Logs:The Lives of the Warrior Poets

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The Lives of the Warrior Poets

Dramatis Personae

Aurore, Myrna

7 August, 2015


Aurore and Myrna chat between classes.

Location

Lecture Hall - Lowry Building - Fallcoast - B03


An older woman wipes an eraser back and forth along the blackboard, erasing the sorts of equations which might have surprised Einstein in his day, but which are now used for the education of students. The bell for the end of the period hasn't rung yet, but her students have already begun filing out of the classroom- their reading material assigned and test dates received. It's getting towards the end of the summer semester, a time when the campus is practically empty and the classrooms are practically un-air-conditioned. All the windows on the side of the room have been thrown open, allowing both snippets of passing conversation and the occasional leaf to drift into the lecture hall.

Ducking into the room during a temporary lull in the out-flow, Aurore quickly steps aside, posting herself just inside the door, her rump propped against the wall as she watches the Professor clean up, and the youngsters (if only marginally so, compared to her) depart. She smiles slightly, inclining her head and looking amused as she draws more than a little attention from the youths wondering about the presence of the exotic and edgy-looking beauty, but she seems to be willing to accept the stares and to pretend to ignore the murmurs and comments.

The professor at the front of the class sets down the eraser, having mostly finished cleaning the board. A stray exponent still exists, poking out of the cloud of swirling erasure-marks, either a v or the top half of an x or y, legs amputated in the great apocalypse signaled by the fin de siècle era of the changing of the class. The professor, Myrna de Witte, wipes her hands on her pants, leaving white smudges on her hips, as she gathers up her notes into a leather bag, the paper crinkling at the ears. Eventually, she manages to look up, eyes trailing the last of her students, and notices the woman against the wall. A familiar figure. Myrna smiles tightly, but continues her packing.

Aurore raises a hand in greeting, pushing off the wall before stalking over - her boot-heels clicking rhythmically as she nears the board. "Good afternoon, Professor," she says softly, her voice a richly warm alto that mingles a few more exotic influences with the tones of a Fallcoast local. "How are this Summer's crop of students faring?"

"Well," Myrna says. "I've had worse, I suppose. Summer semesters are never good for actually teaching anyone anything. As soon as the test is over, half of them won't remember what a plus sign is for. But, they'll get their credit and will be able to go out and build houses or whatever it is they want to do with their knowledge of practical mathematics." The professor shrugs. "Are you teaching this semester? Taking classes? Or just here to try and track down your thesis advisor? Probably hiding, I assume. That's what I'd do if a student were looking for me. But you won't get me to say where your professor is: no rat I."

Aurore laughs softly, shaking her half-shaven head. "I'm helping out with a few classes at the moment, but nothing too onerous. Mostly just working on my thesis, and trying to get myself fit again. I hadn't realised quite how far I'd let things slip, during the past few years of peering at books. Now, I can try to switch to and fro between more books, and the gym. Reward myself with a change from one to the other whenever my willpower slips."

"Ah, yes, the life of the warrior poet," Myrna says. "Myself, I figure that if I spend enough time cleaning off these blackboards, I ought to pick up a bit of karate." She makes a lazy sort of rainbow gesture to indicate her 'wax-off' block. "Other than that, I imagine that running about is best left for those with things to run from. I hope that doesn't often include you?"

"I can't even run terribly fast," Aurore says dryly, cracking a grin as she shakes her head. "And I'm certainly not a warrior. But... being able to cope with things a *little* better seems advisable. And it'll help with my part-time job, too. Still... perhaps I can one day aspire to the warrior-poet-scholar ideal. Or at least the person who can settle for not having to run faster than the bear, just the idiots who want to punch it in the mouth."

Myrna grunts, shaking her bag to make the papers settle into place. It isn't the most organized system she's put together, but a few creased pages do not seem to cause her much in the way of worry. "I've found it helps to avoid the bear altogether, myself. At least, outside of a nature documentary or a zoo: places where nature can be observed with caution. In any case, maybe I'm alone in this, but I never find myself able to think effectively when I can hear my own heart." A couple students for the next class trickle in at the back of the classroom, taking seats in the most rows least susceptible to teacher questions. They are probably outside of hearing range, and seem distracted by their phones, in any case.

"I'm... potentially going to wind up being called out into the field, for my particular specialties. At least if I can succeed in developing them suitably," the Loyalist ritualist says, rather ruefully. She shrugs, then chuckles softly. "Both an exciting proposition, and a rather daunting one - seeing how my researches hold up in practice."

"Of course," Myrna agrees, her eyes lighting up. "If you can put a theory to the test, there's fewer moments more exciting. With how many of my own theories are simply beyond experimentation, you'll find no argument from me in how amazing that moment can be when you can actually put your money on the table and turn over the cards. My only concern is in questions of safety. It seems like many," Myrna pauses, stretching the euphemism, "researchers don't develop the best practices on the issue. They use their eyes when a camera might do, they reveal themselves to a subject which- mind you- not only invalidates the ability to single-blind, let alone double-blind, a study, it also puts them in danger of becoming the subject of their own subjects' personal experiments into arcane subjects. So much more can be learned from observation than many give credit to."

Aurore chuckles ruefully, inclining her head. "Quite. And observation can certainly carry its own risks of error and accidental interference, but... I recently had a rather distressing discussion with a supposedly experienced member of our own field, who insisted absolutely that nothing save the immediately observable could *possibly* matter. And, of course, such observations were limited to his own experience. Nothing else mattered, if it even existed at all. I admit that I am more than a little concerned about him leading people rather seriously astray."

A few more students trickle in, finding places by the windows where they can watch people out on the lawn instead of paying attention during class. They chat amongst themselves about the least extraordinary things. "How solipsistic of him. Is he entirely sure that he was not simply speaking to himself during the conversation? I suppose that's one way to play devil's advocate: invent all the world around you and then have some of your inventions disagree with you. In any case, I don't know that I'd worry much. Those sorts of philosophies rarely hold much sway. As evidence, I present the sign-ups for my next semester's quantum mechanics lectures."

Aurore laughs, flashing a grin. "I believe that pantheistic solipsism does actually posit that everything else outside the 'real' individual is a creation of his own mind, existing solely to further his education and enlightenment. Therefore disagreement is very much part of the overall schema, and is supposedly to be welcomed." She glances around, eyeing the new arrivals for a few moments. "Should I slip out and let you get back to work?"

"What's that now?" Myrna notices all the students in the room for the first time, lending little support to her prior monologues on the merits of observation. When she looks around the room, some of the students glance up from their phones or windows to gaze back, like the abyss might do were you to notice it in your classroom. "Oh, these aren't mine. I thought they were yours? How terrible; orphans all. Some other teacher is going to show up any second, I must suppose, and catch them all cheating on her. In any case, I really should get back to my cell for office hours. Why don't we leave these children to their classroom? It was good to see you, in any case. We must talk again of our experiments."

"Once I have something suitable for others to observe, I'll certainly let you know," Aurore says with a grin. "And I *think* I'm supposed to be a couple of doors down, and not for a little while longer... though I should really check, just to be sure. Always embarrassing to be late for your own lecture. But it was a pleasure seeing you again, Professor."

Myrna grunts a cheerful goodbye, picks up her bag and starts walking towards the door, stops, turns around, grabs her keys from off the desk, and then grunts again. "Of course, of course," Myrna says, waving the keys with an explosive jangle. She walks up the steps to the door and heads out into murmur and din of the first floor hallway, some the students' eyes following her departure all the way.