“Alright, class, it’s time to present the inventions you made for your final project,” Professor Quinn Nelson announced to the two dozen college students attending her technology course. It was a bright Friday afternoon and light shone through the windows. “Who would like to go first?” A girl named Hannah immediately raised her hand. Surprised that she even had anything to share, Prof. Nelson said Hannah’s name inquisitively in response.
“Can I go to the restroom?” Hannah asked, ignoring her professor’s initial question.
“May I go to the restroom,” Prof. Nelson corrected her.
“Uh, sure, I guess. I don’t understand why you’re asking me for permission, but can I go too?”
Prof. Nelson fought the urge to roll her eyes and said with a bit of annoyance, “Go ahead, Hannah. But please go before class next time.”
Hannah happily stood up and walked out of the classroom. As you can see, Hannah was not very bright. In fact, she was incredibly dumb. One might even say she was dangerously stupid. However, every student around her was brilliant. All of them were attending a special private college where only the smartest of smart people were allowed in. This resulted in a fairly small student body and very high-level classes. Due to the low number of people, the classrooms were also smaller and looked like high school classrooms with individual desks, rather than large lecture halls.
So why was Hannah allowed in? Because her father was the president of the college. He decided to pick out several random classes for her to attend for four years and then give her a fake degree. This really didn’t matter since their family was so rich, Hannah would never have to actually use her degree for work. Hannah didn’t understand most of what she learned there, but she enjoyed the experience and hanging out with people.
Now despite being so dumb, Hannah was the nicest and most caring girl on campus who wouldn’t hurt a living soul. Therefore, her fellow students put up with her stupidity and were very friendly. It also helped that she was gorgeous with a perfect figure and (stereotypical) golden blond hair. The boys would be throwing themselves at her if it weren’t for her lack of intelligence. On this day in particular, she was wearing a loose bright-red top, jean shorts that barely counted as pants, and pink flip flops, which she commonly wore since she could never remember how to tie her shoes.
Despite being highly intelligent, most of the students in this class looked very average. One of the students named Steven, however, was much closer to the textbook definition of a nerd. He was also the smartest one, so it was fitting. After Hannah left the room, Prof. Nelson called on him to present his invention first. Everyone directed their attention to the microwave-sized device on his desk. Steven began his presentation and stated that the invention he had made was a shrinking device and asked everybody to gather around. They all followed the instruction except for Prof. Nelson who remained at her desk with her grading notes.
“As I have just said, this device can shrink objects. It can shrink anything within a given range or target specific types of objects. This includes humans. So, in order to demonstrate, I will shrink all of us down to approximately one-half inch tall.” The students were silently concerned. How much had this invention been tested? While they continued to think, Steven inputted the target of shrinking, along with the power and range. “Alright, as soon as I press this button, all of us will-” He paused. “Whoops! I almost forgot to include conjoined items with the target. In other words, our clothes. That would have been embarrassing.” Steven laughed and made the adjustment. “3, 2, 1, and…” He pushed the big red button, and everyone was instantly shrunk down.
The students were immediately in awe. The small school desk that they were standing around a moment ago was now as tall as a skyscraper. They looked around at the classroom as a whole and were amazed at its size. Some of them were quite frightened, though. Then one girl named Hailey spoke up and asked, “Uh, Steven. If we all shrunk together, then who is going to grow us back?”
“Oh, my machine can’t grow anything yet. It only shrinks things.”
The students gasped and those further away ran toward Steven. A guy named Liam grabbed him by his shoulders and shouted in his face, “What!? You mean we’re stuck like this!?”
“Are you out of your mind!?” Elena exclaimed.
Steven pushed Liam off himself and explained, “Relax everyone. The shrinking is temporary. I set the timer to 60 seconds, so we’ll be back to normal right about…” He looked at his watch. “Now.”
…But nothing happened.
“That’s strange. The timer always works as expected. What could have gone wrong?” Although Steven was mostly calm, many angry eyes were now glaring at him. “It’s alright everyone. I’m sure I can fix this. I just need a way to get up to my device.”
Hope mentioned that her invention was a pair of shoes that allowed people to leap incredibly high with no damage on return impact. She set them to maximum height and jumped up to the top of the desk. After a bit of time to examine the device, she leaned over the side and told everyone down below, “Um, Steven…”
“You set the device for 60 hours!” She screamed.
The students erupted in a panic. “We’re gonna be shrunk for almost three days? Are you serious!?” “What are we going to do!?” “We’re gonna die! We’re totally gonna die!” They all talked out loud to themselves for a moment until they all remembered, almost at the exact same time, whose fault this was. All of them then walked slowly and angrily toward Steven.
Steven held his hands up in defense and backed away at a similar pace. “Come on, everyone, let’s be rational here. It’s just a little mistake. …Don’t hurt me!” He shielded his face.
Gabe, Steven’s close friend, put two fingers in his mouth and gave a loud whistle to get everyone’s attention. “Alright. Alright. Let’s calm down a bit. I know we’re all furious right now but beating up Steven won’t fix anything. We’re some of the smartest people on the planet; I’m sure we can survive a few days at a tiny size.” The students eased off Steven.
“Thanks, Gabe.” Steven recomposed himself. “Okay, listen up! Now I know I’m the last person you want to listen to right now, but this is my fault, so I’m going to make sure nothing bad happens to any of you before we grow back.” Steven checked his phone for a signal but received none. “Looks like our phones don’t work at this size so we can’t call for help. And we’re the last class in this room until Monday so nobody will be coming in until after the shrinking wears off. That means we’ll be all by ourselves all weekend.”
“What about Professor Nelson?” Nichole suggested.
“The shrinking range included her too so she’s probably still on her chair. We’ll try to help her in a minute. Does anybody have any inventions that might aid our survival?”
“Oh, yeah. My invention is perfect for our situation,” Charlie announced as he pulled out a small pistol-like device from his pocket. “It’s a densitizer. It can adjust the molecular composition of any object – living or not – and make it virtually indestructible. It only lasts for about 72 hours, but that’s longer than we’ll be shrunk.”
Steven told Charlie to shoot everyone with the device. Several other students offered their inventions. Eli had a nasal spray that granted continuous oxygen (even underwater) for several days. Aubrey had temperature regulation patches that kept a person’s body at the proper internal temperature no matter the environment. Millie had a spray that greatly deterred all bugs.
While everyone was busy utilizing these inventions, Prof. Nelson finally managed to reach the students. However, there was something very different about her. The students looked upward in shock as they discovered that their teacher was six times bigger than them. Due to her increased distance from the shrinking device, Prof. Nelson was only shrunk to 3” tall.
“Sorry I took so long. It was difficult to climb down from my desk chair. Is everyone okay? What happened?” was the first thing she said. After a quick explanation from her toddler-sized students, Prof. Nelson groaned. “Alright, then. What’s the plan for our weekend survival?” The students mentioned their inventions and used them on her.
After everyone was fully “modified”, Hector said, “You know, now that we’re basically invincible, this might be a fun adventure. It doesn’t seem like there’s much danger anymore.”
As if on cue, everybody fell silent as the classroom door handle turned and the door creaked open.