It wasn’t until she was half way to the Councilor’s office that she remembered the small box from her locker. She had pocketed it when TT was giving her a hard time and now pulled it out curiously. It was another set of charms for the bracelet she had gotten before; these ones were tiny glass figures that also appeared to be from the Chinese Zodiac. Victoria held the dragon up to the light and could see a tiny bit of liquid inside that caught the sun and sent green-tinged rainbows flickering on the walls. There was a neatly penned note inside.
“To be thrown at the feet of enemies.” Was all it said. She shrugged and put the box back in her pocket. They were beautifully crafted even if her admirer seemed to have a cryptic streak a mile wide.
The door Big K’s office was open and there were a couple students inside already. Victoria took a seat near the window and tapped into her phone to send Yuen-Ja a quick text. “Let mom and dad know I’ll be late, they probably know already but it can’t hurt. Also tell David to stay out of trouble, I’m not sure he’s going to listen to me. See you at around 5:00! –V”
Two more figures entered the room; Donna was leading ‘Ms. Daceiron’ “I just have a few things for you to sign before you leave for the day.” She picked up a fat stack of papers and shoved them at Dace.
“Can I take this with me to read it over? I ain’t used to signing things without reading ‘em first.” Her gaze wandered over the students in the room, acknowledging their presence but not lingering on any one more than another.
“This is merely a copy of the student teaching agreement we sent you by email. You’ve probably read it through already.” Said Donna, “Or if you want to sit and read it now you’re welcome to hang out with the few delinquents I haven’t managed to beat into submission yet.”
Dace took the papers and sat, flipping through them. At one point she paused and seemed to re-read a section a couple of times before continuing with an odd expression on her face, then nodded and continued.
“Students, you are here for a variety of reasons, however one thing remains constant.” Kneepkens was sitting behind her desk and looking at them over steepled fingers. “You have all broken the rules and need a little bit of work to remind you to follow them. Here we have a card catalogue, and I have terminals for you to work on. We are working on digitizing our library in preparation for the new wing that will be built this summer. Each of you must complete two hundred entries before you are excused.”
Victoria ignored the moans of the other students and walked to the front of the classroom. She grabbed a stack of cards and flipped them through her fingers, watching carefully and counting as they rolled off her thumb and setting down piles of fifty. She could feel Donna’s eyes on her as she walked to a terminal, sat and began to enter the ISDN number, title, author and bar code label into the system.
Other students followed her lead, shuffling miserably to the front and laboriously counting out a stack of cards. By the time the first of them had sat down, Victoria had finished her tenth card and had hacked into the library system through the school’s WIFI network. She started flipping through cards, reading them and sending the data to the proper fields. For every card she entered manually she did ten with Adam’s help.
Two hundred cards took her approximately nine minutes. Victoria walked up to where Donna was reading a magazine and set the stack of cards on her desk. “Here you go. Two hundred cards finished, may I be excused now?”
“You expect me to believe you’ve completed your task already?” Donna narrowed her eyes, “Come now Miss Scott, you don’t think I’m that stupid do you?”
“What I think of you is irrelevant, my work is done and I’m asking to be excused.” Victoria said, keeping her tone level and polite. “Please. Go ahead and spot check them if you’d like.”
Donna set her mouth in a firm disapproving line and pulled a card from the middle of the pile. Pulling up the system on her desktop she punched in the author and, of course, found the title of the book. She tried another, then another, and with each one her frown became deeper. Finally she gave Victoria a disgusted look.
“Fine. I’m not sure how you did it but you may go. I’ll see you here again tomorrow.”
“This all looks in order.” Dace had finished reading and signing the documents and was bringing them back to Donna’s desk.
“Excellent, you’re just in time to walk Miss Scott out of the building. Thank you Ms. Daceiron, it will be a pleasure having such a highly recommended individual working with us.” She stood and shook Dace’s hand.
As soon as they were out of the room she turned and to Victoria, “What a fuckin’ blowhard. What’d you do to get stuck in there anyway? Your file says you’re some kinda genius.”
“I could ask you the same question, only your file says you’re some kind of military maniac.” She reached her locker and opened it. “I got in trouble for being too good.”
“Yeah, that’s why I’m here too; you’re too good.” Dace said, folding her arms and frowning. “There ain’t a civi in the world who can just walk out of a situation that takes apart half a highly trained Special Forces team.”
Victoria finished stuffing books in her bag and slammed her locker shut. Locking eyes with Dace she stuck out her right leg, showing the carbon fiber of her legs where they showed over the tops of her stockings. “I think you’re misremembering. I didn’t walk out of anything your team was involved in.”
“Poor choice of words, sorry. Ya moved with us as though ya’d been on the team for years and the only reason ya got injured was because ya took an astronomical risk to disable that…” Dace shuddered, “That fuckin’ monster. Look I owe ya, we owe ya. I know there must be others out there who’ve also noticed so I’m keepin’ an eye on things.”
“Thanks, but I don’t need or want a keeper. I’m just fine.”