The Syndi-Jean Journal: Year 2 – an excerpt

Book 2The following is an excerpt from The Syndi-Jean Journal: Year 2 beyond the 50 pages available elsewhere.

May 9

It’s gotten a little… strange… over the last couple of days. Things seemed to go along swimmingly – no pun intended even if some swimming was involved – until we got to the network test yesterday. Not quite sure how it got started, but I’ll try to get through this.

The network test was in the afternoon and maybe it was around lunch when that thing may have started to spark. I’ve been a little “off”, I guess, over the last few days, and I haven’t really been sleeping much either. I probably should have mentioned it earlier as well, but there you go. I’ve also been hiding out in my work-room, just tinkering.

Anyway, it may have been when I had ordered my food and got to the table where everyone was, and Carol asked if I was okay. I apparently blew by John and he was trying to get my attention. I said I hadn’t really noticed. She said he looked a little peeved that I had ignored him and I said that he could probably catch up with me during the network test later. I didn’t really dwell on it after that, if I’m recalling it right.

Things didn’t get any better during the network test. In fact, things got really weird. I did what I was supposed to do, monitoring for problems and leaks and such; just watching out over everything. I’m not sure if I was actually focussed on it as Jenny actually pulled me out of it. She had to physically distract me by shaking my arm, and I kinda backlashed a little into the network when I disconnected. Only Callie, Toni and John noticed it happening. John complained about me being in a mood over the last few days and not being attentive or mentally prepared for the network. It was something like, “The way you are right now, even I could take you down in a fight.”

Something may have snapped because my reply was something like, “You couldn’t last a minute against me.” I think we had a bit of a verbal conflagration in front of everyone. Jenny could probably confirm that since she was standing closest to us in the café area, but the end result is that I think we’re up for a fight tomorrow. At least, that’s what was going around lunch just now. That, and the whole shouting match that Carol attributed to an “underlying attraction” between him and me. I didn’t even bother fighting her on that.

Becca’s been a little more worried and I think she may have checked in with Remington on my situation by now; or maybe not because I haven’t heard from him as yet. I don’t think Remington was there during the network test. I’ve been hiding away, but I know Becca wants to talk to me. She hasn’t actually sought me out either so maybe she knows to give me a little space. I don’t know for sure though.

On top of that, Keiko was also concerned when she got word of my upcoming fight with John. While I wasn’t entirely aware of it, it seems that John does some boxing and mixed martial arts with some of his gang at the gym at night. I’m usually at the gym, practising with Keiko around the evenings and we’re usually done by dinner. I don’t hang around the gym after that, so I never really knew what he does in the gym. Anyway, her concern (expressed today) is that John is a tough fighter and completely different from any kind of sparring I’ve done with her. When exactly she had seen him fight, I don’t know, but it must have been enough to give her reason to be concerned. Her only advice to me was, “Forget any rules, even if he puts any forward.”

It seemed excessive, but I also don’t have any intention of letting him have it over me. The more I think about it, rolling her strange advice over and over in my head as I’m typing this out, I’m getting a little antsy about it. Thinking about today also, it’s strange. A strange atmosphere, almost reminiscent of that time when I was about to have the duel with Keiko last year. Except there is a bit of a charge, I think. Word must have gotten out pretty fast and thinking back, there may have been a few stares and whispers going on around me. I know it was out there by lunch because of the lunch group and Carol, but I really wasn’t paying attention. Anyway, Keiko cancelled kendo and took me through a meditation in the garden instead.

It helped but my focus is still a little scattershot, and I know I’ve got a few things I’m missing out here. I’ve got dinner with Sophie, so maybe I’ll get some stuff from her and fill the missing bits…

… but there’s also the fight tomorrow.

May 10

I just got back from the dinner with Sophie where she voiced her own concerns about me fighting John, saying that it’s not a good idea. Throughout the dinner, I guess my head was coming a little back into focus putting the last week or so into perspective. I’m sure that even as I tried to write things down, I know I’m not conveying everything as I should or would normally have. Exactly why Saturday got picked in itself was an odd thing because by all rights, we could have gotten into a fight there and then that day, if the verbal fight was as intense as everybody says it was. Heck, even Remington didn’t come looking for me after that, but he turned up during the dinner.

Sophie first. Just her and me at dinner this time, no Will, and she got right down to asking what I was thinking putting up a challenge like that to John. I had no actual recollection of issuing a challenge; I couldn’t recall exactly what sparked off the argument. Granted that I may have brushed him off at lunch, but that couldn’t have riled him up that much, unless there was something else. She said he was putting forth the idea that I was unfit to be on the network based on how I had been throughout the week. I had no idea or had any impression that aside from maybe being a little aloof externally, that there were any signs of me being incapable of doing my part on Callie and Toni’s network. Even Jenny didn’t say that there was anything I did that put the network at risk until she pulled me out of it. That backlash was barely anything at all as Callie or Toni can attest to, but John picked up on it. What got him peeved, I don’t know.

“You flared up equally fast,” she said. “You’ve always been calm and collected; none of us have ever seen you lose your temper like that. At least, that’s the impression I got from Helen.”

I wasn’t really aware I did that. If he was challenging me, my part on the network; challenging my work… It shouldn’t have been something that would have gotten to me in the first place either, but I can’t say if my mood was actually any better before or after that. I asked her if she heard how the fight came about and why it isn’t happening any sooner. She related the first part almost as I had written earlier but there was more. He said he could take me in a fight, and I said that he wouldn’t last a few minutes against me. He said I was in a state of delusion, and it seems I told him to prove it. He wanted a fair fight so that he could knock me off my pedestal – I really don’t remember that part, but Sophie was relating what she heard from Helen. He also wanted me clear headed when it happened, proclaiming he was too much of a gentleman (ha!) to take advantage of my “precarious mental condition,” what he said, apparently. He gave me two days to prepare, to which I supposedly declared, “Fine by me, you can take the time to prepare a will.”

I admit that it seems a little off even for me to react that way. Things between John and me have been pretty civil over the last few months, and I’ve pretty much accepted of him as part of the network groups and tests, even welcoming his input. How something like this came about is a bit of a mystery right now.

Anyway, it was just after that when Remington came into the cafe looking for me. No excuse or anything, he just sat at our table and started on how he didn’t want me to go through with the fight. He said I was getting provoked and set-up. I asked what he meant by that, and he said, “Remember how I told you not to take any tests that you don’t want to. This is one of them.”

“But those tests… I thought those were in conjunction with those space agencies,” I countered.

“Not all of them. Don’t go through with this, Jeannie,” he said. “It won’t make him right or make you any less of who you are by stepping away.”

“He’s not going to leave her alone about it, you know,” said Sophie. “If he’s itching for a fight, he’ll take it to her.”

Remington believed some of the others above him are trying to push me into doing something akin to taking one of the tests they wanted me to take, but he couldn’t get into more details with me as yet. He said he was looking into it and reminded me that some of the others (like Walter) have their own ideas about how the Facility should be run. There are also others who agree with the altruistic notions of the Facility, the same notions that he used to get me to the Facility in the first place. So, there was something going on at the ‘management’ level as far as Sophie and I knew at that point.

She took the opportunity to spill her concerns to Remington, the same reasons why she wanted me snooping around at nights. He said that he would look into her concerns as well, even though he’s not her counsellor or guardian. For my part, I told him that I would try to avoid John as best as I could tomorrow.

He left us then. Sophie and I didn’t really do much after that, retiring to the garden. She asked how I felt about not fighting John. I was more concerned about avoiding him which wasn’t going to be easy. She just kept me company in silence as we looked out over the city. It wasn’t much, no flying, no movie and not much talking. It was around midnight when we decided to turn in. I’ve been typing since then.

I’m going to stay in for the rest of tonight. I’ll have Becca and Sophie spread the word tomorrow that the fight’s off.

***

Please allow me this interruption. I am not Syndi-Jean. This is not her writing. I am the one who was assigned to vet her entries for sensitive content before posting them on the website for public access.

I was contacted by her G/C – that is her Guardian / Counsellor – Remington, over a year ago. Every trainee is assigned a G/C, even our E.P.’s (the ones Syndi- Jean refer to as F.E.P.). Given the ratio, it is clear that a G/C may look over several trainees. The brief given to me by her G/C was to assist in placing articles from one Syndi-Jean onto a website for her mother and by default, the public, to access. There were guidelines to which she had to adhere. I was required to make sure she followed those guidelines, and edit as necessary before posting. Earlier this year, I was informed of a change in the brief and allow her a little more leeway, but to maintain a lag in between the time she submits an entry and when it gets posted.

A system was set up. She would write her articles, or entries as they came to be known, and when she was satisfied with it, she would save the file into a folder on her console. The only other people who have universal access to that folder are Remington and myself. It is something she may have suspected, but I believe she was never truly informed of it. Also, she and I have never formally met although I have seen her on occasion around the Facility.

I would say that she has been conscientious in submitting her entries. There have been extremely lengthy submissions, and most have been generally longer than I would expect. However at this point, it has been two weeks since her last entry.

There are some rumours that she got into a fight and was incapacitated for a period. I have not been able to verify anything. I would admit to being concerned about her well-being. I approached her G/C, Remington, to inquire her status as she has, for all intents and purposes, gone silent. He told me then that Syndi-Jean was no longer under his care.

As stated in her last entry, she had every intention of calling off the fight, but was unsuccessful in avoiding it. She was badly injured and circumstances resulted with her being placed under the care of another G/C. Remington says that her mother has been informed, and he is working to rectify the situation and prevent her mother from intervening. I would admit to being extremely curious about who her mother is that Syndi-Jean had such rules, and why Remington would want to avoid her involvement.

He said I should detail my concerns to be included on the journal site, but to hold off posting it until I receive the go ahead from him. He also said that he would provide some updates on Syndi-Jean as he could gather. He could only say that she was in a delicate situation and was being pushed into some areas that he had advised her to avoid.

This has been written as per his suggestion.

Add. I’ve been given the go ahead to post this as a continuation of the journal. Remington has passed some information as follow-up and I will be posting that. (-May 24)

***

Remington here.
It has been a while since Jeannie stopped and I will attempt to fill in some

gaps from when she left off. There is a fair bit to cover and it will take some time to catch up on the events, even in broad strokes. We’ll go back to that Saturday.

Jeannie had agreed to call off the fight with John, but her activities on Saturday itself were, to say the least, unusual.

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The Syndi-Jean Journal: Year 2 is published by Partridge Publishing, and is available from online retailers such as AmazonBarnes and Noble, aLibris and more listed here.

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