Chapter 6: Djedi Hall – Part 1
Outside Genesis Hall…
“I swear y’all have it out for me, dragging me to that boring shit for an hour and a half.” With a yawn, Hailey stretched and squinted, allowed her eyes to adjust to the bright sun. Fighting another yawn, she heard a sleepy Monáe respond to her in French. “Mr. Interpreter.” She pointed at Roscoe.
“This gap in your knowledge is questionable.” Roscoe rose a judgmental eyebrow.
“Sue me,” Hailey replied cheekily.
The linguist sighed, an unamused expression taking hold of his features as he mumbled something in Spanish. “Basically, she was surprised that you could stay awake.”
“The main guy, what was his name again? He just kept dronin’ on and on, took him forever to shuddup,” Dee said with a screwed-up face.
“The main guy? Are you serious?” Roscoe groaned. “Mr. Yarbrough is the university president. How am I the only one who read the handbook?”
“Um, teacher’s pet?” Tina elbowed Ashley in the ribs.
Watching his girlfriend stifle a chuckle, Roscoe grunted, “I heard that.”
“It was meant to be heard,” Tina said, sticking her tongue out in a puerile display.
“Whatever”—the intellectual teased his nape—“Our first class will begin soon.”
Tina spun about. “And where would that-”
“In the direction that Brandon is already headed,” Roscoe cut her off.
Inside Djedi Hall…
“We’ve been walking for twenty minutes. How big is this place?” An exhausted Monáe threw her hands up in frustration.
“And whose bright idea was it to build headquarters so out of the way?” Ashley chimed.
“Betcha it was the same genius who put it on a mini-mountain,” Dee supplied as she bypassed the main floor’s greeting card, an artificial waterfall behind which a portrait of Djedi hung.
“In its entirety, the campus is approximately six hundred acres,” Roscoe informed.
Hiding in plain sight, my ass. Surrounding this place with a six-foot fence just screams secret.
Tina turned another confusing corner, passed one of Djedi’s colossal frosted windows.
“Are we even heading in the right direction?” Monáe asked, her bladder near bursting as she eyed an inordinate plank of cherry wood. The red thing was tacked above an archway and beautifully inscribed.
“According to the map I studied”—Roscoe emphasized his solidarity, and looked up, toward the glorious, elephantine crystal chandelier that bathed the walls in iridescence—“our lecture hall should be around this next corner.”
“Lil’ Bit,”—Denzel rushed to Monáe’s side with a perverted smile and eagerly flexing digits—“wanna piggyback ride?”
“Don’t be a creep,” Dee groaned, passing some more framed runes, hieroglyphs, and mythical paintings.
“Merci,” a nettled Monáe sighed more to herself than to the grubby-handed man, “but I’m okay.”
Hailey snickered at the bilingual’s thanks. “Your Lil’ Bit”—she wagged her eyebrows at Monáe—“will be alright. She used to do track you know.”
“Over five years ago, and my horrible endurance was why I was a sprinter,” the small teen retorted.
As Monáe spied a bathroom and showcased her speediness, a sight to behold came into view. Stood outside the group’s lecture hall was a slightly plus-size and statuesque figure with moderately tanned skin, enlarged features, and dark brown eyes that crinkled with kindness at the corners. The ageless woman’s bright and welcoming smile was a perfect match to her dainty pearls, and her half-tied, brown and blonde dreadlocks cascaded down the back of her velvet skirt suit like turbulent waves.
Entering the hall, the group noticed hanging tapestries. They displayed enchanted words and sigils. A white, marble desk sat to the left of the room, nearest a wall lined with bookcases. They housed an assortment of religious texts and scrolls, some in ancient and even extinct tongues. Decorating the chalkboard at the front of the room was a fancy and bold script. Written was Dr. Jade and G/P Intro Class.
Dr. Jade’s hall is a nerd’s dream come true.
“Ash, I would like to stay after class to-”
“Ross.” His girlfriend interrupted, shaking her head as she transitioned from linoleum to carpeted steps. “You can’t. We have more classes after this.”
Sitting in between a bickering Dee and Denzel and behind the impossible to separate pair, Tina poked the slumped brainiac in his back. “Ash, I think he’s depressed now. You know this library is his nirvana.”
Playing on her phone, Ashley retorted from her front-row seat, “He’ll live.”
“Savage.” Hailey smiled from the back of the room, even farther back than Brandon.
As everyone chittered, Hailey placed her bag in a nearby seat, saving it for Monáe. Making herself comfortable, she placed her feet atop her swiveling desk.
“Excuse me! Remove your feet from there, young Ms. Sheep!” an authoritative, piercing voice echoed. Understandably, Hailey jumped a few inches.
“How the hell does the woman already know our names,” the sheep Guardian whispered so only her fellow Guardians could hear her.
Not our names, your name, Ashley mouthed.
As Brandon’s lips curved a rare fraction, Dee snickered and covered her mouth and amusement with a theatrical cough.
Dr. Jade cleared her throat and, once more, cut the air with her peculiar dialect. “Everyone is to sit in the first two rows of the middle section!”
Dr. Helena Jade, nicknamed Dr. Hell by students in the G/P community, a play on her first name, is known for having the appearance of a royal, the personality of a drill sergeant, and the sense of humor of an executioner.
Having walked in during Dr. Hell’s announcement, Kyle and Alex sat by Brandon who’d begrudgingly moved to sit beside Dee. Hailey, now sitting beside Roscoe, placed her bag in the free seat next to her, again for Monáe.
With a dramatic flair, the hourglass-bodied doctor pulled back one of her berry red sleeves. Looking at her sorority-colored watch, Dr. Jade mouthed a steady countdown, and just seconds before slamming her doors stalled at a small shadow.
Locking her hall, the aggravated woman cleared her throat in the way of nobility, gained her students’ attention. Her cadence was measured, her enunciation overly pronounced. “Good morning, pupils. I am Dr. Jade, and you shall all address me as such. Let me begin by saying that I despise tardiness.” Descending the stairs, Dr. Jade stared the embarrassed-colored Ms. Dubois down. The already petite Monáe got smaller under the heeled woman’s gaze. “My duty”—she paused and sunk her manicured claws into an empty seat—“is to assist you all in advancing your G/P relationships.” Approaching her desk, Dr. Jade continued, “With that said, I suggest you all take my advice, abandon your morals. In our line of work, they speedily turn burdensome.”
Picking up her leopard print briefcase, Dr. Jade scribbled something on one of the many papers underneath. “Now, we have many topics to cover. We shall begin wi-”
“Pardon me.” Kyle interrupted with an entitled cough, making his lazily raised hand irrelevant. With all eyes on him he began, cocksure, “Professor.” He saw the elegant woman turn stern and apologized before correcting himself with an amused squint. Dr. Jaderesumed rummaging around her briefcase. With a predatory stare, Kyle turned to Roscoe and Ashley. “Isn’t it true that Lovers G/Ps are an abomination, that the relationship shouldn’t even exist?”
Dr. Jade paused. She looked up, made her way to Kyle, pen, and well-worn writing pad in hand. “Young Mr. Union, I believe?” The snob nodded. “Please share how you reached your conclusion.” The woman looked to her wrist.
“My conclusion”—Kyle looked to the doctoral graduate as he emphasized the word—“is grounded in facts. Lovers, as we know them, are an overcharged relationship. They’re a defect, the screwed-up result of someone trying to fix the coding error of naturally occurring Enemies G/Ps.”
Silence stretched between Kyle and his elder. The two simply stared at each other until Kyle finally bobbed his head, added, “That’s all.”
“Are you certain?” Dr. Jade asked, spying Roscoe’s twitching lips and Kyle’s look of contempt. “You strike me as if you are… Mr. Union, your decision appears to be based on hodgepodge evidence.” The woman looked at her watch, scribbled something in her notepad. “Forty-five seconds.”
“Forty-five seconds?” Kyle asked, flabbergasted.
The doctor deadpanned coldly. “That is how much of my lecture time you borrowed to spout your ludicrous theory, and I expect you to stay after class.”
The rarely confused Kyle went red-faced, his mouth wide.
“Mr. Union,”—Dr. Jade pinned him with her eyes—“always remember that light cannot exist without darkness and vice versa. You are just beginning your journey, and with this being your first year in the program, you have much to learn. Forget what you believe is correct and open your mind to knowledge.” Dr. Jade turned to face the rest of her class. “Any other interruptions?” She did a quick sweep of the room before heading back to her briefcase. After retrieving a pocket-size Bible and a pair of red spectacles, she made a small noise of victory. Positioning the religious text behind her, the pedagogue added to her previous question, “None? Lovely.” She adjusted her glasses. “Then let’s begin with the basics. Mutual, Friendly, Lovers, Enemies, and Abuse, by this point, you should all know are the five types of connections G/Ps can experience. Now, I want to somewhat explore what Mr. Union just sputtered on about.”
Kyle briskly retorted, “I did not-”
“I am speaking now, Mr. Union,” a glacial Dr. Jade cut in.“As I was saying”—the woman sweetened her tone—“When G/Ps were first discovered, scientists were curious why age played a pertinent role in building a G/P link. They ran a multitude of studies over many years. These involved people aged 19 and older, seeing if they could manifest psychic abilities or be assigned a Guardian. They could not, hence for some time there has been a pet theory involving puberty.” Dr.Jade took a second to check for understanding. “In the beginning, there were only two known Guardian/Protected categories, the strictly amicable ones of Mutual and Friendly. But eventually, with more research, the absolute power Protecteds hold over their Guardians was uncovered, and the category of Abuse was named. Next was Lovers, which scientists were curious about because of its scandalous nature. For years Lovers were studied fervently, and then they took a back seat to the discovery of Enemies. Currently, G/P scientists are working with the hypothesis that Enemies is a throwback or unevolved type of relationship, a failed Abuse bond if you will.”
Her interest piqued, Tina chanced a glance at her teeth grinding, leg shaking Guardian.
Guess this is news to both of us then.
“Although all G/P types are naturally occurring, Guardians can now be created via genetic modification,” Dr. Jade kept on, “This means that rare pairings like Lovers and Enemies are increasing, but not without arising consequences. The process is still man-made, and just as all man-made processes can fail. Failure is mainly due to contamination.” The doctor kept her focus for raised hands, puzzled faces. “In order to create pairings like those of Enemies and Lovers specific errors must be made. Whenever modifications go awry, the process involving the Guardian organism fails to take correctly, Enemies are created. However, whenever the process involving the Guardian organism does exceptionally well, the organism begins to include particular concepts, evolve, Lovers are created.” Dr. Jade paused again. “Questions so far?”
Roscoe’s hand shot into the air before lowering just as swiftly. Dr. Jade looked Mr. Tyler’s way, watched how he mechanically scrubbed his beard and silently muttered to himself as if lost in thought. After a few more seconds, she turned her attention to Mr. Gates, Denzel, who’d shouted a question regarding the decisions behind G/P spirit animals and pairings.
“I am not at liberty to disclose such information,” she answered with a modest smile.
“Seriously? That’s like the one thing I was interested in!” the skinny man whined.
“I can tell you that other methods of understanding and connecting G/Ps were scrutinized prior to spirit animals… Mr. Gates, if you reframe your question then perhaps you will gain the clarity you seek.” The doctor continued smiling. “Any other questions?”
Catching the pristine woman’s eye, Tina raised her hand. She noticed Dr. Jade’s nod. “I get that you can’t tell us specifics, especially about our G/P pairings, but surely you can tell us more about our abilities and how they work.”
“Ms. Franklin, you are curious about the abilities you possess that awarded you access to this university, is that correct?”
Tina nodded. “Well, yeah. I mean, some of us have more than one power.” She pointed at Monáe who possesses the abilities of aura reading and energy medicine, the ability to perceive energy fields surrounding people, places and things, and the ability to heal with one’s own empathic, etheric, astral, mental or spiritual energy. “And some of us have abilities could be dangerous with a lack of control,” she shared and pointed at Denzel, thinking of his ability to manipulate objects with his mind, psychokinesis or telekinesis, as some call it. “Most of us don’t understand our powers.”
“Speak for yourself, newbie,” Kyle jeered, extending his hand to touch the back of Tina’s neck just as his wrist was seized by Roscoe’s death grip.
“I dare you,” the burly man ground out with stoic eyes.
Less than bothered by the stare-down, in fact, almost gleeful, the young Protected got lost in a momentary trance. His eyes attained slit pupils as he employed his gift of psychometry or psychoscopy, the ability to obtain information about a person or an object by touch. After a quick moment, Kyle pulled away with a hiss. “Seventy-two hours is not enough time!”
“Ah. So, Mr. Union, it seems that currently, you are only able to see the past seventy-two hours of a subject’s life. Quite interesting.” The unfazed educator scribbled some more notes in her tiny book. “With proper training your ability could be impressive, potentially allowing you to learn everything there is to know about a subject from its inception.”
“Professor,” Kyle began, only to begrudgingly grind his teeth and correct himself when he noticed the doctor’s stern look from earlier resurface. “This is fucking bull,” he spoke at a low volume. “Dr. Jade, are you really going to allow one of your students to manhandle another before you? The fee-fi-fo giant could’ve broken my wrist. Are you not concerned?! Hell,”—Kyle shifted his eyes and wagged a finger at Ashley—“how are you not disturbed by this? It’s strange is it not? The bore who only read for the last seventy-two hours became a knight to protect a woman that’s not his girlfriend.”
“Mr. Union,” Dr. Jadecalled from near the board, “you’re adding additional time to your sentence.”
“Seriously?!” Kyle screeched his resentment to which a fearful Alex reacted by turning away. He worried about his lack of response, what his Protected would do to him later for it.
After a few more moments, Dr. Jade had diagrammed some complicated map to show her students how their psychic gifts can grow if they truly apply themselves. She answered a few questions before describing the benefits and hindrances each type of G/P relationship has on a Protecteds’ psychic progress.
As the doctor described how the abilities of a Lovers Protected could potentially develop, she overheard a snide whisper, a male with a Bostonian accent questioning her and calling her a dude. “Young Connor Alexei III,” Dr. Jade clipped and clucked her tongue as a glint formed on her glasses. At the call-out, an average-looking, blonde bearded man’s head snapped up. “Just this once, I shall let you know that I am not a dude, I am a doctor in three different fields of academia.”
“Oh, I think I like ya now.” Connor smiled and pulled at his jersey as laughter bubbled from him. “Ma’am, me and ya, we can play House anytime ya like,” he said, almost drooling.
“I can assure you that you would not like my version of playing Daddy.” Dr. Jade sighed. “You’re the Protected of Mr. Casey Spider here, correct?” She looked at the overly hairy person beside Connor that more closely resembled the creature he was named after than a human.
“Yeahs. So?” Connor replied.
“You have the ability of telesthesia or remote sensing, correct?”
“I call it remote viewing, but yeahs. Why ya ask?”
“Could you please explain what your ability entails?”
“Ugh, I can see far away things…”
“Using extrasensory perception, you have the ability to see a distant or otherwise unseen target.”
Connor seemed confused. “Ya just repeated what I said…”
“I simply wanted to ensure that I had memorized your ability correctly because you seem disillusioned about a future with me.”
At Dr. Jade’s response, her hall rumbled with both stifled and wild chortles.
“I frigging love you!” a tearful Connor forced out as he pounded on the table before him.
“Dumbass, she just burned you.” Francis Boyle, a lazy speaking holder of clairofactance, the ability to access spiritual or mediumistic knowledge through smell, Justine Bee’s Protected, and friend to Connor, howled through his laughter.
“I know! That’s why I’m saying I love her.”
As the educator listened to her cackling pupils, her arms shook behind her with the rapid flipping of pages. Upon stopping, Dr. Jade’s scowl was rapidly replaced with a faint expression of relief. Corralling her students, she returned to her lesson plan, explaining how, when in the field, Guardians are to act as their Protecteds’ clipeum.
“I’m sorry. We’re their wh-”
“Latin for shield.” Roscoe aided the puzzled Dee.
Thirty minutes later…
“So, let me see if I got this straight,” Monáe’s started, “You’re saying that Guardians were created as, what do they call it again-”
“Test-tube babies.” Hailey assisted through clenched teeth.“They call us test-tube babies.”
“Yeah, that, test-tube babies, and that their one purpose in life is to fully commit themselves to their Protected. Is that right?” Monáe was unable to mask her disbelief.
The plump Dr. Jadecrossed her stocking-covered legs, got comfortable. “As cruel or harsh as it sounds, that is the wide belief. Guardians are to assist their Protected in honing their psychic abilities, ensure their Protected’s safety, and act as sacrifices if necessary. Meanwhile, Protecteds are to use their skills, gifts, and brains in a way that’s preventative, keeps their Guardians from having to sacrifice themselves.” Dr. Jade paused for a second. “Think back to what I said earlier, about the chemistry between a G/P pair being consequential to the survival of each member. Bonded pairs find themselves unexplainably drawn to their partner. This draw is as natural and a part of G/P survival instincts as telepathic communication. It’s also why some of you may find that your ability or abilities grow at an accelerated rate, as they strengthen alongside your relationships.”
“Codependency is so not all the rage,” Hailey muttered before getting swatted by Monáe to hush.
After taking some more questions, Dr. Jade noticed that her three-hour lecture was almost over. Decidedly, she used her last few moments to explain the freshmen’s year to them, explain how their class is compiled of four teams, each with four G/P pairs, and how as the teams advance, they will be sent off on missions.
“However, until the time comes for duo and eventually solo missions, everyone will be assigned groups, and hopefully nobody will die.”
Francis spoke up, “Um, not funny?”
Dr. Jade smiled and plucked her glossy frames from her face.“It is often said that there is strength in numbers, I say that every hypothesis should be tested.”“That’s my brutal wifey.” Connor beamed.