Gary woke to see that the spots on the ceiling had rearranged themselves; he sat up quickly and was about to call for his mom when he saw that he was in a completely different room than where he went to sleep. There were two more beds, three upright wooden closets--wardrobes, he corrected himself, wondering absently if one of them went to Narnia. Not that Narnia was real, but neither was waking up in a strange room with two teenage boys wearing maroon blazers with a "TP" insignia on them staring at you. One boy was blond, tall, and muscular, the the other stocky and dark-haired.
"Easy," said the blond one. "You probably went to sleep hearing static? Probably near something made by Sato Systems?"
Gary wrinkled his nose. What did this boy mean, static? Was this strange boy an Alpha? Did he hear things others didn't? And if so, where were Dr. Rosen and the others?
"You're at Tower Prep," the boy said. "That's how they brought us all here, the static. My name is Ian. This is Gabe," he pointed at the dark haired boy with the glasses.
"Tower *Prep*? No, no no," Gary said. "I can't be in a high school. I did high school! I'm too old for high school."
Ian and Gabe just stared.
"Dude, we... you don't have a choice," Gabe stammered. "You're here, we're in a high school."
"I'm going to call Dr. Rosen," Gary said, moving his hands to access the streams of data surrounding him.
"Our PDAs don't go outside of the school," Ian said, picking up one off the table and handing it to Gary.
"I can..." Gary stopped, frowned. "There's so little..... there should be more... It has a single source." Gary got up, heading for the door.
"Wait, you're out of uniform," Ian said.
"I all ready graduated high school, I don't have to wear a uniform," Gary said.
"This guy's heading for trouble," Gabe said to Ian.
"I'm autistic, not deaf, I can hear you," Gary said irritably. He left the room, following the trail of data out of the building and across a quad to another building.
Gabe stepped out in front of him. "Look, buddy, I know you're confused, but you don't want to be dragged into Headmaster's office your first day. Let's go back into the room, we'll get you into uniform, take you to breakfast, and then show you where orientation is. Trust me, after that you'll be a lot less confused."
Gary sighed. Really, what was this guy's problem? Why didn't he get it? "I'm twenty five years old. I graduated high school. I am not supposed to be here. Is the headmaster the guy in charge?"
"It's just Headmaster," Ian said, "and yes, he is."
"Then I want to see him," Gary said. "After I find the source of all these signals." He followed the trail, stepping around Gabe.
"Dude, that's the administration building," Ian said.
"My name's not Dude, it's Gary."
"Okay, Gary, that's the administration building. Trust me, you do not want to go in there."
"Yes, I do," Gary said.
He followed the data trail up the steps and through the hallway until he came to a room with an open door.
"Mr. Bell," said a man sitting at a desk with a name plate reading simply "Headmaster" on it. "I was expecting to see you."
"Where's the rest of the signals?" Gary asked, without preamble.
"Tower Prep is a unique environment," Headmaster said, gesturing for Gary to sit down. "We bring young Alphas here to help them develop their abilities to their fullest potential."
"I'm not a young person," Gary said. "Well, I am, but I'm not that young! I've finished high school!"
"I know," Headmaster said, "but you are the youngest in Dr. Rosen's group, and he needs you to carry out a special mission."
"Why didn't he tell me this before?"
"You had to wake up confused," Headmaster said, "otherwise Mr. Archer and Mr. Forrest would never have trusted you. We have reason to believe that they're being unduly influenced by members of Red Flag within Tower Prep, as are a lot of students. We need you to flush out the members of Red Flag so that we can remove them from the school."
"An undercover mission?" Gary echoed.
"Yes, exactly." Headmaster smiled widely.
"I'll need hazard pay."
"And a way to connect to the internet."
"No, the real internet," Gary said, firmly.
"That is only available from certain staff only areas of the school," Headmaster said. "I can't allow you access without blowing your cover."
"I can modify my PDA to..."
"Too much chance of the wireless being hacked, Mr. Bell. Our students are all highly gifted, usually in more ways than one. All unfiltered internet connections are hard wired. Figure out a way for us to get you into staff areas without blowing your cover and we'll talk. In the meantime, I need you in uniform at at orientation in ten minutes."
"What's my cover for being older?" Gary asked.
Headmaster smiled. Gary couldn't help but think that the smile was just a little creepy. "Just tell them there were some mistakes on your transcript and you have to make up some credits."
"Who do I report to?" Gary asked.
"All will be revealed in time," Headmaster said. "Orientation. Ten minutes."
"I'm going, I'm going," Gary said irritably.
He stalked out of Headmaster's office to find Ian and Gabe waiting for him.
Gary sighed. "There was a mistake in my transcript. I have to make up a few credits." He stalked out of the building, leaving a bewildered Ian and Gabe in his wake.
The End (or is it?)