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  • Writer's pictureStanislava Buevich

Taster. Soultrapper...

“Miss O’Shea, would you like to share your thoughts?” Mr Arche stared at Stef without blinking.

“Umm…” was the only sound she managed to produce in response.

For a moment, Stef had completely forgotten where she was or who she was, for that matter. Frankly, she couldn’t wait to leave. And, of course, the more eager you are for something to be over, the longer it seems to take. A forty-five-minute lesson on Earth and Space stretched further than a trip to the nearby Moon, or so it seemed to Stef. It’s not that she didn’t enjoy learning or wasn’t interested in outer space; she did, and she was. It’s just that today, she and Paul were finally going to finish The Depths of Atlantis by Riddle Corp, an EPIC third-person adventure game they’d started over two months ago, and she could hardly contain her excitement.

“Umm…” Stef repeated, pursing her lips to the side.

“I see. Could I have a quick word with you after class?”

Stef’s heart sank. Mr. Arche’s ‘quick word’ could easily stretch into a half-hour monologue about upcoming exams and how fortunate she was to study at Granger Academy. Honestly, if Stef had a pound for every time someone told her how lucky she was to be here, she would probably be able to afford the exorbitant school fees that her mother didn’t have to pay because she worked at the Academy as a tennis instructor. And she’d only been going there a few months.

“Mr. Arche, could you please repeat the question?” Stef cleared her throat.

“A quick word after class?”

“No, sorry. I mean the one before that.”

“Alright then,” Mr. Arche folded his arms across the chest. “We were discussing what humans could evolve to look like on Mars if we were to colonise it.”

“Yes, of course. Well, I think that initially, humans could become taller because Mars’ gravitational pull is significantly lower than that of Earth. Lower gravity would weaken our bones and muscles, expanding our vertebrae and making us taller. But then, as our bones become weaker and smaller, humans born on Mars would become smaller too. We could potentially develop orange skin, as carotenoids offer a certain amount of protection against harmful UV rays, and on Mars, radiation is significantly higher. It would be highly beneficial from the evolutionary perspective to have orange skin. Ultimately, though, human Martians are likely to mutate so much due to radiation and trying to adapt to the radically different environment that they might not even be human anymore, but another species altogether. I think.”

This is precisely what happened in Missions to Mars: the Final Frontier, another absolute firecracker from Riddle Corp.

The teacher’s eyes were fixed on Stef the entire time, peeking over the rims of his round glasses, his beard unavoidably brushing his chest. More or less successfully, he managed to keep a smile from growing too wide.

“I would still like a quick word, please. After the lesson.”

Stef huffed, unable to hide the disappointment.

“Is there anywhere more important you have to be after school, Miss O’Shea?” He raised his eyebrows.

“No, sir. Of course not.”

“Very well, then.”

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