After the meeting on Friday all those who hadn’t yet gotten theirs had gone to get the Id cards, schedules and books. Since Sam and Jennifer already had theirs they volunteered to get some basic groceries, and since Sam had a fake ID he also offered to get some beer. That night they all chose their rooms, unpacked, made a simple dinner and spent the night drinking and playing cards, they stayed up talking most of the night. So when Saturday came around they had decided to spend most of the day relaxing. Michael being more or less local had said that the weather in the mid-west would be turning within the month and this was one of the few sunny Saturdays they were going to have left until next spring, so they had mostly stayed out in the back yard, tanning, drinking and talking. Sam had said this was one of his last chances to keep his tan up, he explained that he couldn’t even get a tan until his battery was fully charged and after HCP classes began he figured it would rarely be fully charged again.
Sunday rolled around and they were mostly rested and ready for whatever was going to come. They headed out as a group almost an hour early, heading to the classroom they all had come out of two days earlier. After getting off the lift, they saw a bulletin board on the wall in front of them, a sign on the board read ‘Uniform required at all-time underground. Boy’s locker room to the left, first right, first door on right. Girl’s locker room to the right, first left, first door on the left. All lockers have assigned names on the front.’ The group separated, heading off to their locker rooms, Tony found the locker with his name on it.
He opened the locker and found three identical uniforms wrapped in plastic, also sitting on the stack was a note card that read,
Name: Anthony Price
Ability: Shape Shifting
Uniform Property: DNA infused organic weave; allows for uniform to shift with user
“Hey, you see this?” he asked Sam, “your uniform have any properties?”
“Yeah, mine says close combat specialist, highest level of durability and resistance. Guess they are expecting the uniform to take a beating and don’t want to keep replacing it. What does DNA infused organic weave mean?”
“My clothes don’t shift with me, so a few years ago I put out a question on an ask supers website, a tech genius super who specialized in to fabrics figured that if he could clone my DNA into a fiber it could be made into clothes. So after a bunch of test batches and a few thousand dollars, I ended up with some sets of clothes that could shift with me, so I don’t have to get naked before a shift, one of the sets was what I was wearing Friday when I showed up at the house. The fact that the school has made me three sets of the uniforms, with other properties as well, it must have cost a fortune.”
“Hey Michael, is your uniform DNA infused?” Sam asked.
“No, I fall into a quantum shifter category,” Michael said.
“What’s a quantum shifter?”
“Well it’s just a theory someone put forth, but basically it boils down to shifters falling into two category. One like Tony, the body morphs, changing forms. The others shift in a different way, they assume the other form is housed in a pocket dimension, held in stasis, and when we shift we switch our bodies with the shifted form. So our human bodies, along with our clothes, jewelry, wallets, anything non-organic we’re holding get held in stasis until we shift back. That’s the theory anyways, can’t really prove it, also why the information on my card says ‘uniform not used in combat; average durability and average resistance material,” Michael said.
The uniform consisted of black synthetic compression full sleeve shirt and pants, above that was a pair of sturdy pants and jacket, tough but really flexible, all of it was black, the colors changed for each year, but for freshmen it was black. Add to that similar compression socks and average looking sport shoes, at least average compared to the high tech look and feel of the rest of it. It made them look kind of like a crew member on the Starship Enterprise.
Even though they were almost twenty minutes early for orientation, they were far from the only ones there, at least twenty other students were in the lecture hall, in various groups. The seven had decided before coming to orientation that they were not going to be sitting together, they were going to try and branch out their social group, hopefully it would help avoid suspicion about their pasts and why they all got their own house to themselves. Jennifer headed to a group on the left near the back, there were two girls and one guy sitting there talking. “Hi guys, can I join you?” Jennifer asked.
“Sure, I’m Becky, this is my roommate, Sarah, and this is Shawn, we just met him on the lift down here.”
“Hello, I’m Jennifer,” she said sitting down, she noticed the others in her group all joining in different conversations, everyone except James, he seemed a bit anti-social. Jennifer continued to talk with her group until the class was almost full and the dean and six other people walked up on the stage in the front of the lecture hall.
“Good morning, my name is Dean John Allen and these are the professors who teach the various areas of studies during your time in the HCP,” the dean said gesturing to the people on his left and right. “I don’t need to get into the introductions right now, you will all be spending time with each of them in the next two weeks, so they will make their own introductions. For now I wanted to give you an overview of the HCP and the specific differences you will find in this program.” As he was talking, three more students entered the lecture hall and struggled to find seats. “Glad you could join us,” the dean said, causing everyone to make a point of staring at the late entries. “Today we will not be focusing on your tardiness, but being late in the future will not be tolerated. I know the underground complex can be difficult to navigate, but the locker room, gym and this classroom are all very easy to find, so do not be late again.
“I’d like to start by talking about Sizemore’s unique selection process. In the other HCP programs, all the professors, the dean and even the healing director get together and review all the applications then choose between 40 and 60 students. In this program each of the six professors choose seven students of their own, usually in their own focus, the close combat instructor choose those he believes will excel at such, and others their own field. It is why this program boasts the most evenly distributed graduating class make-up of all the programs. There are usually bets made between the professors about student achievements, generally made with expensive bottles of alcohol. It is also why this year I have also chosen seven students, so I could get in on the action.” The class laughed at this. “My selections make up a mixed group, one from each field and a healer. I hope they excel in each category. So for those of you who can do simple math, that’s six professors, one dean, seven selections each, a total of 49 students. You should also be aware there are exactly 49 desks in this classroom, so for those of you who are observant, there are two empty desks, two more late students.
“The second unique aspect of this program is that the other programs all admit 28 students to the sophomore year, this program admits 30 for that year, the reason for that will be given next year if you happen to advance that far. The numbers will be the same as the other programs for junior and senior year, 20 and 15 respectively. And the third unique aspect has to deal with the combat rankings.
“The other programs have just that; combat rankings. In this program you will be given tests and challenges in all of the six fields, a ranking will be given for each, and then all the rankings will be added together and a total rank will be given based on combined scores. Of course trials for ranks will also be unique for each ranking. That is why I told you that you’d be meeting each professor in the next two weeks. Combat ranking will take place a week from tomorrow, focus the day after that, then ranged, control and finally weapons on Friday. The subtlety rank is also unique in this way and to explain it I will be turning over the podium to the subtlety professor Phil Young.”
A man of average height, average build, with a non-descript face and unremarkable brown hair, a man that could easily get lost in a crowd stepped up to the podium. “Hello class,” Professor Young said, as he was about to continue the finally two students arrived.
“I’m sorry we’re late, I thought I had set the alarm, but I think I messed up the AM and PM,” the shorter of the two boys said, while finding the last two unoccupied seats.
“Wow, you guys are so late. This orientation started at noon, that’s a very late start to the day, late night?” Professor Young asked, but he continued talking without waiting for an answer, “so as I was saying the subtlety rank is a sort of homework,” he said bringing out a stack of papers from below the podium. “This packet contains 100 questions. They involve questions from nearly all branches of subtlety work, computer hacking, decryption, infiltration, surveillance, even just basic research. You need to be made aware that some of these involve breaking into a secure building to find something without being detected. Now, in general if you were discovered you’d be arrested and expelled from the program, but these buildings were set up by me, so if you’re caught you will only lose two points on this assignment. But to make sure you know you’re in the right place before you break and enter there will be a key pad in front of the building with the code for it in the packet, if the door opens you’re in the right place and the trial will begin, if it doesn’t, you did something wrong and you should get out of there. Each question is worth one point, each wrong answer will subtract two points, because a wrong conclusion in subtlety could cost a hero their life, so the bad is worse than the good is worth. Thank you, and good luck, these will be due in ethics of heroism next Monday. Oh, and sorry, but in case it wasn’t clear, considering this is a competition, there should be zero sharing of information between you. Also, if you finish early, turning it in early can get you bonus points, but it can only be turned in if all the questions have been answered.”
The dean returned to the podium, while the professor began handing out the packets, “Thank you Professor Young.” He then addressed the students again. “For this semester all of your schedules down here will be the same, you will have one hour of Ethics of Heroism, taught by myself, starting at one, then three hours of gym, taught by Professor Young and Professor Tillman. Next semester you will have the same one hour of ethics but your gym class will be slightly different, that will be explained when and if you make it that far. Does anyone have any questions?” There were a few questions, mostly just rehashes of earlier statements. He finished by thanking the students and telling them he’d see them all tomorrow.