"The hacker seems to have a real hatred for the students, the school itself, or both." Alan says, opening the first washing machine when it beeps its done and pulling out sheets. Michael grabs the second machine when it beeps its completion less than a minute later and they toss the sheets in a dryer.
"Why do you think that?" Diane asks, reporter instincts at the front.
"Everything that has happened so far has been aimed directly at the students. Letters supposedly from the school suspending students for false reasons, it's almost like the hacker wants the students to leave. The school is a target because they've obviously never bothered to protect their servers, the hacker seems to know this. All the school is doing is looking at the records and saying 'yes, this is false.' Then it started to turn nasty with letters supposedly from teachers attacking students, that finally got the attention of the media. The school claimed they only found out this last weekend about the attack but the letter is dated over a week before that, how long have they known before the students were involved?"
Diane grabs her I-Pad and starts scribbling an e-mail to somebody. On a second screen she makes notes of what the kids are talking about.
"Can you consider the attack letters round one or round two?" she asks.
"Michael got a letter from the school that his non-existent student loan was delinquint and he wouldn't be able to attend classes unless he got caught up in his payments. Anybody with half a brain, which doesn't seem to be that moron in charge of the office over student loans would have thought 'hey, this doesn't seem right why would their student loan be delinquint if they're still in school, I need to check something out'. The exact same day he got that letter supposedly from the teacher telling him that he had no talent, he was wasting their time, and they should find a new major? Why would you send two letters out at the same time, one saying that you can't continue classes because you owe money, the next basically 'oh, we don't want you here' unless the first letter didn't work? How many other students got letters before the school finally had to send out that letter, it's dated almost a week before it was sent so why was it so long getting to students? When I got my letter, this was the first I'd heard about it but another student in my class said that they'd sent out notices the week before that. I checked my e-mail when I got back to the dorm, the e-mail is dated a full week before the date on the letter, and nearly two weeks before the letter was mailed." Josette turns to the washing machines when the towels beep they're finished, emptying the machines and throwing them in the dryers.
"I checked your mail, there was another letter from the school, I put it on your dresser." Anna calls.
"Do you have any proof of any of this?" Diane asks.
"Oh yes, I still have the e-mail on my computer, and we saved all the letters and the envelopes when we got suspiscous and saw the different dates on the letter and the envelope. It usually doesn't take that long to get mail from Boston to the school."
"And the notes saying that because you owe money you can't take your finals?"
"Round three. The attacks seem to be getting more desperate. Or he's just getting nastier."
"What do you think round four would be?" Diane asks.
"Our grades being tampered with." Susan says, "The school has already proved security for their servers is shit. What's to keep whoever is doing this from messing with them. The teachers would have backups, and hopefully they have the brains to keep their backups somewhere this asshat can't get at them, but unless you check your grades on the lists they have on their office doors, you won't know your grades until the school mails them."
"And if all the students suddenly have their grades tampered with. . ." Diane says slowly. Reaching into her shoulder bag, she grabs her phone and quickly begins calling people as she sends the e-mail.
"Thousands of students having their grades tampered with? The fallout would be massive. After everything that has already happened, the government would be forced to step in. The university might very well be shut down." Principal Madison says.
"Which seems to be what the hacker has in mind." Diane says before her phone rings and she starts talking quietly. A quick word in her ear has Susan heading out the door turning towards the tunnel leading to the dorm. She returns ten minutes later with the folder and the new letter Josette had gotten today. Josette slits it open with Principal Madison's pocket knife, taking out the letter and beginning to read. She blinks at the letter, reading it twice before blindly handing it over to Principal Madison, sliding down the side of the counter where she usually sits and cackling like a hyena.
"Josette received a letter saying that her school records were determined to be false and she's being expelled from the university because there was no records of a Josette Takahawa attending school in Boston or receiving a GED." Jolt tells the others.
"Funny, I have the copy of the letter saying I was accepted for early admittance and it clearly states that I went here, not a school in Boston." she says, finally wiping the tears of laughter from her eyes. "And I have copies of all my grades and diploma stating I graduated with honors here."
"They're just getting desperate now." David shakes his head. "But they're succeeding in turning the students against the school, this late in the semester students should be studying instead of having to deal with all this nonsense." Susan hands over the folder Josette had been keeping everything in and Diane finds the first letter, looking at the date on the letter and the date on the envelope, seeing what Josette had stated, the letter is dated nearly a week before the letter was mailed.
"I also printed out the e-mail that Josette went looking for after we got back from school the first day," Susan touches the paper on the other side. "As you can see, it's identical to the letter, but dated the week before it."
"Do you have a copier I can use?" Diane asks Principal Madison. "I'd like to get my people on this before we head to New York."
"I'll take you to the office so we can copy these, there's also a fax machine there. Kids, finish the laundry and put it in the tunnel outside the boys dorm, then head to your rooms and pack a bag for a couple of days. I'll ask Druid to keep an eye on your pets while we're gone." The dryers beep they're done and Josette and Susan start emptying the machines. An hour later Josette has cleaned the machines in there, the girls went to the other room to clean that, and checks out, helping the boys push the stuffed cart through the tunnels to the boys dorm before walking to their dorm.
Josette drops heavily into the recliner in her room, closing her eyes for a minute before pushing herself back to her feet. Walking over to the desk, she opens the drawer where she keeps her school records, pulling out the letter of early acceptance from the university, her grades from the school, and her diploma. Opening her closet she pulls out a duffel bag and packs a couple changes of clothes and some toiletries. Settling back down in her chair she drifts off to sleep, planning on getting a few hours sleep before they have to head to the airport.
Principal Madison chuckles as he comes into Josette's room, finding her asleep in her chair with the cats giving her exasperated looks from the bed for leaving the light on. "Josette?" he pats her gently on the shoulder and quickly stepping back with Diane. She looks startled for a second. . .until Josette rears to her feet in a fighting stance.
"Are you ready?" Josette nods, taking the folder Principal Madison hands her and slides it in her bag before shutting it again. "You have your grades with you?"
"Yup, my grades, my diploma, the copy of the application I filled out and the letter of acceptance, they all show this as my school." She rubs the heads of the cats, checks their food, water, and kitty litter and shuts off the light before leaving her room. The others are waiting in the hallway and Josette chuckles as she sees Anne slipping a small book in her pocket, they'd went to a stationary store in Boston to get an autograph book, the girls mother is a huge fan of news shows and Josette knows the girls are going to try to get autographs while they're in New York.
They get in a news van, the girls sitting on the boys laps in the back since there's only a few free seats up front and travel to the airport, arriving at a private terminal and being driven out to the plane. It's the first plane trip for some of them, the twins and Alan had driven to school with their parents because there wasn't money enough for plane tickets for them. David had flown in by private plane with his family when he'd arrived at school, and Josette had flown in from California with Jolt and Druid after she'd recovered while Alex and Michael frequently fly to galleries for show openings in their manager's plane. Susan still refuses to say anything about her family, so who knows if she's flown before.
Once the plane levels off the twins and Alan look at each other then at Diane who's looking at her I-Pad, checking on information ABC employees are working on. Finally Abby gets up and comes over to Diane.
"Can I . ..uh?" Abby asks when Diane looks up at her.
"Abby wants an autograph for her mom, she's a huge fan of news tv shows." Josette chuckles. "They ran into Boston to a mall and got an autograph book for her after you interviewed us, hoping to get an autograph for her."
"Of course, who do I make it out to?" Diane smiles as she takes the book and digs into her bag for a pen. "And I'll talk to some of my colleagues, see if we can fill this book for your mom." After putting her name in the book for their mom, she turns her attention to Josette. "Principal Madison asked you if you had your grades with you?"
Josette stands up and opens an overhead bin, Abby steadying her as she reaches into her bag and pulls out the folder, pulling out her grades and handing them over before closing her bag, shutting the bin, and sitting down again. "You took all these classes?" Diane asks stunned, even going year round, there must be twenty-five classes a year.
"Students are allowed up to eight classes a semester, six required classes and two electives. Like colleges and universities, students don't have the same classes every day unless the teacher has it scheduled that way. You're only allowed to sign up for six classes, a student has to have permission from the school for more classes and they have to keep up their grades. Josette has always signed up for the maximum number of classes a semester and her grades have never dropped below an A. Many of our teachers offer classes after dinner and on weekends, after Josette started working she arranged her schedule to take most of her classes the three days she's not working. Students have to have sixty credits of required classes to graduate and can graduate at the end of the winter semester their senior year, Josette chose to graduate at the end of the summer semester and had 96 credits. You remember seeing all those totes in Josette's closet?"
Diane nods. "Those were probably filled with all her books from high school." Josette nods. "I cleared out the books for my first three years my senior year, then after I graduated I put the rest up so I'd have room for my university textbooks.
"How many classes do you need to graduate?" Principal Madison asks.
"Twenty-one classes, that includes my internship. With the classes I'm taking next semester, I'll be nine down. I couldn't take online classes until after my second semester, even with transferring in with over half my classes already credited they wouldn't waive that requirement. I'd hoped to pick up a few this summer along with my internship. . . of course that was before the hacker decided to start causing trouble. After this, I wouldn't trust any of the online classes."
Principal Madison nods. "I wouldn't either."
Josette puts the folder back in her bag when Diane hands her grades back over.
The flight seems to take forever, the twins puppy pile on their brother for a nap while Michael and Alexander quietly go over the final details of a show opening they're going to be having after finals. The boys exchange grins and Josette snorts. "Don't even think it," she tells them.
"No, you're not getting me dressed up to attend your latest opening, I'm not listening to a bunch of stuffed shirts who pretend they know art spouting off nonsense while their wives or girlfriends cattily insult their 'friends' about what they're wearing behind their backs and acting of so nice and loving when they meet face to face." Josette snorts. Diane chuckles, "That happens everywhere Josette, not just art shows."
"You could get a new dress. . ." David says in a sing-song voice, getting into the fun of teasing Josette.
"I have a dress remember? You all, Principal Madison and Professor Druid shoved me into the shuttle and took me to Boston to shop for it when you nagged me into attending graduation with you all even though I wasn't graduating until the next semester."
"You already had all the credits you needed for graduation, Josette." Principal Madison sighs. "I know you didn't feel like standing up because you wouldn't have anybody there, but the whole school wanted to celebrate it with you."
And the applause had been almost deafening when Josette's name had been announced, Josette had stared as every school employee had given her a standing ovation. And she'd been stunned to see Remy, Mr. and Mrs. Summers, Storm, Wolverine, and Dr. Essex had attended as well.
"And like you said, you have a dress." Susan snorts. "You're going to need to dress for success when you take over the library."
Josette snorts. "If I'm five feet tall it's because I'm wearing them damn heels you talked me into, I weigh barely a hundred pounds, I can't keep my hair out of my eyes to save my life. . .you can dress a pig in a poke, but its still going to be a pig in a poke. As long as I'm clean and presentable, there's nothing in the dress code to say I need to dress like one of those old biddies you see on tv shows and movies, who always go 'shh shh shh' whenever anybody speaks above a whisper in her precious library."
Principal Madison snickers. "You'd need to stand on a box so you could lean over the desk and shush somebody."
"Exactly, I'm not going to stand around in a corner pretending to be anything but bored out of my mind by whatever everybody else is talking about. And with an opening, anything else that I might be interested in seeing would be closed for the night."
"You don't have a problem with art?" Diane asks.
"No, I have a problem with people pretending to be something they're not and looking down at others who don't share their need to put on airs. I can lose myself for hours in a museum and you have to drag me out of a library, but shows at art galleries." Josette shudders. "No, just no. Because I know some of those damn shows bore you to tears, the only one who likes them is your agent because she's a big a publicity hound as Kim Kardashian, they've both got to have their face in front of a camera. That's why she was so damn desperate to get hold of you, without you and Michael, she's nothing. She's lost how many other big clients lately?"
"Yeah, I know. I've been thinking of finding somebody else."
"Talk to Grammy Allison, she's got a lot of contacts. Your contract is due to expire, isn't it?" David says.
"Yeah, that's why she's so frantic to get hold of us." Michael snorts. "She knows she's pissed us off so often she's in danger of losing us. She needs us, we don't need her."
"You think she can help?"
"Oh yeah, like I said she's got a lot of contacts, and she can't stand your agent." David looks up from his Padd. "She gave you her e-mail didn't she?"
"Yeah, but. . ."
"Send her an e-mail when we land, she's an early riser and always checks her e-mail first thing in the morning. That's why she gave you her e-mail, in case we needed something. Don't be surprised to find she's already sent you an e-mail with a short list of schools with our majors that will accept our credits, starting with best to worst with personal notes about each school. There's probably another e-mail about finances and the promise not to worry about a thing, she'll arrange everything, just say the word. The company she runs with her ex, my godfather is the biggest employer in town and has a lot of contacts with universities around the country since every student who attends school in town is guaranteed a full ride four year scholarship, the school is that good."
"Yeah, but. . ."
"Our grades are just as good, and Global Dynamics employees are offered the opportunity to go on for degrees at the company's expense. If she has to, Grammy Allie will put us on the payroll in some capacity so we're eligible. Not that I expect we're going to need it, Josette's grades alone should have gotten her a full scholarship. She applied for it, I don't know why she didn't get it."
"I do." Principal Madison says sadly. Diane looks at him, she suspects another juicy story. "Later." he mouths over the heads of the kids. She nods, she can wait. Then she remembers something David had said.
"Global Dynamics, Grammy Allie? You don't mean Dr. Allison Blake, do you?" Oh she knows the woman is older than she looks, but to have a grandson who's nearly twenty?
"You know my godmother?" David asks.
Ahhh godmother, that makes more sense. David snickers at her look. "I call her Grammy Allie because it makes her feel old. She growled the first few times, now she just sighs and calls me an annoying brat."
Diane chuckles. "Global Dynamics has the contract for ABC equipment, they came in a couple of weeks ago for a scheduled maintenance project. I met your godmother and her. . ."
"on again off again, 'get the hell away from me Nathan' partner?" David chuckles. "My 'Grandpa' Dr. Nathan Stark."
"That is almost exactly what she told him while they were in New York." Diane chuckles.
The pilot announces they'd be landing in a few minutes and Josette ruffles Anna's hair, waking her. Anna moving wakes Alan, Alan moving wakes Abby. "We're landing?"
Michael composes a quick e-mail while they're driving from the airport to the studio, sending it before they walk inside. David had spent the trip composing and sending an e-mail with the latest developments about the university. Josette, Michael, and David hand Principal Madison their phones or Padds when they are settled in chairs in makeup, their clothes are given a dirty look by an older woman but she doesn't have anything small enough for Josette to wear so a quick brush down to hide the wrinkles will have to do. Josette's hair is tut tut tutted over by the hairdresser.
"My dear why did you add these highlights to your hair?" she asks.
"I didn't, these came from being trapped in a car when the Pasadena freeway collapsed during that huge earthquake nearly seven years ago." Josette says. "I consider them proof I survived."
The hairdresser nods. "Yes dearie, you did." She ignores the head of the makeup crew's look, nobody's going to say anything about the lights shining on her hair at that bit of news. Well, the head of the crew looks like she's still going to grumble but everybody ignores her. Her hair is combed out of her eyes and a spritz of hair spray holds it in place as makeup is applied and microphones attached to their clothes.
"You were saying something about why Josette didn't get a full scholarship that she applied for? Having looked at her school records, I know it wasn't because of her grades." Diane asks Principal Madison.
"No, it was because of her last name." Principal Madison says sadly.
"Her last name?"
"Yes, I got a letter back from the scholarship fund, they weren't going to give a full scholarship to no stinking Jap bitch, not when all these young men died at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. As far as he was concerned, the only good Jap was a dead Jap so she could do the world a favor and take her own fucking life if she couldn't go to school in good old Nippon. I went to the board with the letter and the person who sent it to me was fired but they wouldn't look at her records or give her a scholarship pending a legal case against the board by the employee for being fired without provocation."
"Do you have any proof of this?"
"Yes, I have all the letters back and forth and recordings of the phone calls. By the time I got the letter, it was too late to go looking for other private scholarships. The school wasn't going to give her a full scholarship, that's only for geniuses or athletes, not a future librarian. So Josette is working her way through university just like she worked her way through high school. . .and she's got more money to pay off on her scholarship loan."
"Scholarship loan? This is the second time I've heard it mentioned."
"A bank in town has an agreement with our school. Those students who need the money sign up for loans to pay for the school expenses, at graduation they have twenty years to pay the balance off without interest, after that any remaining interest is charged ten percent monthly until its paid off. Since Josette and the others got letters of early acceptance at the university, the bank is allowing her to continue using her loan until she graduates from university, later if she gets her early acceptance to graduate school. It's not ideal, I'd rather she had gotten the full scholarship that her grades had qualified her for, but she's attending university and if the hacker doesn't mess up her grades this semester, she'll be getting on the presidents list."
"Can you get me this information?"
Principal Madison gets on his phone, looking at the clock he sees Joyce should be at the office. The letters are scanned into the computer and sent to Diane by e-mail, along with the recordings of the phone calls and she shakes her head when she reads the first letter stating Josette was eligible for a full scholarship, then the hateful letter from an employee saying that no stinking Jap deserved a full scholarship to an American school, the hatred pouring off the letter is almost making her ill.
"Did Josette see this garbage?" she asks stunned.
"No thank god, the school was handling all the details on applying for scholarships. All Josette knows is that she was eligible for a scholarship but didn't receive one."
"I can't believe any self-respecting board would deny anybody a scholarship on such a flimsy pretense." Diane shakes her head.
"CYA syndrome strikes again."
"Indeed, do you mind if I copy these and give them to research. This is one hell of a story."
"Look at the last page for an even bigger story." Principal Madison says sourly.
"They refused to accept any requests for scholarships from your school?" Diane is stunned.
"Because I complained about how my student had been treated by them, yes. Real professionals there."
"Oh yes, I am definitely showing my colleagues these letters, let me make some calls." Diane picks up her phone and I-Pad, printing out copies of all the letters and sending attachments of the letters and phone calls to her colleagues. Josette and the others are brought out of the makeup room and shown down the hall to a waiting area, Principal Madison going inside the room with them to wait until they're interviewed, while Diane takes the twins autograph book and begins getting some autographs for the girls mother.
After they're interviewed, Diane gets in the van again to take them to the NBC studios. Turning them over to Hoda Kotb, who takes the precious autograph book with a grin from Diane before she shows them to makeup and wardrobe. The second interview passes as quickly as the first and they're walking down the hall towards the commissary for a late breakfast when Josette's phone rings. Checking the number, Principal Madison answers the call and talks quietly with whoever's on the other end of the line before shutting the phone down. "That was the President of the University, there's definitely not a student loan in Josette's name, it's the work of the hacker. He'll be sending you a letter of apology for the distress this has caused, you should be getting it Monday and you're cleared for taking your finals next week."
"Hopefully the idiot hacker doesn't mess with the grades." Susan mumbles.
"Your mouth to his ears." Josette says, looking up at the ceiling. Michael's phone beeps and Principal Madison answers it, handing it over with a smile when Dr. Blake introduces herself, obviously having recognized his voice. "It's David's godmother?"
"Yes Dr. Blake?" Michael asks quietly. "I've sent your e-mail a list of agents who will get into knock-down drag out fights to have you and Alexander as clients. I've also been watching your interviews on the morning shows and I've got a list of schools that will accept your grades,"
"Assuming that damn hacker doesn't mess with them." Michael says sourly.
"I'd say don't borrow trouble but with all the problems that have been happening lately I'd be surprised if that doesn't happen." Allison says sourly. "I've got the report back from the electrical engineer, and your dorm wiring can definitely handle a dedicated generator since you already have propane. You'll have to be without power for a couple of days while it's being installed, but that can be worked around."
"Yes, yes it can." Michael looks at the others. "The wiring will handle a generator, we'll be without power for a couple of days while its being installed." He listens to Doctor Blake on the other end. "Do you want GD to look at the wiring in some other buildings for you to see if they can handle generators?" he asks Principal Madison.
"Yes please, is she going to be coming back out?"
Michael listens, "Yes, we're all going to be finished with our finals by Wednesday. Yes, we've got room on for you and any guests you're bringing on the first or third floor, if David's family can send out some more doorknobs." He says at David's opening mouth. He grins at him. "Yes, there's a quiet place where we can go over the information you and the school representatives will be bringing out with you." Principal Madison starts to say something and Michael grins. "He was already starting to ask, yes they're going to be talking with you too and leaving information for the other students, Principal Madison. The universities are quite taken with the classes you offer students. Oh and Dr. Blake wonders if the school would be interested in a fine arts building, she'll bring the information with her when they arrive Wednesday afternoon. Yes, there is a private place where we can talk," all the kids lips start twitching. "No, no, no I promise it will be on campus. The library has a meeting room in the basement we can use. If not, there's meeting rooms in the administration building we can use."
~~Take her to the Bermuda Triangle once, and she never lets you forget it~~ David smirks over their mental link.
"From your godmother for being a brat." Michael says when he swats him on the back of the head. The others snigger and David rubs the back of his head, pouting. A worker comes for them after the finish eating for the first interview to air tonight, the girls and boys heading to different rooms to change into clothes that one of the interns had ran off and purchased for them. Josette shakes her head at the clothes but calmly gets down to her underwear and bra as wardrobe personnel go around the girls adjusting clothes.
"I feel like a dress up doll." Josette complains.
"All these outfits cost more than my mother makes in a week." Anna says. "These aren't from the local superstore, Josette."
"At least the slacks from the superstores don't make my underwear crawl up my ass." Josette complains. She shimmiess them back down where they belong. "I feel like I'm on one of those stupid hanes her way no ride up underwear commercials." the other girls snigger and even the wardrobe women chuckle. They go through makeup again, the women shaking their heads as Josette's hair refuses to stay put and she ends up having her hair pulled back in a french braid and hair spray holds it in place.
"My dear, your hair just doesn't want to stay in place." The head of the unit works on her.
"I know," Josette sighs. "I end up redoing my pony tail seven or eight times a day and it still keeps coming loose."
They end up being interviewed for over an hour and Diane chauffers them back to ABC where they're interviewed again. Josette is grateful to get back in her own clothes and Principal Madison tells them that they're going to be heading to the Museum of Modern Art before flying back to the school. The girls grin and even the boys look excited as they grab their bags and go out to the van Diane arranged for their use for the day as an intern hands them an envelope of tickets.
They check the map when they arrive and decide to start at the top and work their way down to the first floor. Four hours later after a late dinner they arrive back at the airfield and settle back in the plane. Anna and Abby are busy composing an e-mail to their mom about all they saw at MOMA while Josette relaxes for the trip back to the school. Their precious autograph book had been handed back to Principal Madison filled with autographs and two hours later they land in Boston, settling in the back of the news van to head back to the school as the girls send the e-mail to their mom and check the news on their Padds for the latest of what's happening at the university with the hacker.
They finally get back to the dorm and Josette immediately heads for her room, taking a hot bath and washing the hairspray from her hair before crawling into bed, all three of the cats cuddling around her as she falls instantly asleep. The others aren't that far behind her in going to bed and they wake up early the next morning. Josette nearly trips over a bag at her door when she opens the inside door to check her mail, she sees similar, though not identical, bags in front of the others doors. Carefully pulling the handles on the bag apart with a pencil, she sees a familiar outfit in the bag and sighs before picking up the bag and taking it inside her room, then heading to the front of the dorm and the mailboxes.
The box is empty and she sighs in relief, checking her mail has been annoying lately. Walking back to her room, she looks at the clock and opens the refrigerator, making an omelet as the door opens and Anna comes into the room.
"Josette, did you? Oh, you did." she says, seeing the bag on the table. "Have you looked in it yet?"
"Only enough to see that it's at least the clothes they put us in yesterday for our interviews." Josette says. "why, is there anything else in there?"
"Oh yes," Anna snickers. She pulls out the clothes, carefully shaking them out and hanging them in Josette's closet. A handful of makeup and hair care products comes out of the bag next, Anna cackling at the look on Josette's face as she sits at the bar and eats the omelet. An envelope is next and Josette wipes her hands on a kitchen towel before Anna hands it to her.
"What is it?"
"If it's the same thing that was in mine and Abby's bag, checks from the companies that own ABC and NBC for our appearances on the morning shows, our interviews on nightly news shows, and our interview Wednesday night." Josette takes a paring knife from the drawer and slits the envelope, blinking at the size of the checks. "Yep, it's the same as our checks, we're going to make copies of them and deposit them in a couple of days."
The next thing is a dvd in a plastic case, a note inside saying it's copies of the raw material and interviews as they aired on television, she puts it in a drawer of her desk. Another envelope is in the bottom of the bag and she opens it, finding information on attractions in New York, a card that will cover admittance to a lot of attractions, a week long pass for the subway, and a gift certificate for a week's stay in New York at a hotel.
A note from Diane Sawyer is in the envelope, thanking Josette for all the help she's given her on the story while she was at the school and she was interested in seeing what grades Josette got when she took her finals. The bag is finally empty after she pulls out a third envelope, with a number of gift cards enclosed.
"I'm . . .stunned." Josette says, staring at everything. the door across the room opens and the others come into the room. They've got their own stunned looks on their faces as Josette locks the envelopes in the locking drawer with her purse before they walk to the dining hall for breakfast. Josette fills her tray three times even though she'd just had an omelet in her room and everybody shakes their heads at her before they walk back to the dorm.
"So what do we want to do?"
"We should study for our finals, or start clearing out rooms for our guests Wednesday." Susan says. "But after the last week or so, I'm too used to waiting for the other shoe to drop."
"Do we all have our classes decided for next semester?"
"Yeah, but if we change schools do we really need them?"
"Yes, This way if we have to stay in Boston for another semester we know what we're signing up for. And if we do switch, they'll want to see what we have planned for our schooling." David says. The others head to their rooms and they go into the lounge on the first floor with their class choices for next semester.
"Okay, is there anybody who has to take a class either during the day or at night, assuming we stay at the university? Josette?"
"I can take my classes either time, either way I'd be going five days a week, either day classes or night classes. Anna?"
"Same here, except I'm only taking another sixteen hours, not twenty." She grins at Josette. "Geek."
"Yeah, but I'm trying to graduate a year before you guys, that's why I'm going this summer too, if we stay with the university, that is. Abby?"
"Same classes as Anna, again either way."
The others chime in and Josette goes to the library to make copies of their schedules for next semester for everybody and brings them back as the student leaves after delivering the mail.
"Aww christ on a crutch." Josette says, seeing a familiar address on the letter as she looks into her box. Checking the other boxes, she feels like pounding her head into the wall. "We got letters from the university . . .AGAIN!" she calls down the hallway. "Somebody wanna grab my key?"
"I wonder what they're up to now?" Anna complains as she comes down the hall with the others. She hands Josette her mailbox key and opens hers and Abby's box.
"Oh gee, after talking to their lawyers, our actions have been proven to be disruptive to the school and they're allowing us to take our finals but we're being asked not to come back to school next semester."
"Does anybody have a scanner set up on their computers?"
"My printer's a scanner and fax machine." Josette says.
"Good, I'm sending a copy of this to the school lawyers, Principal Madison, my godmother, and Global Dynamics lawyers. This is the last straw." David storms down the hall Abby gathers up everybody's mail and keys, before following them down the hall to Josette's room. "Josette, what's the program you use to scan stuff?"
Josette gets in front of her computer and boots it up, running the letter through the scanner before turning her e-mail program on and lets David at the computer. "Kids?" Principal Madison calls from the front of the building, Josette grabs the letter and heads that way. "They struck again." Josette calls as she hands the letter off to Principal Madison. "Josette, do you have the e-mail for Ms. Sawyer?" David calls down the hall. "Anna said there was a note in your bag from her."
"No need, she's in the library." Principal Madison says dryly. "Did you all get this?"
"Yes, and check the date and time on the letter, after our interviews on the morning shows." Josette says. "David, Principal Madison says Ms. Sawyer is in the library, give me your letters and we'll run make copies." Abby comes out with the other seven letters, Principal Madison reading them as they walk to the library and shakes his head. "What the hell do they think they're doing?"
"They aren't thinking, if they can stop people talking about it, it will all go away and they can stick their heads back into the sand." Diane hears a familiar voice saying from the doorway. Principal Madison shakes his head as the men with her stare at the gesturing young woman swearing fluently. "The school just shot themselves in the foot, if it was the school." he says dryly as Josette starts copying letters and envelopes before grabbing folders from the desk and putting everything inside them. He'd had Josette run off three copies of everything and silently hands one of the folders off to Diane and the men beside her as he pulls Josette into a seat by the back of her slacks.
"What the hell are they doing?" Diane asks as she picks up her phone and starts sending off messages on her I-Pad as she waits for the person on the other end to pick up their phone. "Brian, it's me Diane. Pick up the phone, I have the leading story for both our shows. The students at that university in Boston that were interviewed on the morning shows? They just got a letter saying they'd be allowed to take their finals next week but they'd no longer be welcome at the school because their actions were disruptive to the school. Since the letter arrived after the interviews, its obviously retaliation against their speaking out to the media." Somebody picks up on the other end and they talk for a while, then she looks over at Principal Madison, he takes her over to the fax machine and sends copies of the letters to somebody on the other end. She makes two more calls,faxes them again to somebody at her own office and CBS before they sit down at the table again.
"We'll get to the bottom of this, the school will realize that the bad publicity from this is going to blow up in their faces. You haven't been expelled, just asked not to return."
"After all the shit they've put me through, I'm not sure I want to return to the school." Josette says. "Dr. Blake is coming next week with representatives from other universities, we just might end up telling the university to kiss our asses and transferring to another school." She takes a deep breath and lets it out noisily.
"I'd asked Principal Madison to go get you because we had a story for you, I didn't realize you were bringing us a story instead." Diane tells Josette. "Josette, do you remember yesterday when David was talking about how you had applied for a full scholarship, but didn't receive it?"
Josette nods. "I just figured somebody else had gotten it instead."
"Actually no, you were on the very short list for a full four year scholarship. . .then I received this letter." He hands over a copy of the letter he'd received from a member of the committee overseeing the scholarship fund, she reads it in stunned disbelief and pushes away from the table. "I. . .I need to be alone for a minute." she walks out the door. Anna, who'd come into the library quickly turns and follows her.
"I am both disheartened and disgusted that such attitudes exist in this day and age." the tall man with glasses and a light smattering of grey in his hair says. "And truly disturbed that the members, or should I say soon to be former members of the committee overseeing our fund treated you so poorly for merely standing up for your student, Principal Madison. Thank you Ms. Sawyer, for bringing this to our attention." Johnny looks over at the even taller man sitting motionless at the table, if it wasn't for his breathing you'd think you were looking at a statue.
/Clark?/ he 'asks' quietly.
/I swear I know that young woman, Johnny./
/We have her information, we can look into her background./ Johnny says as Josette and Anna comes into the library. Anna stands behind Josette's chair and puts her hand on her shoulder for support. "When I complained," Principal Madison says, taking up the story. "I was told that they were sorry for the attack on you and that the person who had wrote that. . . "
"Vitriolic venomous article." Johnny says quietly.
"Had been fired, but he was filing a case against the board for false dismissal. Since the letter against you was the reason he had been fired, the board unfortunately chose the cowardly act of denying you the full scholarship that you had been promised." Diane continues the story.
"I of course complained again but all that happened was that nobody from the school would no longer be awarded a scholarship because I stood up for you."
"Which was unwarranted and nothing more than an attack against you personally for standing up for your student." The other man's voice is low but powerful and Josette shudders inwardly, wanting nothing more than to throw herself in his arms and let him protect her from the world. She shoves that thought away and shakes her head.
"Principal Madison told me what had happened and I immediately sensed a story, putting my research crew on it. I gave the board a chance to talk to me before we aired the story Friday night after your interview, the board didn't get back to me but the fund offering the scholarships immediately contacted me. After I showed them copies of the letters, they wanted to come apologize to you in person."
"And I am sorry that you were treated in such a disgusting manner." Clark Savage, the man of Bronze, says. "Principal Madison told us that you were working your way through school. If you do choose to attend another school, consider yourself a full ride student of our fund." He hands over one of the folders he had prepared with the information Principal Madison had given them. A second folder with duplicates is in Johnny's briefcase, as he had said they have the information they need to investigate her further.
"Thank you for coming out Dr. Savage, Mr. Littlejohn."
"Littlejohn?" Anna asks. "You wouldn't happen to be an anthropologist, would you?"
"Why yes, yes I am." Johnny looks at her. "William Harper Littlejohn?"
"Why, yes, yes I am." Now both Johnny and Clark stiffen a little.
"The author of the books you had the library request?" Principal Madison asks Josette.
"Yeah, I found some rocks with a strange markings. I took pictures of them and I was trying to translate them into english. After looking online at some language sites, I found what I thought they were and requested a couple of your books through the library to translate them." Josette tells Johnny. Both men relax, though only anybody who knows them would have realized they'd stiffened.
"Did you?" Principal Madison sighs.
"Yes and no, I have to have got them wrong, because I don't think anybody would actually go around scrawling rude sayings on rocks." Josette rolls her eyes.
/Monk would./ Johnny sighs.
/Monk most definitely would./ Clark agrees with a mental chuckle. "Do you still have the pictures?"
"Digital photos on a hard drive yes, and my translation attempts. They're put away in my closet." Josette says. "Would you like to see them, maybe tell me where I went wrong?"
"Please," Johnny says. "We don't have to fly back until later tonight, do we Clark?"
"No, there's no reason to rush back to New York."
Everybody follows Josette and Anna from the library, down the sidewalk to the old girls dorm. They go in through the back door and the first thing Clark sees is three cats staring at him from the bed. His eyes immediately start traveling the room, stopping in stunned disbelief as he sees a familiar face staring at him from a picture frame.
/Clark?/ Johnny asks, /isn't that. . ./
/Clarinda./ Doc says just as quietly. Clarinda had been dating his son before he died, she'd vanished after the funeral. Then he remembers that call from Logan that he thought they had a grandchild out there. He'd thought nothing of it before, there's been a lot of people claiming to be his child or grandchild, but with his senses Logan would know.
A loud yowl brings their attention back to the cats on the bed, now Doc can see they're all familiars. And bonded to the young woman who's pulling a tote out of her closet. Rummaging through the contents she pulls out a folder and checks the first paper inside, reaching into another tote for a hard drive in a box. She pushes everything back into the closet and gets to her feet, scowling down when two cats start twisting around her feet as the kitten climbs her pants leg and crawls onto her shoulder.
"Guys, I'm trying to walk here." Josette tries moving around them but they keep wrapping themselves around her feet, she ends up slowly moving across the floor as Principal Madison hides a chuckle. "Are they hungry?"
"No, just reminding me they're upset because I was gone all day yesterday and when I finally got back I went right to bed instead of paying attention to them like a good little cat slave." Josette finally makes her way back to her computer and sits down, plugging in the external hard drive and bringing up the pictures before she hands over the folder, picks up the two adult cats in either arm and walks over to the bed. Pulling back the blankets she shakes her head and heads for the door. "I'm doing sheets, blankets, and towels later on, anybody else need them washed?" She yells around the open door.
A chorus of voices say yes. "Somebody grab the cart from the basement and start filling it." she calls as she starts stripping her own bed. "And somebody else grab clean sheets, towels, and bedding from the storeroom."
A knock on the door has everybody looking that way until it opens and Josette takes the plastic wrapped bundles of sheets and towels, tossing them on the bare mattress before dumping her dirty stuff in the cart. "Is that everything?"
"Yep." the boy says in the doorway. "You got your eye on the cats?"
Josette looks around. "Yep," she says and David shuts the door. "I'll put the cart up front."
"I'll grab it after lunch."
"Josette, do you mind if I make copies of your translations and the pictures?" Johnny asks.
"Go ahead, we have high-speed in all the school buildings and my printer doubles as a scanner and fax. Johnny attaches copies of the photos to a gmail message, sending it from one of his e-mail addresses to another of his e-mail addresses, then scans the translation attempts and attaches it to another e-mail before they leave the room with Principal Madison. Josette looks at the clock, shuts down her computer, and makes her bed and puts the clean washcloths and towels in her bathroom before heading to lunch.