Fairing no better, this proficient history teacher slowly suggests, “I think it’s an ancient sport of some kind. It’s not like baseball or competitive solitaire. This was one of those things that died out pretty early in human civilization, I think. Well, relatively early by our standards.”
James leads the group to some other couches and chairs surrounding a table with a funny square pattern on top. As he sets the game up, Kammy’s eyes fill with utter joy. “I don’t know what this is, but I wanna’ play it!!”
Rolling her eyes, Faye states the obvious. “It’s chess, Kammy. He clearly said this.”
The rules are explained and the game begins. You’d think James was raising the dead, but anyone who’s played chess can predict the excitement for the new viewers will quickly die as the pace of the game isn’t exactly lightning fast, unless you have folks who know how to really play. All the same, this is a good time for James to start the history lesson. Kammy loves this game.
“I’m trying to think of where to start. There’s not much to tell from the old days. King Warner and the queen got everybody on board with the recovery process, and a century later, we’ve got electricity and computers, air conditioning. It’s not flying cars and robots, but I can’t complain. Well, I say no robots, but I’m sure you know this is no ordinary institution, with me being the next ruler of Ruyngard. This is a military school, and we’ve got a few more gears and gadgets than most people know exist, but I’m guessing this isn’t news to you. If you visited the Great Era, then you might remember Charlotte Tank, the genius that saved the world from the evil robots while sending us all to horses and buggies. She still saved the day. Anyway, my girlfriend Natalie is a descendant of hers, and that girl is every bit the science wiz her ancestor was, and probably more as far as I know.”
“King me!” Kammy shouts, stamping her bishop down in confidence.
“King you?” James asks in amazement. “Do you even know what that means?”
“Yes, sir,” the girl answers, slightly offended at his tone, “in checkers, when you reach the other person’s side, you get your man upgraded to a king. I figured I’d try it with this, too. Couldn’t hurt.”
“Ah, I see. I’ve got bad news, friend. This isn’t checkers.” James then devastates her with the bigger problem. “And that put your bishop in harm’s way.”
“Aww,” Kammy jokingly whimpers, slumping back into her chair, “sorry, big ship.”
“Bishop. So, you guys have checkers in the future, but not chess?”
The group confirms.
“Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.” James notices Owan both chuckling and flinching in terror at this statement. “Like I was saying, my freshmen year, there were five of us guys in one dorm room. There was me, Steve, Dan, Mikey and Max. Yeah, I know none of that means beans to you, but I’m getting to a point. My buddy was Max, and did we have a time always explaining his name to everybody. You can imagine meeting somebody named Judas, I’m sure. Well, Maxie Waxie had the same problem. Of course, it didn’t help that he looked like the actual Maxwell Blaze from yesteryear. Our pal just tried to get along with his studies and not cause any problems, you see.”
“Aww,” says Faye, “like you, Paul. You’re just trying to get along, and we give you a hard time.”
Both surprised and embarrassed by this publicity, the boy plays it off. “Nah, you guys aren’t that bad.” The poor kid works on keeping his composure as he stares at the board game to avoid eye contact.
Grace spares no expense with her words. “No, we’re pretty much jerks sometimes.”
This causes Paul to politely glance at Grace as bravely as possible as he quickly throws out, “Nah, you’re not a jerk, Grace. I don’t think so.”
“Ah…” James cautions the group, “I have to warn you now that you don’t want Paul being like Max. Turns out he was the same old villain as ever.”
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