“Em… Excuse me?” Osiris said hesitantly as he approached the opposite bench. Two piercing blue eyes and a friendly smile greeted him. “Yes?” The young girl asked as she put down the fuse board in front of her.
“Could I please borrow the Laser-meld for a few minutes, I need it for a connection and mine is out of battery.” Osiris asked, relaxing a little after realising she wasn’t like all the others.
Cierra picked up the laser-meld and smiled at him, “What sort of connection?”
“Em, its just a little one, I wont be long… I promise.” Osiris stuttered as he felt his face go red. This was the first time he had ever tried to talk to Cierra since she arrived at the school last year. He felt her blue eyes stare at him, as her smile widened into a grin. “One condition.”
Osiris looked up, “What is it?”
Cierra laughed, “You have to show me what you’re making.” And to really emphasise the point, she reversed the laser-meld handle and held it within his reach. Osiris smiled at her as his gaze levelled, “It’s okay, I’ll be fine without it for a while. Have a nice day.”
Cierra was speechless, “I was only joking, you don’t have to be like that…”
Osiris turned around and walked back to his work station, already sure of how he could make the connection a different way. If Osiris had looked up, he would have seen the twelve year old girl staring at him in frustrated confusion. Cierra frowned for a moment and tried to resume her work, but she couldn’t concentrate. Her hands were shaking and she sighed, knowing the only thing that would calm her.
Osiris was grinning as all the connections fitted into their places, each light was illuminating correctly and each part was fully operational. Reaching over to his parts-bin, the young boy took out a graphics card and smiled as he compared its compatibility to his fuse board. The table jumped slightly and he almost dropped the card. Osiris looked up to see Cierra glowering at him, both of her hands resting on the table. “What is so important about that machine that you wouldn’t let me see?” she said as she swung her legs around to sit at the workbench. Osiris unconsciously pulled his board closer to his torso, but stopped instantly when he saw the hurt look in her eyes. “I thought you were teasing me…” Osiris started as he struggled to find the words, “Most people make fun of me if I ask for help.”
“I’m sorry, I just wanted to see what you were making… the class only gets to make basic stuff, but you’re building robots when we’re learning different types of connection. I just wanted to see.” Cierra said with a bright twinkle in her eyes. Osiris blushed and stammered with his reply, “I’ve never made a robot, well not a real one… and I’m not that good, there are loads of things I cant do.”
Cierra smiled as she raised her eyebrow, “Such as?”
Osiris panicked as he tried to think of something, “Art… I cant paint things or draw them. You’re really good at art… like that picture of the tree around the bridge.” Osiris finished with a sigh of relief.
The girl however was just staring at the young boy, “How did you know about that picture.”
Osiris smiled, “Easy, it was in the multimedia records of the school, when I looked at your profile it was the biggest entry.”
Cierra smiled, “You looked at my profile?”
Osiris grew bright red as he realised he had been caught out. Thinking quickly of what his father would do, he smiled reassuringly and gave a steady response. “Its only natural to try and find the other brightest students in the school, your mechanics level is far above average.”
This time it was Cierra’s turn to grow bright red. “I didn’t think that you’d have been paying attention to anything like that. Sorry for doubting you.”
Osiris grinned at her and for a moment there was silence. Pushing the fuse board towards the centre of the table, Osiris looked at Cierra for some form of reaction, hoping that she would recognise some of the connections. “You’re adding a voice to a computer?” Cierra gasped as she reached for the voice box melded to the board. Osiris controlled himself and refrained from stopping her, but to his surprise, before her fingers touched the box, they stopped and retreated. “Sorry, excitement got to me… I just wanted to see if it was real. What are you making?”
Osiris’ eyes clouded over momentarily as he gauged his answer, but she was speaking before he had a chance to think. “You’re thinking too much, meaning that you’re going to lie. I’m a big girl, you can tell me what it is? A new House Model? Is the government paying you to make the next home security system?”
Osiris looked up and was amazed to see that she wasn’t mocking him, she was genuinely excited. “It’s… just a side project, nothing serious…” Osiris said with a faint smile.
Cierra however just pressed him for a response, “Come on! You have to tell me… what is it?”
Osiris sighed as he looked her in the face, “I was building… someone to talk to.”
Expecting her to laugh at him, Osiris bowed his head and regretted telling her the truth, but to his surprise he heard no laughing. Instead he felt a hand touch his shoulder. Looking up, Cierra was smiling warmly at him. “Well you can stop making it now.”
Osiris looked down to the laser-meld she had just placed in his hand.
“You’ve just made a friend.” Cierra said with a wink as she got up and walked back to her workbench.
Osiris was speechless, “I have a friend…”
Mentel watched the entire display on the screen. A smile brightened up his weary features, “Osiris has a friend. Thank you for showing me this, Abigail, I’ll be honest, it’s put my mind at ease.”
The principal smiled, “If only it were that simple.”
The mechanic looked to her quizzically, “What do you mean?”
“Cierra is a special case here at the school, like Osiris, she came to us under false pretences. You took your son here so that he could make some friends and have a normal life. Yet he was a Prodigy that had a thirst for knowledge that we can barely satisfy.” Abigail said as she gestured to the small girl sitting on her own at a work bench.
“So why is she so special?” Mentel asked as he regarded her more closely. Abigail however just took a deep breath. “It is not her so much as it is her family, I am sure that you’ve heard of the Grove Family.”
Mentel’s eyes widened, “You cant be serious, no offence, but a Grove would hardly be put in a school like this.”
The principal nodded her head, “I can understand your reasoning, why would one of the largest arms dealers put their only daughter in such an unheard of school? Well, the reason is that we’ve a good and stable education facility and we rarely ask questions. Hardly the reason your wife herself chose us, she wanted Osiris to attend here because we do not discriminate any child and we take strict measures to facilitate every child.”
Mentel smiled, “Just like Arthor?”
Abigail just ignored that statement as she continued, “However, as a school we can hardly intervene directly, we leave that to over-protective fathers and such.” she finished with a smile.
The mechanic was looking back at the screen, “Do you think that it’s okay that they’re becoming friends? I think that Osiris is a good judge of character so I wont discriminate the girl because of her family. If that was the case, I’d never have talked to my wife in the first place.”
Abigail gave him a confused look, causing Mentel to chuckle, “Sorry, I forget these things sometimes. Osiris’ maternal grandfather dealt mainly in race cars. I disliked the entire gambling scene and what it entailed, but I have to admit that a few people had heard of him. You’ve heard of Byrne Speedway?”
Abigail laughed, “I don’t think there is a soul in this city that doesn’t know that name.”
Mentel chuckled himself, “My wife was Osyria Byrne. Her father started Byrne Racing”
The principal stared at him, “But what happened to all of the fortune? I hope you don’t mind me asking, but it really doesn’t look like you live the high life?”
The mechanic laughed as he looked back towards the screen, “I put it in a trust for Osiris that he’ll get when he reaches his twenty first birthday. Money ruins a lot of families, I never wanted that for my son. I’m sure you can understand?”
Abigail was speechless, “But… would you not take even just a little of the money to put him through a higher education, a bigger house… even better clothes or toys?”
Mentel thought for a moment, “No, if you start with even a little, the temptation begins to tear at you and its always just a little more and more until you’re destroying yourself. Personally, I always had the ethos of spending only what I could afford. I wanted to give that to Osiris and I want to give him the entire sum he is due when he reaches the right age. You never know, he might have his own fortune at that age.”
Abigail looked at him appraisingly, “Maybe the good ones aren’t all taken.”
Mentel coughed nervously and added a quick smile to appease the principal. “Is this girl anything like her mother or father?”
Abigail furrowed her brow for a moment before she pressed a few buttons next to the screen, “Computer, Academic Analysis of Grove, Cierra.”
The principal smiled, “See, if you look around these charts you can see that she just looks like an average student. But when it comes over to this section and mechanical sciences and mathematical ability are added, the numbers fly up. She’s not a prodigy, nor is she overly studious, but she’s quite an intelligent girl. She’s probably one of the few children we have that can have a conversation with Osiris without a mechanical dictionary. Naturally, we’ll keep an eye on the developments and keep you informed, Mr. Creek.”
Mentel smiled thankfully before he asked, “Was there anything else you wanted to discuss with me? Or would it be okay if I took Osiris home with me now? There are a few things that I wanted to speak to him about. Today has been quite a big day for both of us I think.” Mentel finished with relaxed smile.
The principal shook his hand and smiled, “It’s been a pleasure to meet you, hopefully we can talk again soon. You can get to the workshop through that door right over there.” Abigail said as she gestured towards one of the doors at the corner of the room.
Mentel thanked her again before he went to retrieve his son.
Osiris looked up at Mentel when they were in the car and asked hesitantly, “Dad, why are you still laughing?”
The mechanic looked down at his son and smiled, “You’ve not been telling me about your little extra classes and your new friend, have you?”
Osiris smiled, “I didn’t think that it was really that important.”
Mentel laughed even louder as he thought
No, being one of the smartest children in the sector and befriending one of the richest girls on the planet… no, that’s not important at all.
“You really are your father’s son.” Mentel laughed as he continued to drive them home.