The Author's house was dark and the windows were still boarded up. Last time he gave me a gift. Would he do it again? I carefully climbed the steps and knocked on the door. Silence greeted me. I peered at the garage but it unlike last time was closed up and dark as well. As I stared at the house a light appeared in the window! Tossing a rock, I tried to gain the Author's attention but broke his window instead! The Author pulled up the window, but I noticed it got stuck…A couple of more shoves and I heard more glass tinkling and a pane fell out and shattered on the driveway. Oops? The Author stuck his head out of the window and found me soon enough, his eyes rolling in his head. “Seriously Scott?” He leaned out of the window and pointed to his right, “I mean, it isn’t like the fence isn’t that way?” He shut the window and I figured, why not? I made my way around the side of the house and went through the gate hoping the pixies would be nice.
Inside the auditorium, a man, a scientist one would guess based on his clothes, was speaking to two others. One was woman considerably shorter than he, the other a man in a suit. The scientist had one arm gesticulating widely, “… and I’m telling you it was a brilliant idea. We need this sort of thing for when we go through the gate into the next universe. Who knows what we will find there. And, it’s a one way trip! If we don’t educate the kids now using the resources we have available here in this system we will be harming them not helping them. Earth still has much we can teach them. But it must be us not those idiots back there. Especially not those guys at NASA.”
While he practically towered over her, the lady didn’t give up one inch in the discussion, “Marcus, NASA aside, do you really think that we should take time out of our busy schedules to teach? I have a ton of work to do. We have weapons to build and systems that don’t even exist yet we need to create. My area is way behind according to my schedule. All of this is going to screw up my system so much.” This time, it was the Primary of the Research and Development group waving her hands all about.
“Not just your system Jean. My boys are working full out on ship design and finishing this.” Jeo waved his arm for emphasis, like a conductor for a band. “We have a ton of work to do and not much time.” He looked around in frustration, “Hell, I’m losing productivity just standing here.”
“Why don’t you folks just take a chill pill.” Everyone turned to see Captain Thomas standing at the edge of the stage. “What? You don’t think I’m hip to new phrases? Some of my new crew told me to say that.” He looked around the auditorium, “This Academy is a good thing.”
He pointed to the scientist, “None of you except Marcus are thinking of the big picture. We gave intelligence and mechanical tests to young people. Our young people. They are our future crew members, workers, and maybe leaders. We need them, and they need us to teach them what we know. Think of them as interns. Each selected department will get five new interns every six weeks. I will tell you now I can think of lots of scut work and some real projects that an extra five sets of hands would be really helpful. These young adults are the cream of the crop. Some of them might be able to help on levels that we can’t even imagine yet.”
The man paused a moment before adding, “Besides, this is what Bethany Anne wants. So grow a pair and straighten up.”
The arguing department heads frowned almost in unison and nodded their heads. He had a point. They all heard clapping and turned to look toward the back of the auditorium.
“Thank you, Captain. That was well done. Is everyone ready? The students will be here soon.” Diane and her sister walked down the aisle toward the stage.
“You ladies are as fetching as ever.” The Captain had a big smile on his face as he helped the two new school administrators up to the stage.
“Thank you,” Diane shook his hand and turned toward the others. “And again, thank you all for coming.”
The others greeted her with nods and other acknowledgments. Jean gave Dorene the evil eye but smiled at the same time.
She pointed to the doors in the back of the auditorium, “Thirty children will be arriving through those doors in a few minutes. Our goal here is train for the future or all the work we have done is worthless. Once we go through the gate, the kids become our resource pool. My sister and I understand that and so does the Queen. Arguments aside we need all of you to be on board with us too.” The two twins looked around the stage at the department heads. Several monitors showed the faces or offices of those that couldn’t be present physically. “Are you?”
There was a pause before a new voice entered the conversation.
“That is a question I would like the answer to as well.” Everyone on stage turned toward Bethany Anne’s voice.
The Queen strode onto the stage from the direction of the Admin offices. Her ever-present white German Shepherd, Ashur, and John Grimes, her bodyguard, followed in her wake. She was dressed as if she was either returning from, or going into an operation. She had on black leather with pistols and two swords.
John Grimes looked in all directions without turning his head more than ten degrees. He knew everyone on stage but it didn’t hurt to be cautious.
He tried not to smile at the twin sisters because Jean wouldn’t like it. Inside he was laughing his ass off. It had been a few years but he had forgotten about the calendars the women had put together of him and the rest of the Queen’s Bitches. All of the guys had joined in, to make the beefcake calendar.
He wondered where and how they found them. Bethany Anne had poked him in the arm and pointed when she first saw them, smirking.
Everyone on stage nodded and voiced agreement with the woman who started this grand adventure they were on. She was the reason for everything and they owed her the world.
“Good. We need this to work. Ladies?” Bethany Anne looked at the newest additions to her group.
Diane stepped stepped past her sister, who was trying pitifully to hide from both John and Jean, and answered Bethany Anne, “The children should be coming through the doors in just a moment. Max, the shuttle driver, just dropped them off.”
“This is it! The Etheric Academy. Be sure you gather up your belongings, my next stop is waste management and trust me you don’t want to go there looking for stuff.” Max was the tram driver. The internal trains were mostly automatic except when it came to those for the Academy. Both the Queen and the school administrators felt a human presence would be best.
Max peered at his monitors and read outs. “Hey, you in the back? Are you awake? This is your stop.” Pressing a few buttons the lights in the last car began to strobe and flash. Anyone still in there was awake now. He watched as a smallish young man stepped off the car shaking his head. “Kids.”
He double checked to make sure the cars were all clear and exited the cockpit himself. The tram would return to regular service unless needed for students. Here at the Academy, Max was the all around Mr-Fixit. His job was to keep the place running and do any heavy lifting the Administrators needed.
“WEEEET” Max pulled his fingers out of his mouth. Not many people remembered how to whistle like that anymore. The new students all stopped and turned to look at him, their eyes wide.
“Gather round,” he waited for the kids to get closer. A couple stepped back. Max pointed to the main doors, “Now those are the doors to your new life. If anyone wishes to return to your family, now is the time to speak up. There is no shame in wanting to wait.” None of the kids spoke but many looked around like prairie dogs searching for predators.
“Great. This is your new beginning. Go through the doors and hang a left into the auditorium. We have a small presentation set up for you.” Smiling he stepped ahead of the kids and opened the door on the left.
All thirty kids tried to fit through the doors at the same time. There was very little pushing or shoving, just everyone trying to squeeze in at once.
“Take your time. The school isn’t going anywhere!” Kids were the same everywhere Max thought to himself. He had been a building maintenance supervisor for some of the biggest colleges in the country before answering an email that appeared on his phone at home one night. That had been the best decision of his life.
Who wouldn’t want to work in space?