In Part One of Lovelace½…
Andrea Gannett-Moore was a Freshman at Brooks-Carillon Academy in the outskirts of Brunswick, Maine. Born in London, Gannett-Moore — generally mistaken as just ‘Gannett’ or ‘Moore’ much to her consternation — had spent her life in boarding schools, her parents being distant and cold to her. As she got older, those boarding schools got farther and farther from her home. Andi — as she was called by essentially everyone unless she were in trouble — was an athletic girl who missed cricket, did well at football which Americans called soccer, and had become a mainstay of the lacrosse team. She did ‘all right’ in her studies, though in particular Algebra had proven to be a problem for the young woman. Mostly, she was snarky and fun. She enjoyed teasing Luke Miller and palling around with friends Isabella “Bell” Buckle and her roommate Jennie Shaw. She had even formed almost a paternal bond with her English teacher, Mister Stone — and a slightly more antagonistic relationship with her Maths teacher Mister Charlton.
And then, one Saturday in May, Andi walked into an algebra test, knowing full well she was going to fail, barely paid attention as she answered the questions, and turned her test in first. She thought no more about it until she was pulled from the Lacrosse team just before the bus left and summoned to see Dean Forrester — the school’s Dean of Students — under accusations of cheating. She’d aced the algebra test, without even showing her work.
Within a few minutes, Dean Forrester, Mister Charlton, and Mister Stone were able to verify that Andi really could suddenly complete algebra problems as fast as she could write. They further verified she could remember essentially everything she had seen or heard and relate it instantly. Overnight, she had become a genius… or even something more.
Waiting for Mister Stone to get out of his meeting, Andi fooled around with Luke’s guitar as she was wont to do. Without really noticing what she was doing, she managed to work out how to play the instrument and even adapted Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata for the instrument. Luke surprised her — upset because he thought she was a guitar expert who’d been mocking him all that time, though Mister Stone interceded. With Mister Stone, Andi was able to demonstrate her abilities extended to the interpretation of literature… and the reading of body language, as she put together a hidden relationship between Stone and one of the other teachers.
When Andi went to bed that night, she found herself fully lucidly dreaming — her dream nothing but the bare bones of images as she processed her day in sleep. She was then approached in her actual dream by Tatum Parrish, a girl about her age with an infuriating ability to turn anything into a joke, the ability to manipulate the stuff of dreams, and the claim of being the Queen of the dream kingdom of Adlucinatia. She told Andi that there were other people as special as Andi was, with abilities that fell outside the norm… and told her that in decades past there had been shadow wars between different factions. They began a tentative dance towards friendship…
When Andi was awakened at three in the morning by a call from her mother, who asked her to multiply three numbers she was told on successive birthdays. Andi did, and her mother said they would be there on Monday. The next morning, Andi and Jennie realized her parents knew this was going to happen — and had been testing her on the rare occasions they had seen her. Thinking back to her earliest memory, Andi remembered being suspended in a tank of purple goo in complete agony when she was just three years old. She realized her parents had let this be done to her — and were following someone’s orders. Jennie, freaked out, showed Andi her ‘Fanny Pack of Bringing the Pain,’ which Andi called a Bum Bag because Brits and Americans use the English language differently. This included everything from a Leatherman to illicit pepper spray.
Over the course of Sunday, Andi verified Tatum Parrish existed. She reconciled with Luke, then went to the library, where she tested the limits of her abilities. They included being able to learn advanced French well enough to be able to speak to two Quebecois natives in their own accent and dialect, and she compounded that by reading books on magic tricks, chemistry, philosophy, economics, computer programming, and more. She demonstrated these abilities to Mister Stone, and they discussed what she had learned — though Andi left our the dream and Tatum Parrish. Mister Stone helped Andi realize her parents had been abusing her and clearly didn’t love or even like her, and tried to work up a defense to keep her at the school, though Andi herself fought that. She just had to last three years and she could leave, no matter what they intended to do, or so she figured. Stone wasn’t so sure, but couldn’t dissuade her.
Monday classes were uneventful despite Andi’s changes — she got a bit of comeuppance with an annoying teacher, but otherwise it was dull. She did have an interesting talk with Mister Charlton, however, where she realized that he had cared about her as much, in his own way, as Mister Stone. After all of this, she went back to her room and discovered her parents were already there and were planning on simply taking her. She convinced them they needed to go to the meeting with academic administration first… but in the course of the conversation she realized they were literally giving rote answers.
Her ‘parents’ weren’t really her parents. They weren’t even alive or sentient. They were androids with limited reasoning, clearly meant for this exact moment.
Andi and the androids went to see Dean Forrester, Mr. Charlton and Mr. Stone. There, Andi revealed their true nature, thinking the exposure would end the question of her being taken. Instead, the androids killed Dean Forrester and broke Charlton’s arm. Charlton then sacrificed himself to give Stone and Andi a chance to escape. As they ran through the halls, Andi realized the androids were tracking them by hearing. Mister Stone diverted to his own classroom and set off a fire alarm, giving Andi a chance to escape through a different room without being heard. She ran across campus, finding and stealing a classmate’s bike and making a run for Brunswick. As she pedaled, she realized with terrible certainty that Mister Stone had also been killed, and she vowed to never let the people behind this get what they wanted.
Part Two begins tomorrow on Patreon
and appears here Friday