DenTech Visions

After a short amount of time driving around the fairly crowded campus, obeying traffic signals and special school roads, Rose managed to make it to an on campus parking lot.

Rose was still fairly impressed by the size of the school. She'd been here before, on a tour (it was a fairly notable school, after all). She wasn't sure it'd be her top choice of university, but it was definitely the biggest name in the college market, so she had had to consider it.

She got out of the car, locked up, and waited for her friends. She was alright with walking on the campus alone, during the day. However, as young as she was, she decided it'd be more normal and less troublesome if she walked with her friends.

Thinking along those lines, she was suddenly even happier that she'd brought her companions. "Sabrina is a pretty strong girl, and she can stand up for herself. It also helps to have numbers. Having a guy with us should help cut down on unwanted chatter with other guys, too."

The corners of her lips curved up a bit, gracing her face with a small smile. "Besides: We're having a lot of fun, and it's nice to get to spend time with different people."
There they were...DenTech University. Site of one Sabrina's more...memorable shenanigans in Electopia. Perhaps that's why she exited the car looking slightly different than before; she now had on a purple jacket and sunglasses. As soon as she was out, she thought of something else she could do, and removed her hairband, causing her usual ponytail to become no more. There, that oughta make sure security didn't mix her up with Sabrina Jetto.

Despite the alterations, however, the Netopian girl didn't so much as make a passing reference to her seemingly unprompted change. "Okay, Vision Statement plaque...Vision Statement plaque...if I were a Vision Statement plaque that the general public could get, where would I be..." Hmm...nope, just drawing blanks. "...I know! There's gotta be some kind of souvenir shop on campus. Maybe they sell plaques! ...But that'd mean spending money, which I personally don't want to do if we can help it." But she couldn't really think of any other options...maybe Rose or Zeo had a better idea.
"So this is a university..." Zeo appraised the massive campus as he got out of Rose's car. "It looks cooler than I thought." Considering the reputation of DenTech, that was probably the minimum expected reaction. "They must have a ton of classes here. Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to look into going back to school." He briefly noted Sabrina's wardrobe change, but when she continued acting the same without drawing any attention to it he decided not to bother asking. "I don't think they'd sell copies of their vision statement. It seems like a pretty important object," Zeo said in response to Sabrina. "We could probably ask for directions and see if anyone knows whether the current vision statement's placed anywhere special. If we can find that, maybe we can go from there."

"I wouldn't know about that, but does this place have some kind of main office type building? That's another place we could start," ViralMan added on to Zeo's proposal. Neither of them were particularly familiar with how a university worked, that being evident in Zeo's quiet interest in their surroundings and ViralMan's improvised guess. Zeo spoke up again. "Finding a 'main office' of sorts sounds like a good idea to me. Unless anyone has a map, we'd have to go ask someone about that too."
Rose wasn't sure what to think about Sabrina's outfit at first. A large contributing factor to this was her amazement that all those articles of clothing had been pulled from what looked like a fairly generic fanny pack.

After a moment of being dumbstruck, she returned to her usual collected self. "At least she's prepared," optimism was always good, and Rose managed to make use of it.

Rose decided that if it had been up to her she likely would have picked a black jacket, so as to keep the colors in the outfit to a minimum. "I can't quite place it, but there's something different about you." Rose stated, in total dry pan, but she followed it quickly with a smile to show she was joking.

Sabrina could fill in the details if she felt the need to. For now Rose would chalk it up to her friends being somewhat odd. "A souvenir shop could work," the girl affirmed, responding to her odd friend's musings.

Rose then went on doing more affirming. She nodded to "It's pretty big, " and "they must have a lot of classes." She continued to nod to "maybe I should go back to school," but then stopped herself. She made note to get back to this subject.

She listened to the rest of the things. "I guess," she began, "but it is possible they sell little plaques for people to put up, like in their offices if they're alumni or something." It didn't seem illogical that they'd sell copies in the shop.

"The current location would be nice for seeing it," she continued. "Though unless they hand out copies there, or we plan on stealing it, I don't think it will help."

She thought more. "A main office could help; or an Information desk. I'm not sure Universities have main offices like High Schools. Or at least not sure they serve the same purpose."

She scanned the area taking a preliminary look at the people. "I'm sure asking someone wouldn't hurt."

SummonerMan basically ignored the whole deal. Rose was being noisy and nosy, and he didn't much care. Something else had caught his interest though. He appeared to have gained a new sub routine.

He opened it up, and had a somewhat mixed reaction. "Well, it'll help me in battle, I suppose." He considered it. "I guess SplashGender isn't too bad a person to have to be linked to. I didn't even have to do anything for it."

He couldn't find any real negatives, so he smirked a bit and kept the knowledge of his new ability in the back of his mind. He'd probably mention it to Rose later. "After all, she finally did something useful. It's basically all her fault I have it."

On the topic of mental notes, Rose took this time to return to hers. She turned back to Zeo. "What do you mean by, "go back to school"?" she asked.

"Could he be skipping? But it's late. Maybe he goes to a boarding school? Maybe he graduated really early? Or he got home schooled?" The possibilities were fairly extensive, so Rose decided to wait for whatever answer Zeo offered himself.
"What do you mean? This is how I always look!" Sabrina flashed Rose a smile of her own after her comment, but didn't delve any deeper into the subject. That was something she'd much rather not share. "And Zeo, just because it's important doesn't mean it's not for sale. It's not like they can't make copies of it and put them in a shop."

...Hmm. Getting a map or something was a good idea, though. Then they wouldn't get lost for hours. "Actually, you know what I bet would be an even better place for us to go than the main office? A student information center. They'd probably help us, even though we're not actually students. After all, being nice to people our age is good for their business!" And if any one of them went here for college, imagine the tuition they'd bring'd probably be enough to make even her father raise an eyebrow. "...Too bad we don't know where that is."

And since they didn't, it would behoove them to ask someone. Let's see...oh, that girl over there seemed on the ball, with her backpack and her reading from what seemed to be some kind of textbook. And old enough to be an upperclassman. A very good combination for their question. Waving her arms, she attempted to flag the student down. "Excuse me! Miss! We need to ask you something!" She stopped, and a moment passed as no one said anything. "...What are you waiting for? Ask her, Zeo!" It wasn't that she didn't want to ask herself, it was just that aside from being an effective plow of human bodies, Zeo hadn't really done much. She wanted to make sure he knew he was good for things other than that.

SplashLady looked at all of this quietly, only eye-rolling at the typical antics of her operator. But, suddenly...


Her entire eyesight went purple for a moment, as another emblem suddenly appeared in one of the PET's menus. It had a card on it, which she recognized as being like the one on SummonerMan's headband. But, that menu...that was a list of her Crosses. They'd barely spoken to each other, yet they had a full-fledged Cross? That seemed odd. She didn't exactly mind it, but it piqued her curiosity as to how that happened. After all, in this case, the operators were much better friends than the Navis. Unless somehow that was how it which case anything she knew about acquiring Crosses was just thrown out the window, run over by a truck, then buried in an avalanche. But on the plus side, it made them that much more mysterious and cool to her.
"Selling copies of an important plaque sounds dumb to me..." Zeo mumbled indignantly, trailing off and letting that conversation go. It looked like neither of his companions saw the benefits of finding out where the school's vision statement currently was, so he decided to concentrate on finding the locating of some kind of information building. That got put aside after Rose asked him about school, something he probably wouldn't look too good answering.

"Huh? What do I mean? Well, uh, exactly that." Zeo scratched his head for a moment before deciding that not many people would care much about his current educational status. "I guess you could say I dropped out, if you can drop out of homeschooling. Really boring, didn't care much for it." That sounded like a really bad reason, even to Zeo himself as he said it. "I mean, it's been a few months and I've been fine so far. If I desperately need to know something, I'll look it up." He may have continued rambling on trying to make himself look better, but it was then that Sabrina decided to volunteer him for information gathering. Rather than protest, Zeo took the opportunity to stop talking about himself and focus on the mission at hand. At least now I'll be able to contribute instead of standing around watching.

Stepping forward, Zeo gave an arbitrary groan and rubbed the back of his head nervously. "Um, would you happen to know where we could find a student information center or something like it?" Zeo felt awkward simply asking the question, and waited anxiously for the student to reply. From his PET, ViralMan sighed and mumbled something about a disappointing lack of social improvement.
The girl Sabrina flagged down looked up from her book, which seemed to be pretty heavy, judging from its large size, and approached the three. "Hm? Student information center?" the girl echoed. Her face screwed up for a bit, as if in thought. Then, she replied, "It's over there in the admin building, just at the main entrance." Her book was swung with surprising strength in the direction of the most imposing building to their right. "See that big letter I over there? That's the information center."
Rose heard Sarbina's answer, and wasn't really satisfied there. But she dropped the subject; there were more important things at hand for her to deal with. She committed the fact that she went unanswered to memory, though.

There were more pressing mysteries to deal with. "Why would you drop out of homeschooling?" she wondered. She had to know. "I mean, it can't be good for his future outlook. I'm sure he wants to be successful, and you can't really go anywhere without a high school diploma."

She thought more. "And homeschooling is done by your parents. How did he get away with dropping it? That's weird . . ." Rose was even so kind as to ignore his fairly rude mumbling, and focus on the startling revelation.

Sabrina got in touch with a student and shoved Zeo forward, so she was forced to step back and hold off on her curiosity. Once the girl answered them, Rose smiled, gave a quick bow, and thanked her.

She kept pace with her friends, but was now very concerned. "You can't just drop out of high school, Zeo. You basically need a diploma to get anywhere in life. And it's like, free to go to school. That's such a wasted opportunity.

"I mean, even if it isn't always fun, you just have to deal with it sometimes. It's not like you have to go to much more school or anything. You seem like a smart kid, too, so I'm sure it can't be that bad for you.

"How did you even manage to drop out of school if you're home schooled? How did you get that past your parents? I can't imagine they just let you drop out."

Rose was now basically rambling. She went on speaking in her normal tones, but with a fair amount more urgency and speed. She wanted to know more, and assuming he'd just given up, she wanted to make sure Zeo understood what he was doing and how important school is.

She was just trying to learn more about a friend, and help him. In her mind she hadn't done anything remotely wrong yet. She was just working her way to getting the best out of everyone.

SummonerMan was tuning her out now. He didn't feel like dealing with her obnoxious invasions of privacy. He also likely couldn't care less about Zeo's life, so that helped the whole tuning out thing.

Rose focused on Zeo, waiting for an answer.
Mumble mumble...Zeo sure did mumble a lot. And quite frankly, she kinda agreed with him on that. But if people bought them, she figured it couldn't be that dumb. At least on the part of the university. The people that bought them, however, were fair game.

But anyway, Zeo asked, and received an answer. Yep, that was quite an I. "Thanks!" That and a smile was Sabrina's method of showing gratitude, as she quickly left for that I. As Rose started lecturing Zeo on why he should go to school. At a school. That was some cosmic-level irony, but the fact it was said at all prompted her to do something. Slowing down just a tiny bit, she slipped behind the other girl of the group, and patted her on the shoulder.

"Deep breaths, Rose! Deep breaths...I'm sure we're all interested in why Zeo quit school, except probably SummonerMan. But...well, if he doesn't, that's his choice. I'm sure he's got his reasons, and if he doesn't want to tell us what those reasons are, he doesn't have to." Sure, she was curious, but it wasn't really any of their business. If he wanted to tell them why, go for it. If not, oh well. Since they were friends, it didn't matter much to her either way.
After successfully procuring an answer from a random student, Zeo thanked said student (which was mostly drowned out by Sabrina) and started walking towards the building. Maybe we could have inferred that that was the information center if we'd just looked over there... he thought, frowning. He didn't have much time to care about that though, since while Rose and Sabrina had begun to follow him, Rose was now taking some issue with his answer.

He didn't really want to explain it, since doing so would require him to practically explain his entire situation in the process. That would take a while, and while they weren't currently pressed for time future items on the list could certainly take longer to find. Zeo wasn't very keen on hunting in the dark and he doubted his friends were either. He decided to try to phrase it in a way that would end the current conversation and allow the subject to be dropped. When Rose stopped, he started. "I'm not currently 'in school', for a few reasons. I didn't like the way I was being homeschooled; that's probably the main one. As for how I could 'drop out', I guess you could say my parents weren't particularly bothered by the idea." His frown deepened.

"That's the answer in a nutshell, so can we please hurry it up?" he finished, looking back at the information center and returning to his normal pace, albeit slightly quicker. Maybe now we can get back to the task at hand, Zeo thought. He slowed down a few seconds later to make sure Rose and Sabrina were behind him and continued on towards the target building.
Rose was forced to give in to popular demand, since everyone else seemed so opposed to having a conversation about a very interesting and important topic while walking.

The observant watcher would notice Rose shoot Zeo a look of curiosity, interest, distrust, suspicion, and unhappiness all rolled into two terrible eyes. Anyone less observant would miss it, as it was gone in a flash. Rose took control of her appearance and returned to business as usual.

This meant, as was standard for her outward persona, a happy smile crossed back over her face. To all outward appearances the previous dispute had never happened. "Sure. Let's hurry."

Rose quickened her pace. She didn't just match pace with her friends; she made sure she was getting ahead. A little competition never hurt anyone, and it was a good way to play out any minor frustrations in a fun and entertaining way.

As she smiled, crossed her hands behind her back, and entered herself in a race she hadn't told anyone about, Rose's thoughts turned deeper inward. "This is going on my list of mysterious things to look into. He disliked the way he was being taught, and his parents weren't bothered when he dropped out? I find that hard to believe."

Her list was getting longer. This was definitely going to need to be investigated. "But enough for that for now. We'll finish this mission, and then I can figure out what's going on. " Healing up the split between her thoughts and outward appearance, Rose focused back on having fun with her friends and finishing the Scavenger Hunt.

Mysteries aside, things were going really well so far. The grouped neared the Information Center at high speed, and Rose was having fun over all. The worst was probably behind them. Everything was looking A-OK. "You guys coming?" she asked playfully, as she put on another small burst of speed walking to place herself securely in lead.
And with another remark or two, the subject of Zeo's schooling was dropped like it was on fire. Since he seemed like he didn't want to talk about it, Sabrina just kept silent, not wanting to needle something that could be a sore spot.

...Was it just her, or was everyone picking up the pace? Shaking her head, she chose to play catch up, managing to do so with little trouble. Not that it wasn't a tad annoying. "Hey, gimme a sign next time!" That big I was getting pretty close...they were close.


...A beeping noise? Did she get mail? Maybe from Dad?

"...Argh! Stupid campus, making me get lost and get angry e-mails from that cute girl from history class I finally asked out..."

Nope, that wasn't her e-mail. At least, she HOPED she didn't ask any cute girls from history class out. If she did, she clearly had much more pressing issues than finding out where DenTech kept some plaques.
Zeo was no behavioral analyst, but he figured Rose wouldn't be very satisfied with his attempt to end the conversation. He would have said more, but the story would probably have to be a little more detailed to please her and Zeo didn't feel like giving an in-depth explanation. When Rose struck out and gained the lead, he figured he'd keep pace a little behind her and never even considered trying to pass her.

No telling how she feels about my response, he thought, a little nervous. Ugh, sooner or later I'm probably going to end up explaining the whole thing. Not that he cared that much, but the inevitability irked him. At least it wasn't Sabrina who really wanted to know. Zeo wouldn't see a moment of peace until he told her every single thing she wanted to know. Mental note: never say anything to make Sabrina curious, he thought, smiling a little. They had just about reached the building.

He wondered what they were going to ask. They couldn't just walk in and say "Hi, we're here to take your vision statement." He supposed that simply inquiring about their target might be enough, but it couldn't hurt to ask the rest of the group. "So uh, what are we going to ask about when we get there? Whether we can... buy a copy?" he asked, keeping in mind that he'd given up on arguing that point. While awaiting an answer, Zeo stuffed his hands in his pockets and examined the information center as they got closer.
Rose reached the door, and then stopped. She was being spoken to. She'd ignored the sarcastic comment from Sabrina, shrugging it off with a smile. But now this was a question, and one she decided they might as well discuss.

"We do have a habit of sort of just winging it, and I guess a bit of discussion could help." The girl took her hands off the handles as she thought, and walked back to her friends.

As Rose made her way backwards, it struck her that this was only necessary because she'd been ahead; no one had bothered trying to win her mock-race. It was a hollow victory, but it still made her happy that she'd won. A little success never hurt anyone, even when it was trivial.

"I think we can just phrase it vaguely, if we want to demand it immediately. Like 'Do you know how we could get our hands on a vision statement?'

"Or, we could just ask about it and see if the obtaining it information comes up. If it doesn't, we can ask afterwards. It also won't make us look like total oddballs, either. We can just say 'Could you tell us about the school's Vision Statement?'"

It sounded like a fairly reasonable plan to her. "It's not like they'll freak out as us for wanting information about their school. It's kind of their job to answer questions like that, right? And then if their description makes it sound too much like they wouldn't be willing to part with one, we'll know that it'd be inappropriate to ask before we do. "

Worst case scenario they could skip it. He said they didn't need to get everything. But she didn't mention this thought. She was focusing on optimism, and striking out potential negatives.

She awaited further suggestions or responses from her friends.
As she approached the door herself, Sabrina listened to her friends' ideas. Admittedly, her style was more walking up and asking 'hey, do you guys sell any plaques with your vision statement?', but eh. If they didn't have anything like that, it'd make any other questions incredibly weird for both sides. And she definitely didn't want to attract any undue attention. So yeah, she'd take a back seat for now. ...Figuratively. She called shotgun, so in the car she was still up in front.

"Sounds good to me, guys." ...Yep, that was actually all she had to say. "...I really really hope they've got them for sale, and cheap. I'm kinda drained from getting that Process Upgrade..." Okay, so it wasn't actually all she had to say. Whatever, she didn't care at the moment.

So long as Zeo didn't disagree, looked like they were good to go ask. And afterwards, they could do things that required more action and less thinking. Like retrieving plaques for some weird person.
"Asking for info about it might work best," Zeo spoke his thoughts aloud. A conversation about the vision statement could possibly lead on to methods of obtaining or at least finding what they were looking for. "They'd probably feel less inclined to help if we walked in demanding the thing." Zeo certainly wouldn't be too eager. ...that isn't what we did with the Process Upgrade, right? he asked himself mentally. He decided not to think too much on it, since they'd gotten the upgrade eventually. It was something to keep in mind, though.

"Alright, so I guess we ask for info about it." Zeo looked at the door. Here's hoping this takes less time than the last one. "Well, shall we?" he asked rhetorically, stepping up to the door. He placed his hand on it, pausing for a moment before finally opening it and holding it open for his friends. "Vision statement, here we come." Once they were through, he'd follow behind.

Hopefully that didn't automatically guarantee him a backseat in the coming conversation.
Rose agreed to the sentiment of not wanting to spend much cash. "Everyone can agree to that. Wanting to spend money would be odd." And then, Zeo did something rather shocking.

He went out of his way and held the door open for them. "Wow," Rose thought. She hadn't expected him to take the initiative.

She giggled a bit and gave a curtsy using an imaginary skirt. "Quite the gentleman, aren't we? Thank you very much, Zeo." And with that she ended her curtsy and hurried in, still smiling.

SummonerMan rolled his eyes. "Again with this mock polite thing." He didn't approve of these sort of antics.

Rose had enjoyed it, though. She looked around as her friends rejoined her inside the information center.
And suddenly, the door opened, courtesy of Zeo. How courteous. Sabrina let Rose enter first, then proceeded to walk in herself. As she did so, she gave the opener of doors a two finger wave, to show her appreciation. Clearly, grace was her middle name.

...Okay, it was actually Christine. But whatever.

Once inside, she shifted her sunglasses to the top of her head, since people often found it suspicious if you wore sunglasses inside. With that, she waited for the group's lone boy member as she starting checking out the information center. Zeo wasn't 3, he'd be fine if she didn't stare at him every single moment.
The information center was not exactly that large, the two girls noticed as they came in. It was located in the middle of a large hallway that extended to their left and right, but the space itself was actually pretty small. A polished wooden counter stationed two receptionists, one male and one female, looking to be hard at work on something. Smartly dressed, the woman looked up first at the door opening with a disinterested face, having watched many others come through the door to use the hallway instead of the center; the hallway was a short cut from the dormitories to the larger lecture halls. The male receptionist didn't even twitch as he continued to work on whatever was on his screen.
Letting the door close slowly, Zeo followed Rose and Sabrina into the building. It wasn't as impressive as he'd expected, but it was only an information building after all. The receptionists didn't look very enthused at first glance. They look eager to help, Zeo thought sarcastically. Eager or not, this was currently their only lead. He stopped behind Rose and Sabrina before looking around again. I guess one of us has to ask, he supposed. Holding back a sigh, Zeo decided to take action before Sabrina elected him question asker again.

"Excuse us," he began. Zeo quickly pondered how to phrase the question. They probably won't react differently regardless of how I phrase the question. "We're looking for information on DenTech's 200X vision statement plaque," he stated bluntly. "It's... for a research project on the university." Zeo hoped his brief pause to come up with a lie wasn't that noticeable. Maybe the lie wasn't even necessary, but he figured it couldn't hurt to have a good reason.

And I only did it because I figured Sabrina would do it... Zeo thought, holding back another sigh. Great, she's rubbing off on me. He waited for an answer to his query, wondering whether his companions would have anything to add to it. They probably would, which was a good thing.