TITLE: Cryptogram Chaos
12-year-old computer whiz Cody Reynolds leaves his loner existence to help two classmates create a virtual reality game. Players (and readers) solve cryptograms to move ahead in the game where they can do all the things they can’t in real life. But fun and excitement turn to fear and suspense when Cody secretly sells the code to Eamon Wiley, manager at a local game company, and Wiley takes control of the game for his own evil ends. It’s up to Cody to save the gamers, including his classmates Nicole and Kerry, who are trapped in the game.
The lights in the lab dimmed. The flat screen embedded in the wall glowed blue, and then yellow letters appeared: NVR ULTRA ZX10_OCEANCAVEDESERT.
Mr. Gifford handed the headpiece to me. “Want to give it a try, Cody?” His face lit up, like he couldn’t wait for me to say yes.
And I wasn’t about to say no. “Sure!“ My voice squeaked. I sounded like a dork, but I didn’t care. I took the headpiece from him. It weighed about as much as a birthday card. Two crisscrossed, thin plastic ribs connected four sensors.
“You won’t get the full effect since it’s not programmed for a specific game,” Gifford said. “But you’ll get an idea of its capability.”
I glanced at my brother. He was putting on a headpiece, too. He gave me a weird smile—mysterious but excited. What were these guys so amped about?
Copying Brad, I put the headpiece on with the red sensor resting on my forehead, two white ones on either side of my head and another white one pressed against the back. Other than that, I didn’t feel a thing. Maybe it wasn’t programmed right. I was about to take it off and let Gifford check it when my body jolted as if I’d stuck my tongue on a hundred-volt battery.
The lab vanished. I stood on a beach. Seagulls screeched. Waves crashed onto the shore and splashed around my legs.