Twins at Uni
30 Ramadan 1414yp
“The problem with getting reference letters is that the most important people I know are relatives.” Arno scowled at the screen of his comp.
Across the table, his annoying twin sister nodded. “Aunt Rael would be awesome, and Dad too. A subdirector! But not the biodad. I wrote a letter to One Ytry asking for a letter of recommendation, but I haven’t got one back. So who are you going to ask?”
“You actually asked a priest? One of the priests we dosed with Joy Juice?” Arno blinked. “I don’t suppose they would blackball us . . . would they?”
“One Ytry had a sense of humor. Unvu or any of the women priests? Brrrr! No way.” Ryol smirked. “Anyway, I asked the President for one. And I think I’ll ask Lucky Dave.”
“Wow. You do have nerve.” Arno looked back at his list. “Maybe I’ll ask Ebsa. He’s a distant enough step-relative.” Ra’d’s the one I ought to ask . . .
Clicking heels on the floor. “Ready to go?” Their mother looked them over and nodded her approval. The limo is two minutes out, so if you need to . . .”
Arno shut his comp and headed for the lav.
A garden party at Government House to view the fireworks on the Eid. All the families of the top people invited. Hmm, how many of Aunt . . . Mom’s have I been around enough to ask for a letter of recommendation?
15 Shaban 1415yp
“So, how did you bag a recommendation from the two worst troublemakers the Directorate School has ever had?”
Arno raised his eyebrows. “Really? Well, Ebsa’s a distant relative, well, step relative. I met Ra’d on Embassy a few years ago.” He shrugged.
“And the usual recommendations from your high school. Top Science and Math grad, and you come to us with almost two semesters of college credit. Well, we’ll see about that when we put you in our classes.” The counselor eyed the screen in front of him. “And the last one is from a Black Horse Guard. Well, your stepfather is an IR subdirector. I suppose you’ve met some interesting people. So, you are requesting Team Track, despite not getting much in the way of martial arts training. At least you scored high in the incoming ranking. All right. Your class list is approved and I’m sending it to your comp. Good Luck!”
Arno stood, thanked him and walked out. Found a bench and opened his comp.
Calculus, History of the Multiverse, Bio 2, Chem 2, Introduction to Magic, Martial Arts section B, Firearms Practicum, to be tested . . .” he glanced at the time, “In an hour.”
“What’s in an hour?” Ryol plunked down beside him.
“Firearms test. Do you have one scheduled?”
She opened her comp. “Oh drat, Martial Arts section C. That’s the one for women. Dammit! Oh, yeah, Firearms test in an hour.”
Arno checked the campus map . . . “On the far side of the campus. We might as well head that way now.”
“Wearing this?” Ryol looked horrified. “This is my nice suit. I’m not getting it all stinky, and I’m definitely not going to kneel on the ground in it!”
Arno looked down at himself, and nodded. “Yeah, I kind of dressed up for the counselor too.” He looked down at his comp. “And a current events seminar tonight, and every Wednesday, in the main forum . . . over there. Well, see you at the range.”
They headed for the dorms, he was in dorm Three, where his group would remain for the next couple of years. Right now they were all freshmen. Ryol was in six, the women’s dorm.
A quick change into jeans and t-shirt, grab his gear and he headed back out. He bet everyone but the instructors, who were laying out a wide variety of weapons on eight tables. He eyed the system. Beginners to the right, experts to the left.
One of the instructors eyed him. “So, think you know this?”
Arno nodded at the far left. “Everything but the heavy military. My Dad’s a cop. I’ve been shooting regularly for years.”
“Have you hunted? Excellent. You’ll be table two.”
Funny. Everything I’ve learned out of school may be the stuff I use the most.
The rest of the group wandered in, Ryol hanging out with a bunch of girls.
They got sorted . . . One! Four people who’d never shot a gun?
Ryol joined him at table two and got skeptical looks until they started shooting.
They were quickly moved up to the first table and with a little instruction started destroying targets with this magnificent Brisbane Armory 20mm.
“Damn! And you’ve never shot one before?”
Icfe “call me Ice” was a team track senior.
The other two students there missed the targets. The girl with the unfortunate name of Puus landed on her butt, blinking away tears and refusing to admit her shoulder’d been injured.
“Let’s try something that will ruin fewer targets.”
Which was a fifteen mm sniper rifle. Lovely smooth action. Arno, Ryol, and Osnu—Sunny—a cheerful plump freshman. Puus fired a single shot then reluctantly admitted that her shoulder couldn’t take it.
Ice nodded. “Go to the clinic as soon as we’re done here. You four will all be in the ‘once a week’ group. But by all means, you three go ahead and show off your shooting now.”
Ryol won the three way contest by two points over Arno and three over Sunny. Puus sighed.
Arno looked over at her while Ice pulled in a couple more students from the next table.
“I’m almost afraid to ask if you have a nickname.”
“Heh. It was cute until the boys all hit puberty, then the pussy jokes started.”
Arno nodded. “And probably haven’t quit. How about Cat? Or Plus?”
“It won’t stick Pussy is too funny.”
“Uh, yeah. Thank the One my Mother wasn’t feeling cute after giving birth to twins.”
“Twins?” She shot a glance at Ryol.
“Yep. Her Royal Highness Pain-in-the-neck.”
Ryol’s attention was on the new shooters, but her hand slipped behind her back. Middle finger prominent.
Puus snickered. “So is a twin better or worse that a big sister or little sister?”
“Worse. She can play both angles against me with the parents. Or try. They’re pretty clued in, as parents go.”
“Mine are pretty good too, just a bit naïve. Apart from the name, they’re cool. Not, umm, Game Players. Well, not in terms of revolving marriages.”
“Mine neither—now. My Mother did local Game Wife roulette, which is really gross to think about, but once she met Dad, well, that was it. True love or something like that.” He shrugged.
I really don’t want to spread the rest of the details. I’ll enjoy being an average student for as long as I can. Until someone recognizes Ryol from that news broadcast two years ago. Or the sandcastle fight three years ago. But we’ve both grown. And Ryol’s got her hair pulled back . . .
“Not that Dad isn’t climbing the government ladder, but Mother’s his first and only.”
Then the shooting stopped and everyone cleaned all the guns.
The Current Event Seminar was right after dinner.
An old geezer walked out on the stage and leaned on his cane. “In coming students, welcome to your first seminar. Pay attention. Sometimes—like tonight—we’ll just have snippets of things we think will be important over the next days or months. Other times we’ll have speakers in to tell us about what isn’t getting into the papers.”
“I’m Professor Ivy. For my sins, I teach the History of the Multiverse, a required class for all incoming students. I’ll see you Friday morning.”
He clicked the controls in his hand. “First up tonight, an election update. The polls differ according to who’s paying for them, but they all pretty much have a three man neck to neck to neck race. All of you! I want an analysis of the positions of the War Party, the Isolationists, and the Modern Federalists. Then I want a specific analysis of the their candidates’ positions. You incomers can turn your reports into me Friday. I’m sure the rest of you will have a class somewhere, that will want to see yours.”
He stepped away and they got four separate polls with newsies commentary.
Then a shot of the Disco forum and an argument over ownership of a world in the Maze that they were both colonizing.
I never came close to finishing my map of the Maze. Probably never will, now.
And there’s a shot of Master Xen, looking exasperated. Both worlds probably ignored the shortwave radio broadcasts claiming the world. The Smugglers or the Combat Gang probably opened gates to both their worlds, and they both figured, finders keepers. And didn’t contact Disco about it.
A news clip on the first school age (barely) Homestead !Zolt kids whose parents had been genetically engineer to have the One Power gene and insertions starting kindergarten.
Wow! I hadn’t realized that so many !Zolts had gotten the power gene, let alone all of the insertions. No wonder there are riots, and bills about not allowing the Multitude to get them. Pretty soon, everyone will be a Oner, and no one will be especially special.
Arno suppressed a snicker. All things considered, that’s a good thing. He rubbed a little patch on his arm. I have the One power gene now, just a tiny bit, so I fit in here. And it was such a weird feeling . . . just a bit of expanded awareness. I wonder of !Zolts who come to the One World like it?
Master Xen put it on some cells in the upper layer. He said it would wear off after a couple of years, if I didn’t like it. Or if I liked it, he could make the changes on the deeper layers, where the cells divide, so it would be permanent.