< HSoS 63 | High School Of Scenes | HSoS 65 >

< HSoS 69 | H So S Timeline | HSoS 67 >

Maia walks coolly into the hospital room, three white flowers clutched in her hand, and surveys the patient before her.

Principal Johnstone is apparently sleeping, or at least his eyes are closed. He looks terrible--there are bandages on his throat and hands, a livid bruise on his forehead, and his skin is pale.

Maia "Johnstone?" she says quietly.

Principal Johnstone "Maia," he says mildly, without opening his eyes. "I was wondering when you'd stop by."

Maia "I've been busy. SA Ts? were this morning."

Principal Johnstone "I do hope you weren't too upset to perform at your potential." Now his eyes open, traveling along Maia's arms.

Maia "Well, you know me. Grace under pressure."

Maia notes the principal's scrutiny and crosses her arms. "I just wanted to come by and say get well soon. And ask why you didn't tell me about Zavijava."

Principal Johnstone Johnstone's face creases in a frown. "It's not really your concern."

Maia "What's happening to the other students is EXACTLY my concern."

Maia "You said you could keep them safe with my help."

Principal Johnstone "Do your part of the job, Maia, and let me worry about mine." Johnstone's voice lacks its usual unflappable certainty, perhaps because of his injuries.

Maia "If you're not DOING your part of the job, then I'm not about to keep doing mine."

Maia "You don't own me, you son of a bitch."

Principal Johnstone "You're smarter than your friends, so think, Maia. There are instabilities in this system that could trigger a collapse. All your help could be for nothing." Sitting up a bit in his vehemence, he triggers a coughing fit, and his face contracts with pain.

Maia "All my help IS for nothing if it's NOT WORKING."

Principal Johnstone "Do you want to help Zavijava? Then find out why Cassiopeia went off the air. Zavijava should have been safe."

Principal Johnstone looks like he regrets saying that much, then his expression smooths out again.

Maia "What?" Maia says quietly.

Principal Johnstone shakes his head. "I'm afraid I don't have any details, because I've been interrupted by a hospital stay. But Cassiopeia's keepers appear to have taken... emergency measures."

Maia looks at him, then puts the flowers in a vase near his bed.

Maia "Okay."

Maia "I didn't...I didn't know Antares was going to do that."

Maia turns to walk out, then stops.

Maia "I found out Heka's power."

Maia "He can heal people. He needs something living nearby to transmit the injuries to."

Maia "I just thought you should know."

Maia "Get well soon."

Principal Johnstone just curves his mouth into a little smile at Maia's first statement, ghastly against the hospital bed. He nods at the news about Heka, leaning back and closing his eyes as if exhausted. "I'm so proud of you, Maia."

Maia tightens her lips, facing away, and seems about to speak, then doesn't, and walks out of the room.