Another sneak peak at my new project, "The Hidden Institute"

Whister pulled out Cliffy’s chair, and said, “This way, if you would, sir.”

As Cliffy jogged up to walk beside him, he asked, “Howzit all those lads know the wherefores? Did they get special schoolin’ on the way out?”

The metal man gestured at the boys around them, “Many of the young masters have been here for some time. The school runs all day and all night, throughout the year. New students join every day.”

Cliffy thought it sounded strange, but he’d never been to been to school before, so he just wrote it off as normal. Then a thought struck him, “How’s a body graduate, if none start at the same time?”

The robot seemed to consider that, “I know that the curriculum is set by the school, and that it shifts according to the needs of the student. If my understanding is correct, one simply ‘knows’ when one is ready to leave.”

Cliffy grinned, “Really? So ‘s a party school. No flunking out?”

The robot’s eyes widened, “Oh, no sir. I must not have explained it properly. If one graduates properly, having gone through the whole curriculum, then one will know when one is ready to leave. If, on the other hand, one should fail at all in one’s classes, one is summarily rejected.”

“Whazzat mean, ‘rejected’?”

Whister’s eyebrows raised, “Honestly, sir, I’m not sure. The most humane thing would be to take them back to the surface and let them go on about their lives.”

“But you don’t viddie it so?”

“It is hard for one not to question. After all, failures represent a danger. They have intimate knowledge of the workings of the school, coupled with a jealous anger directed at the school.” The robot’s voice fell off as it spoke, “It is hard not to wonder whether it wouldn’t be simpler to just have the failures put out of their misery.”

“When you say, ‘their misery’, izzat the failure’s misery, or the schools?”

Whister stopped and turned to face Cliffy and pressed a thin, flat object into his hands, “Please do your best, sir. I would not like to be left wondering on that score.”

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