When Tom woke up once more, he had no sense of what time it was. His mouth tasted terrible because of what the doctor had given him, and he quickly remembered that he was supposed to leave once he awoke.
He crawled out of bed quickly, not feeling the same weakness from before. The shelves and glass were all cleaned, all traces of the tank removed. Tom felt a pang of sympathy for the doctor for destroying it, but it was not as if he had meant to. It had just kind of…happened.
Tom looked around for anything Nathan might have brought here, but he couldn’t find anything. He would have to go back to his room wearing nothing but his nightclothes, which he found slightly embarrassing.
He peeked out of the door and looked down the hall, but there was no one. He began to race back to his room, and almost made it there when he turned a corner and ran smack into someone. He yelped, and jumped back in fear.
It was a tall, mean looking man who Tom had seen once or twice while walking to the children’s tables in the mess hall. He gave Tom a glare and grabbed him by the arm, squeezing it painfully.
“You’re Nathan’s little friend, aren’t you?”
Tom wondered how this man knew Nathan, and whether or not he should answer.
“Hmm…odd. I would not have taken you for one. Odd initiation. Very odd.” The man mumbled to himself, and Tom was more than a little frightened. He pulled back his arm from the man’s grasp, and the man sneered at him.
“Tell Nathan that Archibald saw you, and there’s nothing to worry about. No clash.” He leered at Tom, and Tom didn’t even think about offending the man before running the rest of the way back to his room in fear and locking his door. What had that guy been going on about? He wondered if he should tell Nathan what had happened. He wanted an explanation, but he was too scared to get one from that man…Archibald, or whatever. The last few days had just been weird.
He changed out of nightclothes and into normal ones. It could be the middle of the night for all he knew, but he wasn’t tired so he wasn’t going to sleep. He was thirsty, though, and hungry. He hoped it was near mealtime. The last time he had eaten was in the infirmary, who knew how long ago, and he wanted the aftertaste of that sleeping concoction out of his mouth.
He waited for a while, hoping that freaky man would get out of the hall, and then exited the room, heading toward the mess. He saw a few people on his way, which mostly ignored him, and he knew it must be some time during the day. His suspicions were realized when he got to a window that looked out on a clear dawn sky.
Morning, then, and there was probably still time to get food. He wandered into the mess hall and up to the serving tables, looking for leftovers.
“Ah, it’s you.” The chef who had let him in all those days ago was looking at him, but this time in sympathy. “I heard you were sick when you didn’t come and do dishes.” Tom just nodded, still roaming the table for decent food.
“Here, take a bit of this.” The chef handed him a fish roll, which was an odd choice for breakfast. Tom did not complain, though, and thanked him, wondering how sick he had been if even this cook treated him well.
“Off to class with you now. You’re probably late.” Tom nodded again and shoved the whole roll in his mouth, darting out of the mess and toward the classroom.
He was late, and the whole class turned to look at him when he walked in. Rather than scolding him, though, the navigator simply motioned for him to sit down and continued with her lesson. Getting sick had its advantages, Tom thought. He figured they probably wouldn’t last longer than today, though. He didn’t see Nathan anywhere, which figured.
“The Coreolis effect is interesting in that it affects both the air currents and the tides. Of course, it’s not as much an influence on tides as the moons are, but were the rotation of our planet to change, tides would change as well as the air currents. Can anyone tell me how the movements of air differ from the two hemispheres?”
Tom was lost already. What was the Coreolis effect? He wondered, considering he had missed the beginning of the class, if it was safe to ask.
A girl on his left spoke up in answer to the navigator’s question. “The air is generally clockwise in the north hemisphere, counter in the south.” Tom looked at her in confusion. Was there an equation for that?
“Very good, Amelia. Now, let’s move into something else. What are the similarities and differences between air and water currents?”
Tom thought he might be able to actually answer this. He thought back to the comb and the broken tank in the infirmary, and the wave shadows. Could you see shadows of air currents? Did air currents reflect? He was at least sure that air could break stuff…
“Air and water currents are both forces, but air moves from high to low pressure, whereas water follows tides,” a boy said.
Tom thought of the comb. “No, water currents don’t follow anything, something has to create them.” The class turned to him, and he realized that he had spoken out of turn.