Lesson One: Why Bob?
Chapter One: Dirty Apes!
"People are over-rated. Sometimes, I swear, I would rather like to perform a great genocide upon the whole lot of these barbaric primates. That would certainly teach them for being so pompous about their culture focused about amassing riches and collective friends never seen in person through the vast expanse of the technological age."
The girl talking to the pond, in front of the somehow unbelievably technologically advanced house, is me. To say that my house is advanced is to suggest that the American Space Program, NASA, is an overzealous fireworks program, somewhat of an insult. Some houses might have one of those anti-theft security break-in alarms, but my house makes that obsolete. We have Barnaby. Barnaby is our one size fits all security enforcement, lawn maintenance, house painter and maintainer, and when necessary a fantastic cook. Sure, I know what you are thinking, we have a butler. Do any butlers you know have eight ambidextrous arms, two independently functioning eyes the size of basketballs, or a set of barbed, poisonous quills that can be fired up to a quarter mile at offending trespassers? I thought not. Barnaby is pretty cool in just about every way, thought he is the tiny bit sensitive about what he is referred to as.
"Hey Squeak! If you don't stop talking to your pet octopus, you'll be late for orientation!"
And for yet another time, Terrance appears to have forgotten that you should never call Barnaby an octopus. Terrance was that kid that no one really understood. He loved fire, enjoyed blowing things up, was an aspiring aerospace technician, and had a tendency for forgetting key elements in life, as he found himself on the wrong side of a dangerous game of tag with Barnaby. After all, just because he was assembled from the DNA of several species of creatures by my parents in an attempt to keep me save and healthy, does not mean Barnaby lacks feelings.
My parents you ask? My mother is the lead Bio-technician for COREtec, the world's foremost company of biological and technological innovation. My father happens to be the vice president of the COREtec research and development team. Without having to say much, one can imagine that my parents have great expectations of me, and stay very busy. Why else would they go through the trouble of making me a live-in nanny?
"Isn't there something you can do to get this crazy octopus to stop chasing me?!"
"For starters, I would stop referring to him as an octopus. Honestly, you're such a dunce sometimes; you should just apologize. And it might help if you refer to him by name."
Barnaby was now seconds away from capturing and consuming what he perceived as a viable threat, thought it was to his own pride, rather than my safety. Starting my orientation day with a death indirectly caused by my own lack of judgment just would not sit well next to my morning meal, so I reacted with the only method one can when stopping a raging chimera. Bribery. From my satchel I produced a tuna head, entrails and skeletal structure intact.
"Oh Barnaby! If you stop harassing the neighbor boy I'll let you have this scrumptious fish head. I even left you the entrails, because I know they're your favorite!"
With an uncanny impersonation of a puppy dog wanting to be loved, Barnaby stopped his assault and returned to the pond, much as the creature from the black lagoon did. And of course, I threw him the proverbial bone.
"Can we get onto school? I really don't want to be late and is that…Aw! You're 'thing' slimed me really good. Mom will scold me good for ruining another pair of pants."
"Well cry me a river Mr. I-blow-things-up-but-need-proper-clothing. If you would remember to just give Barnaby his respect you wouldn't be in this predicament now would you? How long does this orientation last anyway, I'm really dying to start with the real class work. Speaking of which, how did you manage to get into this school anyway, Terrance? I thought that you failed the entrance practical."
With a great sigh of revelation that could only mean it was time for a story of failure, we picked up our bags and headed toward the school. Terrance and I, as well as all the brightest minds in the region, applied to Hippocampus Institute for Performance and Progressive Observation otherwise labeled H.I.P.P.O. for short, in the fall of last year. Typical practical tests with pen and paper are my specialty, and within a few days I received work in the mail that I would not only be accepted but allowed in under special conditions, though I have yet to know what those conditions are. Now Terrance, he is another story. I have watched Terrance fail out of tests since we were in grade school, so this particular story had my attention.
"Okay, well you know how we were given a two part test? We took a written exam followed by a practical exam? Truth be told, I received less then acceptable scores on the written exam in all fields. I was pretty distraught and almost positive they wouldn't accept me. Then I remembered that we had a practical exam with our choice of three subjects, Biology, Chemistry, and Engineering. And that's where it hit me."
"Oh no. You didn't!"
"You bet I did. In our half-hour time frame, I managed to construct the better part of a latent afterburner engine I had been designing, and mix up enough of the base fuel formula to produce half a cell! The instructors were so impressed that they asked me to give the engine a test fire."
"Wow Terrance…that's so unlike you. I was waiting for the part of your story where something blew up."
Scratching his head, my young acquaintance began to laugh rather uneasily.
"Well, I wouldn't give me such praise until you see the gymnasium during our orientation. The Director of Administration allowed me in under the circumstances that I never be allowed chemicals without at least four proctors present."
"And that's the Terrance I know. Speaking of which, I don't suppose you want anything for your birthday this year…Terrance?"
I must admit I was baffled at how fast Terrance could disappear. During our conversation we had come upon the main gates of the school, and though he is an acquaintance, our kinship goes no further. Across the field from myself I found Terrance running up to his friends. But I knew better then to approach him now unless I wished to be treated by Terrance the same way everyone else treats me. Do you remember that kid in school that was always alone with a book? The same kid that bullies picked on but no one would help because they did not really know that kid? What about the kid that ruined the grading curve on each and every test because, unfortunately for everyone else, she was simply too smart for her own good? How about the cute little fragile-hearted girl that wanted to give up everything she had, each and every day, if someone would just be her genuine friend for five minutes? If you suggest that you do not, I call you a liar. Well, unfortunately I find myself being 'that kid'.
In grade school, I was often treated as a cockroach. I was a being that one could smother from existence with a shoe or a book simply because it was misunderstood. Unfortunately for myself, and for those with the shoes, it takes more than a beating to destroy this cockroach. So from a relatively early start, I forced my outward appearance into something that no one would converse with even from the beginning. My parents often told me that if I wore proper clothes, and tried harder that I might make a friend, but the truth was that no one wanted a friend like me. I never have understood why I have been made to feel as though I am shunned, but rest assured that it has given me a rather sour disposition on life. More than that, I have a rather poor attitude about those who talk about me as though I am not here. Walking into class for orientation, all I heard around me were the murmurs of my fellow classmates to-be.
"Hey, isn't that Kimimura? She's the one that made a perfect score on her entrance exams, right? Should we ask her to sit next to us?"
"Only if you want to be an outcast too. That girl is a freak around here. An answer for every problem, and design or prototype for every issue, she's just showing off. Manners are what she needs."
"Who, the little one there with the pink hair? She looks harmless."
"Harmless? Her parents basically run COREtec, and she's the brain behind them is what I hear."
"She's the reason I had to fight so hard to get into this school, a brain like that could just go to college out right but no, she's taking up space here in the institute to try and fit in."
It is not fair to be judged for so much when people never stop to get to know you. I'm tired of always living in my parent's shadows, and how do they expect me to stop being who I am? I love science! I understand formulas and technology the same way an auto mechanic knows how to fix a car. The whole lot of these people leaves me feeling a bit ill. Another few years of banishment is all expected. As I took a gaze around the room, all eyes were uniquely focused on everything except me. I decided to take my seat and gear in for another year.
The room was rather simple for a homeroom class, lab desks suited up to four students and everyone was in the process of picking partners. As usual I chose to sit in the back where no one would remember I existed, hopefully. At least I get a window to stare out of so I can forget all the evil eyes grazing upon me. Many of the faces around the room are attached to painful memories. Terrance happens to be sitting with his three closest friends, whom all helped in performing the classic rendition of Carrie during my acceptance of the Youth Mechanic Proto-Scholarship. The fact that they used cold Mechanics Lubricant instead of pig's blood only served to insult me further.
Across the room from me, at the front of the classroom, reserved for the most brown of noses is a group of individuals I have dubbed Team Nanban. Consisting of the four valedictorians of the surrounding schools in the area, the members of Team Nanban think, act, and do as one. Since I was in early grade school, I day in my life just would not be the same without an afternoon's hazing by each one of those anthill rejects. The whole Nanban team once spent an afternoon sending volleys of text books at me during my studies in the library, and with considerably impressive aim. I still have a scar from that endeavor. Their goal has always been to take me out of the running for any school scholarship or prize simply because they cannot stand being second in anything. To them, I am a threat that needs to be disposed of.
On my far right is yet another acquaintance, Archibald Tibowitz Seigawa IV, and his Dungeons and Dragons companions. Archibald, who goes by either Archi or Arch Dungeon Master Hex, is probably one of the more abnormal individuals in this school. Archi and his group of Dice throwing flunkies, however, are only at fault for simply shunning me. They treat me as if I am some sort of Red Dragon amongst their flock of level one newbie characters, as if I would ever want to play a game with them. It is not like I spent a whole week just learning how to play and figuring out how to approach them in just the right manner as to suggest that I wanted to play with my wood elf mage whom I had to painstakingly create in the hopes that I may finally make a friend, only to have the entire table get up and move across the room and continue their game without acknowledging me. Who would do such a ridiculous thing?
Times like these call for forced diplomacy. From my bag I pulled the only shield I had available to me, a book called Quantum Language. Nothing could keep me happy with myself like a good book which could further my knowledge of science. That is to say, it would have helped if Nanban had not been waiting for this moment since last fall. Before I knew what was even going on, I was staring at the ceiling and the world was as I had remembered it. Cruel.
"Ya know Kimimura, when the proctors told us that 'knowledge is power', I never thought that this knowledge would have the power to knock you flat on your back."
Wafting another book around in her hand as if to toss yet another volley, my only saving grace came over the intercom, just as the whole room broke out into laughter at my expense.
"Kimimura, report to the Director of Administrations, please. Kimimura, to the Director of Administrations, please."
As I picked up my belongings and walked toward the front of the classroom to the door, I could only recognize this as what would be the walk of shame. I am in class for ten minutes and the open mockery is beginning. The first to start up is Terrance and his group; I really do hate him.
"Look at that, maybe they're going to kick her out for being such a know-it-all! I mean even this institute has limits!"
"No, they just want to give her a diploma and get her out of here before she steals an instructor's position. Then we would have to deal with Kimimura every day!"
Of course, as usual, all four of the Nanban moron's spoke in unison when they needed to insult my pride further. I could already feel the tears welling up, but I held them back. Nobody will get the privilege to see me shed a tear for their insults.
"Don't you worry, Kimimura, we will wait with bated breath to hear about your fate. That's just how much we care as the four smartest minds in this school."
With great joy, I closed the door to that class room full of heathens, only to find myself slumped on the floor just beside it so I could finally let out some of the pain. After a few moments I could tell someone noticed because the remarks found their way through the glass on the door. I simply did not care. A few moments later, I pulled myself together and began the brisk walk to the Administration office. As I said before, sometimes I wish I could perform a grand genocide on this entire race of barbaric primates.