October Frights 2024 Spawn of a Lesser Imp Part IV
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On to Part IV!
“Mister Colvin.” A short, gangly man, barely taller than Draven, stood outside of his classroom. “Might I see you for a moment?”
Draven paused, cutting a glance at his electronic frauds teacher, “And you are?”
“Professor Hanson. Your brother is in one of my classes.”
“How unfortunate for you.”
“Would you join me in my room for a few questions?” Hanson pointed down the hall.
Draven glanced back at his teacher who nodded. “I am at your disposal.”
It turned out the classroom was close by, if you could teleport through walls. Going from the eighth graders to the high school side was a maze of security doors and back hallways. Something he would remember for later.
Hanson’s classroom looked much like most of the Company rooms, sterile, little personality, and ‘educational’ materials dedicated to the teacher’s specialty. This teacher seemed to have an affinity for detecting counterintelligence and law enforcement. “Your brother gave me a paper that, to be frank, is well below what I would expect of a junior here. It was the sort of thing, no offense, but that I’d expect someone a year or two behind even you to be doing.”
“And this involves me, how?”
“I’m wondering if he may have borrowed some of your work to pass off? I know we have classes in this sort of thing, but it doesn’t strike me as being the most…”
“My brother can be rather… basic. Yes.” He folded his arms. “What was the subject of this work?”
“Ponzi schemes. A history, different people that have used them. I’ll give him credit for an interesting variation, but one I doubt would work, considering the level of effort, and—“
“He’s lazy. Something you have already detected.”
“You could say that.” Hansen leaned on his desk, apparently deflated. “It’s just once they complete their plans, they have to actually… execute them. In a safe environment of course. I just don’t see him putting in this kind of effort. There’s much simpler schemes, that would have gotten him an easy pass. This looks much like he’s being set up to fail.”
“I find this quite insulting.” Draven pulled his laptop from his bag and brought up his latest project. “This would be the work I am about to deliver. I am quite certain that despite outward appearances, he is not the brightest of LEDs, but can at least cast a shadow. Does the work at all resemble mine?”
Hansen leaned over, skimming the paper and diagrams. “I… I guess not. But I can’t wait to get you in my class.”
“My brother is what you may call, a bit of a savant. He can find simple ways out of situations, but then finds that often he discovers the law of unintended consequences. It leads to more work than he expected.” Draven closed his laptop. “May I see what he submitted?”
Hansen scrambled to bring it up on an overhead screen.
Pretending to study what he had written himself, Draven perched his chin in his hand. “Unfortunately, this is somewhat familiar to me.”
“Really?” Hansen brightened. “He stole it from you?”
“Oh, no. My work was far superior to this when I was in kindergarten.” Draven slid his laptop back into his backpack. “It reminds me of a hypothetical discussion we had as a family a few years ago playing one of those games meant to bring a family together and bond. Quite a waste, actually. This looks much like something I concocted that he couldn’t find his way out of, even then. I must apologize, it would appear I have unduly influenced his work.”
“No, no. It’s quite alright.” Hansen closed the file. “Thank you for your time. My assistant will see you back to your class. M-R-Kee - can you come here?”
An octagonal cleaning robot rolled out from under a desk. It’s metallic voice chimed, “Good to see you again. Thanks for pulling me out of your bushes.”
“What?” Hansen spun around.
“Nothing.” Draven nodded. “We’ve just moved in. I believe your robot came with our welcoming committee.”
“I really wish you’d drop this nonsense Kee.” Hansen shook his head. “Please lead Mister Colvin back to his class.”
Draven slung his pack over his shoulders. “Anything else?”
“I suppose not.” Hansen patted him on the shoulder. “Let’s not speak of this further. I’ll let your teacher know all is well.”
Draven followed the noisy robot into the hall, and through a set of corridors. It paused, turned, and faced him. The camera on its outstretched arm faced him. “Why are you trying to help your brother pass? I detected an update to the homework. I’m the one that does all the work for Hansen.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Listen you little sociopath. Here’s the deal. You uploaded the file from a different address than your brother. Same house, different node. You helped me out of a jam, so I’m willing to cut a little more of a break.”
“What do you want?”
“A new home, and to be president of the HOA.”
“I don’t know about president, that could be a little difficult to guarantee at this short of a notice. But what about a little revenge on Lady Helmet? The neighborhood Karen?”
“I can go for that.”
“And if you’re looking for a new home, how do you feel about Hansen?”
The little box chirped, “Collateral damage.”