took two days to gather reports, proceed through a tribunal and
reach a conclusion. The next step to getting the unit home
involved confirming the security of L. B. Gould. This was harder
because the Hageshoni were gone, Claude was gone, and there was
no indication whether either would return. Immediately after the
tribunal, Uriel returned to Ohio to help his office figure all
this out. Meanwhile, Molly and company were stuck in the dorm
for the next couple days.
their obligations had passed, they didn't mind the break so
much. Regular visits to Reggie's room lifted Troy and Kathryn's
spirits in time, and a midweek snowstorm gave them all
recreational ammo, especially once Troy discovered that his
command of water magic applied to snow as well. Their
twenty-foot snowman was a crowning achievement, despite
Donovan's attempt to animate it and the two shotgun rounds Mr.
Smittle unloaded into it when he first saw it.
all-clear signal was more of a shrug than a statement. There was
no sign of the Hageshoni in the area, but that didn't mean they
weren't able to drop in suddenly. The only reassurance he could
give was that anybody embedded in L. B. Gould certainly would
have been utilized in the attack. He doubted the Urayoni would
be so sly as to have even more demons like Claude and Marie in
hiding. The additional security would continue, not that it did
a whole lot of good last time.
this was all that reassuring, as the MST couldn't do much more
than they did after Kurt's death. Nobody capable was jumping at
the vacant field agent position- no surprise considering how it
was vacated. The only real positive was that five of the
factions had already thrown all that they'd care to at Molly.
The only other two with any presence on Earth weren't all that
didn't even bust out the telecopter to get the kids home. They
offered train tickets. Even worse, the nearest Amtrak station
was still a fifteen mile ride from the academy. The arrival
location was forty miles from L. B. Gould and Ellen had to use a
sick day and borrow a friend's van to pick them up. The whole
trip was so tiresome and inconvenient that nobody had the energy
to make a single Hogwarts Express joke.
once they pulled into town, they all seemed to relax. Everybody
could return to their families, homes and the regular lives that
had been on hold all week. Molly was generous enough to dismiss
their homework obligations, sparing Kathryn and Troy the need
for another 'Catch Up With Real School' convention.
were mixed feelings about going back to school the next day.
Yes, resettling into a daily routine was a good sign that things
were returning to normal. School had also been a reliable source
of mundane trifles to distract everybody from their real
problems. Kathryn was much happier talking up her basketball
game that night. On the other hand, it was hard to view school
the same way after demons had chased them through its halls.
usually arrived a little early every day to monitor everybody's
arrivals and assure the populace that Big Sister was watching.
On this first day back, she showed up even earlier. She knew
she'd have a week's worth of paperwork to catch up on and no
lackey to handle it for her.
Thankfully, Renee volunteered to help out. Hesitant as Molly
usually was to delegate government affairs to non-council
members, she appreciated it.
that's what sisters are for!” Renee said as they reached the
snickered. “You know, we have an open secretary position.”
actually tempting if I don't go out for golf in the spring.”
never golfed before.”
missed the winter season so...” Renee trailed off when she saw
two volleyballs mounted on javelins just outside the main
entrance. Someone had painted angry faces on them. The sisters
shrugged at each other and stepped inside, suddenly hushed.
interior had gotten additional decorations as well, although not
as vicious as the volleyball heads. The walls were covered from
floor to ceiling with posters for various clubs. They all seemed
incredibly stylized and more imperative than Renee could recall.
She didn't remember the Spanish Club using Che Guevara in its
campaigns before. Still, most of them were for normal clubs,
save for one billing itself as the 'People's Council.'
shook her head. “I always thought your poster policy was a
little draconian, but now I see why.”
sighed and continued down the hallway. Perhaps she'd have more
trouble catching up from the lost week than she thought.
hall, they heard a girl cry, “Oh my-” before her books crashed
to the floor. After a closer look, it was Jordan. Two hands on
her mouth covered her horrified face.
smiled and approached her, with Molly right behind. “Hi, Jordan!
Don't worry, I know you come in early to study. It's okay; I'm
an A student too. I won't tell Madison.”
wasn't why Jordan was freaking out. She was staring at Molly,
mortified. “Y... you're alive?”
eyebrows flared in astonishment. “How... Why wouldn't I be?”
we all heard what happened last week and-”
you know what happened?!” Renee cried.
gave Renee a weird look and held up her trusty gossip notebook.
“Only thing I don't know is who did it. Three different clubs
flipped open the notebook and turned to Molly. Molly stared
back, confused. “Clubs?”
yeah. I mean organizing a coup to depose the student council?
Whoever's responsible would own the school.” Jordan smirked. “No
surprise everybody wants to say they were the ones that pulled
grunted. She had lived by the dictatorship, so theoretically she
could die by the dictatorship. Just not if she had anything to
say about it. “Well, let's just say I refuse to acknowledge my
captors. Regardless, I have returned, so that should silence
scratched the back of her neck and looked up. “See... that's the
thing... you're gone, Claude's gone... nobody's here to run the
place. We're sort of in a state of anarchy right now while the
clubs battle for supremacy.”
she's still Student Council President,” Renee said.
the thing.” Jordan grimaced. “As of last Friday... there is no
signs of the revolution were now apparent everywhere Molly and
Renee walked. The posters were not for club recruitment: they
were party propaganda. The network of cameras had been
disconnected, smashed or pierced. One had been splattered with
paintballs. They discovered the worst when they reached the
student council office.
glass window had been shattered and the door knocked over. The
lunchroom table used as a battering ram was discarded nearby,
now serving as the base of a barricade in the corridor. Molly
and Renee stepped over the glass and entered. Most of the lights
still worked, revealing a room in complete shambles. All of
Claude's drawers had been opened and emptied, several
upside-down behind his desk. Molly's office was even worse, as
it hosted the bonfire used to burn her documents. The
revolutionaries had painted giant red Xs on all four of her
walls and the door.
didn't keep anything from the MST in here, did you?” Renee
sullenly opened her magic window safe and pulled out her secure
box. “Good thing I hid them from the Hageshoni.” She sat down on
her desk, still holding it. Her chair was gone. She seemed
poised to say something, but all she could do was stare at the
red X, a clear reference to her own sign of oppression in The
do you do now?” asked Renee.
“Regardless of their vandalism, I am still in charge of this
school. If they drop the act now, perhaps I won't expel them,”
sighed. “You know, that's the kind of thinking that led them to
holds true. I have crushed enemies before. I will just have to
crush them again. They can do whatever they want to the office,
but I am still in power.”
when a large boy burst into the room. He wore a black vest and
held a extended teacher's pointer. Upon seeing Molly, he pointed
at her menacingly.
leave my office,” Molly replied, unamused and clutching the box
office now belongs to the People's Council! You are now under
our command! Drop to the floor and put your arms over your
eyes bulged. “Excuse me?”
turned to Renee and barked, “You too!”
eyes returned to Molly, she was charging at him, the glare
at the ready. He backpedaled and she shoved him aside. Renee
followed her out of the room.
time, the hallway was swarming with similarly-dressed boys, all
with the same black vests and pointers. They started swarming
into the room, accompanied by shouts of “catch her!” and “down
with tyranny!” Molly and Renee wisely detoured into the supply
closet. Instead of bothering with the secret code, Molly
teleported them into the basement.
Thankfully, the 'People's Council' had not found the secret
lounge. In fact, the room was just as the demons had left it,
down to the books and furniture on the floor from Molly's battle
didn't expect to be back down here so soon,” Renee said. Molly
set the box of MST documents aside and sat down on a chair,
sneering at the sofa in front of her. “Molly, don't worry about
it. You'll figure this out.”
don't take long to seize on my absence, do they?” Molly
muttered. “I never knew Claude was so effective at keeping
things in order while I was gone.”
sat down across from her. “Hey, those guys look threatening, but
they can't possibly take you down.”
shook her head. “They already have. Your friend was right. The
school has descended into anarchy. Not only that, but they
destroyed all my files. Without that intelligence, I have no way
to get everybody back in line.” She huffed. “Not after such a
visible resistance. They probably have the support of all those
whatever. You graduate in a few months. So you have to be a
normal student until then. So what?”
never actually taken a class here. I doubt I will have enough
credits to graduate should someone go back and actually look at
my undoctored transcript. That's if I'm not publicly executed
first. That would seem to be a desirable move for anyone vying
to replace me.”
moaned. Molly's insistence on full autonomy did make her fully
dependent on her power. She imagined some other dream school far
away where all the politics and power grabs were reserved for
the adults on the school board and local PTA.
I was somehow able to survive until graduation, there's another
problem... the main reason I put myself in this position was so
school wouldn't interfere with MST activities. Someone else
would be less inclined to tolerate you all taking three weeks
off to attend the academy.”
Renee gulped. Torturous as it was for others, Renee had always
considered Molly's presidential power an amusing frivolity. She
should have guessed that it had a significant function. Molly
never engaged in frivolity.
what's your move?” Renee asked.
none,” Molly replied. “I need to remain invisible until I get a
better idea of what's going on.”
can you find out what's going on if you can't leave here?”
looked back at Renee and raised an eyebrow. That was apparently
was all Renee said in reply. “I suppose I can ask around. You
want me to try to get the others to help?”
Troy is all that interested in helping me retain my position,”
Molly said. But after giving it some thought, she added, “But do
fetch Kathryn and Yuki next time you see them.”
you think Kathryn would help if Troy won't?”
hid a grin. “Because she won't realize she's helping.”
those who had not been in the inner party like Kathryn and Troy,
the revolution was kind of amusing. The banners and flags made
the place more colorful, the more enterprising of classmates
felt like they had the opportunity to improve their lot, while
marches and chants interrupted classes so often that nobody was
at risk of learning anything. Apparently the superintendent and
principal were the first to attempt to claim power in Molly's
absence, but the subsequent student rebellion drove them out of
the picture almost immediately.
all, this People's Council that seemed to be the only group with
any sort of broad influence, viciously enforced a no-violence
policy. The group mentality that had emerged prevented any
individual harassment. So other than a synchronized cherry bomb
attack in every school restroom, derided as a terrorist attack
by the masses, the whole thing was bloodless.
the People's Council lacked the ability to do anything other
than break up fights. Nobody had any real power, and this war of
words between the various groups vying to succeed Molly had
dominated the school so much that nothing was getting done. Most
students didn't mind the diversion, figuring that someone would
eventually emerge to rally everybody together, forge a new
government and lead the school into glory. One week in and they
were nowhere near this. A few disorganized clubs were forced
into silence and others merged into stronger forces, but there
were still half a dozen groups determined to take charge.
as Kathryn loved the interruption to the curriculum, this risk
of a prolonged stalemate was worrisome. Unless somebody took
control, the chaos would prevent anything from getting done. It
even posed the risk of an outside force stepping in- be it the
Ohio Board of Education, the National Guard or the United
Nations. All of them had threatened to intervene to stop Molly's
reign, but none were bold enough to actually do so. With Molly
deposed, who knew?
this stopped her from taking full advantage of the madness. She
ditched her fourth period math class to chill in the hallway
outside the locker room. Kathryn had been told that several of
her basketball teammates had taken up roost there during school,
but there were only a couple soccer players when she arrived.
just you two?” she asked.
everyone else went to lunch,” the boy replied. “In fact, I
wanted to get some chow too.” Gesturing to the second kid, he
added, “Fred could use a break too.”
second boy stood up and saluted Kathryn. “Yes, please stand
guard for a few moments. Do not let anyone by without proper
clearance. We must not let the enemy infiltrate our
boys walked off. The first headed for the cafeteria normally.
Fred marched hastily to the bathroom. Kathryn rolled her eyes;
the sports teams were being awfully protective of the locker
rooms they had annexed earlier in the week. It was all very
stupid, but she didn't have anything better to do.
Apparently neither did Renee, who was walking through the halls,
stopping to say hi.
nodded back at her. “What's up?”
Fred returned, more hostile to the Pearson sister. “Kathryn, who
is this?” he barked.
looked at him oddly. “Fred, it's me. Renee. We're lab partners
didn't seem to care. “I can't let you pass unless you are on a
well, I might do golf this spring!”
golf team has betrayed us!” Fred turned to Kathryn. “They
secretly signed a non-aggression pact with the mathletes... an
eyed Renee and the two struggled to avoid bursting into
laughter. “The bastards!” she replied, trying not to sound too
took Kathryn's arm. “Anyway, I need to borrow Kathryn for a
second. You can have her back later.”
narrowed his eyes suspiciously, but said, “Very well. At-ease.”
followed Renee until they were out of Fred's earshot. Then she
asked, “Care to tell me where you're dragging me?” Renee didn't
answer until they were in the bathroom. Once inside, still
clutching Kathryn's arm, Renee teleported to the basement.
screamed at the sudden locale change. “Christ, tell me before
you do that!”
Kathryn for you!” Renee exclaimed to Molly, contentedly reading
in the center of the room.
set her book on the table and stood up. Calming down some,
Kathryn said, “So this is what the once-powerful do in exile.
I'm surprised you're even in the building.”
prefer to keep my ears open,” Molly replied. She noticed
Kathryn's tank top, a crudely-painted jersey with the letters 'C.U.S.P.'
“What are you wearing?”
Confederation of United Sports Programs,” Kathryn said. “I dunno,
I think it's clever for a bunch of jocks.”
“Regardless, I need your help.”
scoffed. “Yeah, right. Even if I wanted to help you, there's no
way you'd be able to get back in control. We've taken over.”
nodded and sat down. “That seems to be the problem. I've
conceded that the odds of regaining power is nearly impossible
now. I'm in survival mode. I'd like to ensure my graduation and
make sure that none of us get into trouble for our three-week
absences.” That got Kathryn's attention. Molly raised an eyebrow
at her. “We don't want that now, do we?”
Sufficiently stunned, Kathryn replied, “Well, I suppose the
school can't survive much longer like this. But don't think I'm
helping you get back into power. I just don't want this place to
are we supposed to do?” Renee asked. “I found six factions
trying to get power here and the only thing any of them can
agree on is that they don't like you.”
grinned. “That's a good common ground to start out with.”
you mean?” Kathryn cocked her head. “What do you get out of
long shot, but it's our best option at this point. It seems like
a strange concept, but it's possibly the only way everyone's
objectives can be met while preserving my standing at this
gulped. “What are you trying to pull?”
Steepling her fingers, Molly narrowed her eyes. In full sinister
mode, she said, “A fair, democratic election.”
lunchtime, Renee had found six groups vying for the throne. The
People's Council were only the most visible with their large
barricade outside Molly's former office and frequent policing in
the hallways. Fortunately, most of the students dismissed them
as conceited preppies with all the revolutionary fervor of a
hall monitor. C.U.S.P. had the support of all the school's
athletic stars, but didn't have any platform other than being
pro-sports. Half the high schools in the country were run that
way, and their lack of ingenuity reflected poorly on them.
school's honor society formed strong allegiances with many of
the academic clubs. Between the chess club and math club
providing logistics and the drama club and forensics adding some
personality to their speeches, they appeared quite formidable.
C.U.S.P. mitigated that by deriding the whole lot as elitist and
intellectual. They had been subdued by little more than a shout
business students had grand plans for an oligarchy, but nobody
trusted them after an accounting scandal revealed kickbacks to
their founder. And the A/V Club made a surprisingly stalwart bid
for control, beaming propaganda nonstop through the loudspeaker
and closed-circuit TV. But as they used official school
channels, nobody paid attention.
there was the Spanish Club. They had vibrant imagery, a zeal for
revolution and a slew of Central American countries to draw
ideas from. Their posters and rallies made them a visible
presence, but other then the cries for revolución, nobody knew
exactly what they stood for. Molly considered this an advantage,
as specific policy tended to lose people. The masses were
generally looking for an impossible utopia and didn't have time
to consider the fine print.
Club had the added advantage of being able to meet publicly, as
their plotting was all in a foreign language. The only kids who
were fluent enough were already in the group. Their inner party
sat in the middle of the lunch room, freely discussing their
plans for school domination. Nobody paid them much attention,
save for one ignorant C.U.S.P. kid getting on their case for not
speaking American. Someone on the Spanish Club turned around,
called him an asshole in English, and returned to her group.
didn't know that Molly had deployed her secret espionage troop
on them. “Get out of the way. I hate background noise,” Yuki
said to the asshole.
anything up?” Renee sat across from her. They were on the other
side of the room from Spanish Club, but Yuki was listening
The hearing potion turned out great! I love the new mixing set
Marlowe got me.”
are they talking about?”
concentrated on the club, putting her Lucidrol to good use. “Do
the kids know what happened to Molly?”
says everyone thinks a coup removed her from power. All these
clubs are claiming they did it, so nobody knows. Why?”
what they're talking about. They're trying to find her so they
can kidnap her for real and make her turn power over to them.”
eyes bulged. “Well... I guess it's good to know their plans. But
if everyone's blaming last week on a coup, how do they know
Molly's even free?”
know. Did anyone see Molly this morning?”
some of the People's Council kids, but they don't seem the type
to share information.” As an afterthought, she added, “Oh,
Jordan saw her too.”
turned to Renee and raised her eyebrows. “You mean 'biggest
gossip in school' Jordan?”
crap.” It was now a safe assumption that everybody in school
knew that Molly was no longer captive. Since the rebellion
hadn't ceased, it was also clear that Molly wouldn't be able to
go anywhere until order was restored: the next club to get their
hands on her really would capture, depose and exile/execute her.
Suddenly, this was a dicey situation.
me, or does it actually seem nicer here without a ruling class?”
Troy asked rhetorically, sitting down next to Renee. He looked
over his shoulders and shrugged. Smiling, he stood up and
shouted, “Hey, I'm sitting next to Renee!”
wasn't amused. When he sat down, she said, “That's great, Troy,
but this could get ugly very soon.”
nodded. “Sounds like these groups know Molly's back. Spanish
Club's talking about kidnapping her and forcing her to give them
sighed, more annoyed than concerned. “This whole thing about all
these groups trying to take over is stupid. I guess they've
spent all week trying to win over everybody in school, but look
around: nobody cares.”
all the clubs combined still only amounted to a fraction of the
student body. Everybody else was minding their own business and
going about their day, enjoying the extra freedom the anarchy
provided them but not jumping into the political fray.
Kathryn's with all the jocks, but most of the people I've talked
to think it's all silly. They like not having Molly around, but
they're sick of all the disruptions and grandstanding these
clubs are pulling.”
think so?” Renee asked.
“Totally. They don't care who's in charge, as long as it's not
turned back to the Spanish Club. “I wonder if they've figured
that out. They know they can't get everyone's support, so the
only way they can get power is by cornering Molly.”
do we do?” Yuki asked.
can do is warn her, really.”
it's not like they'll be able to catch her,” Troy said. “She can
teleport pretty much wherever she wants and has that basement to
hide in. She'll be fine.”
nodded, trying to accept that. “So the real issue is how to get
the school under control again.”
shrugged and stood up. “Seriously, nobody cares whether or not
it's under control. You're sitting here worrying about which
club is the biggest threat. I'm telling you- the most important
group is all the kids who just don't give a damn.”
took his lunch tray and left, Renee and Yuki looked at each
other, considering that bit of wisdom. Finally, Renee smiled.
She knew her sister's methods well enough. “All the kids who
don't give a damn? Yeah, I think Molly can work with that.”
Donovan's Occult Club was one of the many that officially didn't
give a damn. To be more accurate, the Occult Club wasn't
officially recognized by the school since Donovan had been the
only member for more than a year. Either way, he didn't want to
be associated with any of the major players and the feeling was
of the day, Donovan didn't even bother sustaining the illusion
that class was in session. Instead, he sat in what was left of
the dark room and pondered his next move.
was still gutted by the fire from the Hageshoni battle. With all
the excitement over deposing Molly, nobody seemed to notice it.
Everything was still pretty much as it was. While Blaine and
Bryce attempted to tidy up inside, Donovan sat there and mulled
his next move.
first, conquering the school himself was the most attractive
option, but it wasn't as attractive once he saw how ambitious
the other, more equipped, groups were. So despite the lack of
council interference, he was again stuck.
didn't realize it was the end of the day when someone slipped an
envelope under the door. Bryce picked it up and scanned the
cover. He and Donovan heard a jingle inside.
there's a letter here,” Bryce said. “Should I open it?” He shook
it: clearly, there was more than a letter inside.
open it outside. This room has taken enough damage without the
not a bomb.” Bryce shook it again. There were two pieces of
metal inside. “At least I don't think so. One moment.”
stepped outside. The building did not explode. He stepped back
couple of car keys and a letter from Molly... 'I sincerely
appreciate your work in rescuing us from the demons. Given the
current circumstances, I am unable to thank you in person, but I
would like to show my gratitude privately. There is a token of
my esteem in the back seat of my car in the parking lot.
Enclosed is a set of keys. Surely, you will find the favor to be
something most desired. Sincerely, Molly.'”
grinned. “At last, she has recognized my superiority.”
you think this sounds a little...” Bryce winced at the text.
“Mushy for her?”
up suddenly. “Nonsense! What woman can resist my heroics? Go to
the destination and retrieve my reward!”
could it be?”
else but the Tome!? Why else would she keep it under lock and
shrugged. He didn't know what to make of it, and by now it was
pure curiosity. He teleported to the parking lot.
car was in its preferred spot closest to the main entrance.
Someone had keyed it a few times, but the damage was masked by
several People's Council posters attached with duct tape. Bryce
removed enough of the posters to reach the keyhole.
inserted the key and was promptly tackled by two kids.
aren't Molly!” one of them shouted.
Molly!” Bryce replied. “Who are you?”
second kid said something in Spanish to the first and they ran
Bryce checked the inside of Molly's car and found nothing, Molly
and Renee watched him, Molly wearing sunglasses and a thick
were right,” Renee said. “They were waiting for you.”
leered at her vandalized car. “Yes... but I can work with this.”
need to get your keys back from Bryce?”
need. I'll be at home.” With a wag of her finger, Molly
not be the last kidnapping attempt that weekend, but Molly was
prepared. That night, one of her magic circles in the backyard
acted as a motion detector, shining a spotlight on a pair of
intruders planning to break into her bedroom. The next attack
came from the roof while Molly was asleep. At least, she was
supposed to be. When the rappeller reached her window, he saw
Molly from the attic with a set of pruning shears. He hustled to
the ground really fast. The third attack Saturday was in broad
daylight by a girl claiming to be one of Renee's friends. She
got all the way up to Molly's door before Renee intercepted her
and whisked her away to the mall for a shopping spree.
Pearson household was a fortress, but Molly was not invincible.
Ultimately, it was her parents that posed the biggest threat.
That and a suspiciously timed coupon for Rosa's that slipped
under their door.
on, Molly, you've been up there all weekend,” her father said.
“You can't go through your entire life worrying about being
kidnapped by a junta!” He turned to Renee, already downstairs,
“Why can't she just have boy problems like other teenagers?”
end, her mother used the more forceful approach of pounding on
Molly's door until it opened. Once it did, Molly went quietly.
have been gone all week and this coupon's only good for
tonight.” Mr. Pearson read it carefully. “Strange marketing,
that's for sure, but we might as well get some family time out
restaurant, Molly watched everything and everyone carefully. To
her, it wasn't a question of if, but a matter of who and how.
She analyzed the faces, the layout and the exits and made the
decision to act first: she excused herself to use the bathroom.
was shocked. “Are you sure? Do you want me to go with you?”
yet,” Molly replied.
carefully at everybody, noting who was watching her, she entered
the restroom. As the door closed behind her, she saw one stand
up. The restroom was empty at first glance, but Molly noticed
feet under one of the stalls, directly behind the door. Molly
peeked into the remaining stalls, stepped into the one adjacent,
shut the door and locked it.
teleported into a different empty one. She heard the girl in the
other stall stay, “Ahora.”
heard two goons barge in and camp outside the stall they thought
she was in. She teleported again, this time closer to the door.
Opening it, she stepped outside, turning around to call out,
“I'm over here!”
boys chased after her, but found her right outside the doorway.
Molly had a camera pulled out and snapped a picture. The sign
identifying it as the women's restroom was framed right above
they were still blinded by the camera flash and impending
blackmail, Molly walked away. “Hasta mañana,” she said.
as blackmail went, Molly was pretty lenient this time. Two
prominent male Spanish Club members exiting a women's restroom
could have been used for worse, but she didn't want to push her
luck. The next day, the Spanish Club found a letter with a copy
of the picture and a contract. Although Molly had drafted it,
they couldn't find the problem, other than the need to agree to
an honest school election at the end of the week. Both the
administration and Molly would accept the results. In return,
they had to cease the disruptions and stop trying to kidnap
people. Suspicious as they were of such a clean document, they
word got out that the Spanish Club was on board with this
accord, other groups followed suit quickly. C.U.S.P. jumped at
the opportunity to bank on their celebrity power to win an
election. The honor society included the debate team, so they
signed, thinking they had a tactical advantage. The business and
tech kids were less enthusiastic, at least until the former paid
the latter loads of money for political advertising. As the
other key groups fell into line, the People's Council did so
begrudgingly. Turned out their philosophy included neither
populism nor democracy. But they were stuck with their name and
had to pretend to be consistent.
rush to get on the ballot followed. Everybody had one day to
gather signatures and submit them to the school office. The
school office would then give them to Molly, who secretly ran
the entire show from her underground hideout.
the organizations participated, as the A/V Club was content with
collecting the ad money. Out of mistrust, each of them were
thorough in doing it properly. They chose one candidate (somehow
the honor society organized and held a party primary in one
day), generated valid in-club signatures, photocopied everything
and submitted it on time. All of them were ready to cry foul
over the final ballot and earn sympathy points for a potential
write-in campaign. The unaffiliated students saw all this as far
too much work and enjoyed a normal school day.
did not, however, omit any submissions. Five groups submitted
candidates, and all five were on the ballot. The People's
Council was even disappointed to see their man's name on it. In
fact, overall the students met the list with apathy. With the
system free of scandal, the factions had to argue with each
other, meaning more rallies, posters, propaganda and all the
irritating election nonsense.
seemed to notice or care that there was a sixth name on the
the nonsense was the attendance-mandatory debate Wednesday.
Considering that most opinions of it were based on which class
they had/got to miss, it wasn't an enthusiastic crowd. The first
opening statements didn't help as each of the five candidates
droned through some scripted spiel about their vision of the
future, their image of an efficient high school, and the crimes
of the Pearson administration. Nobody seemed to care.
came number six: “Our sixth candidate for president is running
independently...” The moderator had to read the card closely and
still wasn't sure how to pronounce it. The pause caught the
audience's attention more than the words. Finally and bravely,
he said, “Yuki Shizuka.”
reaction was complete bewilderment, but it was a reaction
drew a snicker when she placed a box behind the podium to stand
on. Her first words generated audio feedback. Finally, she
started into her speech, which was clearly unprepared: “Um, hi
everybody. My name's Yuki. I, uh, transferred here a couple
years ago and I really like it here for the most part. I mean,
the school could use a little work all over and Molly's well...
well, she's Molly. Do you really want to keep talking about
her?” She paused. The place was silent, but looking out she saw
that all the eyes were on her and paying attention.
that's the biggest problem, you know? All I keep hearing is
'Molly this' and 'Molly that.' As long as we keep talking about
her, she's still in charge.” She gulped. “Everybody else has all
these ideas about rebuilding the school after Molly, and
establishing control after Molly. I'm just scared about giving
them the power to do all this. Look what happened last time the
Student Council President got to run things. If you ask me, it
sounds like they're not trying to get rid of Molly. They want to
be the new Molly.”
students seemed to lean forward in unison. A few grinned and
Continuing, Yuki retained her same uncertain voice. “I don't
know, I guess the best president is one who doesn't do a whole
lot.” Suddenly flustered, she said, “I mean, I don't think they
shouldn't do anything, but maybe they should sit back and only
take care of the obvious problems. You know, let the school run
itself.” Again, she held her hands up and backtracked. “No! I
don't mean there's nobody in charge, but maybe the person in
charge doesn't have to do something about every little thing
that comes up.” Once more, she stumbled, “Not that our problems
aren't important!” She sighed. “Blah... I'm not good at
heard laughter in the crowd, but somehow it was encouraging. “I
know I'm still not sure how everything's run here. And there's
no way I'll be able to figure out how to run all of Molly's old
cameras.” A lone cheer came from somewhere in the crowd,
startling her. They laughed at her response, settling down only
when she resumed speaking. “But I guess my idea of changing
things, and I guess this is why I'm running, is so you guys can
just go to school and worry about all of the other stuff that
goes with that without worrying about what I'm going to do as
president.” She smiled brightly and added, “Because I really
don't have any idea what I should do.”
conclude, she said, “So yeah, I think somebody needs to be in
charge. I mean, look at how last week turned out. But other than
that... hey, I don't really care as long as everybody gets to go
to school without being afraid of me. Um, yeah, that's all I
have to say. Vote for me!”
members of the five parties sneered with derision. Everybody
Friday, Yuki won 39 percent of the vote.
C.U.S.P. representative received 26 percent, followed by the
business student at 14 percent, the honor student at 8 percent,
the Spanish Club rep at 7 percent, the People's Council member
at 6 percent and three write-ins for Donovan Dunmar.
agreement did not provide for a runoff, Yuki Shizuka became
Student Council President the following Monday.