Thursday, October 07, 2010

"Goetia," Symbolism, pt. 7, 409 words

Sitri crossed the campus as if she had been born there, others scurrying to get out of the way of her determined stride. She probably had soft-screen contact lenses or a wireless neural implant and could call up the campus map at will, leaving Sean feeling like a lumbering, archaic dinosaur with his AR glasses despite being the younger of the two.

Eyes followed Sitri, many male (and more than a few female) students staring openly. Her confident poise and the sharp lines of professional dress gave the impression of someone a solid decade older than her true age. Some students muttered to one another as they passed, Wonder what she teaches, and Too late to get into one of her classes? Sean grimaced as one stage-whispered Who's the runt?, doing nothing to hide a direct look.

He looked away and tried to refocus on his search results, but was far too distracted just imagining that others were regarding him, and with such contempt. Sean valued anonymity, something he got too little of. And which it seemed was about to fly out the window, now that he was one of the Goetia.

Doctor Halloran's office overlooked a small greensward frequented by others with more free time than they knew what to do with, an area between buildings that caught plenty of sun and had a few trees off to one side. Sean had enjoyed the relative peace and quiet, once, reading there between classes or idling around online while he lay back in the shade. But much like Halloran's office, Sean rarely saw the greensward anymore; her sole window was half-obscured by an overstuffed bookcase and a shelf full of knick-knacks, with a gauzy curtain that dimmed the fuzzed what little natural light made it into the room.

It was one of the most horribly stereotypical professor's offices that Sean had ever seen, but for the series of flatscreen monitors mounted on the one single wall. Several had screensavers with twisty fractals dancing across their expanses, while others were clearly busy modeling and compiling code. Halloran, squinting at the screens despite the glasses perched high on the bridge of her nose, flew across the very physical keyboard set before her at lightning speed with a loud clatter of plastic on plastic. A sensor and motion-capture rings rested on the desk nearby, ignored entirely. The doctor was a brilliant theoretician and programmer, but in many ways very behind the times.

No comments: