February 15, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
Instructor Kaasmasik was not in Biology the next day. An older woman, Instructor Rezhtareza, taught the class in his place.
Enrie found the coursework harder than ever without Instructor Kaasmasik feeding her answers. She gritted her teeth and struggled along, trying not to show how much trouble she was having. She wasn’t going to fail without the help. Maybe she should – maybe she didn’t belong here – but she wasn’t going to prove Kaasmasik right, no matter what.
She was staring at the board, trying to hide her confusion at the convoluted reproductive system of the least weasel, when Taikie raised her hand.
She glanced over at her friend; Taikie couldn’t be having trouble with this work, could she? Taikie loved Biology almost as much as she loved Engineering.
“Instructor Rezhtareza, I’m sorry, but I really don’t understand what’s going on with that bit above the uterus. It doesn’t look like anything Instructor Kaasmasik showed us. Could you explain a little more?”
What? Taikie had spent ten incomprehensible moments the night before waxing poetic about the neat way the least weasel handled environmental factors. Ledryie had gotten a laugh out of it, at least, which had made the whole situation less tense.
And now here she was, asking questions that sounded exactly like the sort of thing that she’d been going on about blithely not a day earlier.
Instructor Rezhtareza didn’t really know them, so she didn’t know there was anything strange about Taikie’s behavior. She spent a few moments going into detail until even Enrie could figure out what was going on. It really was fascinating, if you could figure it out. They used aether!
She might have forgotten Taikie’s momentary lapse of brilliance, except that, near the end of the class, when she was once again struggling with a particular point, Saydrie raised his hand. “I am sorry, Instructor Ma’am Rezhtareza, but I am a bit confused on this matter.” It seemed like his Bitrani accent got a bit thicker. Enrie tried to remember if she’d ever heard him asking a teacher a question before.
The Instructor seemed to think nothing of it, and in a few moments Enrie was once again caught up.
She walked slowly as they left the classroom, thinking about what they’d both just done. Everyone asked questions, of course… well, to be honest, she hadn’t been asking many questions at all in the classes she was having trouble in. “You two…” she started slowly.
“What do you think happened to Instructor Kasmaasik?” Taikie asked. She looked innocent and earnest. “I suppose it’s possible he got sick…?”
“The timing seems a little too good for that,” Saydrie answered. “Do you think they ran him off campus already? That seems a little extreme.”
“Well, it’s like we were saying last night, you have to get rid of the rot right away.”
Enrie looked back and forth between the two of them. “You two…” she tried again.
Taikie grinned. “Enrie, they’re here to teach us. Just because sometimes someone like Pelnyen forgets it doesn’t mean that we should forget it.”
Enrie winced. They had a point, she supposed. “Thank you.”
“We’re your team.” Taikie’s grin was even wider now, and Saydrie’s matched it. “That’s what we’re supposed to do.”