CHAPTER SEVEN (draft)

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CHAPTER SEVEN

My second class is Atlantis Tech. I wonder what in the world that means as I climb up the stairs all the way to the fourth floor, pretty much dying on the way, after the physical exertion I’ve just endured. Admittedly, it’s not really that bad—at least not for a normal athletic teen. But I’ve managed to avoid P.E. or take the easiest classes possible, for years. And now it’s all catching up with me . . . at the worst time possible.

The fourth floor landing is identical to the others, brightly lit and sterile. But instead of double doors leading to one ginormous room the size of the Training Hall or the sleeping floor, this one leads into a corridor with many classroom doors on all sides. My schedule said “Room 17,” and so I go down the hall past a stream of other students—no, wait, I need to stop thinking of everyone here as just students. No, we’re Candidates. Candidates for Qualification, fighting for our lives. And we are all sporting our yellow tokens, which suggests to me that our classes are likely going to be Yellow-Quadrant-only, or maybe even limited to our own Dorm Eight, whatever it really means.

And for a brief moment I wonder how my brothers and sister are doing. . . . I’ll have to go look for them as soon as the classes for the day are over. My chest feels a sudden constriction, a pang of nerves on their behalf.

But first, Atlantis Tech.

Inside, the classroom is filled with Candidates. I am one of the last arrivals, so I get a lousy seat in the back. The front of the class has a usual teacher’s desk and on it is some kind of equipment. There is also a large whiteboard.

The Instructor is a middle-aged man, definitely not Atlantean. He’s wearing a plain grey suit and a yellow armband. He has a balding head and a mild and somewhat abstracted expression.

“Good morning everyone, I am Mr. Warrenson. I will be one of your Atlantis Tech Instructors.” His voice is pleasant and he looks over the packed room kindly. “I’m sure you’re all wondering what this is all about. Well, to be honest, when I got the intensive crash course on the basic principles of their technology, I was pretty much stunned—all the scientific community was. But their technology is so different from our own, so original, the principles of physical interactions of wave and particle mechanics, heat and energy transfer—”

I see the kids’ eyes starting to glaze over. At the same time I watch the excitement gathering in the way this man is starting to slur his speech together, and recognize he is a nerdy science type who got tasked with teaching us some advanced stuff that’s unfortunately going to go over many of the teens’ heads.

But not mine!

“Anyway, the main initial point I’m trying to get across,” Mr. Warrenson says, motioning with his hand at the spread of unrecognizable objects on the desk before him, “is that Atlantis technology is based on sound. To be precise, it is based on the interactions of various tones and frequencies and the opposing bombardment of sound waves from different directions in order to conduct, transfer and convert sound energy and in the process create physical movement and other tangible manifestations in the physical world.”

Mr. Warrenson pauses and stares at us, as if to give us time to let it sink in.

Everyone mostly kind of stares back at him, blank faced, expectant, uncertain.

“Huh?” a boy mumbles.

Me? I’m kind of getting blown away.

Disappointed in our lack of reaction, the Instructor continues. “Let me put it this way. It’s sound, it’s music!—tones and notes—that make those amazing hoverboards levitate! Sound is what makes the bulk of their technology work! It’s mindblowing! Oh, if only we had more time! More time to get a thorough in-depth look at the functionality, the things I could tell you—But in any case, what’s important is that the one solid reason why you all passed Preliminary Qualification, a reason I can reveal to you now, is that all of you here can more or less carry a tune. Or at least you can replicate auditory signals correctly. Which means you are prime Candidates for being able to use Atlantis technology!”

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