"Hey there, my name is Taylor! I really like that sweater, by the way." Taylor rattled on and on with Sofie, and from the way Sofie shrank in her seat and closed her posture, she wanted to be left alone. Ed smiled a little. That girl could use a few friends He turned to the kid sitting beside him - none other than Somerset Bergson himself. He'd know that ugly mug anywhere. Ed glanced back at Sofie.
I stand corrected. I know how you feel now.
The chatter died down as the professor walked into the room. His gait was stiff and unrefined, as if his limbs were part robot. He stopped at the head of the classroom and folded his arms.
"Good morning, everyone! I'm Gregory Bahnsen, retired merchant from a guild called the Azure Armada. You may have heard of us; we fought in a few key battles of the Revolution. But we're still traders at heart, and for this semester, I'll be sharing the tricks of the trade with you all. Let's start off with a game."
He handed out blank cards to every student. "On your card, write your name and three facts about yourself. One of those facts will be a lie, and the first person to guess correctly gets to go next. No repeaters, please. The goal of this exercise is threefold: to begin the process of making business connections, to break the ice and get comfortable learning things in the classroom, and of course to give me an excuse to learn everyone's names. Once we've gone around the whole room, I'll take everyone to a very special place. It's gonna be a blast!"
"I shall begin. My name, as I've mentioned, is Gregory Bahnsen. I fought in the Revolution, I have a pet A.I. named Opal, and all my limbs are artificial. Which fact is the lie?""
A towering girl with dark hair raised her hand. "The lie is that your arms are artifical."
Then a boy dressed in a gray suit and tie raised his hand. "You fought in the Revolution?"
Gregory nodded and smirked. "I lost all four limbs in an unfortunate encounter and got them all replace. Frankly, I like them better than my fleshy arms anyway. The lie is that I fought in the Revolution. I worked behind the lines as a cargo hauler, moving supplies and munitions around. That's not to say I didn't get myself in trouble, though; I had numerous scrapes and close calls with enemy privateers. Fun times. And I do, in fact, have a pet A.I. named Opal, but don't tell her I called her a "pet." She's kind of sensitive about that. All the ships of the Azure Armada, barring a couple, have a sentient A.I. build into them from the ground up, and Opal's mine."
He pointed to the dressed-up kid again. "Your turn now. Tell us about yourself!"
The kid adjusted his suit and coughed. "Mah name is Kish. Kish Warburton. Don'tchu ever kid around 'bout that neither, or I'mma 'kish' yo ass goodbye. I grew up in the suburbs. Nice place, always teemin' wit pretty ladies and ripped dudes. Got myself certified in law when I was fifteen an' never look back. Funny thing is, I also had some run-ins with the law, and got booked with the local police cuz I's lookin' all swag at a birthday party. Guess which one's the lie, folks?"
Ed raised his hand. "I bet the lie is that you had any run-ins with the law."
Kish chuckled. "Hey, you good, man! That's a true lie right there, yo. I never had any run-ins with the law, see. My parents said they were profiled as criminals back on Earth, so when they came here, they wanted me to be real good so's not to cause trouble, so they raised me good. My neighborhood was great 'cause all the vets live there. It was awesome. It's also true I gotta law certificate. Don't wanna brag or anything, but I gotta thing for rules. Ain't failed me yet."
Since it was Ed's turn now, he stood up, making sure to commit Kish to memory. "I'm Edward Valentine. You may call me Ed. First fact: I'm fluent in sign language. Second fact: I'm going to become Emperor of the Galaxy someday. Third fact: I'm filthy rich. Which is the lie?"
The tall girl raised her hand before anyone else. "Emperor? Seriously?"
Ed grinned. "Guess it's your turn now! Yes, I'm fluent in sign language. As for the wealth I've amassed, I'll tell you exactly what I'm worth in sign language."
He pinched his index and thumb and stretched them out.
"What's that the sign for? A million?"
Ed continued grinning. "Not telling."
The game proceeded around the room until it was Sofie's turn.