Apr 19, 2019 4:24 PM
an Isabella and a Margaret in Eclipse
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Thirteen-year-old Maggie understands why she isn't allowed to eat all weekend, but she doesn't have to like it. Weekends are for pancakes and having fun, not eating nothing and being exhausted. But if she comes out of this with magic powers it will be worth it. She wants to be a mage and learn to change people's bodies and heal and whatever it is about her own body that feels wrong.

Most kids going through this thought process end up disappointed. Maggie does not. When the Eclipse hits, she can feel it, magic flowing through her and around her, lighting up her mind. "Mom! Dad! Mom Dad I'm a psion!!!" All thoughts of being a mage are instantly forgotten. She has magic. Her parents are surprised and proud and one hundred percent behind her ambition to go to training instead of being locked down.

Control training is both easier and harder on her than average. She doesn't mind the long hours and days of disconnection from her body, learning to control her magic in a virtual world. She hates the mandatory exercise breaks, trying to get reaccustomed over and over to atrophied muscles and ill-suited joints and the need to use the bathroom. When she comes out of it at 15 she's as clumsy as a newborn deer, and never quite masters keeping track of her own elbows. But she can connect her brain to a calculator and make it handle real numbers instead of bits and bytes, and she has the beginnings of a mindscape she'll eventually be able to use to test other things. She's gone from "destructive potential" to just "potential". Now it's time for her to go to high school.

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There aren't that many schools for Eclipsed out there; it doesn't take long for Maggie and her parents to look at most of them and talk about curricula, employment statistics, and ease of visiting home. The start of term at Selene sees Maggie getting off a bus at the edge of campus, braid swinging over one shoulder and suitcase dangling from the other hand.

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A staffperson is there to show her to her hall! Her hall is occupied by, according to the door signs, "Myeisha", "Janet", "Isabella", "Victor", "Roger", and "Jackson". She gets her room to herself.

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Single rooms, that's nice. Means there's no obvious person to meet first, but she's sure to meet them all eventually. She unpacks her clothes and toothbrush and her shelf of books (mostly popular nonfiction plus a couple on programming). What does the class-registration situation look like?

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She has some placement tests to take first! After that she may partake of whatever she qualifies for modulo gen ed requirements in this handy dandy handbook dandbook.

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She'll flip through the sections on math and science and engineering classes, getting a general sense of the prerequisites for stuff, then if placement tests aren't on a drop-in basis she'll take a book on the history of cryptography and go see if this hall has a common area.

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She can drop in for the tests!

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Then the history of cryptography can wait, except for how she's reading it while walking to the test location. She puts it back in her purse when she gets there.

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The tests are computerized and adaptive (they get harder when you answer things correctly).

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Then they will quickly get pretty hard. She knows substantially more math and science than the average fifteen-year-old, and a little more English and history. Are those all the subjects they test on?

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She may optionally also take tests on foreign languages if she thinks she might place in any.

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Sadly not. If the tests are computerized she should be able to get her results now, right?

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Yup! She qualifies for some things!

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Then she will head back to her dorm to sign up for things! She knows you're not supposed to load up on classes so you have time for magic; she'll take the first math class she didn't test out of, a programming class, chemistry, and econ.

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Thusly she is signed up!

If she looks for a common room, she will find a shared living space and kitchen shared by the whole floor, which is four halls.

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She brings her book to the common area. Is anyone else in there and looking sociable?

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Sub with long dreadlocks doing homework, dom with a cane waiting for the microwave.

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She'll smile and nod at them as she walks in, then find a table to sit at and people-watch and think about magic.

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Dom with the cane gets her tupperware full of leftover pasta out of the microwave and plops down to eat it. "New person," she comments.

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"Yes, I just got here. I'm a psion. You?"

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"Also a psion. Isabella. What's your name?"

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"Maggie. Nice to meet you, Isabella. Magic is great; got any ideas what you want to do with it?"

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"I'm doing eidetic memory and then I'm going precog. How about you?"

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"Mental speedup and then I'm going into psionic tech once I've got the background knowledge. There are lots of things in the field that haven't really been explored yet."

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"Speedup's a good one to frontload in theory but you're not gonna hit adulthood marketable like that."

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"Maybe I'll focus on learning to run a VR first, that will let me get a job while I work on speed and my moonshot projects."

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