The Old University (Prologue)

Dear Jen,

Yeah, I know, a hand-written letter.  What can I say, I’m feeling retro.  If you saw where I’m working right now, you’d see why.  This place is amazing!  The University is an old place with so much history.  Portraits of so many graduates who went on to do great things.  Artwork from days long gone by.  Even their furniture has history!  It’s an awesome place.  The professors all wear suits that have a coat of arms on the suit jacket.  Ritzy!  I feel so damn lucky to be here.  I know that mom and dad are paying out the ass for me to go here.  I got as many scholarships as I could.  They tell me how proud they are, and I believe it, but I feel bad for making them pay so much money all the same.  They shouldn’t have to fork over cash so that I can go somewhere nice.  Gotta love America, right?  One of my professors is from Switzerland, and they have college for free.  Can you believe that?!  Every country is doing cool things, except ‘Murica.  That says a lot, doesn’t it?
Sorry, getting all ranty.  Anyway, I am doing so well here!  Given how old this place is, you wouldn’t think that the science program would be of much use.  But if you could see the lab that this place has!  While the main buildings may be old and historic, the lab buildings are state of the art!  There are machines here that I can barely pronounce the names to.  Makes me feel so cool when I have to get into special lab clothes and go through decontamination to go to work.  With my studies in biochemistry, we work with some pretty intense stuff.  Got to do all sorts of tests on different animal tissues.  Get this – I got to dissect and run tests on a shark!  Apparently, it has a form of cancer unique to its species.  We were looking at and documenting different things about the infected tissue.  All of these students, talking and examining.  Got to put my pencil skills to use.  Sure, everyone was using the imaging features on the microscopes to get direct images, but there was something that made me think more, when I was actually drawing these things.  Like I was coming to know them better.
After working here in the labs for a while, I met our youngest professor.  His name is Professor Edward Raven.  Cool name, right?  A serious guy.  He has some…unfortunate injuries that he works hard to hide.  The last student who brought up how he looks got a shit-load of grunt work dumped on him.  Something tells me that he gets this sort of thing a lot.  That makes me feel sad.  From what the other professors say, he keeps to himself, at his family’s estate.  Speaking of – I got to go there!  When he learned about my interest in biochemistry, he put my skills to the test.  Won’t lie – that partly sucked.  When I say put to the test, I mean that.  He has worked me over.  Me and about four other students.  Got the rest jealous as fuck.  Apparently, that’s how this works.  He likes you, he tests you.  If you are getting tested, that means that you are headed on to great things.  According to one of the professors, once Professor Raven invests time in a student, that gets them all sorts of cred once they are out of college.  A letter of recommendation from him is a golden ticket.  That got me to work harder.
Must have gone on for an eternity.  Felt like it.  The lot of us that he marked were asked to go to his estate!  Apparently, he conducts his own research there.  Another place with a fuck-ton of history.  Creepy, though.  He lives there alone, save for a couple of maids and a butler.  It is SO quiet in that place.  Scared me, the first time I knocked on his door and a maid opened it.  Mousey girl.  Really mousey.  But sweet.  Got to talking to her.  Since I will be working at Raven’s estate for a while, along with the others, I will get a chance to see her more.  Hopefully that goes somewhere.  She is REALLY cute.
In any case, I love it here.  This place is everything I could have asked for and more!  Hopefully you’re doing well.  I was sorry to hear that you chose to go to the community college.  But I get why.  Mom and dad are spending so much money to help me, and you don’t want a loan.  Sorry to be taking their attention, again.  I feel like the spoiled bitch sister, sometimes.  I want you to know that I’m not like Aunt Martha.  I don’t look down on you.  Hell, you are doing the nicer thing.  I am the one asking for stuff.  That’s not right.  Can’t wait to get home.  I’ll get to see you and Chloe.  Maybe have a date to bring back, eh?  Speaking of, why do I never hear of you dating anyone?  You’re gonna be old and wrinkly soon.  Carpe Diem and all that shit, sis!  I joke, but hopefully you are meeting some new people.  Have some cute boy that mom and dad can disapprove of.
Write me back as soon as you can.  Let me know if Chloe has annoyed mom and dad to death.  Remember that mohawk she got?  That girl must be trying mom’s patience.  I’ll write again when something neat happens.  Well, something neat that wouldn’t put you to sleep.  I could talk your ear off about all the things I am learning.  Professor Raven showed me that biochemistry can go so much further than I ever thought.  It’s amazing stuff.  I feel so lucky to have a person this smart take an interest in me.  Everyone in the group feels the same way.  Each of us gets personal attention and can come to him at any time with questions.  There’s a Korean guy who I swear lives for this.  He is always early, getting right to work.  I’d say he was sucking up, except that he looks so thrilled to do this work.  Passion and ass-kissing, maybe?
Sorry, going on.  Talk to you soon, Jen.

So much love,

 

Eleanor

Until next time, a quote,

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”  – Carl Sagan

Peace out,

Maverick

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