by Stanley Lieber


tags: 1961, mars2, piro, spiro_mold, tab2, wendy_melvoin

1 October.

Part of the contract was picking up a few undergraduate classes between milk runs. The transports puked them out, and Piro got on with teaching them to read. Or, rather, to think. No refunds.

"Mr. Bright! Mr. Bright!"

Piro pushed his milk bottle glasses back up his nose, bringing the noisy youth into sharper focus. He knew this child of old. Like all of the other students here, this specimen was the progeny of specialists stationed at the test site. In this case, his sometimes partner, TAB1.

That would make this child TAB2.

"This discussion software suuucks. I get an e-mail notification about a new reply in the thread, but the embedded link only takes me to the top of the discussion page, not to the actual post in the thread that by now has hundreds of replies. How is this supposed to work?"

Piro waited for him to finish complaining.

"Participation in the discussion represents one third of your final grade. Your initial discussion post must address at least one of the discussion board topic questions. Respond to at least three other students by either strengthening or weakening their argument. For full credit, all initial posts must be between one hundred to two hundred fifty words and include supporting references where appropriate. Please submit your initial post by Wednesday at 23:59 and all follow-up posts by Sunday at 23:59. The discussions grading rubric is used for this assignment."

"That was... totally unresponsive," TAB2 said.

Piro dinged his helmet.

"Figure it out."

Spiro, observing placidly in his sniper’s blind near the back of the classroom, decided against making a snide comment.

Just then the bell rang, and everyone turned over their desks, clambered outside to climb all over the school’s rusty old SU-27, on static display at the playground since the Bush administration. Their milk had all spilled, and papers were blowing out of the open door, likewise reminiscent of security during the Bush era. Piro kept these observations to himself.

Students egressed, Ms. Melvoin entered smoothly, nursing a hot coffee in an X-Men mug, presumably non-alcoholic.

"Those kids are going to fall off of that thing and bust their asses," she said.

Piro stared at her over his glasses.

"No SU-27 has ever killed an American."