9 Chapters
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Chapter 4

Timothy J. Bradley Argosy Press PDF

at Bleaker High when the entire class wanted to answer a question. He was so surprised that he still had his hand up after everyone else’s went back down. Dr. Vary was looking right at him, eyebrows raised. “Do you have a question?”

“Um, no…no, sorry. I just…um, no.” Sid could feel the blood warming his cheeks. Usually, you can make it through the first week without everyone thinking you’re some kind of freak, he reminded himself. Be cool.

The girl sitting in front of him turned around in her chair. Sid instantly recognized Penny from his dorm building. She gave him a quick grin before facing forward again.

Sid bristled for a second, expecting a snarky remark, but her smile hadn’t been mocking him. It was just a smile.

Maybe things will be different here, he thought.

Dr. Vary continued his lesson. “Okay, let’s take a look at how mutations have historically been shown in popular culture.” Dr. Vary opened several image windows showing gigantic ants, spiders, and a praying mantis. The huge insects were terrorizing cities. People ran back and forth, screaming wildly toward the camera.

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Chapter 3

Timothy J. Bradley Argosy Press PDF

Sis was a bit nervous about flying, but his excitement about getting to the school overrode his apprehension about the flight.“They’ll be here, don’t worry,” his mom said.Just then, a shadow fell over the house, and the leaves on the front lawn were blasted away by the arrival of theSci  Hi retrieval unit. A stealth aircraft touched down lightly on the front lawn. Silent engines on the wings and tail swiveled as they shut down, turbofans spinning.The kids playing out in the street just stood and stared.“Your transport has arrived,” Housemate said.“Whoa....” Sid breathed. He had been expecting a taxi or maybe a limo—not this futuristic thing. “Mom? I think my ride’s here.”“Wow!” his mother said as she joined him in the living room. “Talk about traveling in style. C’mon, let’s go see.”Sid grabbed his duffel bag and headed for the front door.The door to the aircraft opened, and a short set of stairs lowered to the ground. A large robot appeared in the doorway and climbed down to the ground.“Hello. My designation is Talos, one of the AIs assigned to Sci Hi. You must be Ellen and Sidney Jamison.

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Chapter 8

Timothy J. Bradley Argosy Press PDF
Chapter 8

“Hey, Penny!” Sidney said. “Come on over. You have to see how our parasite is doing. At this rate, all the animals’ eyeballs will be infected by...hey, are you all right?”“Fine,” she said listlessly. “Just tired.”“We have to get our presentation ready for theSymposium,” Hari said. “We could use your help with the animations. You’re the only one of us who has any artistic talent.”Penny stared offscreen, frowning. “Okay. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”Sid sat back down at his desk, pushing the pieces of a disassembled antigravity ball out of his way. “Have you noticed that Penny’s been in a weird mood since we got back from the field trip?”Hari nodded, changing the channel on the image wall to display a space probe hanging in the atmosphere ofJupiter. The thick orange clouds rushed past, hypnotizing him. “She took the hornet attack hard. She really liked the bees, and I think she was pretty shocked at the way the bee colony was wiped out. I don’t blame her. It was really intense.” See All Chapters
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Chapter 5

Timothy J. Bradley Argosy Press PDF

“You two climb like little old ladies,” Penny said from near the top of the rock.

“Oh, yeah?” Sid shot back panting. “Watch this!” He tried to reach a distant handhold, but his foot slipped, and he tumbled back from the rock face into the air.

As soon as he started to fall, his zero‑G harness nullified the gravity around him, and he floated gently across the gym, about fifteen feet off the ground. There were already thirty other students in the same predicament.

“Oh, come on!” Sid shouted, exasperated as he floated midair, tumbling slowly.

Just then, Hari fell away from the wall and started floating. Penny was the first one to make it all the way up the wall. She gave a victorious whoop.

“I can see that most of you need a little more practice climbing,” Ms. Newton said laughing. She turned the master control for everyone’s zero‑G belts up a fraction, and the floating students slowly settled to the ground.

“Let’s try that again,” she said, and the students groaned as they struggled to their feet.

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Chapter 2

Timothy J. Bradley Argosy Press PDF

give her what she wants, and you won’t have any trouble.

That’s reasonable, isn’t it?”

Sidney looked at her narrowly. “It sounds reasonable, but it doesn’t feel reasonable.” He sighed. She looked tired.

“I hope you didn’t get into trouble or anything at work.”

“Well, pal, it wasn’t great to get called out in the middle of a meeting,” she said as she raised her eyebrows.

“Sorry. Thanks for picking me up.”

“Just promise me you’ll keep a handle on your temper from now on, okay?”

“Okay,” Sid replied ruefully. He felt bad about ruining his mom’s meeting, but he wasn’t sorry for what he had said.

It was all true. As they made their way home, Sidney admired the nanobot bridge. The beams glistened in the sunshine.

Maybe life would be simpler if I just act like a mindless bot and do whatever everyone else does, he thought. The car lowered its wheels to the ground as it left the highway and started threading its way through the neighborhoods that led to the Jamisons’ house. Sid brooded, staring out the window, wishing he never had to see Ms. Dirge again.

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