Sometimes, a normal person can save the world
Welcome to Nowhere Island University’s infamous Hell Semester, where you’ll be all you can be or die trying.
Nathan Jacobs was an average high school graduate from the Northeast US, albeit one who had no idea what to do with his life post-graduation. Then, approached by agents of an international paranormal law enforcement agency, he is offered a chance to be a hero. All he needs to do is go to this strange college in the middle of the Pacific called Nowhere Island University and spy on it.
Well, not if you’re in the Academy of Military Science. The special first semester is designed to hone even the most hardened killers into the best elite infantry possible. The only way for Nathan to survive is to make friends and allies as soon as possible, or wind up dead.
First off, where would they recruit me, normally? Easy, in every spy book I owned, spies typically got recruited in college or the army. People in college were young, so it would be easy to do a background check. They were smart, which was always a plus. Also, their majors and clubs they joined said a lot about them, and it would be easy to check that. So why target me? Or, in less egotistical terms, why target a high school student? That was a better way to ask the question, actually. They’d looked through a lot of schools to find a candidate, but it sounded like they were targeting high schoolers at career fairs. Then I remembered how Takashi had reacted to what I said about college.
“You don’t want me to go to any college,” I said in dawning comprehension. “You want me to go to a specific one.”
“I think he passes,” Brosnan said, “but if you disagree…”
“No,” Takashi said. “He got further than anyone else. He may have lost control for a moment, but he got me off-balance and then recovered.”
“Sorry about that,” I said.
“Don’t be sorry,” Brosnan said as he reached into a messenger bag for a large envelope, “because you win!” As I took the envelope, he said, “By the way, Nate, we never got your last name.”
I smiled. “It’s Jacobs,” I said, “Nathan Jacobs.”
That’s when Takashi imitated the opening trumpets to the James Bond theme.
Brosnan elbowed him. “Oi,” he said, “that’s my song, you wanker.”
I waited till I got home to open it. Inside were two flyers and two letters. The flyers were for a place
called Nowhere Island University. They looked mostly the same.
One, however, was the truth. The other was what you showed to your parents. I picked up a letter, the one without official letterhead. It read as follows:
Dear Random Teenager:
Congratulations on impressing us with your skills. As you have guessed, we want you to infiltrate a very specific university. Nowhere Island University is not a normal higher learning institution. Ever since UNIX’s inception, we have been encountering NIU’s graduates in the field. They range from soldiers with training surpassing that of your Delta operators and SEAL commandos to criminal masterminds to disturbingly brilliant scientists. Recent intel even suggests that NIU has even begun to train parahumans.
While it would be more expedient to destroy the school, we believe that it has certain safeguards in place, mostly legal. The problem is that its graduates are everywhere, and many of them possess wildly different goals. Some are revolutionaries looking to up their game. Some are criminals looking to make money. Others still are simply motivated by pushing the boundaries of science, no matter the cost. Even more disturbing is that now a growing percentage seem to have superpowers.
All of that, though, pales in comparison to the possibility that there are graduates of NIU or their projects that are unaccounted for. Some of these people and materiel could quite possibly be capable of causing a Force 1 Event or higher. Also, the possibility of having an ally educated by that place is quite an intriguing possibility. To that end, we would like you to enroll as yourself. The fliers included will give you the necessary information. We have also included a scholarship acceptance letter from the Lawmen of NIU, an alumni organization that is giving out scholarships. It appears they’ve offered you a chance at a free ride if you submit yourself to certain tests. We suspect you’ll pass them. After passing, you will then join the Elite Infantry single-semester program, or “undecided,” as the pamphlet lists it.
If you have any questions about the legitimacy of this operation, we recommend you call or e-mail our tip hotline and tell them people claiming to represent the organization have recruited you for Operation Rider. We will not give you a number, since you will dismiss it as a lie, or if you lose the letter, someone else will find it and potentially compromise the operation. Even if you decide not to accept our offer, we would like you to destroy this letter after reading it.
One final note: as well as giving you the education, we are prepared to compensate you generously. Up to $100,000 US for each semester you complete seems reasonable.
Hoping to see you soon,
Needless to say, I accepted. I mean, if someone offered you a hundred grand to potentially avert
World War III, wouldn’t you take it? I did make sure they were who they said they were, of course, and they were legit. At least, as legit as you could get when hiring eighteen-year-olds to spy on a university. Surprisingly, the hardest part was convincing my parents that Nowhere Island University was the place for me.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I ended up in Nowhere Island University with nothing but a diary, a few pencils, and a pencil sharpener.
From the Author
Adam “T4nky” Sherman is an Event Specialist (basically that guy who hands out free samples,) and semi-professional author. He loves writing, and has been doing so since first or second grade. He also was sometimes that guy who actually liked writing reports, so I’m not sure you can trust him.
His first story was about a headless horsecat that had guns for some reason. It even had really terrible drawings to go with it. He’s gotten a lot better at writing since then and decided to leave the drawing to professionals.
After multiple attempts at writing stories, some he’s more proud of than others, he eventually wrote and published Glad You’re Not Here, the first volume of the Nowhere Island University series. He hopes to write a lot more.