Religious Studies with Professor Blanchard

The gold nameplate atop Professor Burt. D. Blanchard's old podium faced out towards the ever-dwindling ranks of students who remained to put up with their teacher's new-found hysteria. By this point, only about ten remained, excluding one who was still on the roster but had not yet shown up to the class. The students chatted amongst each other with exasperation evident in their voice. It had been a good while since Burt had made his sudden shift and most were now convinced he was now beyond reversion, besides a faithful few.

Burt Blanchard's class had long since transformed from a session of spirited debates on the world's religions and religious tolerance to something awful: a whole 2 hour period devoted to Burt preparing his students to follow his own path and embrace Counterinfectualism, along with its duties. The duties of Counterinfectualism remained upon the board where they'd been since he wrote them long ago:

- I will use my navi to eradicate the manifestations of evil when they embody themselves upon the net.
- I will keep my navi in condition suitable to face the manifestations of evil.
- I will not undermine my duties or the duties of my navi.
- I will use discretion when deciding whether or not my navi is suitable to face the evil that lies before him.
- I will realize that my own recklessness is advantageous to the evil.
- If I lose the means to fiscally support my navi, I will regain them as soon as possible and return to my duties.

More material had been written on the board, but it had long since been erased to make room for other material.

One operator, a girl named Roxie, stared irritably at the words scrawled across the board much as she did yesterday. The girl had entered the class with the intention of taking jabs a college prof who couldn't do anything but sit and take it. She'd wanted so badly to see his soft, blue eyes crinkle into rage as she slandered all that he'd held dear for her expertly crafted sacrilegious heresies. No such luck here. The man that she'd met was not the same teacher he'd been years before. There was no reasoning with him; his ignorance clouded everything and also locked his belief so airtight that he refused to consider any other possibilities. As a result, attempts to waver him were not only ineffective, but also utterly boring. Still, she still hadn't given up and continued to try new techniques every day.

Like Roxie, each of Burt's remaining students had his or her own reason for staying and in most cases it had to be a damn good one to justify the decision. All of them sighed collectively as Burt entered the class with a bright smile on his face. To the casual observer, the teacher would have seemed like a congenial looking guy (or perhaps a woman). The students knew better.

The teacher reached the podium, his bedroom slippers disappearing behind the tall desk, and plopped a can of Net Cola down onto the flat surface. He adjusted his microphone to make sure it was set so that everyone could hear, including those in the back. Holding his glasses with one hand, he whipped off his scarf with the other, then set it down onto the large desk to his side (he rarely used it due to his love for his podium). "Good morning, students," he spoke in a creamy voice. "Have you all done your homework?"

The students barely managed a grudging "Yeah" in response.

"Good," he smiled, taking a big draw of his cola. His lips rippled as he drew back, then exploded into a loud burp. "Pardon me," he coughed, wiping his lips with a stupid grin. "Anyways, students, I have some exciting news today before we start class today. You know how all of you students have always been telling me to put my money where my mouth is when it comes to exorcism of net viruses?"

Nobody really nodded in response. It seemed that Burt had created this delusion himself out of guilt.

"Well, I've finally decided to do something about it. My friends, I have purchased my own PET and created my own navi! I finally got enough zenny on the side to buy just the kind of PET I wanted! Isn't it pretty?" Burt asked his students, snuggling the PET enthusiastically into the chest of his sweater. Predictably, nobody responded in affirmation. "My navi though, she'll put this PET to shame! There is no more perfect virus buster on the net! Her powerful techniques, absolute resolve, loyalty to Counterinfectualism, great but well-hidden breasts...!" he rambled on, rubbing the PET up and down his sweater with a look of disturbing, masturbatory pleasure on his face.

Somebody in the class threw a notebook, which beaned Burt across the head, waking him out of his trance. Adjusting his glasses back onto his nose from where the book had knocked them out of position, Burt gave a friendly smile. "But anyways, she's new and I want you all to be nice to her. Today only, you'll have the pleasure of watching my navi and I learn the ins and outs of virus busting with the aid of my PET's projection technology!" Burt raved, giving a thumbs-up and waiting for his students to respond.

Some looked briefly hopeful. "Does this mean we don't have to bust today, Professor Blanchard?" a girl with braided hair and a long poncho asked, raising her hand sheepishly.

"No, of course not, I'm just letting you watch!" Burt laughed, punctuating the already annoying sentence with an even more annoying snort. "Now, everyone, turn your eyes onto the screen and behold the tool of a dedicated Counterinfectualist! Exorcist, awaken!" he shouted in a theatrical way, turning on his PET's display and projection module...

Burt stopped for just a moment. "Oh, side note, guys. We've got a new student coming later today, his name is Trevor or something. He'll let himself in," Burt laughed, waving one hand idly to dismiss the subject. With an eager grin, he went back to displaying his navi, his hands fiddling shakily as he set up the net jack on his podium to allow access to Dentech Net.
"Hi, Professor Blooaaanchard!" Travis managed to stop himself from the derogatory remark almost halfway into the word as he stumbled into the room. He had run the remainder of the way here, and was breathing quite heavily. "I've got the navi required for the class now, sorry for my tardiness, I've got a note right here---" Travis plunged his hand into his breast pocket, drawing out a tardy slip from his previous class. The handwriting was quite frankly-- horrible.

The signature was clearly another teacher's, though.

"Mr. Travis! So good of you to join us. You're pretty late, my friend, so I'll give you the low-down on what's up," Burt greeted the new student, smiling genially. "This class is all about Counterinfectionalism, you got it? Please read up on the creed I've written on the board and ask your classmates if you're confused about anything. Right now, we're all watching my wonderful navi demonstrate how to properly execute manifestations of evil as they show themselves upon the net. Make sure to take notes!"

A few comments were made in speculation of the new guy behind his back, since everyone was clamoring to find something to break the boredom of watching Burt bust viruses. "Hey new guy, if you wanna fit in here, you'd better go ahead and tell that guy off! Ask him where he got his degree!" a girl shouted from the middle row.

"Now, now, settle down class. Mr. Travis, be aware that these fellows have already gotten you extra homework for your first day, and I fully expect you to do it as well. You don't have a problem with that do you?" Burt asked, raising his eyebrows as if he were saying something with perfect nicety. "Or, wait, I've got another idea! How about... you jack in with my navi and help me teach this class! If you do that, you're exempt from the extra homework," he offered, resting one arm on his desk and raising his other hand in a handshake of invitation.

The other students grumbled at not being given a similar opportunity. "Okay, okay, if you do this, then I'll exempt the entire class from the extra homework! How about it, sound like a deal?" he asked again, slapping his hand down briefly, then raising it back up for a handshake.
Seeing as how the entire class would be hating him if he refused that offer, and he wasn't looking forward to more homework himself, Travis didn't appear to have much of a choice. "...Alright, sure."

"manifestations of evil"? Was this guy for real? Travis thought while looking for another netjack. He spotted one on the blackboard, meandering over and projecting his navi in. Hopefully, the two appliances didn't go to completely different areas, Travis thought as he noticed that Professor Blanchard appeared to be jacked into his podium.

"Alright, I'm jacking in now, Professor." Travis plugged in his earphones, just in case he needed to hear something over the private link. Placing one of the earbuds in his ear and leaving the other hanging, he quickly turned down the volume.

"Alright, Traceur. Let's see what you can do, alright?" he whispered to the PET, glossing the screen on his cuff before digging through his pocket for chips. "Wow, sis really had a couple chips. Wonder if she actually bought any of these things, or if she got them off viruses already."

[Jacking In]
Burt bolted through the halls of Dentech, headed for the metroline. He knew it was important that he got to the shop, got his supplies, then got himself to the tournament as quickly as possible, so he moved as fast as his scrawny legs would carry him, literally dashing across the campus.

((Leaving for Scilab))
Travis muttered, leaving with the tiny crowd of students, but to the Cafe, where the food was too expensive... and his sister had probably used his meal card to pay for it or something. There wasn't much getting worse today.

[Leaving to other thread]