(Another older one, 2004 I think)

21st November. A free day, so we shifted over to Maartax V to the quest finals. Not impressed, the rules suck thanks to the latest Equal Opportunity Act. These contests started on Earth, I think only humans and near humans should be allowed. Dad says the rot had obviously started when the Tharsians were given the vote.

Drago’s in deep. He wanted to try out the pleasure center afterwards, not me, and he tried to hit onto one piece there. She was obviously out for a bit of fun (not that type – I mean, we even look 15 and there are laws) so she tagged him on until she had had enough and decided to let him know she was a morph – by changing into an Orion swamp dweller. Laughed stupid at his face when he found himself draped around that.

Finals are on soon, and I’m gone with physics. Durvald has been helping me study, but it’s hopeless, even though she says she has a way round it.

28th November. Brasilia v Sydney finals. I don’t know how Sydney got away with it, they can’t pin anything down but I’m sure they are using micro-gravs somewhere. I mean, who can do a slam dunk from the charity stripe and claim they’re not? Even Michael Jawrdan only did that twice.

Got pulled up for speeding yesterday, not my fault but still grounded. I picked up Durvald and Drago (he’s still ripe at me for the other day) to test out the new skid. Air’s empty now with the shifters, so I got my license a bit early. It’s good to go instead of just getting there. Skipped around the gulf and then checked out the new Iikara tower from the outside. I mean a twenty kilometer tower is worth the trouble yeah? So I’m going vertically up one face at about a quarter thrust and we’re nearly there when Drago says “OK, so it goes up, but does it go, I mean REALLY GO?” What could I do? I couldn’t let that pass, not in front of her. So I get to the top of the tower and stand the sucker on its fins, right next to the condo at the top, and man what a view, mean not the scenery but what’s inside taking a shower. So I’m looking and she’s soaping, Durvalds sitting in the back test driving the sound blaster and Drago’s got his eyes wide open, tongue out when she looks at us. The comset seemed to appear by magic so I flipped over on the nose and hit the cans pulling up gees and 50 feet above the waves and then blam, full ballistic and I’m gone, gone and gone! Durvalds got her arms round my neck and not in a nice way, Drago’s lunch is on his knees, and I’m laughing like a coot when I feel the first jerk and they had us, locked solid and hauling in. They’ve impounded my skid for two years, my license will be given back whenever hell freezes over (whatever that is, but it sounds like ages), and I’m grounded for a month, except for study. Dad said “In my day young man …” and all that but he don’t know what mum told me so I know where it all comes from now.

1st December. Durvald shifted in today and we did a bit of finals study but I don’t feel too confident, especially physics. I mean I was totally shamed out by her when we went through it, she knows all of it and I can’t even get past go. I’m so bad the AI that we were using suggested I take something easier next year like art or history – yeah, and end up selling hot dogs at basketball games. Durvald still thinks she can find a way around it, so I’m going to her place next week to work on it (fat chance of any good – finals are too close). It’ll be the first time I’ve been to her place though she’s round here often enough. Come to think of it, I’m not sure if anyone at all’s been to her place.

Got the heavy from Dad again. All he can think about is what I’m going to do when I finish, what job I’ll get, and how much rent I’ll pay here. I couldn’t really care less, and I told him that, and all it did was make him really go off the deep end. So much for honesty.

3rd December. Went to Durvalds today. Man, I thought my parents were one out of the box but hers are really weird. Like they nearly hid themselves from me and then they get real friendly and start giving me stuff to eat and drink, but all of my favourites every one. And without saying anything. Durvald says they’re really shy, but they got really friendly real quick and then just left us alone in her room. Major weird.

We did it today, weird as but she’s a ninja with this. But with her parents only a couple of rooms away, I was real worried, but she said they wouldn’t mind at all and would probably like it anyway. She’s a total guru, and she says that practice I will be pretty good myself. But I still don’t know how this will help with my finals, but she says trust me so I do. I’ll see her again tomorrow at my place.

8th December. What a week! We’ve been at it constantly, I mean, we even did it in the kitchen while dad was watching the sports! On Friday night we got the big breakthrough, took hours, but we finally got it fully together and I now know that this will be perfect. I even know what I will do once I’m out of this dump.

10th December. Finals were yesterday and what a snap. Dad is still recovering from the results. I pulled an average of 88.5% on everything and 82% on the Physics paper!. My grounding’s gone and to cap it off he got me the latest model skid to replace the one the police took. Durvald did about the same, but Drago bombed badly and is being sent to a manual training institute for some pre-voc training.

But man, the telepathy Durvald has been teaching me worked so well! All those days and nights doing it, and it pays off. Until the night before all I could do was communicate with Durvald and the rest of them who are also able to do it. But then she managed to get me to do what she thought I could do – read other people’s minds. What a blast but noisy or what? All those loose thoughts out there, most of them not really nice (you could get locked up for posting that stuff on the net) and it’s nasty trawling through the trash to probe for what you want. But when it was done Durvald’s parents reckoned I was the strongest one they’d seen so I felt good about that.

In the exam room the rest was simple. As the papers came up I just tuned in to the teacher who set the paper, pulled out the answers, and typed them straight in. Durvald did the same, and we checked what we had done to make sure I hadn’t gotten the wrong info. I nearly blew it by answering everything right (she said that even if they couldn’t prove it, for that we would probably be expelled just on suspicion) so we made a few deliberate errors to keep it cool. When the results were through about an hour later all the teachers were around me saying “We always knew you could do it” and “So, you’re not a total waste of time after all” and all I could do was stop myself from laughing too hard. Man, what a rush that was – just to see their faces. Straight Ds to straight Bs. Durvald, as usual, got her straight As, but now I know why and how she does it.

Next? Well, I think my future is pretty well taken care of. Durvalds parents told me that they have an organisation of people just like me who stick pretty close together, cause it’s only one in ten million who have a hint of this ability, and one in a billion who have what they call a “gift”. I am one of those. So I’m off to Maartax to work for a big name trans-planetary firm (that will please dad), but I won’t really be working, I’ll be studying. But this time, it will be for something I am really interested in – running things back here. They say that with the gift, it works in reverse too, so that what you lift from other’s minds stays in yours, sort of like a huge filer. Come to think of it, I can remember the papers and the answers exactly, word for word. So we, I mean us with a gift, have a job to do to keep the whole universe on track, and that’s what’s going to happen to me. So, I get to be Mr Mainstream after all – not likely. Even though the jobs only a cover, I will be getting more money in a month than dad does in a year. So once I get him the VR series of 20th century golf courses and golfers complete with Greg Norman simulation I am going to buy the quickest, wickedest ether cruiser I can lay my hands on. Thought I was a menace on Earth, man, wait till I’m let loose on the Universe.

And Durvald? Well, the deal also came with a string attached. Her parents said that if two people with a gift had kids, the kids get it too. Seems like they’ve been setting me and her up all along. Actually just me as she was in on it from the start. So if I wanted in I had to have her too. Took me about a nanosecond to agree to that, I’d been wondering how to do the trick on her myself but with her parents setting it up it’s just too easy. And she’s keen too. But not for at least 5 years, I’ve got some work to do. Ah, sex – the final frontier. Beam me up Scotty!


Thanks for reading my story. I’m really keen to get your feedback and to know if you liked what you read. Please leave a quick comment if you could.

Cheers, Ishmael

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