My first class, or homeroom class, was math. The teacher, Mr. Hawk, was an older, balding man who began by going over a syllabus for the first ten minutes. The class politely listened, but it didn't take long until some students began to get bored and fidget in their seats. By the end of his presentation of classroom goals, even he had a glossy-eyed look behind his glasses.
"OK. Enough of that," he said. He reached beneath his desk and pulled out a large glass jar filled with jelly beans. "I remember sitting in class, just like you all, and being bored to tears when trying to figure out a bunch of dull math problems. It took me a long time to figure out-", he placed a hand on his podium and chuckled, "-get it. Figured out. As if math isn't 'pun'-ishing enough." More chuckles. "Don't worry, I'll be here all morning."
Despite the lameness of his jokes, his mirth was somewhat infectious. I, and a few other students cracked smiles before quickly reverting to our uninterested baselines.
"So, I finally started to understand the applications of math. How I could actually make what I was learning useful in the real world." He patted the enormous container and lifted the lid. "So here is my deal. If at any point any of you can figure out the exact number of jelly beans in this AND show me the math on how you came to that number, you will earn an A in this class and can have a free first period for the rest of the semester."
Everyone in the classroom sat up straighter in their chairs, giving Mr. Hawk our full attention.
"Feel free to come up and give the container a look over." He stepped back and let everyone approach the jar. Most everyone rushed up and surrounded his desk. The jar wasn't perfectly shaped, like a cylinder. It grew narrower as it got taller. "And to help any of you succeed with this challenge, if you look at the back wall, I've placed an index card with the correct formula for calculating the answer."
We all turned around. The back wall was covered by what must have been hundreds of index cards, each one with different numbers and letters on it.
"Would anyone like to pick a card, any card, and we can work though and see if it is the right one? If you pick the right one, you will win just the same."
Two dozen hands went up in the air.
"OK. OK. Back to your seats. Let's figure out , heh heh, who gets to pick first. Let's start with a basic math quiz. Your data pads each have twenty questions on basic addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication. The first person with the most correct answers gets to pick, and then we will go in descending order from there until everyone has picked one formula."
None of us could get to our seats fast enough. Having been through BADGE training on using my powers, I had to give Mr. Hawk credit. He sure knew how to motivate.
Madam Marvelous ID#26130
The rest of my morning classes were pleasantly surprising. The teachers all seemed really nice. English was my second class, and I think the instructor, Mrs. Sorkin, was even more of a comedian that Mr. Hawk. She first played a video of some old musician, a Mr. Weird Al Yankovic, called Word Crimes. It was funny. Then she spent most of the hour showing slides and playing videos where people spelled things wrong or said stuff that made no sense at all. It was a blast.
The third class I had before lunch was my science class. Our teacher for that class was a literal genius. I mean Mrs. Fowler was probably one of the smartest people I'd met, but she knew exactly what would get her students interested in science. We got to play with chemicals and make things blow up. She promised that every day we would perform some type of experiment, and at least 75% of them would either stink really bad, blow something up, or involve fire. She also had this pet monkey that sat in a tree and if anyone misbehaved, Mrs. Fowler would point at the miscreant and say "Marcel, fling it!"
Monkeys don't have a lot to throw, but what they do, well, it isn't pretty. The demonstration she did to show off how accurate Marcel could be was memorable.
At lunchtime, I searched the cafeteria for Astra and Doug. I know Mom wanted me to meet and hang out with other 'normal' kids, but I was excited to see people I knew in school with me. I wandered about with my tray of food from the cafeteria line and finally spotted them eating outside at one of the tables. I shuffled through the modest crowd and headed outside to join them.
Madam Marvelous ID#26130
Keri entered her first day of classes with a request weighing on her mind. Being her senior year most of her classes were electives that went towards credits for English, Mathematics, Social Studies and Physical Education. Others were fun electives or studies in the arts, Drama, Art, Music (Choir, Band, Jazz Band). For Physical Education this year Keri elected for Karate. She knew she needed to learn how to fight not just rely on her powers.
At lunch Doug came over and sat down. He asked what was on her mind while he took her dessert. She didn't stop him so he knew something was up.
"I was asked by the Headmaster to openly work with students who have and don't have powers, maybe even head up a club?" Keri questioned. "I wonder if they asked because of my heroics or because I'm a student who understands?"
"Probably both," Doug replied as Kitt'n sat down beside them. Though Doug did not recognize the young woman Keri did. She smiled at her.
"Oh, Hi, I'm Doug, and you are?" Doug stated as he held out his hand.
"Hi," I said to Doug. "We met a week or so ago. High above the clouds. It's me, Kitt'n."
"Kitt'n!" Doug started. "You don't look--"
I raised a finger to my lips. "I got my hair cut and some new clothes for school. I know I don't look like you may remember me, but I promise, I'm the same girl."
"Oh. OK. I get it," Doug said as he winked at me. "I see nothing... I know nothing..."
"My first classes were all pretty amazing. How were yours?" I asked.
"Seemed good to me. I took a programming class as an elective and man, I think the guy teaching it has designed about fifty computer games that I have played. Good games. I'm going to learn a lot in that class." Doug replied.
"Mmm," Astra mumbled as she munched on the food on her tray that Doug wasn't trying to steal. "Decent so far. The instructors all know their stuff, which is nice. Some of my old teachers just followed the same lesson plan they had used for the last twenty years like clockwork. These teachers at the Academy are excited to be teaching. I can feel their enthusiasm, and a bit of concern that they can connect meaningfully with the students."
I grabbed my pita chips and dunked them in my humus. Both were very fresh and tasted great. "I'm really looking forward to my art class this afternoon. I'm hoping to use what I learn there to good use."
"Which instructor did you get?" Keri asked.
"Mrs. Vincent," I answered as I sipped at my strawberry flavored milk.
Astra chuckled. "This should be interesting. Her assistant this semester is a friend of my mothers."
I watched as Astra opened her mouth, but she didn't immediately speak. She instead got a concerned look on her face. "There it goes again. Have you ever heard the phrase 'somebody just walked over my grave'?"
"Morbid much," Doug said through his mouthful of fries.
"I keep getting this eerie sensation that someone is watching us but I can't tell who," Astra said.
"Who?" I asked as I turned and looked over my shoulder.
Astra pushed her tray away from her, rested her elbows on the table, and cupped her chin in her palms. "I don't know. I'm not telepathically sensing any thought behind it, I just know it is happening. Maybe it is all the security cameras around here. I don't think BADGE even has this many in its headquarters."
I didn't have her gifts with mental powers. There were some gifts my ability to morph gave me that were similar. I'd dubbed them Morph memory. Animals often exhibited it more than people did, but there were skills I just knew when I took on a form, like how to fly or how to use echolocation as a bat. Interestingly, as a human, I knew every language and could understand things quickly. I don't know everything. Man, that would drive me nuts, I think, but I have always been able to understand processes quickly. It comes in handy for quizzes involving story problems.
"Should we be worried?" Doug asked, finally taking a moment to wipe his chin with a napkin.
"I don't know, but I don't think I would be sensing anything if who was doing the observing wasn't interested in someone here in the school. My powers don't tell me when a freak hurricane is going to hit Onnatangu or anything for example. They involve things closer to home."
Madam Marvelous ID#26130
Between her natural Fae senses, and her Morphon-induced ability to sense and control energy, Krystal was very aware of precisely how many cameras and sensors of various types were active around her.
In addition to video surveillance, there was audio in many locations, various detectors for fire and air-bourne chemicals, and even Morphon Power signature detectors.
Knowing that this Academy had actively recruited from among those Morphon active of the proper age range, it did not surprise her, or for that matter unduly concern her, that this was the case.
What did intrigue her was the sheer number of such devices and the variety of locations they covered.
In any case, her classes were progressing well so far.
Her students were interested and engaged, and more than a few showed great promise.
She was hoping to have time later today to meet a few more of her fellow instructors, as she had been somewhat busy with the occurrence at the meet-and-greet.
After lunch, my fourth class was American History. I hadn't really looked forward to this class. History was dull. Once in the classroom, I searched for a desk, but instead found the room to be filled by a series of thick blankets on the floor in a circular pattern. A woman in unusual clothing stood in the middle of the circle and waved for students to come in.
"Come, sit," she said. Her hair was long and black, pulled into two long braids behind her shoulders. "I'm Blue Feather. I will be leading you on this journey through our past."
After everyone found a place to sit cross-legged on the floor, Blue Feather spoke again as she handed each student a ball of bright yarn. "I am pleased to meet all of you. I would like for each of you to take the yarn I have given you and take ahold of the loose end. Tie it to one of your fingers. Then toss the ball of yarn to another student, but do not lose the end you have tied to yourself."
She stepped out of the center area and instructed us to begin, having us lob the balls of yarn to other classmates over and over and over until the balls were used up. We ended up with lose yarn over our heads and arms, winding around each of us in a colorful mess.
"Very good. You have made an excellent mess," she said. "This is history. Each string is the course of some person's life. Some are shorter than others, some longer. Some cross many people's strings, others not as many." She reached down to grab one strand of yarn. "But if I pull at one string on this side of the room, you can see how others move with it. Strings that don't touch this particular string, but are linked by other strings pull and connect, move and are changed. What can we learn from this?"
As a class, we discussed her question for a few minutes. She talked about how the lives of many people in a community, or tribe, or family wove a tapestry. She then went around the room and asked each student to talk about their parents, grandparents, and as many people as they remembered from their families history.
"A common thing to forget when talking about history is that people lived it, and the people who experienced that history have family that is still alive and with us today. You're own family may have been influenced by something another students great-great grandfather did. And what you do tomorrow may have an impact on the children another one of your classmates has MANY, MANY, years from now."
I thought on my grandparents and what I knew about them. I knew a lot about them as Gramps and Grams, but I didn't know much about their parents. What did they do? The way Blue Feather spoke made me wonder about them. I only saw them as who they were to me, but the questions and topics we discussed made me consider how much I didn't know them at all.
Near the end of the class hour, Blue Feather thanked us for our participation. "Oh, and for the next class, I need that yarn put back into rolls, so if you all wouldn't mind doing that for me..."
Collectively, we all looked at the tangled mess that had been left on the floor of the room.
Madam Marvelous ID#26130
Finally, my fifth period class arrived. Art, or more specifically, Sketching 101. I would hopefully be able to put what I learned in this class directly into practice with my morphing abilities so I could more easily change into what I imagined instead of what I could observe.
The room was neatly arranged with two rows of easels set out in a staggered pattern, so the people in the rearmost row could see through the first. A life-sized humanoid shape stood at the forefront of the room, one hand raised up high as if waving at us.
"Good day, friends," a man in jeans, light blue shirt, and white smock said from the chalkboard. "You will find I've already assigned an easel to each of you. Find your names on each and take your places."
At the rear of the room, I noticed a familiar face. Tall, muscular build, sideburns, and a brown mullet of hair. That's Wyldfyre. I'd recognize those tattos on his arm anywhere. He must be Futurina's friend.
"You will find my assistant instructor at the back of the room. Quan Maddigan is a student at New Amsterdam University and will be helping me to guide you through the projects we will be working on over the semester." The art instructor moved to the chalkboard and began to write on it. "And my name is Mr. Boss, but I don't stand on formality here. Just call me Rob. Quan, why don't you say something to our students?"
"Hey," Quan, or Wyldfyre, said with a tiny psuedo-salute.
"I want to tell you something up front. Everyone here will automatically receive an A in this class. I don't want any of you to feel any pressure at all over your grade for this hour we get to spend together." Rob said. "Our time here is meant to be spent on your learning to express yourself freely, without judgement." He slashed his chalk against the chalkboard, leaving a long wavy line across the black surface. "Oops. That's not very pretty, is it? Or is it?"
He started to scratch and smear more chalk on the board around where his line was, building off of it and making a sketch of a section of highway leading into the distance with green trees and a hazy sunset at the far end of the roadway. "There are no mistakes in art. Only happy accidents waiting to be explored. And exploring is meant to be fun. Like taking a walk in nature, seeing the giddy little squirrels and creatures play and frolic around."
Turning to face the classroom of students, he smiled warmly at us. "Now. Pick up a pencil and make a mark of your page of paper on the easel before you. Anything at all. Life up until now has taught you that there is a right or wrong to everything and to be afraid of the wrong. In here, forget about that. There is just you and the paper in front of you. It's your world. Let's see what you can find in it."
His voice was very soothing and polite, like listening to an old friend. I slashed a long black line on my sketchpad, following his instructions.
Madam Marvelous ID#26130
As the day went on, Keri couldn't shake the feeling they were being watched. She studied and liked her teachers. They all seemed very happy and wanted to teach the subject they taught in fun ways. This made the academy seem so much better than the public schools she had previously been to.
She walked down the hallway towards the Headmasters office. He had asked her to help with the assembly tomorrow and make sure students with powers and without felt as though they were equals. That could seem like a lot of pressure, but when you consider fighting giant turkeys, Arx, Lady Phoenix, and what recently happened in Neo-Utopia, it really wasn't that much pressure.
She had pretty much adapted to her new body and was sure she could handle being known as both a student and a hero. Doug had walked up beside her and noticed the serious expression. He didn't say anything. He just started making faces to get her to laugh. She ignored the first three but the fourth broke her angst and she giggled and smiled. It didn't help that the other students were laughing.
"Cut it out, Doug," She laughed. "I have a serious matter to discuss with Headmaster Smith. I also want to ask about the other thing we were talking about earlier."
"Oh, you know what they say, 'Life's to short to be taken seriously,'" Doug quoted. "How long will this take?"
"Probably not more than a few minutes," Keri stated. "You can wait outside if you want."
"Keri," the secretary said from behind her desk. "The headmaster is ready to see you. You may go in when you are ready."
"Thanks," Keri replied.
"I'll wait out here. I don't want to interrupt your date," Doug said as he plopped into a chair in the waiting area.
"Funny, not funny," Keri said to Doug. "I shouldn't be too long."
Keri stepped up the the door and straightened her clothing.
The headmaster's office was very traditional, filled with books and objects collected over a lifetime. Amethyst geodes, crystal vases, photos of beautiful landscapes filled the shelves. A large painting of a castle filled one wall. Leather chairs with polished tables sat beside the floor-to-ceiling windows. His desk was smaller than she expected, but ornate. The most unusual feature was behind his desk. A large red velvet panel built into the wall was covered by keys on small hooks.
The Headmaster sat in a high-backed leather chair reading from a ledger beside the rearmost window. "Hello, Miss Mitchel. What have you decided?"
Madam Marvelous ID#26130
Keri looked away for a moment. This was a serious matter, not to be taken lightly. She looked at the Headmaster. "I have decided to do as you asked," she stated and saw delight on his face, "however, I wonder why we, the students are being watched?"
"I assure you," Headmaster Smith began, "it is only to keep you all safe. The students are the future of society. It is our duty to keep you all safe."
She found his answer satisfactory, but couldn't shake the feeling something else was going on. "I don't wear a mask or have a secret identity, so many students already know I'm a hero. That's not going to be a surprise," She told him.
"It's fine, they'll be thrilled to see you in costume," Headmaster Smith replied. "You do bring your costume with you, don't you?"
"I have my costume on now," Keri confirmed with a knowing smile. "My costume is comprised of psionic responsive nanites. It changes to whatever I need it to look like."
"Wonderous!" He exclaimed. "Then it will be no effort to change for the assembly." He smiled, and escorted her to the door to leave his office.
Before he opened the door for her, Headmaster Smith paused. "I truly do appreciate your assistance with this. I don't want so say that we are performing an experiment here, because that would be inappropriate, but there must adapt some of our antiquated methods of coping of social interactions. The world may come to see the need to divide people with powers from those without, which would in essence be harmful to either side. There have to be examples made of need for one another to thrive in the world we find ourselves in these days lest darker days come to pass."
Astra sensed his concern over what may come to pass was not a unfounded fear for him. His speech was heartfelt, as if he had personal experience with what he feared could happen. "Ummm. You're welcome."
The Headmaster pulled the door open. "The presentation will happen during second period tomorrow. I'll have you on stage with four other students and Ms. Fae, if she accepts my invitation."
"Until tomorrow then," Keri said as she walked out. A thought came to her before he closed the door. "By the way, with all the cameras you have here, is there a security office where they are constantly observed or are they for record keeping only."
"They are monitored by our security officer, Mr. Dorn, as well as fed directly to BADGE. I'm not sure if they monitor the feeds with their staff or use an A.I., but they partnered with us on assuring the safest campus possible."
"Cool," Keri replied. Knowing BADGE had access to the same feeds relieved her sense of concern a bit, but not entirely.
My last class of the day was a computer class, which was essentially and hour dedicated to using different technologies available in the modern world, including a keyboarding section. The computer labs were very nice, full of brand new equipment and chairs.
In the station next to me to my left, a girl with short blond hair sat down. "Hey. I'm Cheri."
"Blossom," I replied.
"How has your day been?" she asked.
"Good," I said coolly. I didn't want to overplay my enjoyment at the day and come off as a brown-noser. "Yours?"
"Same. It's alright." She replied.
"You're both crazy. This place is, like, top drawer. Everything is new. The teachers actually pay attention and aren't on their phones making us watch YouTube presentations for the whole class." A gray haired boy slid into the seat to my right. "I couldn't wait for today to get started here."
His enthusiasm was clear, but his accent and manner of speech was a bit highbrow and snobbish. I didn't mind it much, but Cheri seemed immediately put off. "My old school wasn't that bad. I don't know where YOU went before, but some of us liked where we were before."
I looked around for another open seat, but they had all filled. I cursed my luck. I guess no first day could be absolutely perfect.
Madam Marvelous ID#26130
Other than a few minor cuts, a couple of students claiming to have headaches, and one student with an allergic reaction, Romana(Prysmatica) found her first day interning at the Sagan Academy rather uneventful. She waved at several of the students as they walked by the waiting room windows that viewed the corridor leading to one of several exits. She sprayed a chair with sanitizer spray and wiped it down with a cloth, part of the daily office procedures meant to keep the room free from infectious organisms.
Once finished, she grabbed her travel bag and headed out as the traffic thinned.
"Hi, Romana," Keri(Astra) said as she and Doug prepared the head to the quad out front of the school. "How did your first day go?"
"Calm. Just like we like it," Romana said with a smile. "How about you?"
"Groovy, babe," Doug said. "It was like out-of-sight."
"Don't pay attention to him," Keri said as she jabbed Doug playfully with an elbow to his ribs. "I guess his last class covered late 20th-century history. Something called the Age of Disco."
Romana nodded. "There were some good songs from the early 70's, but I liked some of the clothing. Lots of bright colors. Calls for peace and love."
"Right on, sister," Doug raised his hand and saluted her with the peace sign.
"On your way home for the day?" Romana asked.
"In a bit. There is a student club fair out front of the academy I wanted to check out. See what options there were for extra-curricular activities. Have to think about my college applications for next year." Keri said.
"Good thinking. Maybe I'll join the two of you and see what clubs they offer too. I remember that some of them are looking for staff volunteers," Romana said. "If you don't mind my joining you?"
A young man stumbled into the glass window of the medical office. He seemed to be having difficulty breathing, his face turning a pale shade of blue. "H-yyeee-llllppp... meee. I...I...I... can'tt breaaathe."
The three of them rushed to his side, being only a matter of steps away from him. Prysmatica managed to catch him under one arm before he fell to the ground. "What happened? Are you choking on something?"
"Nnnoooo. I don't knowwwww why. I just ca...ca...can't..." the curly haired boy said. He appeared to be about Doug's projected age.
Astra psychokinetically caught the boy in her grip and levitated him into the air at Romana's chest level so he could be examined. "I'll go slow and move him into the office for you, if you would like."
"Just a moment," Romana moved his shirt collar and stared at his neck. "What's going on here?"
Keri and Doug stepped closer to see what she was examining. The boy's neck had several long slits all along his neck. The skin quivered along the slits, but no blood came out of the wounds.
"Do you have any medical conditions or Morphon abilities," Romana asked.
"Nnnnoooo..." The boy stammered.
"Are those--" Doug started to say.
"Gills. Yes," Romana said. "I think they are. He's not getting enough oxygen. Bring him in here." Romana opened the door and held it wide so Keri could move him into the office. She noticed a crowd of other students and staff surrounding them and watching, many with phones recording the action.
Once in the office, Romana lead the others into a cubical with a large stainless steel tub. She turned on a tap and water began to flood the container. "Put him in here. Gently."
Maneuvering his body was easy, but Keri also tried to get his neck into the water as quickly as she could, leaving the poor boy's legs dangling in the air above the rim of the basin. As the water filled the tank, Keri rotated his body so he could sit in the tub once the level was high enough to keep his neck covered by the fluid but his mouth above the water line so he could speak. "Is it getting easier to breath?"
"Ye..ye.. yes, but its cold," he said. His face had a small degree of color returning to it.
Doug adjusted the temperature of the water.
"Keep it on the cool side," Prysmatica(Romana) said. She brought over a length of plastic tubing and an oxygen cylinder. She took a piece of opague material and placed it on the end of the tubing, then placing that end into the water. "We don't want bath water here."
"What's that?" Doug asked.
Romana turned the oxygen cylinder valve on fully. "A make-shift oxygenator. I want to get more oxygen diffused into the water to make it easier to breath." She reached into the water and took ahold of his wrist to take his pulse. "How are you feeling?"
"Better. What's happening to me?" he asked.
"I'm not sure, but we'll find out," Romana said. She looked over her shoulder to Keri and Doug. "I'm glad the two of you were here to help."
After school let out, I walked around the front grounds and looked over the different clubs and organizations for students. The International Honor Society. Jazz Band. Yearbook. I was honestly shocked by the number of different options available. I overheard a commotion coming from the main entrance, but no alarms or warning sirens were going off, so I figured it must be a 'normal' event and kept my distance.
I spotted Ms. Fae at the student paper table, overseeing some students in her journalism course. She towered over them and pointed at articles in a journal they were showing to interested students. While there were several journalism classes, the actual school newspaper, the Observer, was open to any member of the student body to make submissions. Even the staff was encouraged to contribute should they have a topic that would benefit the academy.
Ms. Fae shot a glance to where the disruption was taking place. She turned to another adult at the station and gave a rapid fire set of instructions before heading over to the dispersing crowd. I paralleled her down and adjacent row of tables that the students were using until I bumped into a young man wearing soft jeans and a leather jacket.
"Whoa there," he said as he took a step back. "You keep going like that and you're going to end up needing to exchange insurance information with the next person you run over."
I looked and recognized his chiseled face behind his aviator sunglasses. "I'm sorry, Mr. Hamilton. I wasn't paying attention to where I was going. Are you looking for Ms. Fae?"
"No!" He said with a sour look on his face. "Why would I be looking for her?"
"You are the official liaison between the Sentinel and BADGE, aren't you?" I said, instantly regretting my spurting out his link between the two organizations.
"Well, yes. I am, and it says a lot that you recognize that at your age," he said as he looked me up and down. "You might be?"
"Ah. Um. Everyone calls me Kitt'n." I spat out, not wanting a reporter showing too much interest in me and my family. "If you're not here on BADGE business, what are you doing here? Are you going to help out with the student paper?"
"Student paper? Interesting." He searched around the crowd until he spotted the banner over the Observer's table. "Actually, I'm meeting a friend here. She's interning here at the medical office and I wanted to meet her after her first day."
The medical office was in the direction of the crowd and Ms. Fae headed. I pointed at the crowd. "The office is over there, but I can show you a different way around to it."
He turned to face the main entrance and took note of the thickening group of people. If I didn't know better, I think I actually saw his nose twitch when he spotted the growing mass of people looking in through the glass doors and windows. "Ummm, yeah. Sure thing, Kitt'n. Show me that short cut."
Madam Marvelous ID#26130
I lead Mr. Hamilton through the maze of tables to the opposite end of the building, were the doors were still unlocked and nobody huddled around looky-louing. I pointed down the corridor to him. "The medical office is there."
We could already see a mob of people at the opposite end of the corridor. "I don't suppose there is a way through there?" Mr. Hamilton asked.
"Today was the first day of class. I don't have the building memorized," I lied. Of course I had the buildings memorized before stepping foot in the schools. "But I do think there is another corridor this way."
"Glad I ran into you. Lead on." Mr. Hamilton removed his sunglasses and smiled at me.
I took him down one hallway and to a set of doors that was marked "NO ENTRANCE". "Oh, I didn't know about that."
Mr. Hamilton looked both ways before pressing the handle, popping the door open. "Oops. Thanks, kid."
He slipped through the door. I wanted to follow after him, but decided against it. Well, at least as myself I did. I made sure nobody was looking, and no cameras were pointed at me, and morphed into a tiny gray field mouse. Scurrying under the door was a piece of cake. Or cheese. Yeah, cheese sounded much better.
I followed at a distance behind Mr. Hamilton until he reached a door labeled 'Medical'. He tested the door and grunted disappointedly after finding it locked. Reaching into his pocket, he held a small device to the handle and a loud click filled the air. He tried the door again, and this time it opened.
I guess star reporters don't earn their reputations without breaking into a room or two. I cautiously waited for the door to close before I followed after him. The flexibility from being a mouse is so weird. I swear I could squeeze through just about anything.
"It is too early to say," I heard Ms. Fae say from deeper in the medical office. "But something seems to have triggered a Morphon reaction in him, but there are some unusual aspects to it. I've rarely, if ever, seen a Morphon power reverse itself."
"Reverse itself?" a woman's voice questioned.
"According to the scans I've done, his ability is already fading. The gills are ceasing to function, but they aren't disappearing. If the Morphon's don't activate again, he will need surgery to reverse what has been done to him." Ms. Fae said.
"How horrible." I recognized Astra's voice this time. She must be helping Ms. Fae.
"Does anyone find it weird that there have been two people showing up with new powers on campus in what, a couple of days?" Doug said.
Mr. Hamilton stood behind a partially cracked doorway, scribbling onto a pad of notebook paper. He whispered to himself. "I find it weird, kid. You're not alone."
"Chaz, no need to eavesdrop. Why not join the rest of us? Same goes for anyone else out there with you." Ms. Fae's voice rose slightly, more that loud enough to be sure to be heard from outside the room she was in.
Did she know I was out there too? Most likely. It's hard to sneak up on a telepath. Mr. Hamilton looked around, searching for something. He didn't seem to notice me hiding underneath of a cart, and I had no plans of letting him discover me. I almost made it through the whole entire day without using my powers. If I slipped out, my parents would never know I slipped.
As Mr. Hamilton lowered his head and wandered into the room, I raced under the doors I'd come through and changed back into myself once out of view of any people or cameras.
That's so weird. A kid sort-of getting Morphon powers, but then losing them.Clearly, Ms. Fae was on the case to solve what was going on, but it still worried me. Something wasn't right.
Madam Marvelous ID#26130
Keri thought it was very strange that Morphon powers would disappear. Doug had voiced the concern, but Keri wore it on her face. She glanced to Krystal who also wanted to investigate. Then she felt Chaz Hamilton outside. Krystal invited him and someone else blocking their mind. Keri left that alone, if they did not want to be known, then she wouldn't pry.
"Romana, have you ever heard of something like this happening?" Keri asked. "Spontaneous manifestations and regressions doesn't sound like anything I have ever heard of."
"Yeah," Doug agreed, "How about you, Ms. Fae?"
"Anyone seen Zordon around here? Maybe he's looking for another five Teenagers with attitude?" Chaz quipped which got him a couple of confused looks and a couple of angry looks.
"Who's Zordon?" Doug questioned.
"Unimportant," Keri stated. "I do have a question. Ever since I came here I have had a strange feeling. Like something bad is going to happen and that we're being watched. I'm not a precog like my mom, but I do have a minute ESP ability. Is that power being affected here?"
"Extra Sensory Perception is a very odd ability to come to terms with," Krystal Fae said in response to Astra's question. "It is possible some activity here is triggering it, but it is equally possible it is due to changes in you, your environment, or other factors. Being at a new school may have awakened something in you. Perhaps your recent trip to the Astral Plane did as well."
"I wish I knew which it was," Astra said. "Should I be doing something about what I'm feeling or is it just because of all the cameras?"
"Test it. Go to various locations and see if anything changes based on your location or who you are with," Krystal said. "And talk to your mother about it. There are meditative techniques that might help you strengthen the ability. My advice is to follow the old adage when using E.S.P. 'Trust, but verify'. Your instincts and powers are developing, but are not likely 100% foolproof yet."
"Ahem," Romana pushed her thoughts to Astra and Krystal.
Krystal cocked her head to one side, about to ask Romana why she was being so secretive, but caught sight of Chaz scribbling in his notebook. She nodded to Romana, understanding her plight. I'll put us into a telepathic conference call so Doug doesn't miss out.
Romana nodded gratefully. My brother, Ward, has powers like they two of you are talking about. His gifts are very similar to the Oracle of Ancient Greece. He is aware of things that happen before they occur. He either sees them or hears them, but they aren't clear-as-day messages that spell out every detail. They are film clips or songs from a soundtrack that give strong impressions of whatever is about to happen. It's taken him years of practice to even start understanding his powers.
So, are you saying that if something bad is going to happen... Doug thought playfully.
Yes, he hears that soundbite from Jaws, if it is a hidden threat. A few months ago when an asteroid was coming very close to hitting the planet, he couldn't get the song 'I Don't Want to Miss a Thing' by Aerosmith wouldn't stop playing in his head. Romana thought.
"Why are you all so quiet all of the sudden," Chaz asked, not looking up from his pad. "Are you doing that psychic stuff again Krystal? You know Romana isn't going to spill any beans on what she overhears."
"Protocol, Chaz," Krystal said with a smile and a wink to Romana. "Just as I'm sure you must be aware of the fact you cannot use the names of any students here without parental approval, should you write about any of this."
"Of course not, but you do have to admit, it is a bit concerning, this happening so soon after the man was found during the Meat and Greet. I might need to start doing some digging on this whole Sagan Academy situation. I smell a story."
Madam Marvelous ID#26130
"It sounds like you are developing a danger sense," Futurina told her adopted daughter. "It will take time and training before you will have precognition."
"What can I do to refine it?" Keri asked. They were preparing for their nightly meditation. They were sitting on pillows on the floor of their home. Futurina beamed with pride as her daughter was showing a growing ESP power.
"We're already doing what we can," Futurina stated. "When we meditate we reach out with our minds. We work on our powers and continue to increase them."
"So, how do I increase the ESP?" Keri questioned. She seemed frustrated.
"Relax, just as we trained you on telepathy, and telekinesis," Futurina explained, "we can learn how to do this too. I want you to reach out and see if you can feel your friend Doug. Don't use telepathy, or Astral project to him. Reach out with your ESP and see if you can feel him."
"I'll try," Keri agreed. They began their meditation and Keri tried to reach out to Doug...
Doug sat in his living room with his parents, his feet propped up on the edge of a coffee table with his Sagan Academy laptop balanced precariously in between his chest and thighs. He was reading up on some of the encounters heroes faced while he was missing. A huge fight with Skelanimal. The Jinn in Turkey. He chuckled when he discovered reports on fights with the Spirit of Halloween and Krampus. "Did this really happen. A big floating pumpkin head attacking during a league war? Santa showing up in his sleigh while the heroes fought over the remnants of the sunken League War Arena?"
"Yes, Doug. I saw the live reports on the news. Horrible. It was just horrible what happened to that city. All those poor people killed," his mother said as she looked away from the television to Doug. "DOUGLAS MICHAEL WOODS!!! How many times do I have to tell you not to put your feet on the furniture!!!"
Doug shifted in his seat, putting his feet back on the floor and the laptop on the coffee table. He leaned forward to keep his eyes trained on the screen. "Sorry, Ma. I'm still getting used to this new body."
Her scowl shifted from the disgusted Mom-face back to a sweeter, more loving one. "Thank you, sweetie. I'm so glad you're back safe with us again. Try to remember, please. We paid a lot for this living room set."
Nodding absently, Doug continued to process the news reports, passively storing his mother's plea on a back burner somewhere along with instructions not to drink out straight out of the milk carton and to put the seat back down in the bathroom when he was finished. As much fun as a robotic body could be, he still felt like it was an object, not truly his. He paid as much attention to what it was doing as he did his baseball mitt that was supposed to be stored on a shelf in his room that currently laid on the floor, underneath his used underwear that should have been placed in the laundry bin.
He'd missed so much cool stuff. Catching up on what he missed, and could now be a part of, along with Kevi... Keri, along with the other super-powered people. Scrolling to the next article, he started to read about the Quest in the Midwest for Ruby Shards...
Over a strange, round computer monitor, Doug's face appeared warped as if caught in a funhouse mirror. A white misty haze held a strange luminescence in the room surrounding the observation orb, obscuring the alien creatures studying a stream of glyphs and runes that also appeared in a constant stream below Doug's image, transmitted somehow to them by the tiny camera hidden extra-dimensionally within its normal camera.
"@(&. A((&&." One of them said in a strange language.
A second shadowy figure raised up a limb and adjusted a lever that changed the color scheme of Doug's appearance. "@@@(&&."
Astra cleared her thoughts of everything but her mental picture of Doug. His baseball uniform unkempt. A lopsided hat covering his messy bangs as he pretended to be a rapper.
That's good, but you need to focus on him more as he is today rather than how you remember him from the past. Think of it like tuning a radio to one particular station. You want to see him as he is now, not in the past. Futurina coached her.
Astra took a deep breath and sought to remember the clothes he wore to school at the Sagan Academy earlier. I'll try.
A misty white light began to surround Doug's shifting image.
Do or do not. There is no try! Futurina's mental chuckle came along telepathically with her message.
Astra laughed, pulled out of her mental meditation. "Don't do that. I hate it when you try to make me laugh when we do this."
"Emotional control very important while doing these types of tasks. You never know what baggage people carry when you touch them, and it won't always be negative emotions." Futurina opened one eye and peeked at Astra. "You may one day mentally connect with someone in the thrall of ecstacy while having great-"
"I get your point, but let's not think like that when it's Doug we're talking about, OK?" Astra held up her hand. "Before you did your Yoda impression, I was getting something, I think. Doug was in a fog or something I think..."
Futurina smiled again. "You're making progress. Good. Let's try again tomorrow. I'm sure you have homework you need to do."
Astra's shoulders dropped, not ready to stop but knowing she had other obligations to prepare for. "Homework is set, but the Headmaster wants me on stage to talk to the student body. I want to prepare some thoughts on what he might ask me about being a hero and working with BADGE."
"Fair enough," Futurina said. "I have some things to look into myself. Do you think you'll be done in time to watch Forged in Fire with me before bed?"
Madam Marvelous ID#26130
As Keri dressed for bed, she was thinking of everything that happened during the day. The strange feelings, being asked to be on stage with others from BADGE to talk about being heroes, to the attempt to fine tune her ESP powers. She had really thought she was on the brink of something when her adoptive mother broke the concentration. She knew she had to work on that. She had finished preparing for the morning, homework and expected questions done for the assembly.
She said her prayers and lay down to sleep. She felt herself drifting through the sky. that's when the nightmare hit again. She was back aboard the alien craft on the table unable to move. She was Kevin again. She heard the aliens speaking, but they were speaking English this time instead of their native language.
"Ready the Morphon Particle Beam," one of them commanded. She remembered looking up and seeing this machine above her she didn't know what it was at the time.
"Make sure to get before and after pictures," another recommended.
"On it," a third stated and a camera flash went off. The beam started and that's when the changes started.
"Fascinating, it's rewriting his genetic structure," the first stated in wonder.
"Uh, sir, the human is about to scream. I recommend anesthetic," a fourth one stated.
"Confirmed," the first agreed and She lost consciousness.
Keri sat bolt upright in a cold sweat, it was the nightmare again...
I rode home on the bus from the academy after doing a rushed tour of the available clubs, grabbing a brochure from every table to inspect after dinner. As the vehicle got closer to home, my mind remained locked in the memory of turning into a mouse to follow Mr. Hamilton into the medical office. I shouldn't have done it. The only person who knew I had was Ms. Fae, possibly. And me. And when Mom or Dad asked me about my first day, I'd have to lie to them about using my powers. My stomach rumbled and churned. Each bump the van hit came close to making me sick.
Once at my parent's driveway, I got of the bus and waved politely to the driver. Both of my parent's vehicles were parked in front of the garage. What should I do? If they find out I used my powers, they're going to pull me out of the school. Mom will quit her new job and probably want to homeschool me.
I slowly walked the path to the front door and listened for motion inside. Slipping up to my bedroom without being seen would give me time to calm my nerves. I didn't hear anyone, so I quietly opened the door and slipped into the foyer. Cautiously, I pushed the door closed, trying not to make a sound. A large click popped as the latch engaged, and I nearly peed myself. Neither Mom or Dad seemed to have heard it as I looked for them down the hallway. Nobody seemed to notice my arrival, so I wiped my forehead and sighed in relief.
Creeping to the staircase to my room, I tip-toed expecting them to come around the corner at any moment. They didn't. I scurried up the stairs and made it up to the door to my room, relief washing over my entire body.
"Hey, kiddo. We're in the kitchen. Come on down and tell us about your day." Dad called up to me.
My eyes sealed shut as I tried to unhear what he asked, but I couldn't. "Be right down."
Madam Marvelous ID#26130
|Free forum by Nabble||Edit this page|