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College Visit

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It was a fairly quiet day on Route 4, which was a little odd, as most of the high schools in the city had students out to visit the various colleges. And that's exactly why the dark blue '99 Taurus was on the road.

As they drove along, the guy in the back leaned up. "Hey, I'm gonna cut out early and head back on my own." He patted the bag next to him for a better explanation.

"So, what, you're not going to go to Freedom College?" the driver replied, with a bit of fake shock behind his voice.

"Oh, come on. We all know it'll be FCU for me, Chris. I'm not an athlete, and dad's the techno whiz." Having got their attention so he could be heard, he leaned back, letting the back of his brown hair be pressed up against the side window as they talked.

"Well, normal science, anyway," the passenger quickly added.

"Not to mention you and Matt still have another year at FDR." The car swerved a bitas Matt hit Chris' arm while he laughed. The pair fought a bit back and forth while he regained control.

"Hey, is your clock right?" Oliver asked, causing the other two to stop for a second to check.

"I think..." he began to respond, still happy. Then his voice went to a dead calm. "We're going to be late."

"No, just take this exit," Matt spoke up and point toward a nearing turn.

They continued the drive, in much more of a rush, but Oliver got a smile as he heard "Is this just fantasy" from the speaker behind him. He leaned forward and hit Matt's shoulder to get his attention, then pointed at the radio. As the volume went up, they began to sing with it and Chris turned the bass up, causing the car to vibrate with the song.

The trip kept going, although anyone passing would have seen the odd movements from all three (including some headbanging, although the relatively short hair of all three prevented much hair movement) and possibly felt the bass.

Finally, the car reached Pennslyvania St. as the song ended and More Than a Feeling came on. As it began, Matt seemed to realize something. "You're saying your rocket pack's in there?"

"Whole costume. Without the rocket, it's just embarrassing."

"Oh, yeah, the box on your back makes the whole color co-ordinated outfit cool," Chris sarcastically joked. "Man, even the gun's a bit sad. Remember our first tests with it?"

"It's an energy blaster. And I remember you making me throw up with it," Oliver said a bit dryly.

"I think I've still got a twitch from when you overloaded my nerves with it." The car pulled into a parking space and turned off. All three stepped out of the car and looked around.

"Good times." Oliver smiled, then looked at his watch. "Whoops. We've only got five minutes."

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It was a fairly quiet day on Route 4, which was a little odd, as most of the high schools in the city had students out to visit the various colleges. And that's exactly why the dark blue '99 Taurus was on the road.

As they drove along, the guy in the back leaned up. "Hey, I'm gonna cut out early and head back on my own." He patted the bag next to him for a better explanation.

"So, what, you're not going to go to Freedom College?" the driver replied, with a bit of fake shock behind his voice.

"Oh, come on. We all know it'll be FCU for me, Chris. I'm not an athlete, and dad's the techno whiz." Having got their attention so he could be heard, he leaned back, letting the back of his brown hair be pressed up against the side window as they talked.

"Well, normal science, anyway," the passenger quickly added.

"Not to mention you and Matt still have another year at FDR." The car swerved a bitas Matt hit Chris' arm while he laughed. The pair fought a bit back and forth while he regained control.

"Hey, is your clock right?" Oliver asked, causing the other two to stop for a second to check.

"I think..." he began to respond, still happy. Then his voice went to a dead calm. "We're going to be late."

"No, just take this exit," Matt spoke up and point toward a nearing turn.

They continued the drive, in much more of a rush, but Oliver got a smile as he heard "Is this just fantasy" from the speaker behind him. He leaned forward and hit Matt's shoulder to get his attention, then pointed at the radio. As the volume went up, they began to sing with it and Chris turned the bass up, causing the car to vibrate with the song.

The trip kept going, although anyone passing would have seen the odd movements from all three (including some headbanging, although the relatively short hair of all three prevented much hair movement) and possibly felt the bass.

Finally, the car reached Pennslyvania St. as the song ended and More Than a Feeling came on. As it began, Matt seemed to realize something. "You're saying your rocket pack's in there?"

"Whole costume. Without the rocket, it's just embarrassing."

"Oh, yeah, the box on your back makes the whole color co-ordinated outfit cool," Chris sarcastically joked. "Man, even the gun's a bit sad. Remember our first tests with it?"

"It's an energy blaster. And I remember you making me throw up with it," Oliver said a bit dryly.

"I think I've still got a twitch from when you overloaded my nerves with it." The car pulled into a parking space and turned off. All three stepped out of the car and looked around.

"Good times." Oliver smiled, then looked at his watch. "Whoops. We've only got five minutes."

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Megan Howell was sitting in the auditorium the orientation was to take place in, having arrived awhile ago. The very attractive blonde teen was dressed in tight designer jeans with a light cashmere sweater that fit rather tightly.

Why exactly am I here? She thought to herself as she looked in the mirror of her compact, checking her makeup. It’s not like I would come here unless I had no other choice.

As she looked in the mirror, Megan noted a cute guy wearing an Aston High football letterman jacket checking her out. Well, at least there might be some interesting distractions today. She thought with a smile as she closed the compact and put it back into her bag.

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Megan Howell was sitting in the auditorium the orientation was to take place in, having arrived awhile ago. The very attractive blonde teen was dressed in tight designer jeans with a light cashmere sweater that fit rather tightly.

Why exactly am I here? She thought to herself as she looked in the mirror of her compact, checking her makeup. It’s not like I would come here unless I had no other choice.

As she looked in the mirror, Megan noted a cute guy wearing an Aston High football letterman jacket checking her out. Well, at least there might be some interesting distractions today. She thought with a smile as she closed the compact and put it back into her bag.

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Kevin adjusts the nametag on his shirt which says "Hi! My name is KEVIN". All of the athletes are 'strongly encouraged' to volunteer as school tour guides. While in theory, that means they could turn it down, in practice, there is no choice available. Still, the ones with all students and no parents are a lot better than the ones that come up during the weekends or during schools' spring breaks. Parents ask too many questions.

While the brief orientation takes place in the auditorium, he mentally rehearses where they're going to go on campus, as well as the answers to the questions that always seem to come up during orientations. "Yes, I am from Texas. Yes, I am on the football team," he mutters to himself.

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Kevin adjusts the nametag on his shirt which says "Hi! My name is KEVIN". All of the athletes are 'strongly encouraged' to volunteer as school tour guides. While in theory, that means they could turn it down, in practice, there is no choice available. Still, the ones with all students and no parents are a lot better than the ones that come up during the weekends or during schools' spring breaks. Parents ask too many questions.

While the brief orientation takes place in the auditorium, he mentally rehearses where they're going to go on campus, as well as the answers to the questions that always seem to come up during orientations. "Yes, I am from Texas. Yes, I am on the football team," he mutters to himself.

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The trio rushed through the fairly empty halls, trying to make it to the auditorium for the orientation. Chris lead, having had visited once before (which was better than the other two) keeping back just enough to be spotted as he went around the corners.

"Almost there," he called as Matt and Oliver turned a corner.

"Did we just go in a circle?" the pair kept following Chris, however, as they'd lose track of him otherwise.

Finally, they found their way to the front entrance, only to find the doors shut and the sound from the speakers coming through. They looked at each other for a second, trying to decide if they should go in through these doors when Chris seemed to have a bright idea. He started down another hall and motioned to have Oliver and Matt follow him. They rolled their eyes, but quickly caught up with him at another set of doors.

"Luckily, they have more than one entrance. And this one should get us in without having to be obviously late," he explained before opening the door.

Their luck turned out even better when they saw that there were empty seats open that they could fairly easily get into with anyone not actually looking at or near them noticing. Unlike the other two, however, Oliver's ears went to the front where the speaker appeared to be transitioning.

"Now then, some of our students will be taking groups of you out to tour the grounds. You'll all get time for lunch, but we'll be spreading it out a bit to help with the campus tours. So, I'm going to ask them to come in now. They know which groups they're taking, so I hope to see you all in the coming years," he finished.

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The trio rushed through the fairly empty halls, trying to make it to the auditorium for the orientation. Chris lead, having had visited once before (which was better than the other two) keeping back just enough to be spotted as he went around the corners.

"Almost there," he called as Matt and Oliver turned a corner.

"Did we just go in a circle?" the pair kept following Chris, however, as they'd lose track of him otherwise.

Finally, they found their way to the front entrance, only to find the doors shut and the sound from the speakers coming through. They looked at each other for a second, trying to decide if they should go in through these doors when Chris seemed to have a bright idea. He started down another hall and motioned to have Oliver and Matt follow him. They rolled their eyes, but quickly caught up with him at another set of doors.

"Luckily, they have more than one entrance. And this one should get us in without having to be obviously late," he explained before opening the door.

Their luck turned out even better when they saw that there were empty seats open that they could fairly easily get into with anyone not actually looking at or near them noticing. Unlike the other two, however, Oliver's ears went to the front where the speaker appeared to be transitioning.

"Now then, some of our students will be taking groups of you out to tour the grounds. You'll all get time for lunch, but we'll be spreading it out a bit to help with the campus tours. So, I'm going to ask them to come in now. They know which groups they're taking, so I hope to see you all in the coming years," he finished.

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Megan only half paid attention to the orientation, every once and awhile checking up on some of the cuter boys that were checking her out. She really wished Janet had come along, but the other girl really wanted to get out of Freedom City for college, so she was not even bothering to look at schools in the city. Megan was rather sure she would be attending college elsewhere as well, but still took the chances to look at the local schools.

She noticed a few boys that arrived just at the end of the introduction speech, slipping into some empty seats in her row. She then focused back on the Dean of Students as he finished his speech. Looking at the materials she had, Megan noted the group number she had been assigned to for the campus tour, waiting to have her guide introduced.

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Megan only half paid attention to the orientation, every once and awhile checking up on some of the cuter boys that were checking her out. She really wished Janet had come along, but the other girl really wanted to get out of Freedom City for college, so she was not even bothering to look at schools in the city. Megan was rather sure she would be attending college elsewhere as well, but still took the chances to look at the local schools.

She noticed a few boys that arrived just at the end of the introduction speech, slipping into some empty seats in her row. She then focused back on the Dean of Students as he finished his speech. Looking at the materials she had, Megan noted the group number she had been assigned to for the campus tour, waiting to have her guide introduced.

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Kevin stands up from where he was leaning, against the back of the auditorium. He had seen a few people enter late, but it was no skin off his back. This was the third time that he had heard the same speech, and it hadn't got any more exciting with repetition. He focuses for a moment and puts on his friendly face so that his group doesn't think he's bored with them.

He stands in line with the other tour guides on the stage, and when his group's number is called, he steps forward and smiles even wider.

"All y'all in my group, meet over by that door. We'll get started as soon as we can," he says.

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Kevin stands up from where he was leaning, against the back of the auditorium. He had seen a few people enter late, but it was no skin off his back. This was the third time that he had heard the same speech, and it hadn't got any more exciting with repetition. He focuses for a moment and puts on his friendly face so that his group doesn't think he's bored with them.

He stands in line with the other tour guides on the stage, and when his group's number is called, he steps forward and smiles even wider.

"All y'all in my group, meet over by that door. We'll get started as soon as we can," he says.

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It took Oliver a second to realize where they were seperating the groups. That would mean...

"Hey, Chris, I think..." he leaned over to mention that they would be in different groups. Something seemed odd, though, and Oliver knew exactly what it was. Chris and Matt were already up and with the main group. Oh, well. He waited for people to start heading towards the door before standing and puting his backpack back on his back.

As he made his way to the door his group was headed too, Oliver saw why they had gone so quickly. Chris always seemed to have really good luck, meeting a girl he had a psychology class with when he was a sophomore. What was her name... Heather something? No, I don't think so. Her face is a little longer... Oliver shook the look of slightly confused focus off his face as he made his way through his thoughts, listening to all the people around him talking.

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When her tour group guide was indicated, Megan stood up and made her way over towards him. He must be on the football team. The attractive blonde thought to herself as she drew closer. Having been on her school’s cheerleading team since Freshman year, she was around enough football players to pretty well recognize them when she saw them. Cute accent as well. She though with a smile as she started towards the door he had indicated.

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Kevin stands up straight and takes a deep breath when his group gets together. It's pretty much the standard sort of thing. The majority of the kids here on a weekday are either locals taking the chance to skip a day of classes, or ones who flew into Freedom to look over the colleges there and wanted to hit all of the big three. One guy looks like he'd probably get into H.I.T. without trying too hard; another one looks like he might end up playing football if he decided to come to FC. Kevin makes a mental note of that kid's nametag - worth mentioning to the coach if he's interested in being recruited.

"Hey there. My name's Kevin, and I'm going to be your guide today. Now, they've already taken the parents and teachers off somewhere, so you don't have to act like they're still around. If you have questions, ask 'em. If you fall behind, we'll be meeting back up at the fountain in the middle of campus at 11 before we go to the free lunch. Make sure you don't lose the coupons. They've been cracking down since a bunch of freshmen tried to get free food by saying they lost theirs," he says. It's said with a practiced cadence, and he gives a big smile at the end.

"Now, anybody have anything they want to know before we start walking around?" he asks.

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Megan moved to the rest of the group and listened to her guide, who introduced himself as Kevin, talk about the plan for the day, and the lunch. She was not her for free food, so it did not matter too much to her if she had to end up paying for her meal anyway.

She did note Kevin looking over everyone in the group briefly, seeming to pay a bit more attention to some of the guys, particularly a larger guy that looked like he could be a football player. Not particularly used to getting such brief glances from members of the opposite sex, she though to herself, he is either looking for good future recruits for the football team, or he is gay.

Not really having any questions, she waited for the tour to get started.

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Oliver grinned a bit, laughing to himself when the guide mentioned the freshmen trying to get free food. He could probably guess who one of two of them were. Then again, most of the people in the group could, and it showed on some of their faces.

When Kevin asked for questions, Oliver couldn't think of any off the top of his head. So, he looked around at the group slowly, to see if anyone else had any. It was somewhat interesting to see how such a small group, even one standing this close together could be so visibly seperated.

There were two girls chatting and looking up at Kevin, nearly giggling. They were with the smiling guy next to them who would occassionally whisper something that would get them going faster. The boy in front of them, however, seemed to have just picked the wrong place to stand. Of course, on the other side... Well, he tried to get a look at everyone, but got a bit distracted by a blonde. Definitely athletic, although he guessed not a lifter. He was able to move on, noticing a few others raising their hands, but guy or girl, he couldn't remember.

"Do you have a girlfriend?" A male voice from Oliver's right caused him to turn (along with a few other heads). It was the guy by the two girls, who looked at each other then at Kevin, obviously trying to not go back into a rapid talk.

If you ever wonder why freshmen are looked down on... Oliver thought to himself, rolling his eyes as he turned back to the girl on his left. Rather, to Kevin. Maybe he turned a bit so he could look at Kevin and have her in the corner of his eye...

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Kevin looks back at the guy and smiles, "Why, you offering?" The way he says it makes it fairly clear that he's just giving the guy a hard time, and not being cruel. Once the two girls the guy's been speaking to finish laughing, Kevin continues.

"Not right now. I'm just keeping up with work, so I don't have anything steady going. I am in Beta Theta Pi, so we have parties every couple weeks. It's basically the football frat, though some of my brothers aren't on that team. I ... think most of them are in some sport, though."

The group is coming up on one of the dorms. Kevin glances down at his watch.

"Alright, this is James House. It's late enough that people should be mostly awake, but try not to be too loud. One of the nice things about college is that you can crash until whenever if you don't have a class early. I can't do that, myself, because my day is shot if I don't get some exercise in early."

He opens the door for the first person behind him, and nods to the desk attendant. She nods back to him and buzzes the door open. It seems like she's used to Kevin leading in a bunch of high schoolers to take a look at the dormitory.

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Megan follows along with the group, listening to Kevin as he talked about being in a fraternity and the liked. Well, let’s not try to play down FC’s party reputation any. She thought, but, it was likely that anyone here that was seriously considering the school was interested in hearing about that.

She just followed along, looking around at the campus some as they went, wondering if maybe it would not have been better to have just gone to classes today.

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Oliver was busy looking around as the group walked around. He could tell, though, that there were some paying close attention - either planning to come to the college or (less likely, he figured) considering it among other schools. Others were paying no attention, having already been accepted to a school they preferred or having another year or more of high school.

It wasn't really eventful, but Oliver could see how it could be called interesting.

Although being one of the last in the dorm, Oliver nodded in agreement as he just caught the comments on morning exercise. He hadn't been too unfit before, but he learned early on to warm up a bit before patrolling or he'd be completely out of it the next day.

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The first thing that they notice is the smell. Even with cleaning crews coming every summer to disinfect the area, there's still a faint smell of pizza and mildew in the air. It's stronger now at this point in the school year, now that every inhabitant has given it time to fester. There's something about a freshman-only dorm that lends itself to this sort of abuse.

Kevin rolls his eyes a little as they enter. "They tell me that I ought to show you a dorm like the one you might get. Here's my advice, having lived here for two semesters. If you can get another dorm that isn't freshman only, do it. Most of the guys - and the girls too - are slobs. I have a space in a frat house opening up next year, and I'm taking it. Overall, it isn't that bad. I guess you get used to it, but every time I bring a group by, I can see it in their faces."

He leads them down the hall, letting them glance in their respective sexes' communal bathrooms before they head down to his room. The door's slightly open when they get there, and Kevin knocks lightly before opening it.

"Hey Jamal. Tour coming through," he says. A black guy, about the same height as Kevin and also built like a football player, looks up from his laptop and nods.

"Don't mind me," he says, looking back to the screen. The people on the tour can see that he's playing World of Warcraft. Kevin continues.

"This is my room. The rooms are all about this size, and there's not too much of a view. You can take a look around inside, just not all at once," he says. "After this, we'll check out the academic buildings. What're you guys thinking about majoring in?"

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Everyone in the group looked around, as if trying to decide who would respond first. After a bit of a pause, people started to answer.

The first was a nursing major, then an english major which got a couple others agreeing and a few that were going with education. A couple of those added that they also planned that they would take a foreign language as either a minor or a double major.

About a quarter didn't really respond, most of the rest just nodding and possibly saying that they were also taking a major someone else said.

The group glances into the room, a few at a time. Finally, it gets to Oliver's turn and he takes in the relative size of the room. Comparing to his own room, it seems close to the same size, maybe a little smaller. Then again, even clean, his room's not exactly big.

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Megan looked about the small dorm room, not particularly impressed by it. It was tiny, particularly given the fact you would have a roommate. Not that she was really considering Freedom City, but if she did attend here, she rather doubted she would want to stay in the dorms. After all, her parents could easily pay for a much larger, off campus apartment or townhome for her.

Focusing back on their tour guide after they were all crowded into the dorm room and he asked what people were thinking of majoring in. She waited until a few others had answered before she added, “Probably economics.â€Â

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Kevin listens to all of the different possible majors and tries to piece out which ones are most common. Unfortunately, he doesn't know where all the buildings are for something like nursing or education. English, econ, though - those two, he remembers.

"Alright. I think we'll head by Baker Hall first. That's where a lot of the humanities classes are held, including English and economics. There will be classes in session, so once we get inside, we have to stay quiet. Some folks could be taking tests or something like that, and it wouldn't be cool if we were the ones distracting them," he says. He's firm about this, and his concern seems genuine. Even the students who have a thing against jocks (or football players in particular) can tell that he's a fairly nice guy, which might make some of them resent him more.

They file out of the room, and then the dorms. The sky is a little cloudier than it was when they went inside, and Kevin looks up with a slight frown.

"I didn't think it was supposed to rain today. Stupid weather man. Hopefully, it won't start pouring while we're outside," he says. He glances back to all the people behind him and the frown melts away into a grin. "I think tours bring rain. It seems to rain more when I'm trying to make FC look as good as possible."

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Oliver looks up at the clouds as the group exits the dorms.

"It'll probably just be a light rain," Oliver comments aloud. "The downpour won't start until we break for lunch." Then again, rain's always nice for patrol days anyway.

He looked back down at the group, making sure he wouldn't get lost away from them yet.

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