(2018-11-26) This here be thy Quest
First day of school at UCC, and Charlie makes a new friend in Eve.

Although it's relatively late, it's also the first week back from Thanksgiving and midterms are on the horizon - so naturally the library, study hall, and computer labs are packed with students cramming to prepare for exams that they probably haven't cracked a book open for since the beginning of the semester. There are even peer mentors available in some of the private study rooms that are normally appointment-only but the week leading up to midterms and finals, these mentors are offered up on the chopping block.

One of such people is Charleton Tiberious Wheatley, who is inside one of the private study rooms, room 118 to be specific. It's the big one surrounded by a soundproof glass wall. Inside, there are several tables lined up with comfortable rolley chairs around them and several white boards on wheels for easy mobility. Every peer mentor room is packed with students. All of them except the one with Charlie in it. Well, not quite.

Although nothing can be heard through the soundproofed glass walls, seeing through them one can see how a tall(ish) boy - okay, let's face it, Charlie isn't exactly /tall/, but at least he's above the threshhold of what most would consider short. At any rate, his hands are waving and his lips are moving a mile a minute, so he must be in the depths of explaining something. The problem is, the unfortunate student still sitting in the room with him is staring blankly at him and the whiteboard, which depicts the drawing of the fluid mosaic model (biology stuff).

Finally, though there is no sound, it appears as though the poor girl has had enough and throws her hands up, waving a fist at Charlie while she gathers her things and storms out. The boy is left standing there, blinking several times and holding a finger up as if to try and stop her. But a withering look holds him in his tracks and finally he turns back to his whiteboard to examine the overly complicated model he was drawing to explain whatever concept the girl needed help with.

There are whispers throughout the building of one particular prodigy boy who everyone avoids like the plague. He is apparently extremely difficult to get along with and cannot seem to explain -anything- in simple enough terms for anyone to understand. The word 'freak' and 'weirdo' are thrown around a lot. This may very well be that same person the word on the street is all about.

Freaks and weirdos may be solid turn-offs for most people, but what choice does one have when the damn library is full? Eve wanders through the crammed interior of the library, but unlike everyone else, the pink-blonde isn't laden with books on her travels. Instead, all she carries is a thick white course catalog, and a handful of forms to go along with it. She's a fresh off-the-boat transfer student, but her classes aren't set to start until the spring semester; for now, she's just basking in the misery of her future classmates while she strolls these hallowed halls!

During her search for a place to sit, Eve runs across the frustrated girl who just stormed out of Room 118. There is a collision of shoulders, sending both girls reeling a few steps and staring at each other in surprise. Whereas the angry NPC merely snorts and turns to stomp away without another word, Eve calls after her with a loud(ish) "Geshuntheit!", immediately followed by a finger to her lips to preemptively shush anyone who might be tempted to silence her.

Noting where the angry girl came from, Eve peers into the room briefly before stepping in. "Hey homie." She greets casually, already heading to the end of the table to take a seat. "What are you thinking? Flowers or dinner?"

As expected, more than one student at the computer desks lined up in the open 'quad' style area shoot withering looks at Eve. But the challenging shush from the girl is more than enough to cow the non-conflicting students. The door to room 118 swishes open and a rush of air and the sound of frustrated dry eraser scrubbing take over for the soft clicks of a hundred people typing furiously at their keyboards.

The odd looking boy in the room (and odd-looking is probably a nice descriptor) doesn't initially turn to face Eve. He's currently wearing a loud, orange and white flannel with the top several buttons undon. Beneath it is a purple t-shirt (yes, purple) and around his neck is a loosened blue tie with crossing wands instead of crossbones all over it in small little 'X' shapes. The tie is barely hanging on at this point, particularly after the last habitual tug his hand makes to it.

He turns around then, not even registering Eve's greeting, but throwing his hands up and continuing the conversation (that he was having with himself when she entered) as if she had always been part of it.

"I don't understand what is so difficult about the electron transport chain in photosynthesis. I mean, it's really very simple. I can't honestly help it if she's mistaking photosynthesis with cellular metabolism. I mean, one is plants and one is animals." He takes a deep, frustrated breath and exhales sharply, then walks forward toward the table closest to the whiteboards that Eve flopped down at.

"Oh, that's a marvelous idea! I see what you did there." He taps his chin and waggles it at Eve. "Finally, someone gets it. Flowers are plants, and plants use light to construct sugar. Whereas what we'd eat for dinner breaks down proteins into simple sugars for ATP. See? It's not so hard!" Pause. Blinkblink. "Hey, are you here to take over for me?"

Eve tosses the course catalog on to the table top, and leans back to peer at Charlie as he goes on and on with gibberish. It's a safe bet that she's not listening to him, but she IS studying the walking fashion disaster that is the nerd. Seriously? Orange and white flannel? With… purple? And blue? Her expression — and Eve is a very expressive girl — goes from disbelief to one of physical illness. Although when Charlie actually registers her presence, she abruptly wipes that look from her face, and replaces it with a bright smile.

"Yes!" She exclaims. "I'm totes here to take over for you." There is a pause that, if one stops to pay attention, may hear cricket chirps. "And you tell 'em! It's not hard at all. I do photosynthesis all the time on my phone." She nods sagely, looking down to reach into her shoulder bag for a moment. Out comes a lollypop, which she lazily unwraps. "So you're that guy, huh?"

A look of relief floods over the odd boy's face, "Well, that's super awesome. You're pretty early though, but we can at least keep each other company since no one wants any help, apparently, anyway!" Of course, what seems to be flying straight over Charlie's head is the fact that people are actually seeking quite a lot of help. Just not from him. He shrugs indifferently though and starts to finish cleaning off the whiteboard. When Eve mentions doing photosynthesis on her phone, he turns around with a screwy, boyish look on his face complete with a confused, crinkled nose bridge. "Wait, there's an app for that? Wow, someday I'll get a smartphone too and it'll make everything so much easier."

He fishes into the backpocket of the really ugly looking khaki shorts he's wearing, producing a flip phone that most people haven't used in fifteen years. "I guess maybe once I've been working here long enough, that'll be the first thing I buy!" Charlie spots the sucker and unconsciously licks his lips. "Hey, do you think you've got another one?"

Eve peers at the nerd boy again, with a mischievous glint in her blue eyes. Smirking a little, she doesn't immediately reply but continues unwrapping the sucker, before popping it between her lips to suck on it. "Maaaaaybe." She finally replies with a playful tilt of her head, stopping a few moments to peer at that old-school flip phone like it's an alien device from a different universe. "How about if you answer three of my questions correctly, and help me with an epic labor, I'll give you one? Think of it as… thy quest." To sweeten the proverbial pot, she digs into her shoulder bag again, and fishes a second lollypop out… which she waggles at Charlie to entice him to agree.

It's like Eve used all the right trigger words to capture Charlie's attention and imagination. "A quest?" He noticably straightens, his eyes sparkling with delight as she waves the extra lollipop in front of him. His eyes follow it like clockwork, until a quick shake of his head refocuses his attention on the girl. "Okay, so, three questions and a quest." He meanders back over to the whiteboard and picks up a dry eraser marker, tossing it up into the air as if to catch it…but dropping it instead. "That was just a test." He quickly chirps, grabbing it off the ground and holding it out in front of him. "If it's math, do I get to use the whiteboard?"

Eve actually manages to hold back her snicker when he fails at the juggling act; thank God for the lollypop. Leaning forward and folding her arms on the table's edge, she bobs her head at Charlie's question. "Sure, use whatever you want if it's math." She agrees readily, because… she knows full well those are NOT math questions. "Let's start with an easy one, cool?" She pauses for dramatic effect, before dropping the bomb. "What's your name? Like, your full name. Including any aliases or codenames you may have."

There Charlie stands, ready to face off against ancient dragons and solve unsolvable riddles asked by ancient beings. A 'simple' question to this prodigy student would be something involving the explanation of the second law of thermodynamics. Instead, his expression screws up and his nose crinkles. "My name?" Blink. Waitaminute. "This could be a trick." He completes the thought out loud, almost without realizing it. Tapping his chin thoughtfully, he finally concedes. "Charletone Tiberious Wheatley." Pause. "Unless we get to have codenames? Because mine should be-" He looks around the room, hoping to pull an idea from his surroundings. Gives up quickly. "-Doctor Doom!"

"Doctor Do…" Eve starts to repeat his supposed nickname, but stops herself short and simply shakes her head. "No - okay. Let's stick to /actual/ names that you are /actually/ using, not what you wish to be." Of course, the lollypop is pulled out from her mouth while she speaks. "Alright, second question: in twenty words or less, tell me who you are and what you study here."

It's like a lightbulb suddenly turns on in Charlie's brain and he snaps his fingers. "Ohhhhh, this is one of -those- kind of games. Wait. Twenty words or less? Well, that's not…" His face screws up in consternation as he searches for the right words to say. Then he stops. "Wait, does everything I say now count? Or maybe we should use a word descriptor to mark the beginning? Like, for example-" And with that, he reaches out with both hands, spreading them apart with a slow, dramatic sweep. "-Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away.-" He stops, looking down at Eve. "Like that?"

Eve shakes her head slowly and sagely, taking the opportunity to suck on her lollypop some more. "That's like ten words right there. No can do, amigo." Her arms unfold, changing positions so that her hands come up to prop up her chin. "But if you want a word descriptor to mark the beginning? I'll do it." The lollypop lure is still dangling between the fingers of her right hand, which she waggles some more at him. "Annnnnnd…. go!"

Charlie sucks in a deep breath, chewing on the inside of his cheek while his gaze consistently switches between Eve's face and the extra lollipop. He is bound and determined to get that candy! With his mouth partially open in that sort of way that means his mom is probably always hounding him about shutting his mouth before he swallows a fly, Charlie starts to talk but stops, starts again and stops again. Then he's looking up into the air, and -literall- counting on his fingers as he chooses his words carefully. "I'm a molecular biology major but I specialize in zoonotic diseases." Pause. Counting. "Work for the university's Biological Life Sciences Department on scholarship." Stops again. Counting. His expression brightens and he looks back down from the ceiling and the invisible numbers his imagination created to help him with the math to focus again on Eve, folding his arms across his chest triumphantly.

Eve's smirk blossoms into a full grin. She even claps a little. "Cool! You even speak latin." She deadpans. "Okay, the third question… I'm gonna hold on to, until I have a third question." She now reaches for her course catalog and holds it up towards Charlie with both hands. "So here is thy epic quest! Let's say a hypothetical freshman with an undeclared major comes to you, and wants you to pick out what courses she should take in her first semester… which courses will you pick? I need… I mean, she needs four."

Charlie is about as oblivious as they come so when the catalogue is waved out toward him, he circles around and plops down in the chair next to Eve's, plucking the catalogue out of her hands. "Oh, well, that's easy. You have certain cores that you -have- to take no matter what, right?" He scoots his chair closer to Eve's, shoulder to shoulder as he positions the catalogue so that it's centered between the pair. "So, if you look at this bucket," And by bucket, he gestures to a particular list of classes under a certain category on the page. "You have to take a basic biology, basic history - I'd totally take Western Civilization if it were me. It's by far the most interesting, umm…Art Appreciation - I'm actually in that class right now and there's a BUNCH of spots still open so your friend wouldn't have a problem getting into that. I'm only taking it because they're making me, but it's all really easy, I already know everything they're talking about. Annnd, let's see…" He absently taps at his cheek, making a water drop-like sound as he looks over the list. "Oh! I am actually peer mentoring Biology 101. So if your friend chooses that one, tell her she's in good hands because I'm super good at helping!"

Once again, her arms are folded on the table top as Eve ACTUALLY listens to Charlie's suggestions, her attention following which page of the catalog he's pointing at. In fact, she even pulls out a pen and starts taking notes! "Western Civilization. Art Appreciation. Got it. Biology 101, huh? That sounds like something that would melt brains, but if you're as smart as you sound and you're peer mentoring…" She ponders and eyes him, then promptly decides and scribbles something on the forms. "All done!" She then exclaims, and picks up the registration form triumphantly. A happy happy grin is flashed at the nerdy boy, along with the lollipop that she's held up as an irresistible lure. "Here's your prize, Chucky! Don't forget, I still have one more question that I can ask you later."

The catalogue itself is broken down into sections, which Charlie seems to refer to as 'buckets. For first year students, it's broken down into four sections - the fourth that Charlie has yet to explain is the elective list. "Honestly, I haven't even chosen an elective myself yet. It's all physical education classes and stuff. I dunno, it all seems like a waste of time to me. But yeah, if she gets those three she's atleast covering all her bases - and those are my classes too, and since she's your friend, I'll help her out."

At that point, Charlie suddenly comes to a realization. Has he found her out? Pieced together the scheme she's cooked up to get his help? "I don't even know your name! Or your friend's, for that matter. I should probably look out for them if they're about to start." This is the obviously logical explanation, of course, and the lollipop is summarily plucked from Eve's grasp and immediately opened. With the sucker bulging out his cheek, Charlie leans back happily in the chair. "Okay, just let me know. And I think we should have some sort of secret code word, you know, just in case it's got to be a secret question. So let's say you see me again in one of the other buildings and, oh, snap, you just figured out the third question! Well, it'd make sense to have a codeword you could throw out to me that means I -have- to drop whatever I'm doing to answer it."

Success! And Eve didn't have to do much reading to get her results. With most of the registration form already filled out, she shoots a sidelong glance at Charlie, followed by an extension of a fist. "Call me Eve, named after the First Lady of the Good Book. Why don't you just take something easy like tennis or swimming for your elective? I can totes peer mentor you right back." Beat. "Oh, yeah did I mention? I'm the hypothetical transfer freshman." She beams at him. "And dude, you want a codeword?" The lollipop is held up at him meaningfully. "Codeword, lollipop."

Charlie quirks an eyebrow, "The good book?" Blink. Blink blink. And then it hits him, along with the realization of who Eve -really- is. Understanding floods his expression and it's almost comically pathetic, though even that would probably go way over his head. "Ohhhhhhhhh! I see what you did there." He wags his finger, chewing on the inside of his cheek as he shakes his head. "Wait, which one are you taking then? I'll just pick that one and then we can just be in all the same classes and help each other!"

Now he's getting excited again, the idea that he's not navigating this new world alone has him feeling surprisingly comfortable. Of course, he's still wearing the awful combination of clothing. It's almost like he's color blind or something. Or just completely fashion-retarded. As the codeword is solidified, Charlie nods his head firmly and holds out his own lollipop. "Okay Eve, codeword lollipop." With that done, Charlie nudges Eve's arm to encourage her to scoot a little so he can pull the catalogue toward him. "By the way, you need an advisor's signature otherwise you have to make an appointment and spend like, all day in line." He stops to pluck a pen from his pocket, clicking the tip out then scribbling his signature across the dotted line. "It's a good thing I'm a TA and I can do that for you."

And just like that, he clicks the pen again and stuffs it back in his pocket. "It's my first day of school in my entire life and I've already got a friend! All you gotta do is turn that into the Bursar's office and you're good to go."

Eve actually manages to look surprised that Charlie volunteers to sign on her form to get her out of a long line-up, quite happy to scoot over a bit for him to pull the catalog away. "Wow, that's actually kinda cool. And convenient." She pauses a beat and stares at the signature for a second. "Lemme know if you can sign for anything else. Like cash cheques and credit cards." His terrible color coordination and fashion sense still bring a look of consternation to the girl's face, as she studies the nerdy boy when he announces they are friends. "Uh. If we're going to be friends, I'm going to need you to…." She starts, but abruptly stops herself as a smile slowly spreads across her lips. "Actually, y'know what? Don't change a thing." Because imagine the fun she'll have! "Sign up with me for swim class. I bet you can photosynthesize in your swimming trunks, huh?"

The mention of swimming sends the color straight out of Charlie's face but he is clearly doing the best job he can to hide it. "Oh, swimming? Um…okay, yeah, hey, no problem!" And now he's just trying to play it cool. "I love swimming, I'm like, you know, Aquaman. Straight up." Smilesmile. The joke about the credit cards is pretty much the only one Charlie picks up on and he grins ear to ear. There's a moment where as Eve is eyeing him with that look on her face, Charlie, in all his obliviousness, is sitting slightly forward, listening expectantly with that friendly smile of his. But when she shifts gears, he just nods happily. "Sure thing, I think this'll be super fun!" He actually seemes genuinely thrilled, but as Eve makes the final joke about photosynthesis, Charlie lifts a finger. "Well, technically, we can't photosynthesize, since that requires light receptors and the ability to make sugar from photons." He pauses, his eyes flaking left and then right, as if he were honestly trying to solve the problem of humanity being unable to photosynthesize.

"I'm sure if someone pasty enough stands in bright enough lights…." Eve smirks slightly, and pops the lollipop back into her mouth. Half of the candy is gone now, but it still bulges the side of her cheek noticeably. Thus freed, her hands reach for the catalog and registration forms, deftly gathering up her things before the girl rises to her feet. "Alright Chucky Wheats, make sure you sign up for swim class. And Biology 101. And Western Civilization. But don't go Art Appreciation, cuz that just sounds all kinds of lame. There is this Film Studies and Film Production class and I think that's just waaaay cooler, y'know? Anywho, my work here is done. Stay frosty?"

Charlie climbs out of his chair in time with Eve, head canted to the side as he studies her like an Indian might a Chief, bobbing his head in affirmation as she dolls out instructions. "Okay, I think I can do that. Yeah, way cooler." He straightens, sensing that it's pretty much that time to part ways and a quick glance at the clock on the wall confirms as much, Charlie gathers up his oversized backpack and hefts it up over his shoulders. "Right, uh, stay frosty." There's a pause as he glances out the door, then back to her again. "I can walk you to your ride, er, or dorm." He offers, but whether she says yes or no, Charlie sort of invites himself along anyway, spending the entirety of the walk trying to explain to Eve why photosynthesis couldn't be possible for humans, especially pasty white humans since their lack of melanin actually makes them more susceptible to photo-oxidation. But what's photo-oxidation, she says? Well… (Welcome to the world of Charlie Wheatley.)

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