A Chance Meeting

   “Come on, Em,” the young woman told herself as she stood at the entrance to the History Campus. “You’ve been at the Academy for nearly six years now.  It’s only a different department — not another planet.”  Her nervousness was to be expected, though: as Government and Public Administration student, she’d never had need to come to this part of the Academy and so in a way it did seem like a new world.  Em consulted a map on her tablet and made her way toward the History Department library.

   She walked across the campus in wonder, amazed at the variety amongst the buildings. Each building was modeled after a different architectural era, yet they all seemed to fit together. She had no doubt Merrick had been here in his studies, but she still made a note to bring him back here soon. Absorbed in the detail of one of the lecture halls, she didn’t notice she was about to walk into someone until they collided and both tumbled to the ground.

   A frown of annoyance marred the handsome features of the older gentleman, but Em quickly scrambled to her feet, apologizing profusely. “I’m so sorry, sir!  I was just so taken with that building – I’ve never seen anything like it before” She offered a hand to help him up.

   “You’re new to the Academy then?” The man asked, apparently mollified by her immediate apology. He waved off her offer of help.

   Em shook her head. “No, sir. This is my final year in Public Administration, but this is my first time to the History campus.” Her eyes drifted back to the lecture hall. “I had no idea it was so beautiful and varied.”

   The man stood, brushing himself off, and noticed her distraction. “Ah. I’ve been to the Government campus. It’s beautiful in its own right, but very… uniform.  I can see how this would be quite a shock. What brings you here?”

   “My final project,” Em promptly responded as she turned her attention back to him. “I’m doing an analysis of the settlement and growth of Delphinia.”

   “I would think your own campus would have suitable records.” The man’s tone was dry, the comment seemed almost like a subtle challenge as he studied her.

   “There are plenty of records there, but they tend to be full of numbers and statistics. I’m hoping to get a different perspective on the settlement: things like public sentiment regarding settling a new region when some of the other regions were still dealing with low populations; or why Region Delphi was chosen over another.” As she answered, her eyes kept going back to the building that initially distracted her.

   The man nodded in apparent approval of her answer. “Like it?” he nodded towards the building. “It’s my favorite, too. One of the few modern buildings on Thelios modeled after pre-human structures.”

   Em’s eyes grew wide. “So that’s the style of the people who were here before Landing?” She drifted closer to the building to take in more detail.

   The man walked with her. “Indeed. I always admired what the ancient cultures built.” He looked to the young woman and smiled. “Are you certain you are not a history student?  Most who sit through my lectures don’t display half the passion for the past that you have in these few moments. Perhaps it isn’t too late for you to change your course of study?” he joked.

   Em laughed, a hint of a blush coloring her cheeks. “I think it’s a bit too late for that, but I could still take in some lectures without credit.”

   The older man pursed his lips in thought. “That could be difficult as my courses are usually in high demand by admitted students.” He considered for a moment and then seemed to make a decision. “Here, let me see your tablet.” He took a card from his pocket and tapped it to Em’s tablet. “There. That is how you may directly contact me.  Please do so. I would be happy to help with your project and, if you wish, I could share more information about pre-human Thelians.” He nodded once more towards the building. “For now, though, I must be on my way. It was a pleasure to bump into you Miss…”

   “Em.  Em Weathers,” she stammered the replied.

   “I look forward to hearing from you again, Miss Weathers.”  The man bowed his head and took his leave.

   Em promised she would be in touch and bid him farewell. It was only after he’d left that she looked to her tablet, her eyes bugging when she realized she’d literally run into and had been given the direct contact information for the head of the entire Delphi Academy History Department – Peter Jorrall.

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