a1enzo: (surprise)
As Enzo is about to return to the Academy from his shadow process, DOStin clears his throat. "Good job in that Game, cadet."

"Thanks," says Enzo, slightly surprised at an outright compliment.

"Your birthday's before our next session, right?" The words come out awkwardly; DOStin doesn't usually go in for personal talk, let alone initiate it. He actually seems to be making an effort.

"Uh-huh."

"Here, then." He produces a small package. As Enzo stares at it, he adds, even more awkwardly, "It's not much..."

"Hey, no, that's fine," Enzo assures him. And it totally is, seeing as how he hadn't expected a present from DOStin at all. He takes the box and opens it.

The object inside is, in appearance, a pair of brass-rimmed pince-nez with a slight golden sheen to the lenses. Enzo's stare takes on a new quality. "A spell check utility?"

"And grammar." Beat. "To help with all your... extra reports."

"Oh. Well... thanks. I'm sure it'll be... helpful."
a1enzo: (anxious)
Shadowing DOStin for the first time is... beyond awkward.

He isn't vindictive. He doesn't try to exact revenge for Enzo's past pranks, or actively make his life miserable. That would not be professional. And DOStin is always professional.

But he barely looks at Enzo. There is absolutely zero small talk, and not much large talk, either; he barks occasional orders, and that's it. Enzo follows him from site to site. They mend a few Tears. At one point they assist in taking down a couple of malbots, which is pretty exciting, but as soon as the fight's over, DOStin marches Enzo straight off to the next job and totally kills the rush.

Multiple times throughout the morning, Enzo starts to lose his temper, but manages to cut it off so that all that escapes is a brief strangled noise. Even this doesn't get a reaction.

Finally, they stop for lunch. (This, at least, is much better than the Academy cafeteria, and almost everywhere offers discounts for 'our sprites in cyan.') Enzo toys with his taco, picking individual tiny primitives out of the filling, and forces himself to speak up. "DOStin?"

DOStin looks at him, a bit coldly.

"Sir?" Enzo corrects himself.

"Cadet?"

"I, um... I just wanted to say sorry for... you know, all the pranks and trolling and stuff while you were moderator."

Silence.

Then DOStin nods, once, his face impossible to read.

"That's... that's all."

He nods again. Enzo isn't sure if that's an acceptance of his apology or what.

"So..."

Pwing! "Guardian deQueue, Cadet Matrix, buffer overflow in Sector 1101," says the dispatcher on the vidwindow.

"Um." Enzo holds up his taco. "Can we..."

DOStin cuts him off. "We'll eat on the way."

The dispatcher smirks. "You might not want a full stomach when you get there."

The two Guardians, for once in accord, wince.
a1enzo: (annoyed)
At the end of the first minute of the new term, an excited Enzo and his classmates have an assembly in Tron Hall. Administrator Rijndael is there, with a bunch of full-fledged Guardians, of various ages but all looking extremely competent.

"I'll make this quick," says the Admin. "Since you're now in the last quarter of your training, you'll each be shadowing a full Guardian in the course of their duties. This will include accompanying them into Games, in light of the decreased risk factor." Most of the cadets, and some of the older Guardians, glance at Enzo as the representative of the system the new developments came out of.

"You'll start out with them two seconds a minute, more frequently later. You will be taking a participatory role in most duties. Your partner will fill you in on the details and exceptions. Any questions?" There are none, though undoubtedly many will be thought of later.

"All right. When I call your names, you go meet your partner, get to know each other. Alvey, you're shadowing Ina Jo. Caret, you're with Cache. Condela, you're with Lex..."

Enzo looks along the line of Guardians and gets a sinking feeling as he spots a familiar kelly green face where his own name ought to fall in alphabetical order. He is noticed in return; a look passes between them that ought to be portrayed in anime split-screen, before their names are even read off.

"Enzo, you're with DOStin."
a1enzo: (sneaky)
Enzo, Dani, and Bonzo phase cautiously through the door to DOStin's room. "No one home," Enzo whispers happily, stepping all the way in. "We oughta be okay for a while, his roommates said they'd keep him busy."
a1enzo: (sneaky)
"You got it yet, Balun?"

"Chill, man, I'm nearly there. What, you'd rather they used some 40-bit standard?"

"No, but I would rather you crack it before the others get back from dinner!"

"Right, so shut up and let the wizard work his magic!"

Over by the lift, Enzo sighs and hopes no one would be able to hear them on the way up.

A bit over a nanosecond later: "Got it! All clear, E?"

Enzo presses his ear to the elevator door, to be on the safe side. "All clear!" he declares, and hastens over to where his two older roommates are flanking DOStin's now-open bedroom door.

"Have at it, then," says Hugh, ushering them inside. "Stay frosty."

Inside, it's pretty much the same as their own room: two sets of bunk beds, four desks, and a four-framed storage window. Different items on the bedside tables, different decorations on the walls.

"Which one's his?" Enzo asks, looking around at the bunks.

"Let's see," muses Hugh. "How about the one with nothing fun whatsoever?" He points to the bottom bunk on the right, on the wall next to which are several Guardian recruitment posters depicting uniformed sprites in painfully dignified attitudes. Hugh snorts and crawls onto the bed, where he carefully swaps the positions of the posters most nearly matched in size.

The bed, of course, is short-sheeted. DOStin's desk is identified as the one with all the items perfectly aligned at right angles, and each item is carefully rotated by 45 degrees.

Enzo, moving to explore the bathroom, laughs a bit too loudly and calls the others in to show them DOStin's belongings, all carefully labeled as his, right down to the floss. All the easier to swap his toothpaste with his rendering gel.

"Which do you think he'll do first?" Enzo snickers as they leave. "Brush his teeth, or put toothpaste on his head?"

"I dunno, but either way..." Hugh breaks off. "Oh. Hi, Ina Jo."

The oldest girl on their floor is lounging on a sofa in the common area, staring at them over the top of a README file. "That," she declares matter-of-factly, "is not your room."

"Er..." is all Enzo can manage. Balun clears his throat and stands as straight as the people on DOStin's posters.

"In fact, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that the room of our esteemed moderator?"

"Yeah," says Hugh lightly.

Ina Jo nods. "Carry on, then." And she returns to her file.
a1enzo: Aerial view of the large complex supposed to be the Supercomputer's Principal Office, and surrounding islands. (Supercomputer)
"Welcome to my hall." D-floor's new mod paces around the common area, hands clasped behind his back. "Before we get started, let's go around the room and introduce ourselves. My name's DOStin, and I'll be your moderator this term."

Enzo and his roommates exchange glances. The kelly green upperclassman's behaviour is more strait-laced and official than that of most of the Academy faculty.

"You. Name, where you're from, why you're here." He picks out a random sprite.

"Ina Jo Wattson," says the selected girl in the resigned tones of someone who's done this ten times before. "System Talisker. To help people."

"Kyrka. System Camden. Someone needs to make life suck less."

"Japh," says the new boy. "System Averill. The 'Net needs our protection." He's only a few minutes older than Enzo, but he's very grave and a bit pompous.

"Balun. Supercomputer. Chicks dig the uniform." DOStin gives him an extremely dirty look and points at the next cadet to introduce himself and stop everyone laughing.

"Caret Gibson-Irvine. System Clarke. I'm here because I'm a Guardian."

DOStin eyes him, trying to decide if that was another joke. "I meant, why did you become a Guardian."

"Oh. I need to fix things." DOStin nods, apparently satisfied, and they move on.

"A-Alvey. Supercomputer. To stand up for people who--who n-need standing up for."

"Enzo Matrix. System Mainframe. I... want to help people." He wishes he could come up with something better than the default, but all his other reasons - because it's exciting, because he wants to be like Bob - seem kind of selfish. Besides, they did this last term; there's only two sprites new to the floor, and that's including the mod.

DOStin looks over Enzo and gives him a nod; Japh's eyes widen a bit. Everyone else is used to him, of course.

Onward. "Hugh. System San Didot. I'm here to undermine the system from within." This gets more laughter and a fierce, suspicious glare from DOStin.

"Esim. System Vernon. I'm here to help people..."

Once everyone's introduced themselves, DOStin begins again. "All right. Now that we all know each other, let's get a few ground rules down." And he proceeds to rattle off about twenty rules which everyone has heard before, presumably for Japh's benefit.

"Man likes to hear himself talk," murmurs Hugh.

DOStin turns to glare at him. "Something you care to share with the rest of us?"

Hugh leans back in his seat and grins. "Sure, my mom gave me a cookie file to bring with. I'd be happy to share those." Most of the other cadets cheer.

DOStin scowls, but evidently can't find anything to complain about there. "Well, I hope you brought enough for all of us..." he mutters.

"Just said I did. Will that be all?" Hugh asks sweetly.

"Yes," growls DOStin, his momentum quite spoiled.

"Cookies it is, then!" declares Hugh, rising. "Anyone got milk, or do I have to settle for making lurid jokes at Ina Jo?"

"Amp off."

"She wants me," Hugh declares smugly as he goes to fetch the cookies.

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Enzo Matrix

September 2016

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