entry for 8/21 world weavers championship prompt 3: Education approx. 1333 words
|Ferguson led Raen into the storeroom. “The first step in teaching you to be a Baerd Guild courier is getting you looking one.” Ferguson gestured for Raen to hold up her arms. Raen lifted her arms and Ferguson began by placing a stack of folded bedding on them. Next Ferguson looked her over and selected a stack of folded clothes from another shelf and placed it on Raen’s pile. Ferguson took Raen through the storeroom and ended up filling both of their arms with clothing, equipment, and other items.
When they were through, Ferguson led Raen into the female courier barracks. Raen eyed the bunks stacked three high lining the room. Halls turned off at regular intervals, they too were lined with bunks. Above each bunk, there was a nameplate inscribed with the name of the occupant. Ferguson led Raen to a bunk stack. The top bunk bore the name Janie Ferguson. The bottom bunk was empty and bore no inscription.
They unloaded their piles on the empty bunk and Ferguson showed Raen the best places to put Raen’s things away in the cabinet at the end of the bed and drawer beneath assigned to the bottom occupant. Ferguson pulled a wide roll of tape from her messenger bag and spread a strip over the nameplate. Then she took a marker, “What’s your full given name? Whatever you tell me will become your full legal name.”
“Raen, Davis,” Raen held out her ID bracelet to Ferguson.
Ferguson glanced at it, “That’s a strange spelling, but okay.” Ferguson wrote it down in clear block letters. “There you are, Ms. Davis.”
Raen sat on the edge of her bed. It was an experience like no other. The thing was soft but supportive. “I sleep on this?”
“Yep, it’s all yours, the blankets and pillow too. I’ll show you how to make the bed tonight when it is time to get in it. But first, you need to change into your uniform. Then meet me in the hall.” Ferguson laid out one of the clean uniforms on the bed and left Raen to dress on her own. Fortunately, the mechanics of putting on clothing was more familiar to Raen than the use of eating utensils.
Raen dressed in short pants and tunic. She pulled the new messenger bag over her head and fastened the belt upon her waist. Somehow she even figured out how to put on the shoes and socks. When she met Ferguson in the hallway she looked almost the perfect copy of the other girl, save for her untamed mop of bronze hair. Ferguson smiled, “Good job, not everybody can handle shoes. Come on let’s tame that hair.” Ferguson led Raen down the hall to a room labeled barber. A man wearing barber’s guild clothes stood waiting next to a chair.
“Ms. Davis, hop up in the chair,” Ferguson suggested.
Raen followed instructions, and the barber leaned the chair back. With a practiced gesture, he flicked a black cape around Raen’s neck and then tucked a cloth in around the collar. He began washing her hair, followed by a good comb through. Then he sat her up straighter and began snipping away at her hair. He was cutting it short, approximately ear length for the hair on top and a close shave for the lower sides of her head. He blew it dry and fluffed it with a brush. When he offered her a mirror the surface reflected her face beneath a haircut identical to Ferguson’s.
“Now that you look the part, come with me,” Ferguson ordered. Ferguson led and Raen followed. They went through the hallways until they came to a small room with chairs and desks and a large screen upfront. “Here’s the classroom. You’ll be spending a good bit of time here. You probably have a lot to learn, reading, writing, math, and you will have to memorize the entire layout of the city.”
“I can read, write, and do complex mathematical equations. I think I know the city pretty well too,” Raen argued.
“How many blocks is it to the corner of Jepper’s Alley and Bitcoin Way, from this point?”
Raen just blinked. Were there really streets with those names?
“That’s what I thought,” Ferguson stuck her head in the room, “Teach? New recruit, where’s the class?”
A bookish young man wearing glasses and a generic Baerd guild uniform stepped out from behind the door, “Hey, Ferg, they are all at hoverbike lessons. Just me for right now.”
“Raen, this is Dumas Thatcher, one of the fine instructors provided by the guild to give us the base education needed for our job. Teach, this is Raen Davis, our newest apprentice courier.”
Dumas held his hand out to Raen, “Pleased to meet you. Let’s get started with the basics,” He pointed to a long banner above the media screen which was printed with the alphabet in both upper and lower case letters. “Let’s start with A.” He handed her a whiteboard and a marker.
“Excuse me, but I can already read, write and do complex mathematical calculations. I know the periodic table of elements and the equations to calculate momentum or the mass of a molecule,” Raen stated while writing the same out neatly on the whiteboard. She handed the whiteboard back to him. “What I need to learn is the streets and businesses of the city.”
“I had heard something about you being affiliated with the apothecary guild. I had no idea you had gotten that far into your education with them.”
“No, I have always known this stuff. Just like I have always worn this bracelet. It is just one of the many weird mysteries that is my life,” Raen replied, showing her ID bracelet.
“Have you used a computer workstation?”
“No, and I can’t tell you whether I know how or not.” Raen noticed that Ferguson had slipped away from the conversation. That left Raen a little irritated.
Dumas walked over to a desk with a screen embedded in it. He tapped to activate the screen then he placed his palm on the screen. After a moment the words, “Welcome, Instructor Dumas,” lit up on the screen. He tapped and swiped through several menus and forms. Raen could pick up that he was setting up an account for her. “Put your palm on the screen.”
Raen complied. Shortly “Welcome trainee Raen Davis.”
“Computer, please prep placement exam one for Miss Davis,” Dumas said aloud.
“Exam ready,” flashed on the screen then it displayed “Question 1 of 150.” Raen sighed heavily and sat at the desk without further instruction and began answering the questions. Most were general knowledge or language questions although the test also tested her elementary math skills. Raen breezed through it and was tapping the last answer before she knew it.
Dumas looked at the clock on the wall, “How much of it was guessing? Because the test really doesn’t score well in the favor of guesses.”
“Oh, no, I answered the questions,” Raen said pushing the chair out from the desk.
Dumas walked over and placed his palm on the screen, “Computer, what is Miss Davis’s score?”
The numbers lit up and even Raen was surprised, “150 correct out of 150 answered.”
Dumas scratched his head, “I thought you were an orphan off the streets.”
“I am, but I told you, there are a lot of things that I just know.”
“And you weren’t taught things by the apothecaries?”
“No, I learned a lot with them. Master Bagood was very interested in figuring out what I knew already, but he was always filling me with history, and information on the natural environment of Tradehub.” Raen answered.
“Sit back down, I have a few more tests for you.” Raen sat while Dumas tapped away on the screen for several minutes, “This test will take you more than a day to complete.” The number of questions revealed for this one was 1500. Raen sighed again.