Chapter 3 - First Day of Class

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So I made an error when I was organizing potential covers for this story, and TOTALLY FORGOT to write down who made me this one :( But it's amazing and I love it and if it was you, let me know and i'll see if it matches what I do have for it :D

Tysm and happy reading!


Blake Kennedy sat in the second row of Ms. Romans' Diplomatic Matters class. He was bored. He and his classmates had already attended two, hour-long lectures that morning, and neither lecture brought the excitement or directly applicable knowledge he'd expected from Clarkson Academy. But this was the International Relations majors' and final class of the day, perhaps Ms. Romans knew they would need a pick-me-up.

Blake folded his arms across his chest and listened to Ryder tap his notebook in the seat beside him. Blake frowned. In their years of boarding school together, Ryder had always been impatient. It was the one thing about his friend that drove Blake crazy. As far as he knew, however, impatience was Ryder's only flaw--that in itself was worth keeping him around.

Blake scanned the room: brand new, state of the art tables and chairs, a digital whiteboard, an espresso machine... there. And there she was: the one person who might have been even more impatient than Ryder. Jamison sat in the third row back and was listening to the girl who called herself Greens –Blake scoffed—ramble on about something. Jamison laughed and Blake felt a twinge of sadness. She'd been through a lot in the past few months, Blake knew that from various sources, but he needed her for his project. Things were about to get so much worse.

* * *

Ms. Romans came to the front of the room and I motioned to Greens to stop talking. Ever since the incident, I hadn't wanted to or found it possible to make friends easily. But Greens had other ideas, and her intentions seemed genuine. I knew from experience that in the business we were getting into, friends were risky. But sometimes risks are worth it.

"Welcome to Diplomatic Matters," our teacher said. She looked bright and refreshed, like she was ready for a whole day of action, even though it was already one in the afternoon. "I hope your mornings weren't too dull. Some of your introductory classes save their exciting materials for the end of the semester." She scanned the room, making eye contact with each of us, as if she could tell exactly what we'd thought of our earlier classes. Save the best for last.

She sat on her metal desk in the front of the room so she faced us. "This class," she said, "Is going to compliment what you'll learn with Mr. Andrews. Today you'll learn the theory behind certain techniques—tomorrow you'll put them into use. "

Greens sat up straight beside me. Ms. Romans was finally going to teach us something we could use.

"But what good would it be," she continued, "For me to tell you everything you need to know? It would be much more valuable for you to learn how to discover all this useful information independently."

I nodded. This seemed pretty typical so far. They wanted us to graduate Clarkson as agents who could think for themselves. That was the difference between Clarkson and other programs like the CIA Preparatory School, that taught their students to act purely on instincts—Clarkson's agents were more less mechanic than the others, and much much more dangerous.

"Which is why," Ms. Romans stood up from her desk, picked up a remote, and turned on the screen behind her, "I'm giving you this term project."

A map of the world showed up on the screen behind her, with red circles indicating various cities. I recognized a few of them as Oxford, Baltimore, and Florence, all major cities in major countries, but none of them were the biggest, most important city.

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