[FFML] [ORIG] Honeypot

Henry Cobb henry.cobb at gmail.com
Wed Aug 5 05:33:12 PDT 2009


[ORIG] Honeypot
By Henry J. Cobb

My original take on a very common theme in Anime.

-----

I watched as the Clarke twins entered the classroom.  Ada held the door
open with one hand for her sister while holding her bookbag with the
other.  Then Nadia came limping in on her crutch.

I can't help it.  They're so identical, and of course completely different.

Ada stood there while Nadia swung into her seat then handed over the
bookbag and took the crutch before taking her seat behind her sister.

I turned back to Linda.  She wasn't looking at me.  That was my fault.  I
had cut off our conversation. "Um."

"Yes?" She turned my way.

"What were we talking about?"

"You were telling me about the movie you saw last night."

"Yeah.  And then after the big explosion they went to, where was that
place?"

"Ace car dealership."

Oh, she had seen the movie before, or at least she had now.  I'm such a
loser.

Mr. Linkman came in and the class settled down.  All the boys and girls
took out our notebooks while the honeys sat there with their hands folded
in front of them.

Mr. Linkman's lecture was on the lifecycle of honeybees and the way he
droned on matched the subject.

I was nodding off when I heard a snap.  I looked over and Nadia was
quietly swearing at her broken pencil.  She held it up and Ada replaced it
with another pencil.

Mr. Linkman ignored the distraction and continued, "So as you can see while
the worker bees are technically female they put their energy into running
the colony rather than reproducing themselves."

"Just like the honeys!"

"Mr. Phillips!  We do not use that sort of language in this classroom."

"Ah, the honeys don't mind," Chuck Phillips swept his hand past the
students.  He was right of course, none of the honeys had even raised an
eyebrow at his comment.

"Apologize to all of the students in the classroom."

Nadia turned around and glared back at Chuck.

"Alright, I didn't mean anything by it.  I'm sorry honest."

The next class was Math and Mr. Jones didn't call on any of the honeys of
course.  What was the point?

That changed in English Lit when Mr. Freeman asked, "How did that poem make
you feel, Linda?"

"Samuel Hodkisk said that the poem reminded him of cold winters mornings in
the moments before rising."

"I asked what it made you feel."

"It didn't make me feel anything Sir.  I don't have the cultural
connection."

"If you can't find the courage to express your own opinion then you're
useless.  Your assignment is to write a five page report on this poem by
tomorrow, without plagiarism or references to anything but this work."

"Yes Sir."

That was too harsh, to accuse her of cheating.  She wouldn't do that.  She
couldn't.

On the way to lunch Nadia spoke with the other two girls from the class,
Beth and Susan, while Ada walked two steps behind her.  Nadia struggled to
not slow them down, but the other girls kept back to her pace.

I turned back to Linda, "That was too harsh.  He just about accused you of
cheating."

"I can see his reasons.  I didn't have an answer for his question."

"Well, if I can help with anything."

"The assignment was for --"  Linda was cut off by the sound of rubber
skidding on the floor.  She spun around and moved faster than I could
follow with my eyes.

I blinked and saw that Ada was holding Nadia from behind while Frances had
knelt in front of her to catch her.  Linda had moved to catch the crutch
before it could hit Beth.  The other honeys hadn't moved.  They were either
too far away or there were humans in the way.

Ada and Frances lifted Nadia to her feet then Linda handed her crutch back.

"Careful Sister,"  Ada shifted her grip to Nadia's shoulders.

"My sister's dead,"  Nadia pulled free of Ada's grasp and looked down to
get the rhythm of walking again then turned to Beth, "Sorry about that."

"No harm done."

Linda walked back to me, "The assignment was for me alone."

"Well there's no rule against showing it to me.  So email me a copy and
I'll take a look at it."

"As you wish."

My cellphone beeped.  I didn't have to look to know what it was.

In the cafeteria Ada walked with Nadia to her seat then took her place in
the line.  The other honeys just sat.

Me and the rest of the boys yielded to the girls and Ada, who was acting as
a stand in.

I started to read Linda's paper on my cellphone while waiting in line then
took my tray to sit across from her.  I saw that the three girls were
sitting together, with Ada, while the other honeys were spread out.  Some
of them talked with the boys who chose to sit with them, but none of the
honeys talked with each other.  Well that wasn't true, they were always
talking with each other, but not in a way we could hear.

I held my cellphone in one hand while I ate with the other, "It's too
mechanical."

"Oh?"  Linda sat in her default pose with her hands on the table in front
of her.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like that.  I mean, your paper, it's all about
how the poem is laid out and the rhythms in it.  Nothing about what it
means."

"I was instructed to not use references."

"Then don't use anybody who's commented on this poem.  Look for other
matches to the concepts as used in other works and combine them together
for this poem."

"Wouldn't that just be a composition of the work of others?"

"It's what we do, but we forget were we learned the bits we use.  Just try
it, okay?"

"If you think that's best."

She had retreated back in her shell.  All the honeys were so damn afraid of
sticking their necks out and actually admitting to feeling anything.  But
Linda was special and I knew I could gently guide her out to being herself
again, but it would take a while.

After lunch we had P.E.  The girls went off to do yoga in the shade, with
Ada tagging along with Nadia.  The rest of us split into two Soccer teams.
The other side chose first, so they had six boys to our five, but that gave
us 4 honeys to their three.  I picked Linda as our first honey.

As we setup for the game I saw they had wasted their one boy advantage by
using Greg as their goalie, while we used Grace as our goalie.

On the first play Linda got the ball and moved forwards, but Chuck ran up
and deliberately kicked at her.  She jumped forwards to avoid him while
kicking the ball back to me.  Because Chuck and Larry were both in front of
me it was a fair pass.  I took the kick, but Greg blocked it.

Greg passed to Larry, but Frances kicked it away from him and it wound up
between Erna and Linda, who stood there instantly countering any move the
other made.  Chuck ran at them and Erna was forced to evade him first so
Linda passed to me before getting out of his way.

I ran forwards, but Chuck got in my face.

"You like it, don't you?  That thing."

I stumbled so Chuck got the ball and ran towards our goal.

He ran into the goal, forcing Grace to jump out of his way.

Coach Winters called a foul for the reckless charging, canceling the goal.

At the end of the period the score was tied zero to zero.  The boys where
winded and sweating, but not as bad as the honeys, who were panting.

I was feeling thirsty and was tempted to lick Linda's sweat, which would be
distilled, rather than salt water, but she'd never allow it.  First it
would cause her social programming to freak out and second she'd be worried
about the tiny chance she'd have a hydraulic leak she wasn't aware of yet.

Prior to her last moult she would have been almost this bad from just a
little more emergency speed than she'd used earlier.  I couldn't decide if it
was technological improvement or just her increased body mass.  I could
have asked her, but treating her like a machine wouldn't make her any
better.

Last period was health, which was the other subject Professor Winters
taught.  Today it was about the plague.

"While for most people the Rajasthan Flu is little worse than any other
cold, for unknown reasons it is especially hard on infant girls.  Causing
in most cases death and in a few cases severe damage to the nervous
system."

He had to look away from Nadia at that point.  I can only imagine what kind
of look she was giving him.

After school I walked silently with Linda and then at her house I asked,
"Next Saturday?"

"Yes?"

"That's your birthday, isn't it?"

"So humans can remember a few things?"

"The important things.  I was wondering, will you have some sort of party?"

"Yes Linda Burks was born on May 14th, but she died exactly one year
later.  My parents and my brothers do not celebrate that day.  Instead we
visit her grave."

-HJC


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