Chapter 47

“How are the presentations going?” Mr. Numbers asked as he entered Dean Blaine’s office.

“Fine, save for one student having a very bad reaction to the name Globe,” Dean Blaine replied. “Where’s your other half? I asked to see both of you.”

“He’s in Moscow tending to some company business,” Mr. Numbers lied. Mr. Transport was actually in Kenya, but Dean Blaine didn’t need to know that.

“I suppose the job must come first,” Dean Blaine acknowledged. “Still, I assume you’ll provide him with a full record of our conversation?”

“Of course.”

“Excellent. I really wanted you down here to touch base on your charges and see how they’re adapting outside of my class,” Dean Blaine said.

“They’re doing better,” Mr. Numbers replied. “Mary and Alice seem to be pursuing a friendship with one another, albeit at a halting pace. The others are growing more interconnected as well, and even Roy has been on better behavior. Of course, the project helped them with branching out their social circle quite a bit. Thank you again for that.”

“It was a small concession to assist my students,” Dean Blaine said, waving it off. “It was a good idea, too. I might actually continue using it in years to come. It gave a lot of the remaining students an excuse to get to know one another.”

“On that note, how many do we have left?”

“We’re down to approximately forty students. I suspect by the time George finishes the number will be closer to thirty-five. Usually those who can survive the first semester make it to the end of freshman year,” Dean Blaine said.

“Fifty percent left? That’s a pretty high rate for a freshman class. Is George going easy on them?” Mr. Numbers asked.

“Quite the contrary: he seems to get harsher as the years go by, and Persephone hardly tempers him at all anymore,” Dean Blaine commented.

“That’s good, though,” Mr. Numbers said. “Anyone who can’t even make it through this will have a breakdown two weeks into being a Hero.”

“Agreed,” Dean Blaine said. “It’s a very difficult job. I was quite thrilled to leave the combat field once this administration position became available.”

“I’m surprised they don’t try to bring you back. Your power is so unique, it made the difference in a lot of fights,” Mr. Numbers said.

“Well, thank you, but now I’m sure there’s another Hero with a unique power to make that difference. Times change, and we must change with them. Those of us not blessed with enhanced physical attributes are lucky if we can make it to thirty as a Hero. There were some good times, but this is where I do my good now. To that effect, is there any other assistance you require from my end to help bond the students?”

“I think the project accomplished what we needed,” Mr. Numbers told him. “Besides, Mary is doing an excellent job bringing them together on her own, and Mr. Transport and I have a few activities planned to strengthen their unity.”

“I do hope one of those activities will get Mr. Reynolds to begin using his powers,” Dean Blaine commented.

“Ah yes, Vince. We’re unsure what to do about him. He’s clearly afraid of his own abilities, or afraid the treatment will prove to be temporary,” Mr. Numbers said.

“That would match well with the report I received from George,” Dean Blaine agreed.

“Normally, we would have him work through those fears, but in this case they’re actually very realistic things to be scared of. This will be something he either finds a way through, or he doesn’t,” Mr. Numbers said.

“It would be a shame to lose a Super with such potential, but that is the way things go,” Dean Blaine said. “At any rate, I thank you for your time, and tell Mr. Transport next time I schedule a meeting I expect him to make time for it.”

“Of course, Dean,” Mr. Numbers said respectfully. “Oh, one quick question. You said one of the students had a bad reaction to the name Globe. Which student?”

“Chad Taylor, the number one male rank.”

“Very odd,” Mr. Numbers agreed. “I just wanted to be sure it wasn’t one of our charges. I’ll leave you to your work. Have a good day, Dean Blaine.”

“And you, Mr. Numbers,” Dean Blaine echoed.

Mr. Numbers stepped out of the office and made his way through the underground area toward the lifts. Finally away from the dean, his mind was kicking back into its regular gear. Just as well, too; Mr. Numbers now had some additional research on his plate.

First and foremost, though, Mr. Numbers needed to get their plans for winter break squared away. He and Mr. Transport had hatched a lovely scheme to bond their students together, but it was taking far more prep work than originally expected. If it worked, though, then it would be well worth the effort. Unfortunately, that effort was eating what little free time he possessed. He hadn’t even had time to pop by town and pick up more puzzles. It was frustrating to be a man as brilliant as Mr. Numbers with nothing to take his mind off of that brilliance.