Chapter 1
orientation

The first day of school is always one of the most exciting times of a student’s life. Your brand new shoes are ready to be worn to show all your friends at school. The backpack you packed the night before filled with your brand new pencils, notebooks and stationary. The butterflies in the pit of your stomach from the anticipation of seeing your friends after such a long summer break away, waiting to spill all your fun and weird stories to see your friend’s reaction. Meeting your new teachers and being in a different classroom can be daunting and nerve wrecking, all of which are a part of new beginnings and experiences. 

 

Before approaching Madame Eve’s office, Baaku and Mmienu knocked firmly on Madame Eve’s office door waiting to be allowed in. 

“Enter my dears.” 

Mmienu pushed the door open so they could both enter the office. Madame Eve, looking puzzled, sat at her desk staring intently at a holographic algorithm. 

“Based on the timescale of this research program, I should be able to gather the data required within 2 years, if not less. But this algorithm proposes that the results will take 5 years. That will not do… Mmienu, how many students will the academy have for this particular cohort?”

Mmienu signed, “This year’s academic results were above satisfactory and the academy managed to invite 250 students.”

“Excellent. Now, how many of those 250 students are exceptional?”

Baaku signed and added, “There were some particular students who far exceeded the expectations of the test results so much so that the Board considered that they had resorted to cheating.”

“But in any case, this new cohort of students should be interesting. Baaku, could you hand me the files of those specific students please. I’d like to familiarise myself with their profile before they arrive.” 

Baaku walked over to the desk where the storage cabinet is to find the student’s file. Luckily for him, Mmienu is meticulous when it comes to the organisation of Madame Eve’s files so finding records and information is a breeze. Baaku picked up the file labelled “Students 2077- Class A”. Baaku placed it in her hands and went to go stand next to his brother so they both faced her directly. She opened it and skimmed the information once more about the students.

“The students in this file are extraordinary. They all have high IQ scores which is outstanding.”

She continued reading and began mumbling some of the key facts about each of the children.

“One child in particular is quite striking and not just in an academic setting… I look forward to meeting them.”

“It says here… Student 8521’s results scored a 99% on all his test results including Geometry, Culinary Arts and Comparative Literature. That’s impressive.”

Baaku signed,“Student 8521 also had previously graduated high school at the age of 8 and went on to finish and acquire his Master’s degree at the age of 14. He is an exceptional child, Ms Eve.”

“Student 4433 is a mathematician by the looks of it. He can process calculations far quicker than the average person. He will be a great addition to the class.”

Baaku signed, “Just to add Ms Eve, Student 4433 is related to 4522.”

Madame Eve looked up slightly and a slow smile began to set on her face. 

“This is very good indeed.”

“Student 5900 is a Master’s graduate with Chemical Engineering. With that skill set, it would be intriguing to see what kind of inventions they can create.”

 

Student 6600 seems very familiar to me but I cannot seem to place my thumb on where…

 

Madame Eve placed the file on her desk and stood up from her desk chair. She walked over to the large office window overlooking the city below her. With her back turned, she mumbles something incoherent.

Baaku tugged at his brother's arm and signed “Is she okay?” Mmienu caught his brother's eye and signed back quickly, “It’s hard to say but let us inform her and continue our duties.” 

Mmienu tapped his wrist to get Madame Eve’s attention. The vibration of the communicator allows for the Twins to signal to Madame Eve that they have something to say. 

Madame Eve turned her head slightly to see the Twins in her peripheral view while she continued to look outside. 

Before Mmienu had a chance to respond to Madame Eve, a bell chimed through the intercom of the office and Viola, the AI personal assistant's soothing voice came radiating into the office. 

“Good morning, Madame Eve, you have one visitor who has arrived and is waiting in the lobby of the reception. The person signed in as “Nana Boateng”. Would you like me to send them through to you?”

Madame Eve turned back to the window to continue gazing out of the office window and started licking her soft, brown lips.

“And so it begins...”

“Please take a seat in the lounge, Mr Boateng.” 

Nana arrived first, dressed in his cleanest white shirt he owns, black chinos and black and white Vans. He made sure his mother could braid his hair so he could look presentable. 

  Wish I had worn the church shoes like Mum had told me, he thought.

Nana looked around the lobby, slowly scanning all the details of the building and its furnishings. “This place is awesome…” gasped Nana. 

The academy lobby had high ceilings with white walls decorated with tall panels that illuminated an aqua coloured glow. On the panels showcased famous black architects, artists, scientists and much more who have paved the way in world breaking history. Circular, fluorescent lights loomed over the reception displaying a bright white glow. It felt like Nana had walked through the gates of heaven. The hallway stretched out long and wide with shiny glossy tiles which looked new and fresh. There were white, leather sofas in the lounge area with a frosted glass table placed in the center. Placed on the table was a single, beautiful black rose that made it stand out even more in such a simple yet striking environment. Nana went to sit down to be called. The seat felt amazingly comfortable. A water dispenser was in the corner of the lounge. Placed opposite him from the wall was the largest TV he had seen displaying the Academies test results. Everything about the lounge felt clean and orderly which is what he loved. He began to relax himself and feel the anxiety and nerves dissipate. The air had a strong smell of lavender and lemon giving the place a nice and calm feeling. Nana turned around behind him and noticed the giant, golden plaques with various names and titles enshrined on them. He figured this must be the alumni of the previous students who had come before him. 

  I hope my name will be on one of these walls one day, he thought.

Nana took out his phone from his pocket and scrolled through his emails to find his invitation and orientation letter to the Noir Academy of Excellence. He tapped on the email to read through what was expected of the day. 


 

“Dear Mr Nana Boateng, 

 

Our orientation program is a formal welcoming process that is designed to make our new students feel comfortable and to give you information about the academy and to prepare you for your academic studies. Our orientation will be conducted by Ms. Madame Eve, the Academy’s Director. In addition, you will be given a tour of the school, a custom tailored uniform and membership to access the Quantum lab located in Central Arcca where you will be able to create and build whatever creations you desire. You will be given access codes to the academy, your own dormitory and procedures needed to navigate within the school. Ms. Madame Eve will introduce you to the other students in your class and help you get started on your academic studies. As part of the academic orientation, all students will be subjected to undergo a cybernetic body enhancement which will allow you to further enhance your skills. The procedure will be further discussed by Ms. Madame Eve.

 

Your sincerely, 


 

Noir Academy of Excellence. 

 

He finished reading the invitation and tucked his phone back into his pocket. 

   Body enhancements? 

Only the Elites in society can get cybernetic enhancements due to them being so expensive but yet they do that here? 

  Impressive.

Nana closed his eyes and thought of how fortunate he is to be here. Only a handful of students get picked across the country and he managed to get here. He remembered how Mama was glowing with pride when he got his acceptance letter into the Academy deeming it his greatest achievement since getting his Master’s degree. Nana smiled to himself. Coming from a working class family of 5 brothers and sisters and being the youngest, Nana struggled, persevered and never gave up to get to where he is now. When you have so little, it makes you work twice as hard as his Dad used to say. 

  Don’t worry Ma, I’ll do my best here and make it. 

Breaking him out of his thoughts, he heard his name echoed off the large white walls called by the AI assistant.

  “Mr Boateng, please make your way to Ms. Madame Eve’s office. She is ready to see you now.”

This is his moment to meet and thank the director in person for selecting him for this opportunity. 

Nana stood up from the sofa and straightened himself. He checked his clothes once more to make sure he looked presentable.

 

It’s time. 

“Mr Kwame, please take a seat in the lounge area. You will be called when Madame Eve is ready for you. Thank you.”

 

“Hmmm, this place is pretty rich.” Kofi said.

Kofi Kwame came in dressed with a half white fur coat shirt, white trousers and black dress shoes. Kofi knew he looked great but still wanted to give his teachers and the other students a good look at the person that will rule the school one day. 

  First impressions are everything, right?

Anyone who saw Kofi could never forget him. Mainly because of the fact he had very distinct features that set him apart from his peers. You could see Kofi a mile away like he was Wally in a circus crowd. 

He is used to the looks, stares and questions now so he doesn’t care if people give him a longing stare. It’s what makes him special and unique. 

Kofi walked over to the water dispensers and to get himself a drink. He sat down on one of the comfy leather sofas and took a sip.

Refreshing, he thought.

Calmly, Kofi folded his leg over the other and began to daydream.

   This is exactly where I should be. I will make my mark and everybody will know who I am.

Growing up, Kofi Kwame was a child of extraordinary talents. Being an only child allowed his parents to spend more time and money on him to let his talents flourish unhindered. It was a blessing when he looked back on it. His parents invested in him so he could be great. 

He could recall all the countries, continents and oceans in the world alphabetically at the age of 4. Kofi built his first mechanical robot arm at the age of 7 with parts he disassembled using a toaster and microwave. He was always steps ahead of his peers in school resulting in him being isolated and bullied for always getting the answers right in class. It was a struggle making friends and close bonds with people as he knew that it would go only one of two ways; kids would be nice enough to use him to get their homework done or bully him to silence his vast knowledge and expertise of being incredibly smart. 

   You cannot silence greatness.

At the age of 11, Kofi Kwame graduated and received his First Class Honours in Chemical Engineering making him one of the youngest people to graduate in Central Arcca.

Despite Kofi Kwame’s great achievements, he doesn’t care. He’s never cared about any of the achievements he has received or the recognition. It’s always been about one thing that he craves and desires.

Power. 

The Noir Academy of Excellent will give him just that and more...

Kofi opens his eyes and surveys his surroundings.

This place is almost perfect.

He turns around and skims and scans the list of names on the golden plaques.

“Hm, I’ll make the top of that list easy.” Kofi mumbled.

“Mr Kwame, Madame Eve will see you now.” Viola chimes.

Wonderful, this should be an interesting meeting. 

Kofi Kwame slowly stood up, eyeing his surroundings once more before making his way to Madame Eve’s office. 

“Wait, Vish! Just slow down!”

“You’re so slow, Ary!”

Vishnu dashed into the reception area at full speed smacking his face directly into the glass doors of the lobby area.

“I told you to slow down! Now look at you!”

Vishnu palmed his face and checked for any blood. No sign.

“All good bro!” Vishnu flashes his boldest smile.

Arian rolled his eyes and ushered his brother into the lounge area so he could sit down. He walked back to check in with the AI assistant so he could sign them both in.

Arian came in dressed in a white shirt with beige chinos and black Converses. Despite Arian’s advice on wearing his best clothes, Vishnu came in dressed in an anime t-shirt, black jeans and black and white Converse. His hair tied into a pony puff, nice and neat. 

At least his hair looks good. Arian thought.

Arian surveyed around in astonishment at how the reception and lounge area was. It looked like a high tech office with high white walls, clean marble floors and bright lights. He walked slowly taking in all of the furnishings and fixtures of the academy. 

   Wow, this place is something else!

Arian took a deep breath and found a space to sit next to Vishnu on the leather seating. 

“Ari, look! They have a huge TV! Hey, I wonder if I could play some video games on that one day, Ooh look at the walls! Ari, what is that thing on the walls with all the names? Is that what you call a plaque?”

Arian closed his eyes and took another deep breath. Having a little brother can really be such a challenge but Arian does his best to keep Vishnu on an even keel. He’s fortunate that outside of being intelligent and capable, Vishnu possesses a talent to read people for who they are. Arian has never been able to understand it as his ability lies in quantifying data and calculations but it’s something that has protected him and Vishnu from people who want to take advantage of their talents. 

 

Growing up in different foster homes was truly a horrible experience.

The kids in the group home would pick on Vishnu because he was the smallest so it forced Arian to toughen up and protect him. Arian doesn’t like to resort to violence but when needs must, he will do what it takes to make sure Vishnu is safe. As they grew older, it made it more difficult to be placed in a family home. Foster parents only want kids who are babies and toddlers as they are easy to raise without any problems. Despite all the hardships, both boys worked hard in their education and took every opportunity to excel so they would be self-sufficient and not have to rely on anyone. Arian was an ace at Maths whereas Vishnu was a very good engineer and could fix nearly anything. Arian’s goal one day is to make enough money to provide and get away from the slums they grew up in to live a comfortable lifestyle. Maybe one day, they could work together and open up a business...

“Earth to Arian! Wake up bro, this school has awesome sauce! Can you believe that we got in here?! We’ll be set now. No longer worrying about those kids back at the foster place and having to scrap. Man, I can’t believe it!”

Rummaging through his pockets, Arian took out a piece of blue origami paper from his pocket and began making a swan.

“Vishnu, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we are super fortunate that we were picked to be here. Do you know how many applicants apply to the school? Over 1200 students across the country! I read online that the Academy only takes a handful of students to teach and once they graduate, the students get to pick a company to work in so they never have to worry about looking for work.’

Vishnu’s head moved around like a swivel taking in the surroundings and the details of the academy once more. It seemed as if Vishnu had ants in his pants, unable to sit still. Vishnu eyed his brother in fascination as he continued folding the paper.

Arian continues making his swan, “I want you to take this schooling experience seriously, V. We can’t afford to be kicked out so please make sure you behave yourself. We need to make a good impression.”

Vishnu eyed his brother’s swan as he meticulously folded the creases so all the lines were perfectly straight and neat.

“You’re really good at making those Ari.”

Arian stopped folding and looked at his brother directly in his eyes and held his gaze.

“Vishnu, I’m being deadly serious. Please do not mess this up for us. We need to take advantage of every opportunity we get. We need to focus on planning our future and it starts at this academy. Okay?”

Vishnu rubbed his hands together and lets out a long sigh. ‘Ari, why do you always think I’m going to mess things up? I can be good, you know!” Vishnu huffed and folded his arms like an annoyed toddler who did not get his way. 

“Vish, do you recall what happened at the last school we went to? I don’t think I need to go through the story.”

“Again for the millionth time, how was I supposed to know that the chemicals were going to make a noxious gas and knock out the whole science class! This is why I don’t like chemistry.”

Arian fluttered his eyelids, trying his hardest not to roll his eyes at his brother’s explanation. Instead, he let out a blow of air.

“All I am saying is behave yourself whilst we go to school here. This is a fresh start, mainly for you, but more so, a chance for us to hone your skills and this place will help you get there. So please, behave.”

“I hear you, Ary, I’ll behave, I swear.”

Arian smiled and rubbed his brother’s shoulder in a way that makes Vishnu feel calm. 

  “Mr and Mr Mensah, please make your way to Madame Eve’s office. She is ready to see you now.”

“Wow, that AI is super cool! I like how she calls us by our surnames. So fancy! I want one like that, hey Ari! Do you think the school would let me build one of those? We could have a personal AI.”

Arian stood up and tapped his brother so he could get up. He straightens himself, brushing his shoulders and shaking his wrists. 

“Possibly, I mean this academy has the means and resources so maybe they’ll let you. Just ask nicely, yeah?”

“Gotcha! Ok, let’s meet the boss!”

Arian carefully placed his origami swan on the lounge table and both boys made their way to Madame Eve’s office. 

 

—-

 

“Okay, I’ve just arrived at the school Daddy, I’ll call you back when I finish.”

Akua tucked her phone into her Chanel handbag and signed into the reception. 

“Good afternoon Miss Sinclair, thank you for checking in, please take a seat in the lounge area.”

“Thank you Viola.”

Akua sauntered into the academy dressed in black from head to toe. She wore black and white Chanel sunglasses, a black cloak draped around her shoulders, a black pencil skirt showing off her long, golden brown legs. She had a golden scorpion brooch on her black cashmere jumper. She donned all black leather Air Jordan 1’s. She was dressed to impress and show any other student who would try and out-do her. 

Those pictures on the website do not do this place justice. She thought.

Akua walked around the foyer of the reception taking in every detail of the place. She could hear some soft classical music playing in the background giving the place a nice ambience. Something caught her eye and she looked out into the lounge area seeing shiny, polished golden plaques. Akua removed her sunglasses and walked to the plaque eyeing it suspiciously. She scanned every name and stopped across one name. Her eyes lit up like fireworks and a mischievous grin slowly spread across her face. 

Now I see…

Akua Sinclair had always been crowned as a child prodigy for as long as she could remember. At the age of 9, Akua had already acquired her Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. She hoped to be the first female Biomedical Engineer in Arcca and this Academy will fulfill her dreams. Akua was always able to do things with ease and finesse. Things just came naturally to her compared to most people. Every challenge that she’s been tasked to do, she’s fulfilled it and goes above and beyond. Her father wanted to see how far Akua could go to accomplish tasks and overcome challenges which is why he suggested she enrol at the Noir Academy of Excellence, a prestigious academy established to hone in on students who possess extraordinary talents and propel their careers to new horizons. 

 

“Why can’t I go to private school in London? They have a great medical program.” Akua flipped through a fashion magazine as laid on the sofa in their large living room.

 “Darling, please. Your father wants you closer to him so that you can work alongside him in his research project.” Akua’s mother sat beside her on the sofa flicking through the television stations before settling on Judge Judy. 

“Afia and Abena got to go to the school they chose and now do whatever the hell they want.” Akua pouted a little and plays with her long, blonde ponytail. 

Akua’s mother turned to look at her with a menacing glance. Akua straightened up and quickly apologised.

“Akua, I do not need to rattle on about how an academic genius you are. Your talents would be wasted anywhere else, which is why your father and I have applied for you to go to the Noir Academy of Excellence.” Akua’s mother looks directly at Akua waiting for her to object, protest and kick up a fuss. 

The penalties of having the youngest child, her mother thought.

Akua knew better than to roll her eyes in front of her mother so instead looked out into the garden window.

“When is the start date, Mother?” Akua asked.

“Soon actually. Everything has been arranged. The driver will come and pick you up next week.”

Closing her eyes, Akua began visualising her new future. 

 

Well I hope this works out. She thought.

 

Akua took her phone out and started to take pictures of the lounge area to post on her Instabuzz profile. 

My friends will lose their minds when they see how beautiful this place is! And to think, I almost went to London instead. I see why Mother wanted me to come here. She thought.

 That will do for the buzz of the day. Akua hit send on her post, circulating the images across her 20k followers. 

She busied her well manicured fingers to type a few more posts onto her other social media platforms to let the other people know what she’s about.

Instantly, a flurry of likes, reposts and messages flooded her inbox with speculation as to where she is.

I’ll keep that tidbit of info to myself! You guys gotta wait and see! She tweeted.

In the moment, she heard a chime ringing in through the intercom.

 “Miss Sinclair, please make your way to Madame Eve’s office, she awaits to see you.”

Wonderful! This little soirée should be fun.

Slipping her sunglasses back on to her face, she reapplied a fair amount of lip gloss before smacking her lips.

Perfect!

She stood up and smoothed the creases out of her skirt and headed straight to the office of Madame Eve.

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