It was Friday again, free period, and Eddie was sitting cross-legged on the stairs of the Enrichment Center, watching a flight class in progress. They were practicing maneuvering through rings supported in air by balloons.
At the moment, one of the juniors; a dark skinned girl with white, feathered wings, was having trouble negotiating the rings with her impressive wingspan. It was one of the issues with trying to train young psionics; the course was very hard for her, but all too easy for others, like Kura, who could only levitate at the speed of a slow walk.
All the same, it looked like fun to Eddie. While he appreciated his luck, he couldn’t help but feel more than a little envious of the kids that could fly. Or who could use their powers at will for that matter.
The doors at the top of the stairs opened and Eddie looked up to see his roommate, Phil Simms, emerge. Phil was a little taller than Eddie; dark skinned with long hair that he usually kept in a bushy tail. Beside him, laughing at some joke told before they came through the doors, was Joy.
Eddie and Joy had spent the … Continue reading
The last class period on Fridays (As well as Mondays and Wednesdays) at the Institute were geared toward teaching the students how to control and refine their powers. They could vary from week to week for some students, depending on powers; from group flight practice on the quad, to solo sessions in the reinforced ‘hard rooms’ in the basement of the enrichment center, to telepathic study halls in soundproof and psychic noise insulated meditation rooms in the dorms.
Some powers, however, still managed to defy attempts at formulating a training curriculum around. Powers, like Eddie Argent’s; which was why he had a free period during the last class of the weekend.
At first, he’d thought it was an unmitigated positive; time to either goof off or get homework out of the way early three times a week. As early October arrived though, he was finding it a blessing and a curse.
The curse came in the form of boredom. Most of the student body was in class, and no students were allowed off campus until the last classes were over. As there was only so much television he could watch, so many video games he could play and so much … Continue reading
“…discussed, the Red Scare actually refers to two separate periods in the twentieth century, both of which had serious socio-economic and cultural consequences well into this century despite neither period officially lasting more than a decade.
The second Red Scare led directly into the Cold War. Actually, I have an interesting anecdote about the Cold War involving my great grandfather…”
Mrs. Melissa Winnifred, a middle aged woman with an unusually high pitched voice and no compunctions against using it, was going into another of her stories. Standing in front of the class and trying to keep an eye on the digital projection on the wall, she didn’t notice the subtle shift in attitude among the students.
They were all familiar with Mrs. Winnifred’s tendency to distract herself with her own anecdotes. With the right questions and requests to elaborate, she could and would talk through the entirety of class, realize this too late, and assign what she should have covered in class as reading instead of actual homework.
It didn’t hurt that most of her stories were actually entertaining as well. Entertaining, that is, if one actually listened to them.
Steampunk didn’t. As per her usual, she was using the … Continue reading
The alarm on Steampunk’s nightstand brayed insistently and for the first time, succeeded in its purpose of rousing the girl. It had taken a solid week to get her to the point that an alarm clock that didn’t sound like an emergency signal awakened her, but it was a step forward.
With precision one wouldn’t associate with someone just awake, she reached out and turned the alarm off before sitting up on the edge of her bed.
She’d never needed an alarm before. The first fourteen years of her life had been strictly scheduled by the Project Lead and carried out by various uniformed and helmeted staffers at the Generations Project facility concealed inside a Woodbridge Township, NJ factory.
Waking up there was different depending on which staff members were assigned to take her through her morning routine. Uniform attire and a rigid routine was meant to keep her from differentiating them from one another, but their voices and general attitudes toward her varied enough that seeing faces was a formality.
Some mornings, she would be shouted awake and led through her morning ritual by a steely grip and barked orders. Other mornings, she would be cautiously prodded awake and … Continue reading
“See?” Kura said smugly. “This is really fun and you didn’t want to do it!”
She was poking Tammy teasingly in the ribs while the latter was hanging over the transparent railing of the skywalk above the zoo’s African savanna exhibit, watching the giraffes bent in seeming awkwardness to drink from the simulated river.
Tammy answered her with a smile and a weak attempt to bat Kura’s fingers away. “Okay, I’ll admit it; it’s been pretty fun. Right guys?” She called across the way to the trio of Phineas, Steampunk and Phil.
The two boys were arguing about whether or not it was a good idea to dis-include the savanna predators from the facsimile grassland with Phil being firmly against letting children see kill sites and Phineas insisting that it was educational. Steampunk was ignoring them to silently observe a herd of springbok.
Phil glanced up from his futile discussion to agree with her. “Yeah. I haven’t been to the zoo in years, but I’m glad I came today.”
“That’s because It know what’s fun better than anyone else.” Kura insisted, leaving the railing and jogging further down the skywalk. “Come on! I saw that they’ve got the baby rhino … Continue reading
“Rita!” Betty’s voice carried across the common area that separated the boys’ wing from the girls’ wing. She was sitting on a sofa with Hightower. “Ready to go?”
Mindful of the discussion she’d just had with Joy, Rita stood there, waffling for a moment. “Er…” She managed. “Is it just going to be the three of us?”
“Might be.” Hightower shrugged. “I’ve seen a few other kids around here that might be able to hang with us. But you can never tell.”
Betty’s laugh started somewhere genuine and ended just south of vindictive. “I know, like that guy from this morning?” She turned to Rita to explain, her hair lightening as she remembered the altercation. “This guy came up to us at breakfast and tried to trick us into thinking he had a really shiny power, but it turns out it’s nothing but a psychic carry-all.”
When Rita didn’t laugh right away at such an obviously unfortunate power, she decided to continue. “So he’s not prelate material at all, he’s just a packrat.” This time, her laugh didn’t stop at vindictive, it went right on across the border to cruelty and set up camp.
With extreme effort that was completely … Continue reading
Eddie’s proclamation caused Arkose to falter in her swing. It wasn’t as if she entertained the slightest consideration that it really was the extremely bad pick-up line it sounded like; she not only didn’t, but actively hoped it wasn’t. But it was just so awkward in its delivery that it seemed to ricochet around in her head until her concentration broke.
She fixed him with a glare. “I know you aren’t hitting on me—“
“What? No! You’re definitely not my—“ Eddie stopped himself from finishing that one. Nothing good could come from saying those words to any girl, much less one made of solid rock and wielding a wooden sword. He backpedaled with a nervous laugh and rubbed the back of his head. “I mean to say; that wasn’t hitting on you; that was failing really badly at asking you to be friends.”
“People stop randomly asking each other to be friends somewhere around kindergarten.” Arkose informed him coolly.
“Hence the thing I said.” He persisted. “An icebreaker. You know, telling you something about my power…”
“That you’re lucky.”
“Yeah. That I’m lucky.” Eddie slipped back into his easygoing smile. “I know it doesn’t sound as cool as being make … Continue reading
“Oh come on, what’s wrong with the zoo? Zoos are fun.” Kura Akagi pulled the official Mayfield Chamber of Commerce tourism brochure over to her side of the table. Of obvious Japanese descent, she was slightly plump with feathered hair that was pulled back and clipped into a trio of ponytails that hung to the middle of her back while two locks were allowed to hang down around her round, cheerful face.
“Don’t you think it’s a little too… ‘kid stuff’ for high school freshmen?” Tammy Kaine didn’t sound exactly sure of this assessment herself. She had reddish brown hair and her athletic frame topped five eight thanks to a summer growth spurt. “Besides, I want plenty of time to get over to Westmoreland Plaza and go to the place my brother and his friends hang out all the time.”
“How great could the place be?” Kura made a face, “They called it ‘The Dungeon’.”
“Trust me, I’ve been there.” Tammy giggled.
“Okay, but the El train goes right by there. We can go there and the zoo easily. Oh, and we need, need, need to find a place that does good pizza. I don’t care what else we do … Continue reading
Phil Simms was used to the brief moment of confusion that comes with waking up in an unfamiliar place. After all, he’d been spending the summer at camp since he was seven, and with five aunts and uncles, he rarely spent a holiday at home.
Still, it took him a moment to remember where he was; the Liedecker Institute in Mayfield, Virginia. It was a long way from his home in Belleair, Florida. In fact, it was much further from home than he’d ever been.
Unlike many of the students there, he had never been to the Academy in Langley. Neither he nor his parents felt it was really necessary, seeing as how his power wasn’t particularly dangerous and how he never had any trouble controlling it.
That had changed after the Academy had been exposed and rumors abounded across the nation about kidnapping attempts on young psionics. His parents had insisted on sending him somewhere they felt was safe; namely the school in Mayfield that was protected by the prelates known as the Descendants and endorsed by a noted philanthropist.
Rubbing sleep from his eyes, Phil slipped out of bed. His clock radio read ten o’clock, but classes wouldn’t … Continue reading