackman by any chance, were you?"

"Not exactly. But I do need to see him," Dustin looks up hopefully, "You know where he is?"

"I know he was here. After all, he bumped into me and helped make my dress more festive with the punch I was drinking," Rita Allen retorts and adds, "But he left with some guy. So how about you let that guy suffer with the case that is Chad. Don't tell me he's the reason you're at a party sulking around like this? What the hell did he do? I swear if he messed with my brother, I'll -"

"Maybe it's what I did. And what I keep doing," Dustin muses in frustration, "Maybe I'm the bad guy."

"Of course you're not. You can't be as twisted as whatever it is Chad seems to have pulled on you. And if it's really Chad that has you here doubting who you are as a person, then maybe you finally see I'm right about him!" Rita Allen pleads, "Can you finally trust me about Chad instead of trusting him over your own sister? I know you even told him about investigating Cameron Levine's drag racing ring."

"Actually, Chad only found out because he saw I was acting strange and he was concerned about me, so concerned that he followed me to make sure I was okay," Dustin tells her, "That's how he found out."

"You say he was concerned, but I say maybe he was just nosey!" Rita Allen rolls her eyes.

"Well if he was being nosey, then I'm glad he was," Dustin retorts, "I should mention that I actually had gotten caught spying by Cameron Levine's goons and who knows what they would have done to me – if it wasn't for Chad who distracted them so that I could escape. Chad saved me that night. Just like he did when I was framed for stealing the military code! He offered to help me for the sake of saving all those kids Cameron Levine was coercing into the drag racing ring. So all that proved to me is that Chad is the good-hearted heroic guy I always knew he was! That's why I feel the way I do about him!"

"And how exactly do you feel about Chad, Dustin?" Rita Allen asks him with a raised eyebrow.

"I feel ... that he doesn't deserve whatever it is you're trying to do to him," Dustin says as a save.

"I'm just trying to get you and everyone else to see the truth," Rita Allen warns him, "Don't fall for this!"

I've already fallen for him, even though I may have lost any chance with him now, Dustin tells himself.

Just then, Ray gets back with three drinks in hand. He hands a cup out to each of them.

"So what are we talking about?" Ray asks them, sensing a bit of tension between Dustin and Rita Allen.

"I was just trying to get Dustin to realize when `something' is a lost cause," Rita Allen huffs.

Dustin gets her snip, but then looks at the friendship bracelet on his wrist, "All can't be lost yet."

With that, Dustin takes off for the door. Rita Allen calls after him before frowning. Ray looks at her.

"What's up with your brother now?" Ray asks her curiously.

"And what's up with that guy?" Rita Allen says, and turns Ray around to see, "Omigosh. He is clearly on something! This'll be good for tomorrow's school paper. I've got to get the scoop on this!"

Ray and Rita Allen look over to see Tad Logan ripping off his shirt before jumping on the couches.

= = =

Outside of the party, Chad and Aaron get into Aaron's car. They get in and Chad lets out a deep sigh.

"That Ray Torres guy is so jealous!" Aaron comments with a hearty laugh, "Could he be more obvious?"

"What? Who Ray? Jealous of what?" Chad asks with an incredulous look, "What are you talking about?"

"Errhmm. Let's see, there was `That's my C.K.', like get a load of my little nickname for him. And then there was that bit about `I know your friend Josh is gonna be okay because he's got you there for him. No one knows that better than me'; like he knows you better than anyone," Aaron explains mockingly, before he adds, "Oh, how could I forget the `See you later like we planned?' to let me know you two made some kind of `special plans' to do something together."

"T-That's ridiculous," Chad replies awkwardly, "I mean Ray has a girlfriend. That girl I bumped into."

"The girl that Dustin screwed used to be my girlfriend," Aaron quips, "But then I bumped into you."

Chad frowns, but really ponders on what Aaron has said. If his own boyfriend used to have a girlfriend –it's just as possible that even though Ray is dating Rita Allen ... that Ray could possibly have some kind of feelings for him too. Could Ray really be jealous of him and Aaron? Could it be that Ray is just as conflicted as he is about being honest about the possibly mutual feelings they have for one another?

"Maybe the party was a bad idea?" Aaron muses, looking over at Chad and rubbing his thigh.

"Uh no. I think I definitely learned a lot tonight," Chad replies as he goes over everything in his mind.

"You mean like the truth about Dustin?" Aaron replies, giving Chad a side look.

"I mean like how my friend Josh is innocent," Chad says avoiding that topic, "And I can prove it now."

"You know he and Vitani are really lucky to have a friend like you," Aaron says, leaning over, "And I am even luckier to have a boyfriend like you. Maybe I can make up for Dustin ruining our party plans by just getting our own party started. Hmm, what do you think about that?"

Aaron gives him a sexy grin before kissing him. Chad turns in response and begins to kiss him back. He feels Aaron's hand slide further up his leg while the other starts to unbutton his shirt. However, Chad slides his hand up to Aaron's chest to push him back a little.

"We can't do this here," Chad gasps, still feeling a little flushed, "Anyone could pass by and see us!"

"You're right. So how's about we celebrate back at my place instead?" Aaron suggests with a grin, "I mean we don't have to worry about Dustin interrupting anything because we know he's here at the party, probably looking for his next victim to satiate himself while he can't have you."

Chad closes his eyes when he thinks about their encounter upstairs. He shakes his head, "Um, actually, I don't think I'll be in any kind of `partying' mood until I get this thing with Josh sorted out, you know?"

Aaron sighs to himself in a bit of frustration and sits back. Chad meanwhile pulls out his cell phone to call Vitani to let her know that he may be able to save Josh from being expelled.

"Hey, Vitani, guess what? I ... What? Omigod!" Chad exclaims, "Where? Okay, I'm on my way!"

Chad hangs up the call and Aaron looks over at him in concern. Aaron asks, "Hey. Is everything okay?"

"I know you usually end a date by taking me to the door," Chad tells him, "But would you mind taking me to the police station instead? Tonight is turning out to be one hell of a night."

With that, Aaron starts the car and they drive off. Meanwhile, Dustin stares from the lawn and sighs.

= = =

At an old police station upstate, Josh is being arraigned for aggravated assault on the same night.

"Court is now in session. All rise," Price says, serving as bailiff, "Honorable Judge Holden presiding!"

With that, Josh and the man who agreed to be his lawyer, Lewis Suede, his boss from his new job, stand up from behind the defendant's counsel. Vitani, who is sitting right behind them in the gallery, stands up. She glances across to also see Officer Marco with a strange look on his face.

Josh briefly looks back at Vitani sadly before taking a deep breath and looking forward. Vitani frowns at how this situation seems to keep going from bad to worse. She goes over how Josh told her that he had been knocked out in the back alley, but when he woke up – Brett was beaten up and Price and Marco were on scene to arrest him. Why was Brett even there? And who would go through all of this? ...

They look up as Judge Holden, a stocky bald man with an intimidating scar across his eye, makes his way into his seat at the front of the court. Lewis Suede had informed them that the judge had a reputation for heavily sentencing most cases. Josh gulps and Vitani rubs his shoulder sympathetically.

"Be seated everyone," Judge Holden announces as he sits, "Let us begin with the proceedings."

"Case number 1089642, the state versus Joshua Trent," Price announces firmly.

"The defendant has already indicated that he understands his rights at this arraignment. So I will get right to it. One count of aggravated assault," the judge begins, "How does the defendant plea?"

Josh looks back at Vitani before clearing his throat and standing up, "Not guilty, your honor!"

It's about then that Chad arrives in the court room and pauses in disbelief at seeing that Josh was really being arraigned after all. He quietly moves over to where Vitani was sitting with an incredulous look.

"Why he being arraigned at this old courthouse?" Chad asks, "There's no one else even here."

"They said something about it being to the judge's convenience. But Chad, this whole thing is just so crazy!" Vitani whispers, but in a frantic voice, "So get this, while Josh and I were over at the restaurant, someone sent us these flowers and stuff, but then left out the back into the alley. Josh went out back to check it out. However, Josh said someone then knocked him out and when he woke up, he was being arrested for aggravated assault! And that's a felony charge!"

"What? This thing has gone to a whole other level!" Chad remarks in disbelief, "Well it sounds like the plan was to lure Josh out of the restaurant and away from all the witnesses inside. Who is it that they think that he assaulted?"

Vitani is about to reply when the judge happens to speak up at that point. They turn to listen.

"The report says that on this night, you assaulted the victim, Brett Klein. Mr. Klein has expressed that he is the captain of your rival basketball team at the WP University and that he once used to date your roommate, Vitani Layne, which he believes to be in part motive for the attack. He has also submitted photos and numerous reports from patrons of the Jungle Fever club that you had also initiated a previous altercation, also over Miss Layne."

Chad's eyes open in realization that Brett Klein was even more deeply tied into this whole set-up.

"I can't believe it either," Vitani turns to Chad, "You remember Brett, don't you? That guy I used to go out with; who had tried to use the Jungle Fever so we could have a `wild time' together? I know that he hates Josh and everything, but would he really have himself beat up just to frame Josh?"

"He and his boss – Jed Steele," Chad replies, "Thanks to Amber and Christy, I was able to find out that a guy tried to drug what was supposed to be Josh's drink tonight at that party. That same guy is best friends with Jed Steele and when they got a hold of his cell phone, he got a call from a certain `B.K' and the twins recognized his voice as Brett's. There were also a bunch of texts that implied that Jed was somehow paying both his friend and Brett to do this!"

"Omigod. Well I mean who has more of a motive than Jed?" Vitani exclaims, "Jed is actually eighteen so this time he was sent to jail instead of juvie. I guess he must be trying to blame Josh for everything that went wrong. And with the offer of money, why wouldn't his so-called best friend and Brett, who has mutual hate for Josh, agree to do this? It all makes sense now!"

"And all the proof is here in this envelope!" Chad tells her, showing her the decorated envelope.

"Your honor, I have proof Josh didn't do this!" Vitani yells, standing up.

"Pipe down, Miss Layne!" Judge Holden pounds the gavel sternly, "Another unwarranted outburst and I will have you escorted out of my courtroom. Is that clear?"

Vitani nods and sits back down. Josh looks back at her with a raised eyebrow. He smiles when he notices Chad had come to support him and Chad gives him a hopeful nod. Vitani, meanwhile, leans forward to Josh's lawyer, Lewis Suede, determined to stop this any way she can.

"Is it possible to present evidence in Josh's defense at an arraignment?" Vitani asks him.

"Uh, that is usually addressed at the trial," Lewis Suede tells her, "This is where the judge sets bail."

"As to the matter of bail, bail is set at $20,000," the judge pounds his gavel, "Court is adjourned!"

With that, the judge gathers his papers. Chad and Vitani exchange dejected looks. Josh stands up.

"What? I can't pay that!" Josh exclaims, "Aren't you supposed to argue for bail to be set as low as -"

"Mr. Trent, I'm sure the judge is well aware of who your father is," Lewis Suede explains, "He is a rising business mogul in Westpoint City. He can surely pay that amount – especially in the name of his son."

"I told you my father doesn't know about any of this!" Josh rants, "And I don't want him to either!"

"Do you want to hold on to your pride or your freedom?" Lewis Suede quips, packing up his things.

Josh swallows in realization of how deep a mess he is in. Vitani folds her arms in disbelief when her cell phone rings. It's a call from Brett Klein. Vitani seethes in anger before she turns and answers the phone.

"What do you want, you bastard?" Vitani answers angrily, "How far are you willing to go for revenge?"

"T-This has gone too far! It was only supposed to get Josh expelled from SyndAcad. But after I literally got battered by two policemen tonight and forced to accuse Josh of it, I know there are greater forces at play here," Brett whimpers, "The forces of law enforcement. I know that Jed said his own lawyer had some kind of interest in Josh and persuaded him to let him help get revenge on Josh. He apparently gave Josh some job recently. But now that it was the same policemen that knocked Josh out and beat me up that arrested him, there is an agenda bigger than revenge at play here. I called you to warn that these people take down anyone in their way. That might even be you!"

With that, he hangs up. Vitani looks up in realization that Lewis Suede, Price and Marco were in on this!

She sees Price and Marco beginning to escort Josh out while Lewis Suede and Judge Holden were talking.

"Omigod. Stop right there!" Vitani yells, turning around, "Your honor, I know this might sound crazy right now, but those two officers over there, the ones who arrested him, Price and Marco, and believe it or not, even Josh's lawyer are all part of some scheme to frame Josh and take him away! I can explain it all right here and right now!"

All in the courtroom look around at her in disbelief. Vitani looks over at Lewis Suede.

"You hired Josh and me in the very beginning just so you could keep tabs on him because you agreed to help Jed frame him," Vitani explains, "You used to be Jed Steele's lawyer yourself, and that's how you learned about Jed's hatred for Josh. You convinced him to tell you his plans so you could use his history and the law to get your own filthy hands on Josh! But why? Are you a business rival of his father?"

"That's it, isn't it?" Josh seethes in anger, "That comment about knowing who my father is? You want bad publicity for my father by making me into some kind of criminal! So you used information from your old client Jed, who hates me, to set up the perfect case. Once you found out why Brett was involved, you used what happened between us before to pull off the stint back at the restaurant!"

"And Price and Marco there were in on it. It explains why they just happened to be the investigating officers for the vandalism, why they were the ones who oh-so-coincidentally showed up just in time to arrest you and why Price conveniently doubled as a bailiff tonight," Vitani adds, "It's all a set-up!"

"Guilty as charged!" Lewis Suede claps, "Except you underestimate the scale of this plot, auranades!"

With that, Lewis's eyes glow red and he yells at Price. Price is quick to knock Josh out with a baton to the head. Chad and Vitani turn and gasp in shock but before they can do anything, Judge Holden yells the phrase `Detained!' and then uses his gavel to pound on the table before him.

A strange mystical force-field suddenly appears around Chad and Vitani, capturing them both inside!

"Omigosh! So the judge is in it too!" Chad exclaims, "The judge and the lawyer are both oscinades!"

"Take him to the van!" Lewis Suede commands, "We have a schedule to keep! Let's get going!"

Price and Marco drag an unconscious Josh out of the courtroom with Lewis Suede following behind.

Chad and Vitani exchange looks before they attempt to break out of the force-field with their powers to try to help Josh, but no avail. Chad swings his hand to create a gust, but a strong wind blasts him back instead. Vitani blows her icy mist around, but the mist swirls back at her. She claps it all away.

"The force-field is somehow reflecting the effects of our powers back at us!" Vitani grumbles.

"Hahaha! It's no use. We know that Josh is the core of the auranades' strength and without him, you two can never defeat us," Judge Holden laughs in glee, "He must be the one the augury speaks of!"

"What's the ... augury?" Chad and Vitani ask him in confusion.

"I might as well tell you so you can all appreciate the sheer brilliance of our plan for the demise of the auranades," Judge Holden muses and continues, "The augury is an ancient tablet written by the oracles of our realm, which foretells that the strongest auranade will rise upon realizing his tower of strength! So, find that tower and we find the strongest auranade! And we all know what is projected to be the tallest building in this city!"

"Josh's dad has plans to build a corporate building for his enterprises!" Vitani muses.

"Exactly. So with us all knowing that the auranades of Westpoint City are mere children and it had to be a child associated with that building, it didn't take a genius to figure it was most likely the heir to that corporation," Judge Holden tells them, "The one and only Joshua Trent."

"I guess that's why oscinades always seem to be somehow connected to his business!" Vitani looks up.

"Each of them failing! Until now! Until Lewis, the oscinade of sway, convinced me that there was more strength in numbers. He does have a way with words, doesn't he? He was able to show me in the same way the Triad of Doom and the auranades themselves find their strength in numbers, so could we. Together, we clearly have the strength to bend the laws of the court with our own hands to get what we want. And once I, the oscinade of captivity, have you where I want you, there is no escaping!"

"So what are you gonna do with us now?" Chad asks, "Where's Josh being taken to?"

"He's the tradeoff. He's a gift to our `benefactor' in return for giving us these little devices to channel our powers," Judge Holden explains, waving his gavel, "We agreed if our plan worked, that we'd give them the strongest of the three while we get to keep two auranades for ourselves. So everybody wins!"

"The auranades always win!" Vitani declares with a determined look, "This time will be no different."

"You can't reverse your sentence of doom at this point!" Judge Holden gloats.

"That's it!" Chad exclaims before he turns to Vitani and whispers something in her ear. She nods.

Inside the force-field, Vitani blows her icy mist again and Chad uses his wind powers to instead swirl it back around her. He keeps circulating the mist around her, covering her in the dense mist. Vitani closes her eyes and lets the mist keep to her body. Her powers do not allow ice to freeze her.

Judge Holden shakes his head and assures them whatever their plan is it will not work against his force-field. However, he stands up in shock when the force-field vibrates before shattering to pieces! Before he can pound the gavel again, Chad swipes his hands to let a gust of wind blow it across the room.

"But h-how?" Judge Holden yells in disbelief, "How is it possible that - wait ... you used that mist to cool the air inside the force-field - knowing that the reverse effect would be to expand. The expanding air pressure was enough break my force-field! But then how cold could that mist have been?"

"I'll let you find out!" Vitani winks, blowing the mist from around her and straight at the fleeing judge.

With that, Judge Holden is frozen solid. Chad and Vitani nod at each other before taking after Josh.

When they run outside, Lewis Suede, Price and Marco are dragging Josh into a transporter van.

"Stop right there!" Chad and Vitani yell. Lewis Suede, Price and Marco turn around in surprise.

"Well if it isn't the goodie-goodie auranades?" Lewis Suede presses his earpiece, "You wouldn't hurt poor Price and Marco here, would you? They are just two innocent policemen I have under the sway of my vocal frequency! They have no idea what they are doing – other than destroying you! Get them!"

With that, Lewis Suede's eyes glimmer red and Price and Marco approach Chad and Vitani with batons.

"Oh, we just need to knock some sense into them then!" Chad smirks, and swings his hands up.

A quick gust of wind makes Price and Marco's batons bonk them in the head, knocking them out.

Lewis Suede sneers and he jumps out of the back of the van and attempts to lock Josh in. However, he is knocked back when Josh bursts out of the van with the super strength of his metallic arms.

"Oh Josh?" Lewis Suede smiles, his eyes glowing red, "Do me a favor – and destroy them!"

To Chad and Vitani's surprise, Josh's eyes glow red and he approaches them menacingly. They frown.

"What's going on?" Vitani asks in disbelief, "Why can Suede's powers work on Josh and not on us?"

"Assuming it really only works on regular people," Chad proposes, "I think Josh's metallic arms must be acting like some sort of antenna for Suede's hypnotic frequency coming from that earpiece of his!"

Without further thought, Josh suddenly charges at them. They barely step aside in time. Chad swipes his hand to send a gust of wind to keep Josh at bay. However, Josh seems to anchor himself to the ground by the density of his metallic arms. Vitani uses that moment to blow icy mist at him.

He freezes solid. However, hypnotized Josh soon enough breaks out of the ice with super strength!

"Uh oh!" Vitani gulps, "Assuming he will just swat my ice spheres aside like tennis balls, I suggest-"

"We run!" Chad finishes her sentence and the two run back inside of the old court house. Josh follows.

They crash through the door heading to the front of the courtroom to see Lewis Suede and Judge Holden trying to escape in the back. However, Vitani accidentally trips over none other than the gavel and falls to the floor. She picks it up just as hypnotized Josh grabs her with strong arms. She quickly tosses over to Chad, who uses a small gust to guide it to him.

"Here's goes!" Chad yells and pounds the gavel on the counsel table in front of him, "Detained!"

With that, a force-field appears around both Lewis Suede and Judge Holden in the back. The force-field blocks the signal from Lewis Suede's earpiece and Josh's eyes return to normal. He shakes his head to find that he is holding Vitani in his grip. He lets go and catches himself.

"What happened?" Josh asks them as he last remembers when he was in the courtroom before.

"More importantly," Vitani says, turning him around with a smile, "Here's what's about to happen!"

Chad, Vitani and Josh turn to face the two oscinades yelling over their defeat within the force-field.

"Looks like the law is out of your hands now," Josh quips, "Time for justice to be served!"

With that, Chad, Vitani and Josh repeat the banishment verse together:

"Evil spawned from darkness core,

Walk this land you shall no more,

Wickedness be rectified,

Let your face be now denied!"

A penetrating light emerges from within the force-field, where the devious lawyer and judge inside are pulled into an opening vortex. Chad feels Judge Holden's gavel tug out of his hand and get sucked in as well. The oscinades yell in defeat before they are both pulled inside the portal and it zips shut into nothingness, leaving nothing but an echo of their yells in the courtroom. They all let out a sigh.

"Don't they know the laws of nature?" Josh muses with grin, "Good always triumphs over evil."

"There's one last evil to deal with," Vitani tells him, "The one they were gonna hand you over to."

= = =

They all head to Josh's jeep and make sure to leave before Price and Marco come to, where Chad and Vitani explain to Josh that Suede was going to hand him over to some mysterious oscinade third party who supposedly gave them the earpiece and gavel to channel their powers in the first place.

They were driving along one of the forest roads away from the old courthouse, looking around.

"I'm assuming from the weird angle the transporter van was parked that they planned to make a quick getaway in this direction, so," Josh muses at the steering wheel, "Whoever they are should be out here."

"Look there!" Chad mentions, from the space between the front seats, "There's a parked truck!"

"Not just any truck," Vitani frowns, "That logo there. It's one of your dad's company trucks, Josh."

"So this `benefactor' works for Dad," Josh grimaces, "They've infiltrated my father's business just to get to me. Hey, squirt, take down that license plate number, will ya? I'm gonna drive closer to see if we can get a glimpse of the face of the driver too."

As the jeep drives by the truck, it's too dark to see much. However, Vitani does get something.

"Seems our `benefactor' is actually a `benefactress'," Vitani tells them, "I saw red hair ... and breasts."

Chad and Josh raise a humored eyebrow when at that moment the woman in the truck appears to flash some sort of signal with the headlights. However, when Josh doesn't know how to signal in the same way, there is a sudden mysterious fog coming from the truck.

"She's getting away!" Josh yells. Chad leans out the window and swipes a gust to blow the fog away.

"She's gotten away," Chad muses, when they see that the truck is gone, "We lost her."

"I doubt that's the last we'll see of her," Josh comments, "But at least I can see my freedom now."

"You know what else you can see?" Vitani remarks, "You can see inside of the school halls again once we get that envelope in. But how do we avoid people getting the idea it's all biased because everyone who found the evidence is a friend of yours?"

"I know someone who can remove that bias," Chad muses, "But that's if they can put aside their own."


The next day, it's the SyndAcad science fair, Chad and Cassie are addressing everyone in attendance.

"- And so, welcome one and all to the SyndAcad science fair 2015!" Chad and Cassie say in unison.

With that, there is a hearty round of applause from all of the excited students and teachers in the crowd. Chad smiles in content that pretty much everything worked out as planned. He thinks so until he spots Ray in the crowd. Ray gives him a little grin just as Cassie hugs Chad in congratulations. He sees quickly Ray look away and then wonders again about Aaron's remark about Ray's supposed jealousy.

After Chad thanks Cassie for her help and they step off of the mini-stage set up in the auditorium, he decides to go get himself something to drink from a refreshments table.

He turns around to see Ray approaching him with a weak smile. Chad takes a deep breath.

"Hey C.K.," Ray says, and leans on the table beside them, "Didn't I tell you that you could pull this off?"

"Yeah you did," Chad nods and takes a sip of his drink, "Thanks for believing in me, Ray."

"Nothing you haven't done for me," Ray replies with a nod before he adds, "So um ... do you think we can still pull off, you know, tonight? Or maybe you made new plans with that guy I met at the party?"

The movie date non-date, Chad recalls when he had agreed to hang out with him on Friday night – even though his boyfriend Aaron had wanted them to do the same. But with what Aaron had said about Ray's supposed feelings about him, he thinks he might find out once and for all if that's true by going.

Chad looks up to see Ray with a ... hopeful look? He is about to reply when the stage mic screeches.

"Um before we fuddle our brains with the wonders that are science and technology, I thought it would be best if we clear up some controversy first," Felicity Blake announces with a grin, "Like who is behind the vandalism of the principal's office! And how it's related to our basketball captain, Josh Trent!"

The students in the auditorium gasp. Chad looks up at the stage in surprise. Felicity smiles at them.

"I'll clear the air on that and prove to everyone," Rita Allen says as she strolls on stage, "That Josh was framed! "

The students begin to murmur again. Ray raises an eyebrow in surprise. Chad watches intently.

All of the students watch as Rita Allen begins her presentation on Josh's case. She begins by reminding the students that Jed Steele was a high school dropout who used to be friends with Josh two years ago when they were held back a year. She explains that only Josh got his act together and Jed soon flunked out of school. Rita Allen pitches that Jed must have been jealous that Josh managed to turn his life around for the better so much that he had to pay two people to try to drag Josh's name down in the mud with him. At that point, a screenshot of the texts from Tad Logan's cell phone appears on the PowerPoint projector behind her. The students start to whisper among one another.

Rita Allen then continues to explain the texts show that Jed Steele got his best friend Tad Logan as well as Josh's basketball team rival from WP Brett Klein to help with his plans. She shows them the texts that imply that Brett was the one who wrecked the principal's office and Tad was supposed to drug him at Amber and Christy's party last night. She plays the video of Tad slipping something in the drinks in the private room and remarks on the irony that Josh can be confirmed to have been at a restaurant while this happened and Tad had apparently took some of the same stuff he planned to give Josh. The video of Tad dancing shirtless on the tables plays. There is a mixture of gasps and laughter from students.

She then shows the numbers of both contacts and tells them although it has been confirmed; anyone who knows them can check and see that these texts are indeed between Tad and Brett Klein. Some students do check and realize that she is right.

"So as I know, science is based on conclusive evidence, having all of this and having heard my proposed theory, what do you all conclude?" Rita Allen asks them "I conclude that Josh Trent is innocent!"

With that, all of the students in the auditorium applaud in agreement and chant Josh's name. Chad smiles and sighs in relief. He is thankful that Rita Allen had accepted the envelope from him earlier. He felt nervous about putting the evidence in her hands, but he told himself that she'd choose the glory of getting a story over the fact that it came from Chad. He guesses he was right.

Back on stage, Rita Allen smirks at Felicity, who scoffs and simply storms off the stage in anger.

"Wow, did she really get all of that from the party last night?" Ray remarks incredulously.

"She's awfully resourceful, isn't she?" Chad quips, taking another sip of the drink in his hand.

"I've got to commend her on that," Ray tells him, "And it seems someone is here to commend you too."

Chad frowns before he follows Ray's eyes and looks over to see Aaron coming right towards them.

"Hey Chad, this place looks so amazing," Aaron says before putting an arm around him, "No one had more faith you could do this than me. Oh hey there Ray, mind if I borrow Chad for a lot. Excuse us."

With that, Aaron takes Chad out of the auditorium before he can say anything. Ray looks on and sighs.

= = =

Outside the auditorium in the empty hallway, Aaron smiles and is about to say something when none other than Dustin runs up the hallway towards them. Chad and Aaron turn around in surprise. Aaron sneers while Dustin grabs Chad's hands and pulls him aside.

"Chad, it's time you hear the truth about everything!" Dustin begs him, "Just hear me out."

"Dustin, Chad will never believe anything you have to say," Aaron cuts in, "Now give up already!"

"I know that he will give me a real chance," Dustin retorts and looks at Chad, "Just like I gave him."

Chad takes a deep breath as he recalls that when Rita Allen tried to poison Dustin's mind against him, Dustin could have believed her without question. But instead, Dustin gave him a chance to explain and in the end believed him and believed in him. It was only fair he give Dustin the same.

"Fine. I will hear you out," Chad replies to Dustin's relief and Aaron's disbelief, "Let's go in here."

Chad leads Dustin to an empty classroom despite a very annoyed Aaron's protests. Dustin closes the door. Aaron tells Chad repeatedly that Dustin will say absolutely anything to get what he wants.

"Well let's hear what Aaron is willing to do, shall we?" Dustin quips, before he pulls out a tape recorder.

"Omigod! Dustin, you didn't! You recorded us! You bastard!" Aaron lunges forward, "You played dirty!"

"I had to play it your way for Chad to get the truth!" Dustin pushes him off and clicks play:

Dustin: Why's the dorm look like this?

Aaron: Oh, I dunno. Maybe I will help Chad `release' his frustrations about him in this bed tonight.

Dustin: ... I used Felicity and that was wrong. But you're using Chad, someone you claim to care about!

Aaron: Don't worry. I will make sure that it's plenty enjoyable for both Chad and me.

Dustin: Are you really proud of yourself for being so vindictive?

Aaron: How can I not be proud of myself? I saw Chad was valuable to you so I went after him and I got him. I got some of your "friends" to convince you to go to the party, where I brought Chad and told him that you were with some sleaze ball who only wanted to get him into bed! I even paid one of your so-called friends to plant the seed. And I'm not sure what even happened, but you apparently convinced Chad yourself afterwards. He was supposed to come back here with me tonight but he went off to play hero as usual. But there's always tomorrow tonight, we can celebrate his little science fair thing and bring the celebration back here. Or to some other bed. Hehe. So thank you for sealing the deal, Dustin and I'm going to make sure I have everything in every way with Chad that now you never will ...

Dustin: You twisted son of a bitch! What if I tell Chad everything you just told me?

Aaron: Who would Chad believe? His boyfriend who was hurt by you for sleeping with my ex or you who not only did that but now you're just working on him as you next project!

Dustin: That's exactly what you're doing! And I'm going to make sure Chad sees who YOU really are!

The room falls to a silence. Dustin sees the hurt on Chad face and feels bad. He looks on apologetically.

"C-Chad, you know I only said all of that stuff to, like, spite Dustin," Aaron stutters, "It means noth-"

"Well you know what? I don't think I want to be with a spiteful person! I don't want to be with someone who sees me as nothing but competition and a trophy boy for his ego!" Chad yells angrily, "And most of all, I don't want to be with someone who would manipulate me just to have me whichever way - and all of that apparently describes you, Aaron. So you know what that means? It means I don't think I want to be with you! Guess you'll be having a one-man celebration in that bed tonight, huh Aaron?"

With that, Chad storms out of the classroom, leaving Aaron and Dustin standing there in silence.

"You son of a bitch!" Aaron sneers, grabbing Dustin by the shirt, "Look what you've done to him!"

"Look what you have done to him, Aaron!" Dustin retorts, brushing off his hands, "I know that you hold the whole Felicity thing against me even though I told you it wasn't about hurting you! I was confused about my feelings for Chad and tried to deny them the wrong way. But you have to know that it sure as hell wasn't right for you to try to use Chad as a way of hurting me! Chad deserves better!"

"And what's that, Dustin? You?" Aaron seethes angrily, "You really think you're better for him?"

"I think Chad can decide what's better for himself, now that he knows the truth," Dustin tells him.

He shakes his head at Aaron disappointedly before leaving. Aaron yells and shoves over a class table.

"I know you think that you've finally won and that Chad is all yours; but you're in for a big surprise!"

= = =

Back in the auditorium, Chad wanders inside with a look of disbelief on his face. However, he looks up when he is called to by Vitani and Josh, who are celebrating Josh's exoneration from the vandalism scandal.

"Hey squirt," Josh says, putting an arm around Chad's shoulder and tousling his hair, "We just got it all officially cleared up with the principal and he says he's gonna make an official statement later, but that little presentation your friend's girlfriend did let everybody else know already that I'm innocent! So I just wanted to thank you for that and for everything else you did to help me out of this mess!"

"Where is our thank you?" comes the voices of Amber and Christy from right behind them.

Josh shrugs to himself before he gives them both a hug, "Thank you girls for everything you did!"

"Hehe, you're, like, more than welcome," Amber and Christy giggle, "If you really wanna thank us -"

"I could give you girls a thank you hug too!" Vitani says teasingly with open arms.

"Like, ew! Showing our faces at this meet-and-geek is bad enough," they scoff, "See ya `round, Josh!"

With that, the Milano sisters saunter out of the auditorium. Vitani and Josh giggle to each other.

"Anyway, I've thanked Vitani a bunch already so where was I?" Josh says, "Thanks again, squirt."

"Don't mention it!" Chad nods, "Thankfully, justice was served to Jed Steele and those oscinades too!"

"And Brett got expelled from WP for his `handy' work," Vitani muses, "Maybe now he will finally take a good look at himself before he ends up in the hands of the law, like Jed. Although I'm not sure how I feel about the hands of the law, given that a lawyer and a judge just tried to destroy us!"

"But we had each other's back," Josh tells them, "Just like we will when the Benefactress comes back."

"Guess who else is back?" comes a familiar voice from behind them. The three turn around.

"Omigosh!" Vitani exclaims in glee and runs to hug him, "Evan! You're back from France!"

Chad and Josh look as Evan and Vitani hug each other before sharing a kiss. Josh swallows in his throat.

After they kiss, Vitani looks back at Josh's sullen look before she asks, "So Evan, um, how's Eliza?"

"She made it clear that ... she thinks whatever she had with Josh is officially over," Evan tells them.

Chad rubs Josh's back sympathetically. Vitani feels sad for him when Evan turns her back around.

"However, our story is far from over," Evan smiles and pulls her into a deep kiss, "A lot's in store for us."

With that, he hugs Vitani again. Josh looks over at them only to see what he is sure is Evan giving him some kind of glare. Josh wonders to himself if Eliza told Evan something he's not saying ...

= = =

At the movies that night, Chad arrives, telling himself he doesn't have to feel guilty about meeting with Ray since Aaron turned out be guilty of a lot more himself. He looks around the theatre, but he doesn't see Ray anywhere. He decides he will go to the bathroom and come back.

However, just after he leaves the room, Ray shows and looks around the theatre for him but doesn't see Chad. He decides to sit and wait as well. He fiddles with Chad's friendship bracelet.

However, Ray looks up when someone sits next to him and puts it away. It's his girlfriend Rita Allen.

"The science fair made you feel in the mood for sci-fi?" Rita Allen says, "Why didn't you invite me?"

"I thought you were busy," Ray tries to explain, "Um, you know, with wrapping up that vandalism story and everything. I know you must be scoring major points for the editor-in-chief campaign right now."

"Yes," Rita Allen agrees, "But after New Year's, I realized my most important story is the story of us."

She smirks at him and leans in for a kiss. While she and Ray are kissing, it's at that moment that Chad comes back from the restroom and soon spots them. He shakes his head for putting himself in this position again – that of course there was no chance to work anything out with Ray with Rita Allen in the way. He walks back out of the theater into the main area of the mall to leave all together.

However, on his way out, he bumps into none other than Dustin Allen. They exchange looks.

"Hey Dustin. You're here to catch a movie too?" Chad asks him, slipping his hands his pockets.

"Um actually I was just dropping my sister off here at the theatre. She said she has a movie date with her boyfriend," Dustin tells him before he asks, "Which movie were you here to see?"

"Oh I see," Chad muses with a sigh, "I dunno anymore. I kinda feel like I've seen too much today."

"Look, I'm really sorry about everything that happened recently. I know what you must think of me after finding out about the Felicity thing," Dustin sighs, "And then finding out what Aaron was really up to all along. You must feel really betrayed right now."

"Yeah. But it's not really because of you. I mean you helped me see the truth today. Maybe you sleeping with Felicity was like `inappropriate' at the time because they'd just broken up, but the bottom line is that it was still a decision you were both free to make," Chad reasons, "She and Aaron weren't together then and I'm sure Felicity knew what she was doing. I always knew he felt some way about what Felicity did but if he was really willing to go after me and use me just to stick it you then his feelings for her might be more than we think."

"Maybe. But I think I really see my fault here too. I guess I really wasn't compassionate to Aaron back then when I did that and I clearly wasn't compassionate enough with how I handled your little `test' at the party last night," Dustin admits in retrospect, "I guess I was one of those people who believes that some things happen `in the moment' for a reason and I just go with it without really thinking of the consequences. But what are those moments worth if the consequence was that you lose everything in the end. It sure as hell wasn't worth losing you as a friend."

"It means a lot that you said that. I guess I should apologize for giving you that `test' in the first place. It was wrong of me to try to play you like that," Chad tells him, "It was kinda twisted of me, wasn't it?"

"No. I get it. It was your way of giving me a chance to give you an answer by my actions and not just my words. Actions do speak louder," Dustin reasons, "I guess when you kissed me, my mind just screamed `Yes', hehe! So, now that we've spelled out all that was wrong, maybe we can work on making it all right – after all, we are still friends, right? Unless you don't think we can get past this awkwardness."

Dustin wriggles his friendship bracelet and notices that Chad wasn't wearing his bracelet anymore.

"I think we can. I just kinda lost the bracelet at the party. But hey, bracelet or no bracelet, at least I was able to find out the truth," Chad smiles at him, "That I have more than a friend in you after all."

"So then can I treat you to a movie after all?" Dustin proposes with a happy grin, facing the theatre.

"As long as it's not the one your sister's in," Chad agrees with a smirk, and they go back in together.


= = =

Copyright © 2015 Chad Blackman

= = =

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