The Order and the Classes
After the 3 days however, it was Saturday, which Jack did not count for, so the studies were simply held off until the following Monday. During the lunch period on Saturday, Rikki decided that it would be best that he and Dan not share a room. Dan mutually agreed and he moved his things across the hall. After lunch, Jack called everyone to the main room.
"The reason you people are here," he said to the group, "is that, as some of you may have found out, you kids have a gift." He looked at Suzy. "Or gifts. You kids are not like other kids." He paused as some of them exchanged glances. "You may have been called names. You may have been rejected by your friends," he paused again and looked at a boy who was wearing a slightly tattered shirt, "and by your family. Some of us may have had a troubled, recent past, but I can assure you, that you will find solace here. Among your new family and friends." The students looked at each other again, only this time, few were exchanging a face filled with a more positive emotion. "If," he went on, "if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me. If I am, for some reason, unavailable, feel free to ask my son, Will." He looked at his wristwatch. "The teachers should arrive tomorrow. If you need to do any necessary preparations, I suggest you do them today." He looked among the crowd. "That is all. Thank you." His speech was met with applause, which for him was actually rather surprising. Most of the students sat about the main room talking to each other and meeting one another. Others moved into their rooms and a few went back to the cafeteria, in the hopes of finding something left over that was available. Rikki did have a question that was on his mind that he wanted to ask Jack about. He followed him to his office.
"Jack," he said.
"Ah, Rikki, what can I do for you?" Jack asked.
"I want to know why you really started this school." Jack paused and he sat down in his chair. He then motioned for Rikki to sit on the other side.
"There is an entire system," he said.
"There is an entire system of schools just like this one."
"Who would run an entire school system for kids with gifts?" Jack paused again.
"There's an Order."
"Of teachers, yes. There's 25 of us. The Order of Gifts. It was first started back many years ago with the first person who revealed that he had a gift."
"Who was that?"
"I'd rather not say."
"But I will say this: The Order has remained nearly the same for the last 100 years. It was the original 25. It was 25, and it will always remain 25. 25 Gifted people, the greatest Gifted people, mind you, from around the entire world. I am one and Suzy's father was one."
"I thought he died when we were like 6."
"That's what he wanted you to think." Rikki's thought process stopped.
"What-? Are you-? Seriously-? I think that Suzy should be part of this."
"Now that I think about it, I agree. She should." Rikki was already out the door. He found Suzy still sitting with Cassandra. He grabbed Suzy's hand.
"Come here," he told her.
"Why?" she asked. He was already walking her back to Jack's office. They walked in and Rikki sat her down. "What's this about?"
"What do you know about your father?" Jack asked her. She sighed.
"Well… not much. The only thing I do remember…," she clenched her fist, trying to hold back tears, to no avail. Her hair changed to a very sad blue. "I… all I remember was Mom telling me that…" she sniffled, "that Mom told me that Daddy was going away for a long time." She sobbed quietly. Rikki held her hand and he gave it a sympathetic and heartfelt squeeze.
"Your mother lied," Jack said. Her crying stopped and anger built up inside her. "But before you explode, let me explain." Her hair was already turning into a fiery, angry red. "Your father did not die, if that's what you thought."
"What?" Her hair turned to a stress-relieving turquoise.
"He did leave though, so it wasn't a total lie." Now it was Jack's turn to sigh. He left the Order, to hunt down the greatest threat to our kind, Victor Sol." The name felt like poison and it hung in the air like a toxic gas.
"Who's that?" Rikki asked.
"Only the most feared person of our kind. He's what we call a "Gift hunter". He hunts us for our DNA."
"In other words-" Rikki started.
"-Our Gifts," Suzy finished.
"Suzy, your father was the strongest telepath at the time. The best in the entire world. He set out to bring Victor to justice once and for all. But he… failed to return. We assumed the worst." Her hair went back to blue. "I'm sorry." She started to cry again.
"Why didn't Mom tell the truth?" she cried.
"So you wouldn't go after him."
"Don't count on it."
"What? No!" Rikki said. "You're not going after than man. I won't let you."
"No one's going after anyone!" Jack said over them. "That is final. If history is to repeat itself, he may come here." He noticed the fear forming in Rikki's eyes and Suzy's yellow-orange hair. "But that… is highly unlikely. He'd never dare step foot within 100 miles of us."
They left Jack's office and headed back to the main room. The days past and it was Monday morning. Everyone got up, went to breakfast and headed off to their first class of college. The kids went to their assigned classrooms. It wasn't too hard to get mixed up because there was only six classrooms in total, making it obvious that this was a school for the special few. Everyone in Rikki's class was sitting in their seats at their desk, feeling quite confident about their first class of the day, "Power Management" with their teacher, a woman from the other side of the country.
"Hello," she said sweetly as she came into the room. She sounded like she had a bit of a Scottish accent. Her brunette hair was long and flowed down to below her shoulders. She was relatively tall and in her mid 20's. "My name is Ms. Ailsa McCracken. I've taught here for 4 years. I will say: do try not to get on my bad side. You won't find it pretty. Now, before we begin with the lessons, I'd like to know what sort of gifts you kids have been given." She pointed to a boy a few seats away from Rikki. "You, what's your name?" The boy stood up.
"My name is Harry," he said. "I am gifted with the power to see in total darkness."
"How interesting," she said with mild enthusiasm. Finding out others' gifts was a favorite activity of hers. "You," she said pointing to a girl of Asian descent and at least a couple years older than Rikki. She was one of those kids who had their hair colored black but with other colors striped through it.
"My name is Aoi Hashimoto," she said with a serious tone. "I am gifted with the ability seeing things before they happen." She made a quick smirk to Rikki. "You'll pick him next."
"All right then, you," she said pointing to Rikki. He stood up.
"My name is Rikki Soto. I am gifted with the ability to absorb and store energy and expel it in a controlled manner of my choice."
"Fascinating. And what about you?" She pointed to a girl in the back.
"My name is Max Ride," she said standing up. She had curly light brown hair and she looked like a nice person but her face yet also showed a heavy amount of self-confidence. "I am gifted with the power of flight."
"Um, how do you fly, exactly?"
"I have wings."
"Care to show us?"
"Certainly." She took her jacket off and her wings opened up. They were beautiful, white feathered wings. Like the wings of an angel. There was collective gasping in the entire room.
"Amazing," Ms. McCracken said.
"Beautiful," Rikki said.
"Cool," the boy sitting by Rikki simply said. He noticed that he had a deeper voice, so this guy was older than him. He had jet black mullet style hair with a goatee and wore black leather jacket and pants.
"What makes you say that?" he asked him. The other boy stood up and adjusted his jacket. He had wings too. His were feathered and black. All attention was turned to him. Even the teacher's.
"My name is Alex Leone. I am gifted with the power of flight."
"Why are your wings black?" McCracken asked.
"Because of my DNA. Hey, I can't help it."
"Well, I'll ask you to please not disrupt the class."
"My apologies, Ms. McCracken," he said with a wry smile. Who ever this guy was, Rikki sure didn't like him. Next class period Rikki had "Using Your Gifts" class. This class was outside in a marked-off area of the large campus, far away from the building.
"Alright," the teacher said with a heavy Russian accent. "My name is Coach Dmitri Loguinov. I will teach you how to use your Gifts properly. Without having someone accidentally killed." A girl raised her hand. "What?"
"Have people actually died here?" she asked with a nervous shake.
"Da," he said with a darkened face, which then lit up. "But let's try to keep that number low this year, eh?"
"Oh joy," Rikki thought to himself, "gym class." A couple hours later, it seemed like Rikki barely made it through that class. After he barely pulled himself back to the cafeteria for lunch. He sat at a table by the window. He looked out across the land. It looked like an endless plain but far off about a mile out was the tree line. His trance-like state was broken by a voice.
"Hi," a girl said.
"Hi," Rikki said to her.
"Mind if I sit here?"
"No," he said. She sat by him. She wore an outfit that looked like someone would wear if they were always outside. She had jade green hair and was about his age.
"My names Kilo. Kilo Laukkanen."
"What class do you have next?"
"History of Gifts class. You?"
"Using your Gifts."
"I just came from that."
"Really? What's it like?" she asked intrigued.
"It's sort of like a gym class," he explained.
"Why do you say it like that?"
"You say it like it's a bad thing to have a gym class." Now he was intrigued.
"Why would you ask? Do you like working out?"
"Well…" she hesitated. "It sort of hard to explain."
"What do you mean?"
"See my Gift is unnaturally high stamina. I never get tired when doing physical workouts. So doing gym stuff is… well easy."
"For you it is?"
"Yeah. I was my school's greatest cross country athlete. I was adored by everyone in my entire school. My entire school district probably, I was famous. Until my doctor discovered that my body never showed any signs of fatigue. She told my parents and then I find out that's my Gift. I received a letter from Professor Trades and I ended up here."
"Yep, that's my entire life's story."
"So far," he said with a light laugh.
"Oh, yeah," she said laughing. "That's funny." Another girl came over and sat down. She looked similar to Kilo only she had hair in a lighter green color. "Oh, hi Chyanne."
"Who's your boyfriend?" Chyanne asked.
"Rikki Soto," Kilo said.
"What, can't he speak for himself?"
"Actually he can speak for himself, thank you very much," Rikki said facing her.
"I was only teasing." She stood up and walked off.
"-My sister," Kilo said.
"She's not very nice."
"Yeah, sorry about that." The rest of lunch went on without any other negative incidents. Rikki then headed off to History of Gifts. The teacher walked into the room. She looked of Latin American descent and she was in at least her late 20's.
"Good afternoon, class. I am Araceli América Adelina Felicidad Martínez," the woman said with a Latin American accent. "I will be your teacher. We are going to learn about the history of Gifts and the history of some of the greatest historical figures who were both knowingly and unknowingly Gifted. First, does anyone know an important historical figure who was Gifted?" A boy in front of Rikki raised his hand. "Yes, Mr…"
"Bennett. Reynold Bennett," he said.
"Actually, just Rey please."
"Oh, alright Rey. Who do you know?"
"Yes. John F. Kennedy. He had a Gift that the U.S. government did not want the country to know about… supposedly." The girl sitting next to Rikki raised her hand. "Yes Ms…"
"Kora Mas," she said with the slightest hint of a German accent. "So, did he not have a Gift?"
"Oh he did. That's the reason why a lot of conspiracy theorists say the government did what they did back on that day."
"Oh, please," a familiar voice said. "The conspiracists say things like these just so they get attention."
"Please don't interrupt my class Ms. Laukkanen."
"I never told you my name."
"Your sister was in my first class."
"Of course she was."
"I do not want to have any disciplinary referrals on the first day, so I'll let you off with a warning." The teacher's eyes seemed to glow with a fire. "And judging by your expressions, I see I may have shown my Gift. Which brings up another thing: only use your Gift in this class if necessary. Otherwise no using it." There was a collective groan. "That's just my rules." Rikki enjoyed the class. Not only was Ms. Martínez a nice teacher, but she was a fun teacher as well. Every time someone tried to be a "class comedian" as she called it, she would make a joke back at them, causing the whole class to laugh. The next and final class Rikki had was another gym class that almost everyone wanted to take. "How to use your Gift in Combat" class with Professor Drogo Hawking.
"I teach you kids how to use your Gifts for necessary defense. Some of the techniques I will teach you, I hope you will never have to use," he told the class. His gift was being able to aid in the growth of plants and he drove an electric car. When he told the class his story, that part made a specific group of kids laugh. The kids who were car-heads. But his car was a BMW i3, so it did have some class despite the fact is was the all electric version. "Each defence style is unique. It depends on the Gift one has, whether it's telepathy, metal-moving, or energy beam shooting." That was the final class of the day. After the final class, the students relaxed in the main room or out front, weather permitting of course. It was still a nice day so a lot of the kids were outside. Dinner would be served in a couple hours. Rikki met up with Suzy.
"How'd your day go?" she asked him.
"It was great," he said. "I liked History class."
"Me too. We're both in that aren't we?"
"Are we? Because I didn't see you."
"Well I saw you. I sit behind you a few chairs over and back."
"Oh, I'll look next time." They walked outside and sat down together beneath a tree that was close to the building.
"Rikki, can I ask you an important question?" Suzy asked resting her head on his shoulder.
"Is it the question that I'm thinking about, and besides, aren't I supposed to ask you this question?" She laughed,
"It's not that question."
"Shoot. Well then what is it?"
"Are we… in love?" she asked really feeling unsure about herself and having a similar unsure expression on her face as she was stroking her hair in a nervous fashion.
"What is love?"
"Love is an emotion?" she sort of asked.
"No," Rikki said laughing. "Love is not just an emotion, love is the emotion that I am feeling towards you."
"Aww, that is so sweet," she said. Under the tree far from home, they kissed. Of course, they've kissed before, but this one felt different. It felt... real.