Ellen's Dorm

The problem with living alone in a college dorm is that when something goes wrong in the building, you have absolutely no way of dealing with it.

Such had been Ellen Llewellyn's philosophy since she moved in, for the simple reason that nine times out of ten, it was true. Elevator broken? Mechanical problem, can't do anything. Water off? Problem somewhere else on campus, many people more qualified. Internet off? Yeah, you're screwed.

Blackout? Combine the above three.

Any normal person would have simply slept through it. Ellen, however, had her air conditioning on the coldest possible setting the front desk would allow. With that gone, she woke up almost immediately, covered in sweat. It was too hot. Way too hot. It was also the middle of the night, the worst possible time for this sort of thing. Groaning, Ellen pushed herself upright, straining to look at her alarm clock. The face was blank.

It would be.

At least, Ellen thought, That explains why it's darker than usual in here. She let herself drop back onto the uncomfortable dormitory bed, then rolled over and reached blindly for her PET. Several seconds of fumbling allowed her to eventually find and grasp it, pulling it over to where she could turn on and see the screen.

No signal.

Two in the morning. Naturally.

"Mm, 'morning Ellen," came the sleepy voice of her navi. Great, she'd managed to turn off Rachna's sleep mode, too. "Why's it still dark out? Did you finally manage to get up early on your own?"

"You wish," Ellen grumbled, using her PET's screen to light the room. No internet meant her computer would be useless. Clock was still out. TV...Ellen forced herself out of bed and stumbled to the TV, attempting to turn it on. No luck. Coffee machine, microwave, refrigerator...refrigerator was silent, but probably still cold, at least for awhile longer. Didn't matter much anyway, Ellen never kept anything that would spoil in there, just filled it with caffeinated drinks.

"Blackout?" Rachna offered.

Ellen gave an irritated grumble of confirmation.

As she did, however, she heard the air conditioning and refrigerator start up again, and all the little lights that made her room not pitch black at night returned. Her PET's signal returned as well, though it was still weak. Well, Dentech, thanks for waking me up for nothing.

"Hey, Elleen~, let's go find out what happened," Rachna said.



"If the power's back, that means whatever happened was fixed. Nothing to see. Besides, I've got an eight AM class tomorrow, let me sleep."

"No you don't," Rachna countered, "That class was canceled all this week. Professor's in Whazzap, remember?"

Oh right. "Damn it, fine," Ellen groaned, jacking her navi into the college net.
To say it had been a long day had been an understatement. Somewhere between three classes, one at eight in the morning, two tests, one at eight in the morning, walking all the way across campus in blistering heat, having to walk back because she thought she forgot her PET, the frustration that set in when she remembered that her PET had been in her room the entire time, and a broken elevator in the dorm when she finally did get back, Ellen was not looking forward to doing anything else for the rest of the day.

Which, of course, made it no surprise at all that she had an essay due the very next day.

When she finally got back to her room, she fell bodily into the door, unlocking it as she did so that she nearly fell to the floor as she entered. Her PET, sure enough, was in there, and making some sort of noise, but she didn't register the latter fact as she stumbled in. Instead, the only thing she paid attention to was her fan, which she turned on to full blast as she passed, and her bed, which she flopped onto as she reached it.

"Urgh, you would not believe how...Rachna, what the hell are you doing with your copy?!"

"Mm?" On the PET screen, Rachna pulled her lips away from those of her decoy and dismissed her. She pulled her mage wrap back over her upper body, looking up at Ellen. "Oh, I was just having a little fun," she teased. "Enjoy your day?"

"No," Ellen responded bitterly. "Look, I really don't need this right now. I'll jack you in and give you chips if you need it, so just...go somewhere and don't bother me too much. I've got a lot of work to do tonight and no patience for more crap."

"Fiiine," Rachna said, pouting as she was jacked in. The expression cleared almost instantly as she entered, however, as she quickly brightened up and ran off toward the NetSquare portal.