“Osiris, the workshop is closing soon, you should gather your things.” Abigail said with a smile as she entered the room. “Just what are you up to at this time?”
Snapping the mask from his face, Osiris turned around and gestured quickly at Abigail, “Stay back!”
Alarmed at the tone of his voice, the principal stopped advancing and looked closer at the machine he was working on. “Osiris, just what is that?”
“Graviton manipulation… it’s more difficult to harness than I thought, I cant contain them the way I hoped.” Osiris said wearily as he put his palm to his forehead, wiping the sweat from his brow. “I don’t have much time to complete this one, I have more tools that need to be made.”
Abigail pulled out a chair and sat down, “As far as I know, there is no required work set for the entrance exam. Why are you going to all this trouble?”
The teenager smiled at her, “I don’t like surprises.”
A light whirring sound caught the principal’s attention, causing her to strain her neck to see where it was coming from. The sight that met her gaze, astonished her. “Osiris… did you make that?!”
Osiris turned to look at the invention, “Yes, he was a project from a few years ago. It was actually the day I met Cierra… Tweak, say hello.”
The little machine jumped to life and hovered a foot above the table. Tweak’s chassis was designed in the shape of a crude oval, but it’s base consisted of three Daxons melded together, allowing it to hover and navigate.
After a moment, the top part of the oval twisted around and sent out an erratic laser that targeted the astonished principal. “Greetings, Miss Principal.”
“He speaks just like a House, how did you manage this?” Abigail asked as she reached out to touch the little machine.
“Wait!” Osiris said as he put up a hand to stop her. The principal faltered, “Why can I not come closer?”
Osiris sighed and regarded his teacher, “Watch.”
Picking up one of the metal sheets in front of him, Osiris threw it into the air. The metal elevated slowly and stopped dead in mid air.
“You created a gravity bubble?!” Abigail exclaimed as she watched in awe as Osiris picked the metal from its perch. The frown on the teenager’s face caused her to laugh, “You really wont settle for anything other than the best, will you? What is wrong with your bubble?”
Osiris pulled a metal box out from a drawer in the workbench. After pushing a few buttons on the lid of the box, Osiris opened it to retrieve a pair of silver gloves. “These are supposed to control the Anti-gravity. I need to be able to make objects weightless with just a touch. Then I will move onto the next part of the work set.”
Abigail whistled at the proposal, “And how many components are there? Of the work set I mean?”
Osiris looked at Tweak for a moment and said slowly. “Schedule for next week?”
Moments of silence passed before Osiris raised his voice a little, “Tweak?”
“Thinking!” came the instant response from the little device, causing Abigail’s eyes to widen and stutter her astonishment, “I don’t understand… how, why does he sound human?”
Osiris laughed as he rubbed his finger against the slightly rusted metal of the machine, “Yeah, Tweak has been analysing speech since he was first made a few years ago. He can make his own sentences based on situations. But most of his responses are dependant on the questions phrased to him. He was the first tool of the work set.”
Abigail was still staring at Tweak, “And what does he do?”
However, before Osiris could reply, the squeaky voice was already speaking rapidly. “Schedule for tomorrow, not busy, finish glove design and crystal study…”
The teenage boy looked thoughtful for a moment before he remembered where he was, “Oh, yeah… you wanted to know what Tweak does? Tweak, Analyse against prints.”
The little machine grew louder and louder as it slowly hovered over the Gravity device. “Oh! Sorry.” Osiris exclaimed as he reached for the power button of the gravity machine. As it turned off, Tweak’s noise became a light whirr. Tweak paused for a moment before sending out various beams of light that struck the machine. The lights started to rotate in little circles, until they were moving so fast that they were forming cone shapes. Eventually, the entire machine was covered in the lights and Tweak began his report. “Current Analysis shows estimated time of completion to be 5:32am tomorrow morning. Left accelerator is underperforming by 14%.”
Osiris laughed, “Obviously there are still a few kinks to work out on him.”
Tweak however continued to speak, “No, you made a mistake when wiring the accelerator. Admit it.”
Osiris glared at the little machine that withdrew it’s lights and returned to its perch on the corner of the desk.
Abigail was utterly speechless. “You’ve made him sarcastic?”
The teenager was still staring at the machine, “I’m beginning to regret it, but alas… he’s right. I think the accelerator needs more attention. Is there any chance I can stay in for a few more hours? I don’t want my dad to see this stuff until the entrance exam.”
Abigail frowned, “I’m afraid you cant be in here unsupervised…”
Osiris grinned, “How about I let you talk to Tweak for a while, so I can work?”
Abigail smiled at Osiris, “Deal.”
“So, Tweak takes care of all the mistakes you may have overlooked.” Cierra began as she flexed her hand in the silver glove. “The Anti-Grav gloves are so you can lift immense weight with ease… but what is that for?”
Osiris looked down to the shard of quartz that lay on the table. “That, is for my right eye.”
Cierra raised an eyebrow, “And why do you want it only for your right eye?”
Osiris smiled, “Firstly because it looks pretty cool, but secondly so it doesn’t disrupt my overall depth perception. I need my left eye to be able to see everything clearly.”
The teenage girl took off the glove before resting her chin on her palms, “But what does it do?”
Osiris smiled again, “It’s no fun if I just tell you, I’ll give you a try when it’s finished, how about that?”
Cierra stared at him, “You’re doing it again…”
When Osiris’ face flushed, Cierra continued, “You really have to stop being so overprotective about your work. I might be able to help you out with it if you didn’t keep it to yourself all the time.”
Osiris put down the tools and looked into her eyes, “I would love your help, especially in the future. The designs I make are practical and ugly, they aren’t really appealing to the eye, which is something I will definitely need to work on.”
Cierra folded her arms, “But…?”
Osiris grinned, “Right now, I want to go into this exam with my own inventions and my own designs. I want them to assess me for my work, not collaborations.”
“Well, I think that you need a break.” Cierra said as she gently pulled the laser meld from Osiris’ hand. “You’re working way to hard for my liking, you’re the genius, you should know what happens when you overwork yourself.”
Putting a hand through his hair, Osiris sighed, “What did you have in mind? I have to get some of this done before the workshop closes.”
Noticing the twinkle in Cierra’s eyes, Osiris smiled, “What are you thinking of?”
The teenage girl just sat down beside Osiris and grinned, flashing him with her perfect wide smile. “If you take a break now, you can finish your stuff at my workshop back home, how about that?”
Osiris looked at the equipment on the table and bit his lip, “I don’t know, I’d have to ask my dad for permission… and besides, I have all the tools I need here.”
Rolling her eyes, Cierra pulled on Osiris’ elbow. “Seriously, my family have a workshop that is way better than this and you’ve never met my parents!”
“They sound a little scary from what I’ve seen on the news…” Osiris began as he took the laser meld from her hand. Cierra however just stared at him, “You mean you’ve refused all my invites because you’re scared of my parents?”
Osiris looked to the sky and sighed again, “No, its not like that. I mean that… my father just said that… sorry, it’s difficult to explain.”
Cierra just stared at him, “Then try harder.”
“A friend of our family was being manipulated by arms dealers, and my father hates weapons… and the news… well the news called your father evil.” Osiris said as he turned away from her.
“Is that what you think…?” Cierra said slowly, her voice showing how the comment had hurt her.
“I don’t really know what to think, I never really gave it much thought. But, if you want me to meet them, I will.” Osiris said with a smile. “They raised you, so they cant be that bad.”
Cierra’s face broke into a smile, “You’re such a softie. All I have to do is the hurt voice and you instantly feel guilty.”
Osiris’ eyes widened, “Ah! You said that you wouldn’t do it anymore!”
It was Tweak however that spoke next, “You’re the idiot that believed her.”
Both of the teenagers just stared at the device that slowly went into a silent hibernation, fearing the wrath of his inventor. Osiris smiled, “I really have to remember to turn him off.”
Cierra broke out of the momentary reverie and nudged Osiris in the ribs, “I wasn’t joking about the workshop though. Yes, we do make weapons there, but that’s mostly done in the factories. The workshop at home is where my dad makes the prototypes and models.”
Osiris whistled, “It would be nice to see what an Weapons workshop looks like. But I don’t know if my father would let me go…”
Cierra winked, “If you tell him…”
Osiris’ eyes widened at the words, “I wont lie to him, I’d hate myself for it.”
Folding her arms in front of her, Cierra lay her head down and moaned. “You’re never any fun, you know that right?”
Osiris groaned and flung the laser meld down in front of him, “Twenty minutes, just a walk around the school, deal?”
Jumping to her feet with a smile, Cierra laughed, “Perfect, but make it thirty.”
Osiris smiled, “Twenty.”
The two teenagers laughed to each other as they left the room.
“I don’t understand the logic of it though, why would a school as good as ours stand for stuff like this?” Osiris said as he stared up at the large screen mounted on the wall. Cierra however, just smiled at him.
“You don’t understand it because you’re the scholarly type, always have and always will be.”
Osiris was still frowning, “But it’s just pure violence. Ranking physical bouts and chartering them as academic feats is just… idiocy! It promotes bullying.”
Cierra pulled on his shoulder, “You’re just annoyed with the name at the top, aren’t you?”
Osiris shrugged her off, “What? Him? No! I don’t care what happens with Skyth…”
“Then just keep walking with me.” Cierra said with a smile as she pulled on his arm again.
The young prodigy just stared at the screen for the another moment before raising his hand to touch the glass. Cierra watched him as he typed in his own name, only to see the screen fly to another page.
“Look, you’re not last… that’s not too bad? There are two people below you.”
Osiris stared at her with no emotion on his face, “One is a girl and the other was a transfer student from another sector.”
Sighing, Cierra pushed past Osiris and put her hand on the screen. Osiris fell back a step and watched as the older girl started pressing buttons on the screen. Suddenly academic grades were held in comparison against other students within the school. The name Creek topped the screen on every board.
“Happier now?” Cierra said in an exasperated voice as she turned to look at him.
Osiris turned away and started walking down the corridor. “I don’t expect you to understand. I don’t want to just be the smart kid.”
Cierra exited out of the screen and ran up to Osiris, “Then what do you want to be?” she said as she nudged his shoulder playfully.
Osiris smiled wistfully, “I wouldn’t mind being the cool kid for a little while. But unless I suddenly become a brainless dolt and grow a huge set of muscles overnight, it wont happen.”
Cierra laughed, “You think that’s what the girls like?”
Osiris smiled, “It’s common knowledge, girls like idiots. It makes them feel less inferior or something.” The fourteen year old boy had to jump away to dodge her shove. “Sorry, I thought you’d have known the truth!” Osiris protested through a laugh.
“Just keep talking if you want my name to go higher up on that bully list!” Cierra growled, but her blue eyes showed that she was trying not to laugh.
“So what should someone like me do? I’ve not made many friends since coming here…” Osiris said as he looked around himself. Cierra snorted, “Thank you, I feel really appreciated.”
“If I need sarcasm, I’ll ask Tweak.” Osiris grinned, “But seriously, I would like at least some memories of this place that aren’t just of me sitting in the workshop.”
Cierra stopped walking and looked at Osiris, “Are your hands as quick as your mind?”
Osiris smiled, “No chance. Why do you ask?”
The teenage girl took off her earrings and threw both of them in different directions, shouting “Catch!” at Osiris as he panicked and darted forward. Cierra gasped as Osiris caught both pieces in mid air.
“What did you do that for? These are really expensive!” Osiris gasped as he cradled the green crystals in his palms. Cierra smiled as she took them from him. “Don’t worry, I have much more of them at home. Dad thinks that they’re good substitutes for not being around.”
Osiris coughed as he tried to regain his breath from the shock, causing Cierra to laugh. “You really don’t have any stamina, but those reflexes are quite interesting.”
Osiris took a deep breath and smiled at her as he turned and started walking back towards the workshop.
“Where are you going?” Cierra asked.
“We’ve been walking for fourteen minutes in one direction. If we go back this way, then we’ll be back in time for me to finish the visor before the school closes.” Osiris said with what could be called an almost worried expression on his face.
“No, first we have to take a detour.” Cierra said confidently as she walked away from Osiris.
Panicking momentarily and knowing that she was set on her destination, Osiris sighed and resigned himself to follow her. “Where are you going anyway?” He asked as he caught up to her.
“You asked why I tested your reflexes?” Cierra said with a dazzling smile. “Now, I’ll show you.”
Osiris looked puzzled, but refrained from asking any more questions until they were standing outside two huge doors. “No! I’m not going in there!” Osiris said adamantly as he read the words just above the door.
Cierra laughed as she pulled him into the gym, “Don’t worry, we’re not doing anything too strenuous. I just want you to try something.”
Osiris kept his head down low as he noticed that there were a number of other students in the gym. The blue uniforms and white shirts indicated that they were senior students that had chosen to advance their studies in the school. “Please Cierra, they don’t like me.” Osiris pleaded as he noticed their glances.
The sixteen year old girl however wasn’t listening, she was just walking over to the scoreboards located on the far side of the entrance hall.
“Genius boy? What the hell you doing in here?” one voice shouted across the hall, instantly followed by another, “Go make a GPS and find yourself another hole to study in!”
The snide comments cut across from most sides of the room.
Osiris felt Cierra’s hand tighten on his arm, her footsteps becoming a little more rapid but he couldn’t handle it. Pulling his arm free from her grip, Osiris turned around. “I really don’t belong here!”
Cierra pulled him back, but faltered as she saw the tears in his eyes. Choosing her words carefully she started slowly, “Osiris, please. If you believe in me and trust me as a friend… follow me.”
Osiris stared at her, torn between fear, humiliation and anger. “What can I possibly achieve here?”
Cierra smiled reassuringly as she walked with him to the scoreboards. “First of all there is something I want you to see. Secondly, there is something I want you to try.”
“That your new boyfriend, Grove?” shot across the hall, followed by a clutter of laughter.
“Ask me in two years.” Cierra shot back over her shoulder, causing the laughing to die out instantly.
Osiris however just stared at Cierra who winked at him, “That will give them something to think about for a while.”
Cierra walked to the scoreboards and started entering her passwords and log in details. Osiris nervously watched over his shoulder as the students, with nothing better to do, left their seats in the gym and started advancing towards the scoreboards. “Cierra, they’re coming over.” Osiris said under his breath.
“Let them, they might learn a thing or two from it.” Cierra said with an encouraging smile.
“Oh? Cierra, I think that might be the district aptitude results… school results would be the big shiny button at the top!” one of the burlier teenagers said as he shouldered his way through the crowd, his smarmy grin widening as he realised who it was standing beside her. “Oh, this is rich… Osiris Creek?”
Osiris turned around, only to look up to the chin of Arthor Skyth.
Glancing over Osiris’ head, Arthor smiled, “Cierra, I cant believe you’re still hanging around with this charity case. The sympathy vote was cute at first, but realistically… don’t you think its cruel to be tagging him along like this?”
Osiris’ mouth went dry at the words as his mind registered every syllable. Before he knew what was happening, he was speaking. “Take it back!”
Laughter echoed throughout the crowd, causing Arthor’s grin to spread even wider. “Seriously Osiris, I thought you were supposed to be the smart one. It wouldn’t be wise to pick fights. Didn’t your father teach you anything?”
Cierra smiled, “Just like Osiris’ father taught yours a lesson how many years ago?”
Arthor’s smile evaporated as he started to shove past Osiris to get at Cierra. Just as Osiris hit the ground, Cierra smiled as the screen on the far wall extended to meet each corner, its volume deafening the voices of the crowd. “You’ve certainly changed over the years, haven’t you Arthor?” Cierra said as she watched the display of Mentel beating up Ithan. The frightened figure of Arthor huddled behind the doorframe as his father was beaten reached everyone’s eyes. Soon there was sounds of jeering and joking about Arthor’s appearance. Skyth’s face grew bright red as he whirled on Cierra, “Turn it off now!” he screamed.
Cierra just smiled sweetly at him and locked the scoreboard so that it would play until the transmission was ended. Arthor pulled at his hair and screamed at her to turn it off, but to everyone’s surprise, the screen instantly vanished. Osiris threw the wires to the ground and looked into the crowd, but especially at Arthor. “I’ll never be a bully like you. This… this sort of thing.” Osiris gestured around him, “This isn’t for me.”
The crowd muttered for a few moments before dispersing and vanishing back to their seats.
Arthor was still staring at Osiris, “You turned it off?”
Osiris just turned to stare at Cierra, “If you knew me at all, Arthor, you’d know that this video hurts me more than it hurts you.”
Cierra was speechless, “But… I don’t understand.”
Osiris looked back to Arthor, “For me, my father is everything to me… he’s the most gentle man and caring person I’ve ever met. And you made him turn into something I had never seen before. You ruined the image of my father with just one punch to my face. And for that… I will never forgive you.”
Arthor sighed as he pulled at the blue tie on his uniform. “Why are you here anyway?”
Looking at Cierra, Osiris fell back against one of the chairs, “I really don’t know…”
The teenage girl blinked a few times and looked to the roof, trying to disguise her discomfort at the situation. “I wanted to take him into the Formula room. He has reflexes and the results might change some of his reception in the school…” Cierra finished with a croak.
Arthor looked as though he was about to laugh, but he turned it into a cough. Looking at Osiris he spoke in a toneless voice. “Jealously can do strange things to children, and well… its easier to stay off the rails than to jump back onto the right track.”
Osiris gave a withering smile at the taller youth, “Never too late to try. We are only fourteen.”
Arthor smiled, “For another few weeks anyway, here, you’ll need these if you want to take the Formula test.” Osiris’ hand shot out and caught the card that had been flung towards him.
Grinning at the smaller boy, Arthor said, “Maybe you’ll last past the second round with those reflexes after all.”
Arthor stared at Cierra for a moment before turning his head away and walking off in the opposite direction. Leaving the two teenagers alone at the scoreboards.
Cierra opened her mouth to say something, but Osiris cut her off. “You were trying to do something nice for me, I can understand that… but you really picked the wrong way to do it. Whatever it was that you tried to do here today and whatever the Formula thing is, I’m not interested. This would never have happened if I had just stayed in the workshop and worked on the damn visor! I wouldn’t have been publicly humiliated again and we would still be best friends!”
Cierra’s response came a few moments later, in almost a whisper, “We’re not best friends anymore?”
Osiris stared at her and then looked around at the gym, “Not by a long shot.”
Cierra tried to smile, but her throat had already started to close up. Rolling her head to the right, she just said, “Yeah… that’s fine, I’ll just…go.” before she left briskly in the direction of the bathrooms. Had Osiris not put his head into his hands, he would have seen her break into a run. Had he looked even closer, he would have seen the tears flowing down her cheeks.
Replacing the wires and burning his hand on one of the connections, Osiris slammed his hand against the screen, causing it to jump backward to the previous menu. The voice of every student in the hall could be heard as they shouted their surprise at what was accidentally shown on the full screen. Osiris however didn’t hear a thing, his eyes were fixed on the menu in front of him. Tears fell from his face as he saw something he had never before seen, a clip of his mother and father from their youth. An older man stood behind them with his arms around the two of them. Byrne’s daughter announces marriage to Formula mechanic Mentel Creek.
Osiris slowly came back to reality and heard the screams echoing around the gym, this time there were more people, each of them looking at either the screen or at him. “He’s the grandson of Byrne, the racing millionaire!”
“Forget that! His dad was a Formula mechanic! Osiris never mentioned it!”
“Look at his face, he didn’t know?!” voices were screaming out over the excited chattering causing Osiris’ head to spin. Steadying himself against the computer, he read the headline one more time before whispering almost to himself. “She raced the cars he built? She was a Formula… driver?”
Osiris gripped his hands, but was surprised to find something digging into his skin. Looking down, Osiris examined the card. “Formula Simulator, Reflex Tester?” Osiris read aloud.
Osiris put a hand through his hair and looked from the card back to the computer screen. “What else have you not told me, dad?” Osiris muttered as he made his way towards the testing room.