The Outsider

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter 6 : Tough Life Coming Up

The Dean’s attitude was very different from the others she had encountered. Ms. Cralx was also much more patient with her in the Dean’s room than she was before. The student counsellor was young and strange. She was too bubbly (as if she had multiple doses of stimulants) and kept praising Dusk’s scores, her previous work, how she was going to be an important addition to the student body, she could stand for election to student council and be the president of the student council …

“As If!! Who is going to vote for an outsider as a Student Council President! What’s wrong with this female?” Dusk thought to herself.

The counsellor seemed to be finding it difficult to even sit still. She stood up while talking, walked to one end near the window and stood with her back against it. Then she moved from there to the chair and then went and stood against the other wall which had security monitors playing out scenes from all over the school… She just wouldn’t sit!!! Dusk felt she will get a stiff neck by craning her head in all directions to listen to her

“We have such a beautiful campus here! It’s nothing like anything you have seen before! Even Regis does not have a university like ours. You know, there are 14 gardens, 3 forest zones, 1 bio-diversity zone and 3 artificial lakes within our campus? You will love it. You can spend hours there!” she continued

“We have the best of the professors in the country, there is flexi learning, computer-based learning, AI Assistants … Research AI Bots and Sub-Minds … one of the largest libraries. It actually has paper-based books in it! The library is designed for 18,000 students to study at the same time. Out of the 18,000 seats, 12,000 are sound-proofed rooms, singles, couple rooms and quad-seat rooms. The rest are community rooms. Many students like a noisy environment to study in” She talked with more enthusiasm.

“The best feature I like is that you don’t need to go to class to attend your lectures. You can sit in the garden with a large pad and get live stream of the lecture that the professor is taking. If you want to ask a question, your Holograph is projected before the teacher! It’s so much fun. I spent most of the lectures in the garden when I was studying.”

Dusk felt that the Dean was not paying attention what the counsellor said, but Ms. Cralx was getting more and more irritated. Finally, she said “Ms. Susco, why don’t you take Ms. Dusk around the campus to get her acquainted with all the features instead of trying to describe the unnecessary things here! Please tell her the more important things. When will she have so much time to spend in the 14 gardens anyway?”

“Oh! First Year Students do not have to study much. They have so much free time. And the first-year exams are also so easy!” Ms. Susco was not supressed by Ms. Cralx.

The Dean was paying attention to them apparently and looked up from his computer screen. He interrupted Susco, “I do not think Ms Hale will have much time. She is a month late and has to take ‘catch-up’ lessons. She will have to review all the lectures she has missed in the last 15 days since the academic year has started. You have to get the various professors to give her personal lessons to help her understand what she has missed. By the next 4 weeks, she must be brought fully up to date so that she can join the rest of the students in the actual lectures.”

He then turned to Dusk “Please do not make the mistake of trying to attend classes sitting in the garden, it rarely works. We designed that feature to help those who are unwell and not able to come to class, those who are not in the campus and for some special cases who are remote students.”

He turned again to the Counsellor, “Please check the schedule before you give further hopes of easy campus life to Ms. Hale.”

Susco opened her communicator and read the longish but crisp message. She paled a little and then turned back to the Dean “But sir, how can one student do so many credits in a single semester? I had put that against 3 semesters, with options for her to add some additional modules that may take her fancy. Its cruelty!”

Dusk was now growing apprehensive. What was this mad lady saying? Even Ms. Cralx picked up the schedule on her pad and looked surprised.

“I am sorry Ms. Hale, but there is a note we received from your sponsor from the government, reminding us that you were in the rural offsite program, which in spite of all the efforts of the government, does not match up with standards our university has set. So, the academic advisor has decided that you do a few more courses that normal students would have done during under graduation. You will have more classes than normal first year students.” Dean explained.

“But sir, these are not undergrad courses, some of these are second year courses!” Susco started but stopped after being glared at by the Dean.

“Ms. Susco, you have no idea what this young lady is capable of doing. She has achieved a lot while in her village. She will be able to cope up with the workload. She needs to catch up faster. We want her to join research projects next year. How can she join a project team if she has normal class schedules next year? She needs to finish more of her courses this year. She is here to learn not to pass time like the children of Nobles. Let her hit the ground running. Do you think I reached my position here by studying less than 12 hours a day?”

Susco thought to herself that the Dean was here because he was connected with the government and not because of his academic record. But fortunately, she did not make the mistake of actually saying so. She looked at Dusk with pity. Then she looked back at her communicator to shuffle the schedule to accommodate the requirement, and her eyes went wider…

“Uhh … she has Basic Military Training at 7 am every morning for 2 hours?? Who inserted that!” She said in an agitated voice. “…Someone called Sargent Staton has put it in the schedule. But how can he put such a schedule? She has just been registered for Military Study but Tech Faculty! Military Training is not compulsory in Uni-Viva! She can’t be forced.”

Dusk’s heart sank. It was quite evident from Susco’s reaction that basic military training was not easy. And on top of that, it was at 7 am. At home she rarely woke up at 10 am! Staton …. It seemed to be the name of the bottle-green uniformed man at the university gate who got shouted at by Luke and the Officer… So this was some type of revenge? She wondered she could find Luke’s number in the student directory and ask for his help on this…

Even the Dean was surprised. But then he realised he should not be surprised. She had caught the attention of the Military because of her work on the VR engine. Evidently Luke Jones was going to work on it. He knew they would try to get her to join the Military later with an inciting offer, which a rural student of limited means, just could not refuse. But he did not expect them to get her into Basic Training right off the first day.

He asked his computer sub-mind to find and open the schedule of student Dusk Hale. He looked at the notes attached to the 7 am entry and shook his head.

“The entry is signed by a sergeant, but it has been approved by Major Wilson. He is the head of Military Studies at the University. Even I don’t want to offend him. So, though technically you can refuse, it would not be wise.” He explained to Dusk who had already resigned to the fact that she would be bullied by the ones she had offended. And this Staton was one who was made to look like a fool due to her actions, however unintended.

“There is an explanatory note that you have walked 8 km from the station with bags weighing over 20kg and therefore shown the strength and stamina of a cadet and that such capability must be nurtured for the future of the nation … sorry, now you have no option… Cadet did the exercise without meal since previous night… What? you did not have breakfast also? Ms. Susco please take her for lunch at one of our best eateries on the campus, charge the meal to me.”

Dusk thought back. There was only one person who knew she did not have breakfast! That is from where the information or may even be the request had gone … She would like to kill the monster! But his reflexes were so good, there was no chance she would be able to touch him before she was knocked down to the ground.

Susco was still upset about the way the university was treating this student. But seeing even the Dean was helpless, she decided to proceed with the other things she had to explain.

“Ms. Hale, your cost of education is covered by the university scholarship. You do not have to pay for Tuition Fees for any number of courses and classes you take in the next 4 years. Any extension to the study under the Scholarship Program beyond 4 years will need approval by the board. Access to all digital books is free. Plus, you have period access, 5 days at a time 4 items simultaneously, to premium magazine and specialised books. The cost of those subscriptions will be paid by the university too, so long as they are connected in some way to your studies.

“You have also got the Government Support Scholarship for students who are from poor families, please do not take offense on the term, which will cover the cost of your dorm room and a supplementary allowance for covering meal cost. The supplementary allowance will mostly cover normal 3 meals a day at basic student eateries, but if you try the better places, you will probably run out of money, so please be careful.” Susco explained the financial matters.

“Normally I would have offered you a part time work at the Library or one of the eateries so you can have some money apart from what your family gives you, but you just do not have time in your schedule. Luckily, you also have an additional sponsorship of $1,000 a month from Micro-Mega Technologies LLC as a special support. Very few students have that, but it will help you to spend some money for non-essentials, which is a relief.” She explained.

“One problem is that the scholarship will come into your account in 2 weeks and then every 4 weeks thereafter. So, you have a bit of a struggle for the first 2 weeks.” Ms. Cralx interrupted what was a whole lot of feel-good statements from Susco.

“You will need a good Data-Pad to use. I do not know if you have one. If you do not you will need to immediately buy one. Working without a Pad is very difficult. You cannot go every time to the library to use a computer or a Universal-Communicator.”

“I have this sixth-sense wearable …. Will that not suffice?” Dusk asked apprehensively. The cost of a good Data-Pad would dent her resources quite a bit and she was sure it was not covered by her Scholarships.

“Oh, you have a Sixth-Sense? Wow! Those things are so good!” Susco exclaimed.

“The Mayor of my home-town gave it to me as a gift when I was leaving for the university”

“Well, a Sixth-Sense is better than a Pad, except that it is not easy to prevent others from seeing what you are doing on it … But very good for study.”

“Ok, I think we have covered everything. Ms. Hale, I am giving my contact details, you may speak to me if you have a problem. You can also contact your student counsellor any time. Now, Ms. Cralx if there is nothing more pending from your side for her to do, I will ask Ms. Susco to take our new student to the Dorm, and then for a meal and a tour of the campus.” With that the Dean dismissed them and returned to his own work.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.