With one day before the flight, Vin readied a bag. This was later proved pointless because a uniform and card appeared at his doorstep. The letter detailed what could be brought with him. Which was nothing. Only the provided uniform and his nanosphere were allowed, while the rest would be provided upon arrival.
It was sketchy, but not enough to warrant him withdrawing his enrollment. He only hoped they would be loose on education and emphasize racing because he remembered jack from his time in school.
The last day seemingly vaporized; before he knew it, the time was neigh. Following hugs and waves goodbye, Vin departed for his flight.
Hed only flown once when he was nine to watch an out-of-state race with his father; it was the first and last time he left his small town. The area just seemed to harbor him. So, it hit differently when going away to live on a school campus. Vin held onto Miyo during the flight and stared out the window, peacefully watching the unchanging crystal blue water.
The flight lasted eight hours. Vin was wide awake the entire time, listening to babies fuss and refusing the tasteless complimentary snacks.
As the plane approached the island, he grasped the extraordinary sight from the sky.
The island got its name from miraculously maintaining all four major seasons year round. The northern region of the land snowed, the west coast was always warm enough for beaches, fall persisted south, and spring held in the east.
Because of its abnormal weather, the land mass was purchased by a wealthy corporation and reinvented into a hot spot for SFX events. The island was perfect for a multitude of racing with a mix of urban and suburban areas.
There was only one airport on the island, and students were flying in from all over the world to attend the highly discussed university.
After disembarking the plane, a three-story escalator led down to a massive main lobby. Just getting there was a live game of human bumper carts. Vin wasn a tiny person, yet he felt as miniature as Miyo among the congested fields of human bodies.
The automatic stairs themselves were so jam-packed that the entire structure appeared like it would collapse if one jokester decided to bounce in place.
Regardless of the tight net of individuals, Vin remained unfazed while pinballing from one persons shoulders to another. A majority of the occupants were dressed in the same uniform. Black plaid slacks or skirts. A white button-up for men and a sailor-style top for women. All were almost identical except for the colored accessories. For whatever reason, all the belts, ribbons, ties, and shoes were one of three colors.
Vins set was red, but he also noticed others with blue or yellow adornments. It was far from his usual style of cheap graphic jackets and track pants.
The traffic flow led to the escalator; however, Vin broke from the herd and steered for the guardrail on the third floor. One that stooped numskulls from falling over.
Miyo was hidden in his blazer, so he unsheathed them and hopped up to sit on the guardrail. ”Sure are a lot of people, ” he mumbled, peering back at the ground floor.
”We might be late at this rate… ” Continued Vin, inching his suggestive gaze over to his associate.
Miyo glanced back and squinted its expressive white eyes in disagreement. As Vins usual criminal partner, the summon deduced his subliminal message and outright denied it.
Persistent, Vin poked its plush cheeks. ”I know Im not supposed to use you outside of races, but well be tardy otherwise. ”
Still against him, Miyo shook its flaming head. Milliseconds too late because Vin had abandoned his balance, and his body sloped backward before reclining off the railing.
A spooked, kind-spirited customer gasped, then dashed toward Vin, who just looked like a suicidal teen. The strangers grip narrowly missed his pants leg, and they shouted in horror as he fell out of reach.
Vin, on the other hand, was calm and whispering to Miyo. ”Don let anyone catch us. Go straight for the exit. ”
It was a crime for citizens to use nanotech for mere convenience. Even service summons could not skip lines, gather illicit information, or work around any set procedure. Those were the rules, yet Vin was in freefall from the third floor of an airport terminal.
Forced, Miyo outstretched its burning wings and lifted Vin over the ocean of people. As instructed, it reluctantly carried him past shouting guards and a clogged, grumbling mass. After they landed, he ran until he was outside the airport and well away from any potential pursuers.
Vin found himself under a massive overhead. He was at the beginning of a long walkway labeled Pick-up strip. Here, numerous cars were lined up on the street, awaiting their contacts.
The outside strip was just as jammed and clangorous as inside. Drivers were stepping on the roof of their vehicles to wave signs and shout for their pick-ups. Children were lifted off the ground to avoid being stampeded, and a noisy helicopter above broadcasted the sight.
While Vin squeezed through, he reinstalled a taxi service application on his phone. Once he was far enough from the cluster **, he would arrange for the ride to school. It was a superb plan, except-
”Gavin Dance, over here! ” Hollered a familiar voice. Vin recognized the loud, bassy volume, and when he rotated, he spotted his recruiter holding up a large sign on a car. He knew it was him because he wore the same sunglasses and, this time, a fancy suit. The board he held was crumpled on the edges and had several names sloppily handwritten in highlighter marker. Too illegible for anyone to see from afar.
The man was accompanied by four other individuals, all wearing the schools uniform and peering at Vin as if hed committed a grave offense.
After glancing again at the pool of cars blocking the exit, Vin looked stiffly at the recruiter. He blinked, then steadily continued down his own path. He ambled like a pedestrian that wandered down a dark, sketchy street alone at night, avoiding capture like their first encounter.
Unfortunately, Vins hyperdrive (jogging pace) was too slow, and his forearm was seized. ”Hey now, don be a stranger, ” said the man named Hughie Dover.
Vin turned, openly faced the red-skinned man, then deflected his comment. ”The entrance ceremony is in 30 minutes, ” he informed.
”Don you worry about that; I don have 12 NASCAR championships under my belt for nothing, ” he assured, pulling Vin along.
Vin hadn noticed before because of the crowd, but the fellow had quite the ride. It was the latest model Ford Mustang, a muscle car with low suspension and a custom red leather interior. Vin didn doubt the vehicles capability, but he wondered how six people would fit into a two-door car.
It wasn just him; a single woman among the group of males had no trouble expressing her discontent.
”Mr. Dover, there is zero chance Im going to be canned up against this many sweaty men, ” she complained. The recruiters solution was, naturally, to offer her shotgun, the passenger seat. As if that solved the issue.
”Hard pass. I will wait for a taxi, ” she refused, drawing forth her phone. Mr. Dover chuckled, plopped into the drivers seat, then started the roaring engine. ”Good luck finding a driver amid this shit show. ”
The middle-aged man snapped the passenger seat forward, tipped his sunglasses toward the boys, then grinned. ”You lumps getting in, or what? ”
After short consideration, one of the students sucked their teeth and mumbled, ”Fuck it. ” His attire was as lax as his tone. Dressed casually in a goofy font blue shirt designed after Vins favorite song, ”Wake up, by Cave In. ” He rolled up his sleeves as if going into battle with the rear seat, then boarded. After them, the rest of the boys swallowed their pride and entered.
Before Vin joined, he glanced at the mid-height girl with lengthy blonde hair. Everyone wore the same uniform, yet she emitted an aura of wealth and class.
”Hey, ” he said, fetching the girls attention. He thought it was foolish to let something as trivial as a loaded car hinder her decision. But, the potential of one less competitor on campus was bothersome.
When she peered over, Vin presented Miyo to her like a gift. ”If it makes you feel any better, you can hold onto Mi- ”
”What in the world is that? ” she rudely interrupted.
Vin continued to hold his friend out in display for a moment of disbelief. His face had remained level, but he was boiling internally. He pulled his pal into his chest, then silently pivoted away from the girl. Vin stepped toward the car, pushed the passenger chair back, then sat in the seat Mr. Dover had offered the female student.
Without a word, he nonchalantly closed the door, then rolled up the tinted window so he didn have to see her face.
”Has no one taught you manners? ” Scolded one of the back passengers. ”Better yet, why is your summon out in public, ” added another.
Vin heard them but ignored their comments while he continued to silently mope. Mr. Dover found the situation humorous and laughed while gearing the vehicle to drive.
Just as they began to pull off, a knock on the glass set them back. The girl had a change of heart after seeing the wait time for a taxi. Vin was cordial and opened the door, even holding the entrance open for the lady… So she could climb into the back. She complained, but the driver sided with Vin, who took the seat when she initially refused.
The cars engine revved and blared, and the vehicle in the lane next to theirs became spooked. The slight sign of hesitation was sufficient, and Mr. Dover threw the car into gear and snapped directly in front of the other driver.
He rode the tail of different cars so tightly that Vin could preemptively feel a collision with their bumper. The unusual fellow informed them the key to good driving was being assertive. One of the back seaters disagreed and called his style of road work intimidation. Nonetheless, it worked; opposing cars and the passengers in the automobile were jerking left and right at the mercy of the raging Mustang.
The entire drive was turbulent and perilous. The constant moaning and grunting behind Vin determined that much. Anyhow, they arrived at their destination in one piece. Their recruiter showed an ID to enter the school grounds, then sped inside before pulling up and parking on the curb. ”Rides over, be sure to tip, and rate your driver, ” he joked.
”1 out of 10, ” insulted the back passenger, holding onto their woozy head as they climbed out. Vin thought otherwise; the fast speed and near collisions made him even more excited to race at the new school. ”10 out of 10, ” he honestly replied.
The recruiter fired a thumbs up, then instructed them on where to go. Needlessly, because the flock of other students pooling in made it quite obvious which direction to follow.
Vin separated from the others and embarked alone for the assembly. Keen but painfully unaware of what to expect from school life.
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