HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 50

The front door opened and Magh stepped out, no doubt having just submitted her space pirate interview. Her eyes lit up when she saw Frederica.

“You’re really doing it?” she asked.

“I’m doing something, I guess,” Frederica replied.

“Good luck!” Magh said. “I’m sure they’ll love it.”

Frederica forced a smile.

“You’re a good person, Magh,” she said. “I think you’d be better for Tommy than I ever could be.”

Magh’s skin went dark again.

“I… um… thanks,” she said, and hurried off.

Frederica took a deep breath and held the notepad out in front of her. A blue flame rippled over her skin, engulfing her hand. Page by page, the paper curled and blackened and turned to ash. When nothing readable remained, she extinguished the fire and dumped the pad in the garbage. A passing security guard gave her a dirty look.

She went upstairs.

The Review offices were made up of a series of cubicles and adjoining rooms. Volunteers ran around frantically, rushing to get everything ready for tomorrow’s print run. Karen directed the chaos, barking orders and assigning tasks. Frederica approached her at her desk.

“Oh, hey,” Karen said. “You got something for me?”

Frederica reached into her bag deposited the press pass and camera on Karen’s desk.

“Is that all? Karen asked.

“Yeah,” Frederica replied. “You can use my photos if you want, but I’m not giving you anything else.”

Karen folded her wings around her shoulders like a cape and gave Frederica a long, hard look.

“Why not?”

“Because that’s not why I’m in this program,” Frederica said. “I want to inform and uplift people, not tear them down. There’s no greater good here. Just exploitation. And I don’t care if it hurts my career or… or my chances with Griff. I won’t sink to that level. My only regret is that I didn’t say ‘no’ sooner.”