Spirit Guardian

Episode 2: Bugs in the System

“Megara Blackwell Santillan.”

The chipper, blonde girl nodded and typing on her computer stared intently at the screen. Her finger blitz across the keyboard. She hummed to herself happily. Beside them, many other chipper, young upperclassmen were helping other incoming freshman.

Still, Meg thought, the blonde girl and her counterparts were more chipper then the occasion called for. The occasion being squished inside the Student Housing Office at a small desk with so many student bodies around them it was literally ten degrees warmer than out in the hallway. Most of the upperclassman didn’t appear phased by this though. They seemed experienced as they spoke to their charges, like they had done this at least the previous year. No doubt, some of them had even been seated where she was during their freshman year and it had inspired them.

A grateful freshman behind her scooted out of their seat and brushed past her out into the hall. Meg looked to the door wishfully. But her escape wouldn’t be so easy. Most of the other freshmen were just looking for simple directions or to verify their dorm number. Meg was a completely different case.

Meg sighed then and the blonde girl glanced up at her with pretty, apologetic blue eyes. Blue Eyes smiled and turned back to the screen for a moment. Meg glanced around not really sure where to look while she waited.

“Could you spell that?” Blue Eyes said—Carey, Meg amended her thoughts as her eyes caught on the bright name badge clipped to the girl’s shirt—frowning at the computer screen and then at Meg while she wait.

“Spell?”

Carey smiled. “Your name?”

“Oh. Right.” Meg nodded and felt a small blush light her cheeks. She took comfort in knowing that her tanned complexion often hid that, it only showed in her ears usually. “Megara, M-E-G-A-R-A, Blackwell, B-L-A-C-K-W-E-L-L, Santillan, S-A-N-T-I-L-L-A-N.”

Carey nodded as she spoke, checking off each letter in her spelling carefully, no doubt, but then after a few more mouse clicks and keystrokes she looked up at her. “I don’t see it here. Are you sure you wouldn’t be under another name?”

“Did you try just Megara Blackwell or Megara Santillan?”

“I tried both… you’re not in the system.”

“But… how can that be? I filled out the request form, I answered every email… I never received verification but… there has to be something of me?”

Carey shook her head “I’m sorry, Megara—”

“Meg,” she corrected automatically. Only her mother called her by her full name. “Please…I don’t have anywhere to stay if I don’t have a dorm.”

“Meg.” Carey smiled correcting herself, a beautiful perfect smile. “I don’t know what to say… I’ll have to talk to my supervisor.”

Meg sighed as Carey walked away. Another freshman sitting down jostled her into her rolling suitcase that she had dragged along with her. Sighing again, she leaned over to check the bag. Nothing disturbed thankfully. Here she was, stranded in the Student Housing Department on the first day… Thankfully, most of her bags and boxes were upstairs, thoughtfully being looked after by the helpful RA manning the check-in booth. She had helpfully sent her down into the basement but it looked like there wasn’t going to be any answers here either. What was she going to do?

Well, she wasn’t going to call her parents… that was for sure. She couldn’t bear to face her father, with all his support, or her mother… Well, her mother probably wouldn’t want to face her anyway. Her mother had seen this university choice as an act of rebellion. An act of rebellion that was literally biting her in the-

“Miss Blackwell?”

Meg focused on the tall brunette walking towards her. She wore a beautiful jewel-toned top and relaxed jeans skirt. Her brown hair was feathered around her face and a bright pink jewel glimmered from her left ear. “Yes?”

“I’m Professor Grijalva-Weaver. I’m an art professor here at the Academy and one of the professors in charge of handling the incoming freshman. Carey was telling me about your unique situation. Why don’t we move over my desk over here and we’ll see if we can straighten this out?”

Meg smiled. “I sure hope we can.” She said and standing she pulled her suitcase along beside her.

Professor Grijalva-Weaver’s desk was only on the other side of the room but since it was the only desk by itself and it actually had comfortable chairs, Meg was definitely feeling the difference.

“Sorry, it’s so crazy in here.” Professor Grijalva-Weaver said as she took a seat. “Orientation day is always filled with tons of freshman, all running in all directions, most with their heads cut off and stuffed into their suitcase. It’s a big change. It will get easier.”

“Thanks…”

Professor Grijalva-Weaver nodded. “OK…. so, Blackwell. Megara. Oh. I see you are here on partial scholarship, through the Biology Department. Fascinating and… hmm…”

She clicked her mouse. “It says that you had alternate arrangements for housing?”

“What?” Meg looked confused. “Alternate arrangements, how is that possible? My family lives in Widenberg, if I don’t live on campus in a dorm I don’t have anywhere else to go…”

The professor shook her head. “It must have been a clerical mistake… We still input the students into the system initially by hand but then the students information is directed to an algorithm to sort them into housing that best matches their preferences. The program ignores anyone who is noted as “off campus housing” so to speak.”

Meg put a hand to her forehead, feeling a headache coming on. “So I was never assigned a dorm…?”

“I’m afraid not.” Professor Grijalva-Weaver leaned on the table giving her a sympathetic look.

Meg sat back in her chair. “What am I going to do? I…I don’t have anywhere to stay.”

The professor put a reassuring hand out. “Not to worry, this does occasionally happen. Even the best of computer programs and wood workings occasionally have their share of bugs.”

Meg looked at the professor at the last note and she smiled. “I specialized in Wood Working in my Art Critique days.” She said in reply to the unasked questions before turning back to her computer talking as she typed.

“Now the Academy is very small so we have limited dorm space and we obviously would normally have offered you room and board as a part of your partial scholarship…”

She trailed off as she typed something on her keyboard and pulled up something on her computer screen. After a moment, she smiled.

“So like I said before computer programs and woodworking occasional have bugs… and sometimes so do humans.” She smiled mysteriously and resting her chin on her hand she looked at Meg fully. “Luckily enough, thanks to said bugs, we do have a room that is open that you can take. You’ll have a suite mate, of course, and though you’ll have your own room for now we might have to add a roommate later. You will be sharing a common room and bathroom. If that isn’t to your liking in a few weeks we can look into getting you into a different dorm instead, assuming we have any openings, but it’s the best I have to offer for now.”

Meg smiled. “Oh thank goodness…”

“So… you’ll take it?”

“Yes, yes of course.”

Professor Grijalva-Weaver smiled. Her printer was already firing up and spitting out papers. She turned to grab the paperwork as it spit out. “Perfect. I just have a few forms to hand over to those clerical bugs and we’ll be all set.”

4 thoughts on “Episode 2: Bugs in the System”

  1. Nothing like a “clerical error” on your first day at Uni. Something tells me this isn’t a bug but some sort of “force” that is conspiring to get Meg somewhere she never thought she would ever be. I think this is only the beginning of her misfortune.

    Liked by 1 person

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