Babylon High Day 1 (Part 2)
Posted By: Shurmanator<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 19 August 2009, 1:27 am
>>>////ONI Transmission >>>////Priority Alpha Record Log- Journal Excerpt
>>>////Project Babylon - WARNING: TOP SECRET EYES ONLY
Western Long Island, New York
Mission Clock: Day 1
>>>>>>>>>ACCESSING MEMORY LOGS
We were all handed our schedules shortly after the introductory speech was delivered. There was no information filled out on the holo-sheets yet, however. Here was another example of a college-like process; all students were allowed to choose their classes. I later discovered that this course selection method was similar to the Sangheilli form of public education, in which Sangheilli children would choose the profession they desired most of all and take classes pertaining to that profession. And while your course selection was not limited to one category in Babylon High, this small compromise revealed to me the beginnings of this co-species system.
I immediately chose History, both Human and Sangheilli. Obviously I was curious about Sangheilli history, and in my opinion you can never learn too much human history. I was reluctant about choosing a mathematics course, but I figured I needed something to fill my schedule, so I chose Calculus and Trigonometry. After breezing through my science choices (I just picked Sangheilli neural studies; I never was a big fan of Chemistry and I definitely didn't want to chose Sangheilli anatomy), I moved on to the more...interesting courses.
Combat Training, obviously, stuck out on the sheet. Considering that most of the Sangheilli culture is based around a warrior class system, I wasn't surprised to see it on the sheet, though I was curious to see how rigorous it would be. Against my better judgement, I highlighted the course. Then there was language. Despite the difficulty, I chose to learn the Sangheilli language. I figure it would be cool to know how to speak an alien language. After that, I had room for two more classes. Before I forgot, I chose Lunch (Yes, Lunch was optional, apparently people have such an unquenchable desire for knowledge that it causes them to have absolutely no desire for sustenance), and then there was one. After skimming down the list, one category peaked my interest. Psychological Comparisons. The course summary stated that the class was about comparing the psyche of Humans to that of Sangheilli. It sounded as if it would give me a better insight to our species similarities and differences, so I chose it. Upon choosing that last course, my holo-sheet winked out of existence as the information automatically transferred to my holo-pad, where it would be stored for later viewing.
I was startled by a tap on the shoulder, causing me to jump a little. I turned around and saw Atas', standing there, again with his mandibles spread open (the Sangheilli equivalent of a smile).
"What courses did you choose, Kenneth?" he inquired.
I showed him my schedule, and, of course, he had all the same courses as me, at all the same times. I know when to appreciate irony, but this was a little too much. Despite his kind demeanor, Atas' was really starting to get on my nerves. He was a little too cheerful, and I still had not gotten over the fact he was more than 2 feet taller than me.
Atas', on the other hand, was gleeful. He patted me on the shoulder (which felt vaguely like getting hit with a baseball bat) and beamed, "I am so glad to see we are together again!"
I attempted my best smile, and was thankfully at that point "saved by the bell." As the homeroom class scrambled out to head to first period, I quickly leapt into the crowd, attempting to avoid being followed by Atas'. Of course, since Atas' was about 5 inches taller than most of his species, and a good 2 feet taller than most of mine, it was easy for him to spot me in the crowd and muscle his way through.
"So," he began, "where on Earth are you from?"
I attempted to keep my answers as short as humanly possible.
"Oh, from this... what do you call it, continent?" he asked
"Yeah, actually from this city... wait a minute." I turned to look at him.
"Can you say something again?" I asked.
Atas' looked puzzled, but obliged. "Yes, what would you like me to say?"
I carefully watched the movement of his mandibles and realized something.
"I was wondering why your voice didn't sound like it was coming out of my translator. You're speaking English!" I exclaimed.
Atas' seemed very proud. "Yes, I am, thank you for noticing! I knew that we would be receiving translators at school, but I felt I could connect more with Humans if I spoke their language. I may not be fluent, but..."
"Wait a sec," I interrupted, "You learned English when you found out you were coming here?"
"Yes, I learned it because I was coming to Babylon High," he responded.
"When did you find out you were going to come here?" I asked, beginning to sound incredulous.
"Oh, about three of your... um... how do you say... ah, yes. About 3 of your months ago."
"Three months? You learned English in three months?" I exclaimed.
"Yes," he responded, sounding genuinely nonchalant, "why?"
"Well," I stammered, "um... that's pretty impressive..."
As I trailed off, unsure of what else to say, Atas' replied, "Thank you."
Still a little dazed by the dedication of my new-found acquaintance, I found myself standing at the door to my Algebra classroom. I shook off my disbelief and stepped inside.
The rest of the morning passed by fairly uneventfully. All of my morning classrooms were shaped like my homeroom, and half my teachers were Human and half Sangheilli. One of each species for History and Mathematics. They talked briefly about course goals, and in History class, they discussed the focuses of the year. After all my math classes and History courses were finished, it was time for lunch.
I sincerely hope that lunch is not like it was today every other day of the year.
Lunch in high school is generally considered one of the most socially segregated times in a Human being's life. Anyone with a high school education will vouch for me. When I walked into Babylon High's lunchroom, despite the fact there were hundreds of aliens walking around me, I didn't expect anything less. And I got what I expected. There were regular cafeteria tables, admit-tingly some with strange shaped seats, and a buffet line in the far corner of the square room. The only entrance was a single set of doors, about 8 meters wide. There had to have been at least fifty tables. I walked up to the line at a fast pace so I could get first picks, and discovered the most varied collection of food I had ever seen.
There was the normal Human goodies; Hamburgers, Pasta, Ribs, Pork Chops, Salad, Apples, Chicken, etc. Then there was stuff that I could hardly consider food. Green wriggling creatures in an orange sauce, short tentacled leafy stalks that looked like broccoli mixed with an octopus, and several other concoctions I was too disgusted to get a good look at.
I appropriated my chosen foodstuffs and looked around for a table.
Finding the right table in a high school cafeteria is one of the most difficult tasks a teenager can face. Choose the wrong table, and your first impression is screwed. Choose the right table, and you're made for the year. It was do or die.
And I had no idea what table to sit at.
I surrendered to my natural instinct to sit with someone I know, and plopped my protesting butt down on a table across from Atas' Valum, who, apparently, knew none of his own species either. Though the Sangheilli had not yet showed any signs of social divisions like my own species had, here at lunch they were sitting in close knit groups, eating ravenously with warrior shouts complementing their feast.
After wandering through hallways filled to burst with a motley crew of species, I was a little surprised to see the definite species line. Not a single table had both a Human and Sangheilli on it, except for mine.
Automatically, it seemed as if every eye in the room turned on me. As Atas' tried to make conversation, to which I responded with noncommittal grunts, I caught some dirty looks from some fellow Humans.
However, as soon as I spotted a particular group of Humans walking toward me, I knew I was in trouble. Their very bodies radiated an aura of douchebag. There were four of them, three boys and one girl. The boys wore wife beater tank tops and ripped jeans, and two of them were shaved. The girl was your typical high school slut, following around the most badass of the badass. The guys were simply talking to each other, until they spotted me. I felt like a small, helpless little insect as a vintage LeBron sneaker descended on me (At this point I wondered why I thought of LeBron sneakers, considering they are 700 years old and cost hundreds of thousands). They walked over, seemingly harmless, but I could tell from their eyes that they were going to do something.
I tried to break eye contact, but it was too late. A good tray-full of cafeteria food landed on my lap, ruining my vintage 50 year old Apocalyptic Glory Galaxy Tour T-Shirt. The guy who had dropped it on me, the only one who didn't have a shaved head, muttered an "oops" as he walked away, barely concealing a chuckle.
Then, a vicious roar echoed from my table. I turned around to see Atas' jumping up to his full height, leaping over the table and landing in front of Tray Dropping Douchebag. He grabbed the kid by the collar, and lifted him a good 2 feet up to eye level.
Atas' snarled quietly into the kid's face as the rest of his troop stood terrified behind their leader. I was borderline hyperventilating at this point. Having a eight and a half foot tall Sangheilli roar less then a meter away from you is not pleasing to the ears.
"Apologize, now," the towering Sangheilli whispered.
By now the whole cafeteria was turned toward the spectacle.
"NOW!" came the swift command from Atas'.
Douchebag obliged, stammering out, "Sorry, dude. My...my...my bad. My bad, okay?"
Atas' nodded, seemingly satisfied, and dropped the kid on his ass. Douchebag quickly stood up and ran for it, with Skinhead 1 and Skinhead 2 running next to him, and Average High School Slut in their wake.
I turned back toward Atas', who was calmly sitting back down again, despite the mutterings and stares that came from the crowded room.
"What the hell was that?" I blurted out before I could stop myself.
"I'm sorry," Atas' admonished, sounding genuinely apologetic. "On Sangheillios, spilling food on someone else is a cruel insult. It is difficult to find food on our planet, and wasting some in order to disgrace another person is the ultimate act of loathing. It is improper and even illegal to do so, and can result in harsh punishments. You had done nothing to deserve this. I understand, however, that the custom is not the same here on Earth. I apologize for my error."
"Dude," I said, "Don't be sorry. You just kicked that guy's ass. Psychologically, I mean. You probably caused some serious neural trauma there."
"And... that is a good thing?" Atas' asked.
"If you're doing it to a douchebag like that, hell yeah! Seriously though, thanks a lot. I appreciate it, Atas'."
"You're welcome, Kenneth." he replied, looking up and smiling a little.
Yes, high school was going to be interesting indeed.
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