Chapter 11:


Curiosity Killed The Cat

A bored young man sat in the classroom full of other students. He was wearing the same tan uniform that the others wore every day. His dark hair was shaggy compared to the others and constantly got in his eyes, but it was how he liked it. He couldn’t care less for Kothur’s lesson, but he sat still in his seat regardless again today.

His mind was always somewhere else. His notes were scribbles with his pencil tapping the corner of the page. Though he didn’t want to be here, there was nowhere he would rather be, either. Outside was too cold, his dorm room was always too loud, and he had no money to spend in town. He concluded the classroom might be the best after all. The teacher’s voice brought him back to reality.

“Trichael, do you know the answer to this question?” Kothur tapped the board to an equation.

“No, sir.” He confidently answered right away.

“Well, I appreciate the honesty.” Kothur responded straight-faced.

The days passed Trichael without him thinking too much about his future. He didn’t care what happened to him as there wasn’t anything he was especially passionate about. Once you graduate, you can choose to get a job with the government and they will let you pick out your job depending on your gender. Though he guessed there were some exceptions like his teacher. If you are good at a specialty like science, you can get recommended pretty easily from this school, but he didn’t have anything like that.

All able-bodied graduates become soldiers or joined the church to be able to feed themselves and their families easily. Any other way was considered reckless. There were a few problems with these easy courses of action for him. He didn’t care about his family, he didn’t care about religion, and he didn’t particularly care about this country either. His lack of caring carried over to his grades. He risked getting kicked out at this rate. That wouldn’t be good; he’d rather run away than be sent back to his home.

Trichael had friends, but he always felt annoyed by them if he hung with them for too long. Couldn’t any of them say anything more interesting than talking about the war or their future jobs? He was above that nonsense. It wasn’t his fault nothing was interesting to him.

On a certain day in the afternoon during their free time in the courtyard, he decided to talk to Soline. He just happened to take an interest in her today, is all. She hadn’t been enrolled here for very long before she had to take part in that weird project, so she didn’t have many people to talk to yet. He was just being nice, yeah. He was definitely not motivated to talk to her because he thought she was cute or anything, no way.

He sat down on the bench next to her. “Hey, what are you doing.” A perfect opening line, if he did say so himself.

Soline held a tiny silver ball high up to the sunlight between her fingers. It shone blue in the strong light. “I have to eat one of these dael things every day since I started refusing the shots. I really don’t feel like it anymore. I was thinking of throwing it away, but I don’t want to get in trouble.”

“That’s crazy. What does it do to you?” Trichael leaned to stare at it with her.

She shrugged. “It’s to connect with an android or something, I don’t know. If I take it at the same rate as it, we’ll connect or something.”

That’s kind of cool, not going to lie, he thought. Best case scenario: I connect with this girl or an android. Worst case scenario: I die or get in trouble. Trichael was willing to take those odds. He thought about it for a moment before reaching out his hand. “Give it to me. I’ll take it for you.”

Soline gasped and brought the ball closer to her. “What?! I can’t do that! They’ll definitely find out!”

He leaned back in the bench. “Hm. Can you break it? Just give me half, that way you don’t have to take all of it.”

She played with it in her hands. “No, it’s pretty tough, but thanks for offering to help. It’s really annoying doing this every day. What if I give you one every other day?”

“That works for me.” He now had a reason to talk to her more often. He looked at her smiling face. The shade of her eyes was so enchanting.

The days passed by him once again, but everything seemed different. Little by little his boredom seemed to disappear. Though the days were getting darker for longer with the upcoming winter season, his mood was brighter. He looked forward to each new day. It was probably just a weird side effect of those dael pills, he thought, definitely not because he could talk to Soline again.

Another afternoon in the courtyard together. They were talking about random things. Soline had asked him his most hated of questions: what his plans for the future were. She said she just wanted to be a housewife. How nice it must be to be a female just living on a man’s paycheck. “I guess I’ll just be a soldier since it’s the easiest.” He said with a sigh.

“What? You can’t be a soldier with that kind of attitude. Soldiers protect the country and the people. Why did you even enroll in this school if you don’t really care about anything?”

“Honestly, I just wanted to get out of my house. I got caught up in a huge brawl in my town and I jumped on the opportunity to come here.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. Was it scary?” She looked really apologetic.

He waved her off. “No, it wasn’t like that. I saw it going on and I joined in because it seemed fun, but I didn’t tell anyone that.”

She laughed. “You’re hilarious. I was also caught up in a big event, but I didn’t really want to come here. I just did it so I could provide a bit for my family. My town’s not doing so great right now because of people robbing trucks on the highway.”

“What happened to you?”

“I got held hostage at gunpoint while some guy was trying to rob my family. He apparently went around doing that a lot with an empty gun. I bit his hand really bad and he ran away, but man, my dad was angry at me for that.”

“That’s so cool of you, though! Not many people could bite someone holding a gun at them!”

“Ahaha, I just was tired of all the bad luck happening to my parents.”

Soline was really something else. She came here and took part in the weird project even though she wanted to just be a housewife? All for her family? She needed a man if she wanted to a housewife. Someone to protect her. Maybe one day he could be someone like that for her... not that he liked her or anything.