“Why do you always show up for Lavender’s birthday, but never to mine?” Jason asked.
“Your birthday is in the winter, and the weather is too sketchy that time of year. Besides, it’s the first day of school for both of you, it’s your first day of your junior year of high school, and your sister will be starting as a freshman. I wanted to be here to send you off, before I head back to Sacramento.”
“Will you show me around and introduce me to people, Jason?” his sister Lavender asked.
“He won’t be in any condition to do anything like that,” their dad replied. “Jason is getting miniaturized and will be living on campus in a dorm for shrunken offenders.”
“Oh, I forgot about that,” said Lavender. “I hope I don’t get judged by the teachers for being his sister.”
“I’m really disappointed in you, son! I thought I had taught you better than that. I’m a United States Marine! I don’t want you to bring dishonor to my family name!”
“Maybe if you spent more time with me and taught me some semblance of values, I wouldn’t do crazy stuff with Sadler and his outlaw friends. You can’t just throw seeds into some soil, never water them, and expect a plant six months later. It takes time and patience to raise a kid.”
“Once you go down the criminal path and you’re in the system, you’ll be in and out of jail the rest of your life!”
“Dad, that’s not true! I’ll prove that people can be redeemed!”
I’ll drive the two of you to school before I head back to Sacramento.”
Jason and Lavender were dropped off in front of the school. After posing for the pictures for their identification cards, they both headed to the auditorium for an assembly. The principal stood on the stage and addressed the students.
“Your identification cards are loaded with a specific amount of treats you can get per week. Students who got straight As last school year during the spring semester can get five more cups of hot chocolate per week than a normal student.”
Lavender sat next to Jason and looked at the bar code on her ID card.
“Next, I want to tell you about the Reality Trekkers. They came from a parallel universe ten years ago, and introduced technology hundreds of years ahead of what was then the current state of the art. They encrypted their inventions with a secret code. We’ve decrypted some of the inventions, but there are still some we haven’t decoded yet. There is a cryptography club that meets after school, and you can earn extra credit if you or your team decrypt a new invention.”
“Have you ever joined that club?” Lavender asked Jason.
“Yes, but decrypting codes is complicated. I doubt any student here could do it.”
The principal continued: “There are some students who broke the law who are currently on probation. They will be miniaturized with neutrino dissimilators and they will live on campus in a system of dorms. They will be known as Therapeutic Occupational Youth, or TOYs for short, no pun intended. I’m sure you’ve seen the tram system here, it is a miniature conveyance system that will allow the shrunken students to get to their classes on time.”
The principal continued: “If anyone swallows a shrunken student, they will be charged with a crime, and that student will also be miniaturized. If you witness a TOY being swallowed, there are neural stimulators located throughout the campus next to fire extinguishers, and anyone is welcome to break the glass and utilize one to make the predator vomit up their captive. We will do whatever is needed to keep our students safe.”
“How close did you come to cracking the code last year?” Lavender asked.
“I don’t know, the decryption program is still running, I’ll have to check up on it when I get to my dorm.”
The principal interrupted them. “Am I keeping the two of you from something?”
“Sorry about that, principal Navarro!” said Jason.
“Just who I was about to call on, Jason Lynch, Sadler Sullivan, Blip Bowman and Hack Hagar, can you all please come up onto the stage?”
All four of them walked up onto the stage, and entered separate chambers. The principal activated the device while they were sealed inside, as a nurse stood by. They were miniaturized instantly. When the chambers opened, they were all around an inch tall. They were lifted onto a table next to a wall by the female nurse.
The principal continued: “These students have had size inhibitors planted into their spinal columns. This will make it impossible for them to be restored to normal if someone used a neutrino dissimilator set to reverse on them. They shall remain miniaturized for the duration of the school year and live on campus.”
When the principal was done with his speech, the shrunken students rode a tram to their first class.
To Be Continued!