PROLOGUE – Selection

Laurel Brazille was not pleased.

She had wanted more applications by the time she announced, in the local paper, that her intake was much, much, much bigger this year.

Maybe I should have kept to a hundred…

She scanned the list of potential girls.

Violet Rose Hudson – Alpha Talent – Modeling. Nominated for an Oscar award.

Of course, the girl… Laurel nodded approvingly, tapping her sky blue nails on her mahogany desk surface. She decided to take Vee in… But she evidently hated mean girls, while she was "a devil in disguise and manipulating"…

Laurel shook her head and sighed but made her decision to take the girl in anyway.

Tessa O'Wull – Iceskating. Maybe not.

Clary Dubois – Musician, plays most instruments. Yes, she's in.

Laurel glanced up briefly from her list, a Japanese virtual singer's voice playing in the background as she flicked on the music. Rin Kagamine's song Meltdown started.

Machi-akari hanayaka
EETERU masui no tsumetasu
Memure nai gozen niji
Subete ga kyuusoku ni kawaru
Yaketsuku youna ino naka
Subete ga sou uso nara

Suddenly, her son Darwin poked in his head.

"Lauu-Mom. When're the girls arriving?"

"Not so much applications yet, Dar," Laurel replies playfully, smiling. She beckoned for him to shut the door and go in.

"Now, the reason you're here is…?"

"I wanna Charlie to be with us this year, not at the lame boarding school. I mean, she's practically my sister and we're like joined at the hip. Not literally," Darwin adds on hastily.

Laurel taps her nails on her desk surface, pondering it.

"Sure," Laurel answers without hesitation. "I like her loads, and she's pretty, and she can invent practically anything. She literally constructed the island's internet and mechanical stuff." Reaching over to her stereo, she flicked on another song, World is Mine, by Miku Hatsune.

Sekai de ichiban ohime-sama
Sou iu atsukai kokoro ete yo ne

Sono ichi itsumo to chigau kamigata ni ki ga tsuku koto
Sono ni chanto kutsu made miru koto ii ne?
Sono san watashi no hitokoto ni wa mittsu no kotoba de henji suru koto
Wakattara migite ga orusu nano wo nantoka shite
Betsu ni wagamama nante itte nai n dakara
Kimi ni kokoro kara omotte hoshii no kawaii tte

Darwin got up to engulf Laurel in a hug.

"You and your Japanese music," He says affectionately, grinning as he ruffled her hair.

"Stop it, Dar," Laurel says, chuckling, as she swats away his hand.

The song switches to Adolescence by Rin and Len Kagamine five minutes later, and an idea hits Laurel.

Laurel straightens up and pulls her BlackBerry out of her pocket.

"Hello? Yeah, yes. It's me, Laurel. Yes, everything's fine… Just contact the local paper. I've thought up something good." Laurel beams, grabbing a pen and pulling out a piece of paper from under her desk, scribbling on it furiously. "Tell the local paper," Laurel finally says, "That I am making major changes to the student intake. One, the number of girls admitted will decrease to 200. Two, I will be letting 100 lucky boys with potential into Alpha Academy."

Forgotten, Darwin moves to the door and smiles before it clicks shut.