[ISS] Good Morning Again, Class (Ash 1.6, Mar 1.5, Our 1.3, Tab 1.7)


ISS Tsiolkovsky - Reactor Cooling Array Cargo Bay 42 - Earthdate: 2316.29.08 08:05 GMT

This is your homeroom today:
Homeroom - Gen 16 - Day Two

Malcolm "Good morning, class." Instructor Malcolm pauses for a response. Bea chirps one, followed by Aiden, who sounds like it isn't what he'd like to do, but "first row". "A couple of quick announcements. First of all, your classmates Priscilla and Olivar will both be absent today." He looks off camera at something, reads, "Secondly, I need to remind all of you that curfew is serious business. A properly maintained sleep schedule is necessary to meet the strict schedules for this cycle of school. Along with curfew, I have received reports of students making extended unsupervised visits in the quarters of other students. Now, I know yesterday was Beacon Day, and we all spent some time on the feed, so I'm willing to let this go with a warning. For next Beacon Day, we will adjust the hours after school and have a group viewing of feeds. To enhance a sense of community."

He looks up at the camera, seeing all of you on his monitors, "I'd like to test out the public viewing after class today, in fact. Who would like to volunteer to lead this?" He waits for a response.

Ashlee, how did you sleep? How do you look today? Lucas has been watching you all morning, have you said anything to him?

Mark, when Nadja sends you a Navi message laughing about how pissed Nerd Girl was to find her bed, what do you respond?

Tabitha, Zola hasn't spoken a word to you this morning. No looks, no Navi messages. Nothing. Oh... what are you wearing, by the way?

Ourania, around four hours ago, you received a message, anonymized, that Priscilla was placed into a medical coma. The anonymous message thanked you for your quick help to make sure she was taken to the Med Bay and mentions that Corporal Rys recommended a commendation for your efforts. This is now "in process". What did you reply?


  • image
    OK, so for the most part my mood so far today has been pretty good. Mainly thinking about Nadja. But there's even a thrill of the secret in the way Aiden just nodded hello when I got back, just like every day, and I said "Night, man" like normal and that was it. But also the way Nadja-- yeah, well anyway. However.

    However, three things have been puncturing that mood when they hover into my minds eye. One: Pris. Two: I was a total A-hole to Ourania. Three: the state we left Ashlee's stuff in.

    Nadja's message brings number three into focus.

    I kind of zone out from what Instructor Malcolm is saying.

    I should say sorry to Ashlee. Unless she doesn't know it was me who was there? No, come on, like that's real mature.

    I tap out a quick message to Ashlee:
    hey, sorry about messing up your stuff. things got out of hand, then it was too close to curfew to tidy up in time. shouldn't have done it in the 1st place. really sorry.

    I hit send and then there's that sneering little voice in one side of my head.
    Ugh, you're such a doormat, Mark. You don't need to apologize to her. What's she going to do anyway?

    Yeah, well I already did.
  • edited March 2016
    Ashlee, how did you sleep? How do you look today? Lucas has been watching you all morning, have you said anything to him?

    Often I arrive just at the bell, walk in quietly and sit just as Malcolm's monitor powers up to hush anyone who might say something to me.

    But this morning went the other way, I was awake early with a chill and was out of the room before Nadja woke. Feeling awful, I slipped out of the room and into the bathroom down the hall near class. Wet my face and hair with too-hot water, wiped the signs of stress and pitiful crying from my eyes.

    I still look weary, I haven't showered and only changed into a clean shirt I happened to sleep on top of. Despite my efforts my eyes are dark and I'm just avoiding looking at pretty much anyone. Head down on my desk and looking unmistakably like I want nothing to do with anything.

    Haven't spoken to Lucas, at least glanced back for a moment when he arrived, as long as that was before Mark sat down. It hasn't really sunk in yet, that Priscilla isn't in.

    My navi buzzes with that message and I raise my head to look at it, shake my head. Very aware that Mark is sitting just behind me to the left, I tap out a brief reply:
    you can have her. stay out of my bed
    I don't look up again until Malcolm comes on, and don't answer him either. It's not like he cares about me anyway.
  • image

    I look at Ashlee's reply for a few seconds with a hollow stare. Pretty fair.

    I stare a little longer and it finally sinks in.
    "You can have her." You can have her.
    That's not just an annoyed room-mate, that's like... like what you'd say if you were, y'know, into Nadja yourself. Isn't it?

    I rest my chin on my hands, still looking at the Navi screen.
    That explains a lot. And it makes what I did last night even worse.
    Ashlee has a crush on Nadja and...

    I glance up and of course what I see is Pris's empty chair.
    While Ourania was helping her to medbay, what was I doing?
    Losing my temper, smashing stuff and then breaking Ashlee's heart.

    I am such an idiot. An oblivious, horny idiot.

  • To: Mark pls dont volunteer 4 the stupid grp view. speedball then me n u, ok? Nadja
  • edited March 2016
    To: Nadja wasn't gonna. sounds boring as drokk. Mark
    To: Nadja I mean the group view boring. not the other yhng Mark
    To: Nadja *thing. Mark
    To: Nadja p.s. we need to talk about ashlee Mark
  • To: Mark dont feel bad 4 hr, Nerd Girl is fine. just needs 2 shower. Nadja
  • image
    I'm starting to think Nadja might be, you know, a bit of a mean girl.

    I don't reply. We'll talk later.

    I glance over my shoulder at Ourania. Didn't get a chance to talk to her on the way in.
  • image

    I glance over at Zola. I'm not sure what I expected, but this kind of chill was not it. I thought sex would be a little more important but maybe I'm just wrong.

    I'm wearing The Shirt today, and it feels even more delicious to wear that it did on the hangar. I wanted to talk about it with Ourania but when she got back from what she was doing last cycle she was very muted and I was spent myself.

    I spend a little time looking at Pris's empty seat. I hope she's alright, Pris has never said an unkind word to me.

    Malcolm's curfew talk is tedious. I can't believe they don't have Beacon Day figured out yet.
  • image

    I'm tired this morning. After lights out I couldn't stop thinking about Pris.

    And Tabitha snores. Not super loud, but enough that I found myself listening to it. I turned over and watched her a while, the thing they put on her face to fix her nose making her profile odd.

    Somehow I finally fell asleep. Then the message early this morning. I can't decide if they're lying about Pris or not. She might be dead.

    Rys could have let me go with her. She deserved that. I declined the commendation, requesting it be cancelled, and making up some bullshit answer about not wanting to stand out. I attached the request that Tab not get Ionna's personal mail anymore and sent it on.

    When Malcolm calls for volunteers I stay quiet.
  • image

    After what seems like an interminable wait, a game of chicken where nobody wants to be the first to give in to the authority and volunteer, Aiden finally clears his throat and says he'll lead the first public viewing.

    image "Excellent Aiden. The speedball team is excused, but I expect anyone who does not have assignments and wishes to view Beacon feed after class will share in this communal experience. The public viewing will be open from the end of class until fifteen minutes before curfew. We will be monitoring access to the feed outside of the public viewing room." That gets some "Awww" remarks from a few kids, but Instructor Malcolm ignores it.

    "Now, with announcements over, let's get to work." Malcolm begins recitation of the subject for the day. It's a review of twenty first century politics of the Western Hemisphere of Earth. Specifically, he leads a discussion about the failed two party system of the United States of America. "What was most interesting about the government of this country was their insistence, from a propaganda standpoint, on calling it a democracy. Now, let's examine a two-party system with an in-class exercise. I'd like two volunteers to lead our political parties. Each volunteer can choose a running mate, and the rest of the class will be the voting public. Think of it as a game."

    He pauses, looking at each of you through his monitor, "The winning party will have unfettered access to the Beacon Feed for the rest of the day, after class, of course. Now, who would like to run for... president?"

    The class all looks at each other for a moment, stirred to interest from the bribe, but still considering.

    What do you do?
  • edited March 2016
    To: Pax hey did Rys talk to you about being on the speedball squad? Now is a great time to join. Mark
  • edited March 2016
    To: Mark He didn't. Guess he was busy with Priscilla. I'll come by after class. Haven't played in a while. I'm sure I suck. Pax
  • image
    Obviously I'm in no state of mind to volunteer for something like that. Not even on an average day. I keep my eyes forward, and away from Zola... nothing good is going to come from antagonizing anyone, and I don't need any more enemies right now.

    I do notice Priscilla's absence. That's a sobering feeling, and makes me just shake my head. Why haven't I been nicer to her? She actually reached out to me... sometimes I suck.
  • edited March 2016
    I don't volunteer. He'll probably pick me out anyway. No sense in putting my hand up, it would hardly win any friends.
  • image

    The class is quiet for a few minutes as Instructor Malcolm waits for someone to volunteer.

    "Well? Anyone?" Malcolm asks with a hint of irritation. He looks at each of you from his monitor. Navis power off, and Nadja hisses a curse, a few other groans. "Perhaps now I have your attention?"

    Still, nobody volunteers, heads cast down, avoiding the instructor's gaze. He waits. Waits for another two minutes. Then finally, "Very well, the candidates will be appointed, by me." He looks across the class one more time, some students are looking up, "Zola," she exhales with an almost whine. "And Ourania. Choose your running-mates. You may each take an hour to develop your platforms. I will sync your Navis to the most recent environmental polls on problems in your pod."

    "In the interim, your voting public will begin a discussion on the same issues. Since we did not have one hundred percent participation in the polling, it might be good to remind everyone what matters to each of you."
  • image Zola sighs, then pushes herself up from her desk and stands, then looks back at the rest of the class. "I'll take Tabitha. She's been a good teammie, and she's actually dressed nice today. For once." She meets your eyes for a moment, but there's no loving affection there, if you even know what that looks like. Zola starts to head for the exit out of the classroom.

    What do you do?
  • image

    I roll my eyes wondering whether the instructor realizes he just made his point about that system in that the candidates were actually chosen by the barely concealed oligarchy and not the people.

    Ah well, I might as well do my own experiment with power dynamics, even if the result is something of a forgone conclusion.

    "Rys, you're my running mate."
  • image
    "While the candidates are leaving, I'd like Ashlee and Mark to lead discussion on the pod issues. I will leave you to it for the next hour." He winks off his monitor.

    What do you do?

  • image
    Ashlee is not giving off the general vibe of someone who wants to lead a discussion, so I stand up, unclip my Navi and go stand over near Olivar's desk so everyone can see me. I'll try to bring Ashlee into the discussion in a minute.

    "OK," I say, "I guess the best thing to do first is to poll ourselves. How about everyone think of one issue in the pod you think is important and send it to my Navi. Then when we have nine, including mine, I'll put them all up on the screen. If we get duplicates, I guess that shows something as well. But anyway, we can start the discussion from there."

    I open a note tab and write my own suggestion in there: Med bay needs to be refitted

    While I'm waiting, I send a quick message to Coach Ryan, basically saying hey, practice went fine yesterday although we're rusty, and by the way is everything OK?

  • image

    Rys looks slightly surprised. Not shocked, but surprised. He rises from his seat to walk out with you, Ourania. Please go here.
  • edited March 2016

    Zola heads out of the classroom. Tabitha, please go here.

  • edited March 2016

    Mark and Ashlee,

    "Come on, Mark." Jace says as he moves over to sit in Gwen's empty seat. "Is anyone seriously considering voting for Ourania? I mean, she's the little snitch who's out to get us outside of class, why would we want her bossing us around in class, too? Also, Zola's a teammie." He looks across at his sister. "Mi Sun, who are you voting for?"

    Jace's sister shifts in her seat, not as assured as her brother. "I dunno. Ourania did help out Pris last night, right, Bea?" She looks over at Bea as she's moving seats and the front row girl blinks, suddenly put on the spot. Bea shrugs, and Mi Sun answers for her, "Zola's mean. At least Ourania's smart, and maybe she'll ease up if she's actually in charge."

  • edited March 2016
    That surprises me, that Malcolm called my name (rare) and that he also called Mark (ugh). But Mark just goes up and starts without me, which you know kind of might suck a little, but today I'm just glad not to have to stand up there.

    I don't think I could handle that.

    I glance at Jace, avoid looking at Zola. Ouriana? Really this election is going to be awful no matter who wins. I find myself staring at Mark, though. Pretty much hate him right now, but those words of Nadja's go through my head...

    His abs... no... no way Ashlee. No way is he worth it.

    A little smile crosses my lips and I tap-tap out an issue for Mark:
    if you hate your roommate, you should get your own room.
  • image
    Great, this is already going off course.

    "Guys," I say, "this is a class exercise with a prize for the winners. It's pretend. Do you seriously think they'd choose a position of authority based on what we think? I've got two issues on my screen now. Just write one each and we can get on with things."

  • edited March 2016

    image Bea pipes up with, "We need the parts to fix the 3-D printer." She licks her lips, then keeps talking, "And a process for room reassignment. Like, if we... want a roomie. Or hate our current one." She sits down and turns to you, giving you her full attention, which is much better than Jace, Mi Sun or Lucas.

    Ashlee, Lucas is still staring at you.

    You get a message back:
    To: Mark Sorry I wasn't able to make it. I knew you could run the team. Rys says we need subs, said Jace isn't cutting it. Thoughts? Coach Ryan
  • image
    I glance at Bea, at least someone agrees with me. I wonder what her problem is, though, she's got a room to herself.

    I say out loud though, "yeah." Cause she said out loud kind of what I was thinking.

    As I look though I notice Lucas back there still staring at me. Not like he's in an easy seat for me to chit-chat with or anything. If he has something to say to me he should just use the Navi, or find me after class.

    I make a little what? face at him.

    Ok, maybe we shouldn't talk about whatever it is he wants to talk about over the Navi where Malcolm can probably read. One reason I don't chat with friends over the Navi that much... ok that's an excuse. I don't have any friends.

    Still not getting up to help Mark.
  • image
    "Ashlee", Pax says, the first words she's spoken today. "Aren't you leading this, too?" Her tone's neutral, but she's obviously calling you out. Why does Pax think you got her demerits last week during un-school, Ashlee? Did you actually rat her out? If not, who did?

  • edited March 2016
    A cringe when I hear my name from Pax, who sits right in front of me. Of course I didn't rat her out, why would I even get involved in stuff that's none of my business? Pax is always out past curfew, thinks she's got the monitors and cameras and whatever figured out. Something electronic that she's figured out through hacking her wall panel or Navi or something... I didn't ask.

    Anyway she ran into me in the halls twice past curfew and then got busted in the next couple days and being all smart she figured it must be me. And who do you think it really was? Ourania, likely. I can't prove it, but come on... who else would care?



    That burn behind my eyes intensifies. I swallow and look up at Mark.

    "Mark doesn't need my help, he... he's got it all figured out," I snap, and cringe at how uneven and upset my voice sounds when I finally say something out loud. I thought I had that under control... guess not quite.

    I look over at Mark, like... eyes burning. He does not want my help right now.
  • To: Ashlee Mark doesn't have to run everything. You should speak up. You're smarter than he is anyways. Are you okay? After effects from last night? You miss it, right? Told you. Lucas
  • image
    To: Lucas Do you think I care about this stuff? Mark can drokking choke on it. I don't miss it. I'm fine.
    I send the message and glance back at Lucas as he must be reading. What do you care, anyway, Lucas? Why did you sit way back there if you're so concerned about the class.

    He probably catches me looking and we meet eyes for a second.

    "Do you need any help, Mark?" I say near-silently to myself as I turn back around. But I can't get myself to stand up and ask out loud. Nobody wants to hear from me anyway.

    I just kind of glare up at Mark and have trouble sitting still cause I know I'm being kind of a wuss. But Malcolm has no clue what he's asking... yesterday it would be like a dream... paired up with Mark in front of everyone.

    After last night, not so much.
  • edited March 2016
    I let out a little sigh and put up three phrases on the main display: Room assignments. 3D printer parts. Maintenance in the med bay.

    At least with the roommates issue we've found something people may actually care slightly about. Enough to speak up.

    "OK, so room assignments have come up twice, for the record - once by Navi message. Ashlee, what do we need to discuss next?"

    I gesture to shift the room's attention to Ashlee and sit down at Olivar's desk.

    I pull up Coach Ryan's message and send a reply:
    To: Coach Ryan We do need subs. Pax will join today's training session. Jace is doing well. Take what Rys says about him with a grain of salt, there are off-court issues between them. They're still OK on the court though. Mark
  • edited March 2016

    To: Mark There should be no off-court issues. You will take care of this, right? If not, I will remove Jace from the team. Make sure Pax understands the basics. I will be at practice today. Drills. Coach Ryan
  • image

    Ashlee, they're all looking at you, waiting for you to step up, run this discussion or whatever. It's all on you now. I think you need to Hold Steady to pull that off.
  • edited March 2016

    I look up from my desk, stare daggers at Mark. How could he do this to me? Doesn't he know everyone hates me? I know Malcolm doesn't have a clue, but Mark? Is he doing this on purpose?

    Haven't you done enough?

    I try to pull it together, breathe deep, calm... don't let them get to you again, Ashlee...

    What' the worst that could happen? I... I guess I could lose my head and say something way too personal about Mark in front of everyone.
  • Holding steady (Cold -1)
    (Rolled: 2d6-1. Rolls: 2, 2. Total: 3)
  • edited March 2016
    I stand up and glance to the back of the room, every pair of eyes staring at me. I feel my heart pound, that pressure behind my eyes feels like it's going to burst.

    "N... next?" I stare at Mark and fumble for words. "I mean... we just need to vote, right? Like..."

    I look to Mark and back, everything that happened last night floods back into my head. I feel the wetness of the sheets on my hands, the scent, Nadja's words ring in my head.

    "Really.... ripped. His abs... so nice..." I say quietly, but loud enough. Then I feel my face turning hot as I realize what I've said out loud in front of everyone... I try to recover.

    "N..no... I don't care about Mark's body..." I wave my arms wildly in front of my face, I don't know where to look as I desperately try to look controlled but I can't. I cant keep it together like Tabitha. I bury my face in my hands and shake my head as I stupidly go on, "I mean... no... no! I didn't... I don't! I don't even want to talk about that! We... we need to vote. Um... what's next?"

    I want to disappear. I don't dare open my mouth again and I fall back into my seat, just a pitiful little sound stuck in my throat.
  • image
    Whiskey. Tango. Delta.

    I stare at Ashlee for a moment. I think my mouth even drops open a little.

    "Uh... what? I mean. OK, thanks, Ashlee." I stand up again. Clearly I'm going to have to do all of this. "Let's just assume those three things on the screen are our main issues, I guess. Now. Should we tell the candidates that or just make them talk when they get back? Like, present their platforms first and then we ask them about these things."

    I look round the room for someone to answer.
    Ashlee gets a little shrug and a what the hell? look.
  • image
    Nothing I can say, right? At least Zola wasn't here to see that.

    But Mark gives me that shrug which just kind of stings, I shrug back, little look on my face like what?

    Cause he knows what he did. Don't look at me like that, Mark.

    But It doesn't last long. I shrink into my seat a little... they're still looking at me, aren't they? But I'm not going to break... not like last time. I'm not moving from this seat. Let them stare. I just have to hold on.
  • image

    To: Ashlee R u jelly, Nerd Girl? did you... want some? pretty sure he left some on ur bed. Nadja

    image Trying to keep things on topic, offering you a save, Mark, Aiden speaks up, "If we tell them what we care about, they'll just parrot it back to us." He clears his throat, he doesn't talk out loud often. "They should be developing their platforms, and I'd like to see their pitch." He leans against the wall, since all the close seats are taken.
  • image
    Thank you, Aiden. I nod appreciatively.

    "Yeah, that's kind of what I figured. Should we make them do like a Q&A too?"

    I really have no appetite for this. I just want class to be over so that I can catch up with Ourania. But the cameras are on, even if Malcolm isn't actively watching.

    I sneak a glance at Nadja.

  • image

    image "A Question and Answer works." Pax agrees. She clucks her tongue like she's thinking something over, but it's mostly to keep anyone from talking over her. She looks at you, Mark, then over to Ashlee, "Since you're leading the discussion now, I think Ashlee can handle the Q and A, right? I mean, we don't want her shirking her assignment. That could... well, it could mean demerits or something, right?"

    Mark, Nadja looks right back at you, and slowly licks her lips, then winks.
  • image
    For a few red-faced moments I thought this was over. Yeah, Nadja. Just a deep, angry breath when I got her message and for a few moments considered all kinds of nasty things to replay.... but it's pointless. I just have to be prepared for what she's going to say to me later. Probably for the rest of forever.

    But I thought maybe that's all I had to deal with. So I'm almost startled that Pax sticks her nose in again.

    "What do you care, Pax?" I kick her chair wih the heel of my shoe, "if you care so much about the stupid assignment why don't you do it?"

    I can't help but stare at the cold, dark monitor staring back at us. Malcolm doesn't care about me. He won't bother.... will he?
  • image

    Ashlee, Pax gives you a smart alek smile, but doesn't answer.
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