Entering through the wide double doors in the back, I found my eyes taking in the lecture hall for my first ever college class, Intro to Geology. Geo 101 was required for students who think they might wish to make a full study of the field, but also a popular elective to fulfill science requirements for other majors.
As such the hall was filled with roughly half freshmen and half sophomore and juniors. They took places around the hall, arranging themselves in the tiers as they waited for the professor to enter the hall. It’s wasn't surprising to me, to see those most likely to be interested in the field were nearer the front, while the ones just looking to fill out their transcript spread out among the back half.
Nearing the front, I spotted an interesting sight. A pretty brunette leaned back in her front-row chair, denim-clad legs crossed. head facing up. Dark sunglasses hid her eyes, and ear buds from her iPod streamed music into her skull. As I neared I could read the message written on the girl’s dark green tee shirt: Shakespeare hates your emo poems. This girl looked all but ready to spend the entire class recovering from her hangover, right in the front row.
I smiled disarmingly at the woman, But then the lower door banged open and the professor walked in, interrupting my planned introduction by calling out “Good morning, and welcome to Introduction to Paleontology!” He went on, but what caught my attention was the girl. As soon as the professor began speaking she sat up, yanked out her ear buds, and whipped off her shades. That’s when, while the professor made introductions, I recognized the girl int he snarky tee shirt was Sarah Voltaire aka Quantum.
Quickly sitting down I smoothed out my pleated mini skirt and opened my lap top, struggling to focus on the professor more then the somewhat kindred spirit in front of me.
Being Delta myself, I was aware of Sarah Voltaire. I mean, I knew
the girl was attending
Images on TV of latex-clad Quantum, the first ever Delta to wear a costume; Polaris’ cute sister, reporters called her, because her powers were so like his.
The day she killed the villain Warhammer on live TV, the iconic shot of her tear-stained face right after, the anguish. There was no doubt she’d executed the man for killing that cop, but her face told the real story.
The girl dying on the steps of city hall a few days later: Statuesque, violet-haired Quantum taking a sniper’s bullet, but this skinny teen landing in her place.
Later, shots of her flying away, somehow recovered. Later still, a new costume, and word that the girl’s mother had made her change it.
More appearances over the next two years, until the bombing of flight 408, one of several attacks around the nation on known Deltas. Dozens dead, but Sarah saved two hundred.
And then the reports: Sarah Voltaire had lost her powers, shortly after the bombing. Quantum was gone.
I also recalled, an article in the local paper from a few months ago. Powers or not, Sarah rushed into an alley to help a screaming woman. Armed with her book bag, she stopped a mugger who turned out to be a rapist. She got stabbed in the process, but police arrived in time to arrest the suspect, summoned by the woman Sarah had helped. Peering closer I could see the scar on her left bicep, peeking out from under the tee shirt.
And now, she was taking notes on her mac-book in my Geology 101 class. She looked not at all hungover. It’s possible she was using the shades and I-Pod to deter approach, because she was typing away while the professor... Wait, what’s he talking about? I realized with a start, I'd missed the first two minutes of his lecture.
The first lecture proceeded. Sarah took her notes, typing while he talked. She didn't ask any questions, but noted down those of others. She glanced at me once, more noting my proximity than anything, looking at me for perhaps a moment longer than simple acknowledgement would require.
I smiled as I glanced back at her, resisting the urge to say something friendly, knowing the professor would likely make an example out of the first student to appear to be ignoring his lecture.
The lesson ended with the expected heavy dose of reading and Sarah folded up her laptop rising, preparing to be on her way. She slung her bag and pulled out her shades, about to put them on.
I finished noting down the reading assignment and stood up, catching Sarah's attention with a deliberately noisy grind of the chair as I slid it back in place. "Looks like this is going to be an interesting class eh?" I paused to adjust my pony tail and finish up with an introduction "I'm Evelyn by the way, but my friends just call me Evie."
Sarah nodded at the question, looking at me a second time. "Sarah. And yeah. I'm just trying to get my science requirement without dissecting anything. This seemed like my best bet."
I giggled a little at her squeamishness despite myself. "I was dissecting frogs when I was twelve, but my father's a science teacher so I was into it back then." Paleontology is one of my favorite subjects, and they're always finding out new stuff to do with dinosaurs."
I smiled, unable to resist the urge to show off my knowledge just a little. "For example, they now think raptors used their wings for stability and flapping to stay on top of their prey while hanging on with their hooked claws and eating it alive." I paused and blushed slightly, suddenly embarrassed at sounding like some kind of Dino geek in front of the girl.
Sarah started walking out, but kept talking. "Yeah, I don't like blood." Her tone was nice and light. "My next class is on the other side of campus in fifteen minutes." Tight schedule. "Accounting 201."
I nodded, inwardly cringing at the mention of mathematics, it was one subject that bored me to tears. "That sounds a bit... tame? But it sure looks nice on the resume'. Maybe we can hang out later? I'm in room 314, of the girls dorm." I offered casually, hoping to make a connection with another of my kind.
"I like the numbers." She looked back at my question, and smiled, just a little. "I have classes until 2 and then a shift at my job." Maybe another day.
I nodded, quickly grabbing a piece of paper from my note book and scribbling down my email. "Here, you can reach me at this." I wanted to pass her my phone number as well, but didn't want to seem as if I was coming on to her in the first three minutes of conversation, even if she was cute...
Sarah took it without hesitation. "Okay. And if I don't see you before then, I'll see you Wednesday morning." She turned and started to head across campus.
"See ya around, I'll be late for my advanced biology class if I don't hurry!" I shouted over my shoulder, as I rushed to find my way down the hall. I was half tempted to shift into a bird and zip over the heads of my fellow students, but I knew doing such, (to say nothing of landing naked at end of my trip) would land me in the deans office, or mark me as a freak nudist show boat, neither of which I wanted on my first (or any other) day.
Sarah was friendly enough, but getting to know her wasn't an option. She was always on her way to her next class, or to a shift at the shop she worked at, or getting home for dinner. I saw she took good notes, and seemed to like wearing tee shirts with snark on them.
It wasn't until a month later I got a chance to actually get to know her better, and learned making assumptions can be both awkward, and embarrassing. Say what you like about animals, they're a lot easier to get along with.