The main lobby had been transformed over the course of the day into an impressive stand in for a ball room or concert hall.
There were rows of tables along the walls, illuminated by strings of red, green and white lights as well as hanging lanterns that threw out snowflake patterns. In one corner, a small stage had been set up where a local cover band, Miracle Six, was taking requests, and off to the side, an impressive spread was being catered the owner of a nearby cafe that had become a popular hangout for the LI students and staff.
Everyone’s miniature trees served as living decorations, placed as centerpieces on the tables, or on makeshift pedestals along the edges of the room. Voting slips had appeared under everyone’s doors that morning so they could vote for the best one.
Central to everything was the ‘official’ tree, the enormous white pine donated by none other than Vincent Liedecker himself. It stood in the middle of the room with plastic bins altered by Kura to look like gift boxes beneath it. Those contained dozens of ornaments and garlands, plus multiple types of tinsel, all provided so the party-goers could all have … Continue reading
Martin Han cycled lazily through preview panels for various TV shows on his computer screen. There didn’t seem to be anything new that was interesting, or anything interesting he hadn’t seen before. Even the sports channel was failing him; covering basketball, football and hockey when he was a baseball and soccer fan.
He had homework to do, but it was before dinner, so seeking entertainment took priority. He also had friends; two out of only five other male members of the Junior class. But he’d see them soon at dinner, so it felt like a waste to try and find them now.
As he passed an old episode of Live Metal, he could swear he heard sleigh bells. Sleigh bells and giggling. Momentarily, he flipped back to see if he’d skipped over a Christmas special or something. He was wondering if it was off of some commercial when someone knocked on his door.
There was no one else in the room, so he answered it himself. He’d been partly expecting his friends, dropping by to collect him for a trek out into town for dinner. Instead, he found Kura Akagi wearing an antler hat and a red nose, Tammy Kaine … Continue reading
White arcs of electricity danced across the prone man’s body. With each arc, he grew smaller and more cascades of rubble from the shipping containers he rested on came tumbling down to fill the void left by his shrinking. Smaller and smaller he became until he disappeared amid the wreckage.
His scream faded to silence by the maudlin soundtrack, a young man in his teens fought free of his mother’s grasp and ran full out into the heart of the still settling rubble. Miraculously, he found a path clear enough that he only had to stumble over fallen debris until he was at the center of the destruction.
The man, his father lay there bleeding and gasping, the green ichor of a titanic arachnid staining the left side of his body.
His son slid to a stop and knelt beside him as the music cut out and the noise of wind and sirens and flames returned. “Father! No. No. No. No. No. Don’t move, father, we’ll get help. You aren’t hurt that bad!”
“Poisoned…” The man breathed. With great effort, he reached up and patted the boy on the side of his face and up to the crown of his … Continue reading
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
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