HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 97

She tucked herself into an out-of-the-way corner for a while, watching the building empty out for the evening. Only security and cleaning staff remained. Still invisible, Frederica made her way to a stairwell leading down.

The basement was a little spooky, all concrete floors and flickering lights. She made her way down the hall and turned left into an adjoining corridor. Systems and Records was at the end of this hall, behind a door with a keycard reader.

She made herself visible for a moment and reached her mind out to the reader. The door popped open. She vanished again and crept inside. File boxes dominated the room, stuffed into metal shelves and stacked on the floor. Frederica scanned each aisle of shelving to make sure nobody was there, then she pulled up a seat at the computer station in the corner.

She booted up the computer and made short work of its password. It took her a while to track down the right program and figure out how to use it, but finally a list of records unfurled before her. Thousands of them, in fact. She opened the search field and typed “VIRGINIA”.

Her phone rang. She answered it.

“That was pretty ruthless, using your friend as bait,” the distorted voice said.

“She volunteered.” Frederica clicked through scans of transcripts and other paperwork belonging to various Virginias throughout VCU’s history. “I wanted to get you out of my hair for a while.”

“Well, you succeeded,” Virginia said. “The little alien led me on a wild goose chase halfway across town before I finally picked her pocket and realized I’d been had. The flash drive full of porn was a nice touch.”

“Thanks,” Frederica said. “You can keep it. I wasn’t sure what you were into so I threw on a little of everything. Nothing illegal, of course. You’re on your own for that stuff.”

“I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself,” Virginia said, “but I’m not sure what you hoped to gain from your little stunt. All you’ve done is waste your own time. The only way you’re going to end this is by talking.”