Author's notes: once again, I'd like to give a shout out to Phoeny (Suzakusama on ff . net) for an awesome beta job. You get one of these: *thumbs up*

"Troy and Abed in the mooooorning~!"

"Just tuning in?" Abed asks from a bar stool in the study room. "Excellent timing. Today on the show we have our very own Annie Edison, who was just about to launch into a conveniently timed recap. Annie?"

The camera turns slightly to focus more on Annie, who's sitting on the far left chair, dressed in a lavender blouse and grey pencil skirt, smiling genially. "Thanks Abed," she says cheerily. "First of all, I just have to mention that it's great to be back on the show guys- you know how much I love it," she proclaims in delight.

"Well we certainly appreciate you coming out," Troy replies graciously. To accentuate the point, both he and Abed raise their mugs towards her in a toasting gesture. "So tell us: what's been going on? Give us the run down on the situation."

"With pleasure, Troy. Last time, we found out that I got three new packs of highlight-ers," Annie reports dutifully, holding three fingers up and moving them in a horizontal circle to emphasize her point.

"Nice," Abed comments, taking a sip from his mug.

"Thanks," Annie beams. "We also learned – very reluctantly, in my case – that Canadian strippers are mysterious beings."

"So mysterious," Troy responds with a puzzled shake of his head.

"Mm," Abed agrees. "We'll definitely be doing a cross border trip to investigate. Right, Troy?"

"Without question," Troy concurs.

"And most importantly," Annie diverts with a grimace. "We learned that G.I. Joes are for people four and up."

"Ooh. You know what that means, don't you Troy?"

"I certainly do, buddy. I certainly do. To all of you three and under, I want you to know that we are so, so sorry," Troy says sympathetically.

"Yeah, that's pretty much the downside to being under four right there," Abed commiserates.

"Tell me about it," Troy says with a shake of his head. "So how about it, Annie? What's next on our highlight reel?"

"Actually," Annie replies. "I think that was the last of them. Highlighters, strippers, and G.I. Joes. If I recall correctly – and I'm me so, you know, I always do – those were all the key points."

"Well there you have it then, ladies and gentlemen," Abed concludes amiably. "Until next time—"

"Troy and Abed in the mooooorning~!"

The three of them grin happily in the direction of the camera for a beat and then, because the show has ended and something in the air has dispelled, shift from being Troy and Abed, talk show hosts, and Annie Edison, guest star, back to being Troy, Abed, and Annie, students of Greendale community college who arrived on campus just a bit too early.

"Good show guys," Annie applauds.

"Yeah. I'm just glad I didn't need to bust out the—" Troy starts to say.

"Bust out the what, Troy?" Annie interrupts with a slightly too large smile.

"The nonexistent bail money I'm working on saving up, is what I was about to say. Because I definitely wasn't about to bring up the 'technical difficulties' sign or how the only time I've ever had to use it was when you were on the show," Troy says in a rush. "On a completely unrelated note, when did you become so terrifying?" he questions giving Annie an assessing look.

"Oh, she's always been like this," Abed informs Troy. "But I think it really started to shine through in the first half of The Paintball Assassin War of 2011. You know, the one with the western motif?"

"I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about," Annie says faux-innocently.

"Sure you do," Abed tells her with a raised eyebrow, oblivious to her tone. "It was the one with that network TV good looking cowboy."

"The one with the big guns," Annie recalls, eyes lighting up.

"That's the one," Abed confirms with a point of his finger.

"Um, am I the only one who remembers that that dude was the enemy?" Troy asks, breaking up their fond reminiscing.

"A handsome blond enemy," Annie reminds him with a sigh. "Who had tickets to Coldplay."

"Coldplay?" Troy gasps longingly.

"My thoughts exactly," Annie nods. "Next time we should—"

"Good morning Greendale!" the dean announces over the P.A. system joyfully. "Just wanted to wish all you returning students a warm welcome back. And for all of you who are new, welcome to Greendale! I'm Craig Pelton, the dean here at Greendale community college. I'm very happy to have you all here, and to make sure you all feel the extent of my delight, I'll be making welcome announcements over the P.A. system every hour for the next four hours! Look forward to it and have a wonderful 7:52 AM!"

"Seven-fifty—is that the time?" Troy startles.

"No. If you're going by the dean's watch, it's seven fifty-two. I have... 7:53," Abed informs him calmly. He tilts his head in consideration. "We can't both be right. What do you think, Constable?" he asks, sliding smoothly into an English accent. "A tear in the very fabric of space perhaps?"

"Well, Inspector, I dare say..." Troy begins to answer in an intrigued tone. "I mean, wait no, I can't do this right now; sorry, buddy, but I just don't have the time."

"Or is it simply that you don't have the... space?" Abed asks with a raised eyebrow.

"Okay, I see what you did there," Troy says seriously before breaking into a grin. "Aw, who am I kidding. That will never stop being all kinds of awesome."

"Indubitably," Abed acknowledges with a nod.

"What's the hurry, Troy?" Annie asks curiously. "I thought you said your first class didn't start until 8:30?"

"It doesn't," Troy confirms, jumping off the stool and grabbing his backpack. "But the AC school has some weird ritual thing they're saying I have to attend starting at 8."

"I thought you made it a rule that the air-conditioning repair school has to act like a regular school?" Abed asks in puzzlement with a slight tilt of his head.

"I did but when I change too much stuff up too fast, all the guys there get this weird look on their faces like I stole all their puppies and then hid them in the apartment above ours or something."

"You mean they look like you kicked their puppies?" Annie asks in confusion because what?

"No, Annie, I mean they look like I stole all their puppies and hid them in the apartment above ours. Why would I kick their puppies? Who does that? What kind of evil being would—wait; was it that troll from Pierce's house?" Troy asks horrified. "I knew that thing was evil but to kick puppies... does it steal left socks from washing machines too? I bet it does. That's it. Come on Abed, we're going to Pierce's house and—"

"Not doing anything. Troy, 'kicking puppies' is an expression. I didn't actually mean—"

"That's an expression?" Troy asks in surprise. "Oh, thank God. I mean it's terrible and I don't really understand why anyone would come up with such a thing but I thought—"

"You're going to be late," Abed reminds Troy, less because he wants him to leave and more because he knows that despite his complaints, Troy is trying his best for the AC school and he wants to support that. And also because he wants to get permission to tour the school and personally find out if it's actually as crazy as Troy is promising it is. Preferably with his camera at hand.

"Ah, right," Troy says. "Thanks, man." Just before he leaves he pulls Annie into a quick hug and then does the same to Abed. "I'll see you guys at lunch!"

Annie blinks. "...Was Troy always that... affectionate?" she asks Abed curiously, carefully not mentioning how Abed watches Troy jog away.

"Sort of," Abed says, tearing his eyes away from the now empty hallway to look at Annie. "But it's something that's really picked up after returning from the AC school. It scared him when he thought he wouldn't be able to hang out with us anymore."

"I think it's pretty safe to say that it scared all of us," Annie murmurs, giving Abed a look that he misses because he's too busy grabbing his messenger bag from where he's left it.


"What do I remember when Troy left?"Annie asks the camera. She's seated daintily in the study room table with her fingers interlaced and resting on the table. "I remember this greasy, balding man wearing this non-descript grey uniform sauntering into our apartment like some sort of... of... mob boss. I remember Shirley sobbing and Pierce giving terrible advice and Jeff making sure Troy knew not to listen to it."

Annie wrinkles her nose. "I remember Britta giving Troy a lock of her hair," she says looking at the camera with a pained expression that clearly asks why?

"But the most striking thing I remember about that day?" she asks after her expression has cleared.

"...It would have to be the look on Abed's face as Troy walked out."


"What do I remember about Troy leaving?" Abed asks the camera. He's sitting straight up on a chair in the study room, tapping a pencil against the table. "I remember hearing how sorry Troy sounded when he whispered to me," he says slowly.

"I remember how heavy my hand felt against my chest when we did our handshake for what was supposed to be the last time." Abed pauses for a long time, looking at the camera with a far off look in his eyes.

"...I remember watching Troy's back as he walked away and thinking, 'Oh. So this is how it feels to have your world end.'"

"...I'd say it's all in our best interests to avoid having a repeat experience," Abed comments wisely.

"Yeah," Annie agrees softly.

"So... what do you plan to do now?" Abed asks, drumming his fingers against his messenger bag strap and looking at Annie expectantly.

"Well originally, my plan was to call up the others to get some advice about this whole situation and then we could go from there but..."


"Eh-bed has a problem? Um, duh-doi, Annie. Talk about being streets behind," Pierce says into his phone, shaking his head in disappointment. "Don't worry though. With my experience as a hypnotist, I know just what to do to help—

"Hello? Annie? ...Huh," Pierce says, staring at his receiver in perplexity. "She must have walked into an area with really bad cell reception. Almost seemed like she hung up on me."


"I know he has a problem, Annie," Britta says into her Totorola exasperatedly. "That's why I'm his psychiatrist. And as a psych major, my advice to you is to—

"Uh, hello? Annie?" Britta frowns down at her cell. "Okay, Annie either hung up on me or this stupid thing dropped the call." Britta looks at her slightly smoking phone reflectively.

"Maybe I should invest in an OnyxBerry," she says with a sigh.


"Oh An-nie," Shirley coos, holding the phone between her ear and her shoulder as she mixes chocolate chip cookie batter in a bowl. "We all know that Abed's a unique snowflake. I mean, we were all there for that session with that fake psychiatrist." Shirley puts down the bowl on her counter and shifts the phone to her other ear.

"Of course that doesn't mean I'm not willing to help. I can give you the name of my church and then the two of you can—" Shirley blinks. "Hello? Annie?" There's a lengthy pause while she listens for any kind of response. "Hm. Must've forgotten to pay the phone bill," she tsks, putting the phone away and reaching for her bowl. "Because I know that girl wouldn't dare do something so rude as to hang up on me."


"Abed has a problem?" Jeff asks sceptically. He's stretched out on his couch with his phone pressed against his ear. "So? No offense to Abed, but saying that he has a problem is like saying that Pierce is elderly and racist; it's blatantly obvious, and – more importantly – not really my problem until someone else makes it mine.

"Or," Jeff says, knitting his eyebrows together as something occurs to him. He swings his feet to the side and brings himself into an upright position. "And I'm directing this specifically at you and Britta, until Abed—or anyone, for that matter—brings out the bone cutter. What the hell guys? If you see someone carrying around a tool with any kind of revolving blade do not just sit there. For the love of all that is good and me-having-both-arms-during-tank-top-season, do something," Jeff says firmly, hanging up before Annie can respond.

Abed gives her a look. "Yeah, not my best plan," Annie winces.


"I love our friends but Abed has no idea how lucky he is that I'm the one who's helping him with this," Annie says with a shake of her head.


"Annie actually would have been my last choice out of our study group members," he confesses easily.

"Britta would have been my first choice since, while she might actually try to help, Britta has as little control over me as I do. That means that in the end, I'd still be able to do things my way which is not something I see as a bad thing," Abed explains.

"For similar reasons, Pierce and Shirley would be next. I mean Pierce would probably alternate between all sorts of gay comments and obnoxious romantic anecdotes and Shirley would bring me to church a lot but ultimately, I'd still be able to do things how I wanted if I went to either of them.

"Jeff wouldn't want to get involved and, best case scenario, actually doesn't. Worst case, he does and then things will go horribly wrong. Of course, Jeff being Jeff, he'll wrap things up with a Winger speech to make amends and that's always something to look forward to." Abed presses his lips together in thought. "Also, this would be a good chance for him to grow more as a person which I've been told is a good thing.

"Annie, though. Annie does things like kiss Jeff to win debates and send letters for three weeks to a doll company because she wants to throw a baby shower that respects the ethnic diversity of both potential fathers. Can you imagine what she would do if she got a crazy idea into her head like getting me to confess to Troy?" Abed asks giving the camera a wide-eyed look. "Because I ran those simulations in the dreamtorium and they all confirmed that in a situation where I need help, it would be in my best interests if I went to Annie last."

Abed pauses. "Of course, they also confirmed I'd get the most film worthy story with Annie, so I guess there's that."

"Actually," Abed clarifies. "I wanted to know what you were going to do now since I'm going to go to class."

"Oh!" Annie exclaims. "Oh. Right. That makes sense. I was actually going to see what information I could find about this 'Problems and Possible Solutions' class I have after lunch. It's the only elective that fit with my schedule that I could actually enroll in thanks to our stupid registration system. I know the Dean is trying not to violate any student rights but drawing names out of a hat for registration times is only marginally better than throwing darts at the student list and picking that way."

"'Problems and Possible Solutions,'" Abed repeats. "So it's a problem solving class?"

"I guess? Maybe? When I tried to look it up in the registry, all it said was, 'For students who need it. Not to be taken by students who have taken, or are currently enrolled in, LADDERS.'"

"Why ladders?" Abed asks with a raised eyebrow.

"I don't know," Annie responds honestly.

"Interesting," Abed comments.

"I guess..." Annie agrees disgruntled. Personally, she'd prefer to know more about the course itself but supposes that's what she'll find out today. "Hey, did you want to come with me and check it out? It starts at 1 in the South Hall."

"...Sure," Abed says after mulling it over. "Might be a good source of inspiration for a space noir screenplay I'm working on."

"Great!" Annie grins excitedly. "Then it's a plan."

"Cool," Abed says. "Cool cool cool."

"All I'm saying," Troy laments as he and Jeff walk down the hall after lunch, "is that nobody is going to see it coming."

"And I'm saying that I completely agree with you," Jeff says, not looking up from his phone. "Mostly because the idea that mutated gerbils will one day take over the city—or at the very least, Greendale campus—is stupid."

"But it's not!" Troy cries. "It's thinking like that—"

"That reminds me that I, at least, still have a small connection to reality, despite having spent the past three years here at Greendale," Jeff cuts in smoothly. "It's medal worthy, I know."

"That'll get you eaten!" Troy finishes, ignoring Jeff. "Or worse, mutated gerbilfied. Think about it, Jeff. Is that really something you want to risk?"

"Well Troy," Jeff says, pausing in his texting to give Troy a look. "If there's something I definitely don't want to risk, it's having to think about this."

"Hey guys!" Annie greets cheerfully from where she's standing outside a classroom. Beside her, Abed waves in acknowledgment. "What's up?"

"Hey," Jeff nods as he and Troy stop to join the duo. "Troy here was just explaining his—completely irrational—mutant gerbil fears. Again."

"Again?" Annie echoes, looking at Troy incredulously. "Okay, this has got to stop. It was cute back when all I had to do was design emergency backpacks—"

"They are pretty cool backpacks," Abed comments. Jeff raises his eyebrow because really? Abed shrugs back because heck yeah, they are.

"I know. Mine's purple," Troy grins. Jeff just rolls his eyes and goes back to his phone.


"Plebeian," Jeff scoffs. "Oxford blue would have been a much better colour choice."

The camera pans down a little to focus on the Oxford blue button down Jeff is currently wearing, courtesy of The Gap.

"And I was fine with you making Abed and I carry around chocolate—"

"Well yeah, of course you were. I mean who doesn't want to be carrying around little pieces of creamy-sugary goodness?" Troy asks looking at Annie like she's the weird one. "I'm just glad you were willing to let Abed carry around chocolate again."

"Troy! It's not like I would make Abed stop carrying chocolate around just because of one completely violating incident. Unlike some people, I'm capable of letting things go," Annie scoffs.


"We," Annie says, dragging out the word. "May have gotten an affidavit for Abed to sign saying he wouldn't carry chocolate for the sole purpose of having something to offer when us girls were having our 'on' days.

"And what was with that anyway?" she cries. "Carrying around chocolate like... like we needed to be appeased with ritual truffles or caramel filled eggs or something!"

"If it bugged you so much why not just stop him from carrying around chocolate in the first place?" Jeff yells from the side.

"Jeff!" Annie shouts back appalled, looking off to the side. "What are you doing here?"

"Why do you think I'm here? Who do you think wrote the damn affidavit?"

"Whatever, just go away!"

"FINE. Just don't come running to me the next time you need a legal document!"

Annie makes a face, craning her neck to watch him through the glass as he storms down the hallway. "Okay," she whispers furiously whipping her head back to face the camera. "So maybe—and I am never going to admit this to Abed—maybe during those four days of unspeakable horror and pain, I don't mind a sweet, rich, smooth, melt-in-your mouth sacrifice. Or twelve." Annie pauses. "Or forty.

"Look, if a guy wants to give me sugary confections to distract me from the torture device that is my uterus, I'm not exactly going to tell him to stop," she says, giving the camera a look and crossing her arms defiantly.

"Don't worry Annie," Troy says reassuringly. "Pierce will definitely forgive you."

Abed nods in agreement. "You are his favorite after all. And Shirley will forgive you if only because it's the Christian thing to do."

"I still don't get what was up with them!" Annie cries bewilderedly. "All I asked was 'so who's Billy Joel anyway?'!"

"I don't know but he must be important," Troy says pensively. "Maybe he's one of those less important holiday figures. Like the Easter bunny or Captain America."

"'Captain America'...?" Annie echoes. "Troy, he's not a holiday figure."

"Um, sure he is, dummy. Otherwise, why would they make his birthday a holiday?" Troy argues.

"We do not celebrate the Fourth of July because Captain America was born that day," Annie argues back.

"We don't? Then what's so special about the Fourth of July?" Troy asks in confusion.

"It's our independence day!"

"Independence from what? Wait, was the country taken over by—"

"Alright, while I'd normally be content to let you explain to Troy how it's thanks to our forefathers that we don't have to experience the horrors of the metric system, adding the letter 'u' to words that clearly don't need it, or having an unhealthy amount of love for the taste of dried leaves in hot water, I'm going to have to stop you here momentarily because this apparent age gap between you three and I makes me feel old and that's just criminal. Let me begin to repair this heinous situation by asking you all this: do you know who Snooki is?" Jeff interrupts without taking a break from typing out a response.

"Duh," Troy says with a roll of his eyes.

"Um, duh-doi Jeff," Annie replies, affronted.

"Yeah," Abed confirms. "But only through various media outlets. I don't understand the purpose of reality television; I mean if I wanted to watch reality, I wouldn't bother with cable."

"And that right there? Is one of the reasons why none of you—or anyone from your generation for that matter—should be forgiven. Ever. The other reason being, very obviously, that you people actually believe in a mutant gerbil attack."

"Because it's going to happen," Troy stresses. "I don't know when and I don't know why but it will happen. And when it does..." Troy trails.

"If you even think about dropping to your knees and crying about the imaginary gerbils' cruel ways, I swear I'll abandon you and report you to campus security for disturbing the peace," Jeff warns without looking up.

"He's bluffing," Abed whispers to Troy. "About the 'reporting us' part anyways. Thanks to Chang, we don't have any campus security."

"Wasn't bluffing about the 'abandoning you' part."

"Who cares about any of that?" Annie interrupts in irritation. "What matters is that a gerbil crisis that's not entirely guaranteed to happen is the reason I've had to talk Abed out of spending all his money on a boat. And believe me, that was no easy feat."

"I still say that it would have paid for itself," Abed says with a sad shake of his head.

"I know buddy," Troy coos, patting his arm consolingly.

"Oh for the love of—"Jeff exclaims, looking up to glare at them. "Abed, no. There is no way a boat would have paid for itself because we are in Colorado and Colorado is a land locked state," Jeff points out meaningfully.

"There are lakes," Abed counters. "Am I the only one who remembers our St. Patrick's Day adventure? Or the time we went fishing and it turns out there was a shark—"

"Oh, I remember the shark," Troy says with wide eyes, pressing a hand against his left side.

"Relax," Jeff says, rolling his eyes. "It was just a flesh wound." At his words, Troy's eyebrows climb impossibly high, Abed's eyes widen fractionally, and Annie gasps.

"Okay, now I know you're only saying that because you're white so everybody knows you're not going to be the first one to die when crazy stuff happens—"

"It's true," Abed agrees. Annie nods while levelling Jeff with her best unimpressed stare.

"—but how about the next time there's a shark, you get attacked by it and then we'll see if you still think it's 'just a flesh wound,'" Troy finishes, unamused.

"Okay, first of all, you guys have been watching way too many movies. Let me remind you that this is real life and in real life, the black man does not always die first."

"Troy was the first one to die in The Paintball Assassin Game of 2010," Abed chimes in.

"Shut up Abed," Jeff responds seamlessly. "Secondly, let's say Annie didn't manage to talk Abed out of it; let's say he got that boat."

"Ooh. Could we name it 'Buoys in the Hood'?" Troy asks Abed eagerly.

"Sure," he says and holds his hand out for a handshake.

"Guys! Isn't that a little bit sexist?" Annie asks, affronted.

"Who are you supposed to be, Britta?" Jeff scoffs. "It's a pun, Annie; let it go."

"It's not about the pun! It's about the principal—"

"Really?" Jeff asks her with a raised eyebrow. "Do you really want to repeat the events of The Pen Incident?"

"We are not doing another bottle episode," Abed interrupts firmly at the same time Troy says, "Hold up; we're about to miss another puppy parade?"

All three boys look at Annie.

"Alright fine," Annie harrumphs. "I'll let this go this time. But the three of you should really consider some boat names that are accommodating to all genders."

"Look, it's an imaginary boat we can't actually—you know what? Fine. We're gonna name it. So you have this boat—"

"The 'Buoys in the Hood.'"

"Yeah, sure, whatever. You have the 'Buoys in the Hood' and she's—"

"Oh, so the boat's a she, huh?" Annie points out with a huff. "Spoken like a true sexist."

"Boats are always female, Annie, look it up but fine, have it your way. So we have this gender neutral boat and it's docked or stored or something and mutant gerbils attack—"

"Takeover," Troy corrects.

"Takeover the city. Now what? Even if, by some miracle, you manage to make it to wherever your boat is, I can guarantee you that it won't be any help to you in the city."

"You have a point," Abed admits reluctantly.

"I always have a point," Jeff replies exasperatedly. "And this time, I even have a valid one. All I'm saying is that if you were going to buy an emergency vehicle, you would've been better off buying an ATV like Troy."

"I knew it!" Troy cries. "Do you hear that, Annie? Why would you make me sell Sheila? She would have saved lives!"

"Oh, so your ATV was a girl too?"

"Not the point, Annie!"

"Excuse me," a slight Asian woman says before Annie can answer.

"Woah," Troy startles while Jeff, Annie, and Abed all give the woman surprised looks. "Who are you? And where did you come from?" He squints down at her. "...Are those crickets?"

"A professor," she answers evenly. "I just came from the Dean's office, and yes, they are crickets. My mother fancies it'll give me luck but I have a much better use for them. Do you mind? I believe you four happen to be blocking the way to my classroom."

"Oh! Sorry about that," Annie apologizes as they shuffle away.

"No worries," she shrugs, striding past. The four of them stare after her.

"...There is no way that kid's a professor. She looks like she's 16!" Jeff whispers to them furiously.

"You're right. We may have another Chang situation on our hands," Abed comments intrigued, staring at the door.

"Oh God, I hope not," Annie shudders. "Taking Spanish with him was stressful enough, thank you very much. And besides I'm sure after the whole Chang incident the Dean's learned to check people's credentials. Probably."

"Wait," Troy says. "You're in her class? What is it? How are crickets involved?"

"'Problems and Possible Solutions.' Don't ask me what it's about because all I know about it is that you're not allowed to take it if you've taken, or are currently taking, ladders. For all I know, crickets are quintessential to the problem solving process." Annie pauses as she processes that idea. "Ew. I really hope not."

"Ladders?" Jeff echoes.

"Yeah, I don't know what's up with that either," Annie replies crossing her arms.

"This calls for further investigation," Abed says and shoots Troy a look. "You in?"

"Always," Troy replies without hesitation. "Let's go."

"Guys!" Annie cries as they walk into the classroom. "You can't just- oh never mind. I'm sure it won't matter. Last I checked this class still had six open spots left. You coming too?"

"Might as well," Jeff shrugs. "I want to see how crazy this chick is. I don't think I can handle two Changs running around campus."

"Oh, that'd be horrible. They'd go around playing their stupid keytars and popping out of random vents and I just..." Annie takes a deep breath to keep from hyperventilating. "I just don't think Greendale can handle a Chanduo running around campus like that."

"I know it can't. I mean they're still busy repairing the wall between the women's washroom and the Dean's office from when the first one tried to take over the school."

"...At least if she tries to pull together an adolescent militia we'll know how to stop it?"

"That's not exactly a skill I thought I'd learn when I applied for Greendale. Then again," Jeff acknowledges. "I never thought I'd actually learn any skills when I applied for Greendale, which is why I applied here in the first place."

"Jeff!" Annie warns sharply.

"What? You of all people should appreciate how Greendale was able to exceed my, admittedly low, expectations."

"That's right, Jeff. I'm just teeming with pride, because our school managed to do what it was originally founded to do."

"Wasn't Greendale originally an animal rendering plant?" Jeff asks Annie, giving her an I'm-on-to-you look.

Annie scowls. "Well, of course you'd know that."

"Please," Jeff scoffs. "You really think I'm the kind of guy who'd apply at a school without looking into it a little first? It's like you don't know me at all."

"Maybe you're right. After all, I pegged you as the kind of guy who'd apply to a school where he thought he'd be able to talk his professor buddy into giving him every answer to every test he'd have to write over the next four years," Annie replies dryly.

"Okay, I might have deserved that. Well played, m'lady. Well played," he congratulates approvingly. "Shall we, then?"

"Let's, m'lord," she smiles, threading her arm through his offered one.

"Good afternoon," the woman greets from where she's perched on the edge of her desk. The crickets chirp sullenly in their enclosure beside her. "My name is Dr. Lillian Summers. Normally, I'd be teaching at a university but for reasons that have nothing to do with a sudden change of heart and everything to do with my pair of nines losing out to Eustice's pair of Aces, I'll be here for at least a semester teaching for free because Eustice Whitman is a complete and utter bastard. You are all welcome to quote me on that," she says flatly to the class.

"Now, before I get into the class syllabus, I want to make something very clear: this class doesn't exist for me to solve your problems for you. Screw that. If I wanted a job where I had to listen to people's problems and then be expected to do something about it, I would've been a cop. Everybody understand? Do not, for the love of all that is good and aesthetically-pleasing-people-flaunting-their-physically-fit-bodies-during-tank-top-season, dump your problems on me and then ask me what to do. Get it? Good. Question?"

"So you're not going to help us... at all?" Annie asks sceptically.

"I never said that. You are most certainly welcome to ask me for advice after you've shown an ounce of gumption by at least half-assedly attempting to solve your own problem. If I'm in a good mood I may even tell you something that's helpful. If I'm in a particularly good mood, or in a state of delirium, I may even tell you something that's both helpful and actually pertains to your situation. But enough about me and my lack of interest in taking on your problems; let's talk about what we're doing this semester. As you can see—what? What's wrong? You act like you've never seen a syllabus," Summers says in irritation as students poke at their papers in confusion.

"We haven't," Annie informs her, looking over the syllabus admiringly. "Our professors usually just introduce themselves and then talk about their subject on the first day."

"Holy crap," Summers blinks in surprise. "I've overestimated my lowest standards. Fan-tastic. Alright then, this, ladies and gentlemen, is a syllabus. If you lose it, you can go to lillian-summers . livejournal . com and find copies of it online. Its purpose is to serve as an outline of what I'm going to be teaching and also, to kill a tree. To be honest, in a course like this, the schedule will probably be pretty damn flexible because 14 weeks to teach problem solving is ridiculous."

"You only have 13 weeks to teach us," Abed comments.

"Really?" she asks, as she tries to recall when the last day of classes is. "Oh. Well, that's alright, it's an easy enough fix. Next week, we'll be jumping right into 'The right attitude: the importance of perseverance.' Oh hey, that works out nicely. I wasn't looking forward to covering 'The importance of problem solving.'"

"This," Annie whispers to Jeff, stroking the page lovingly. "Is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. The existence of these things should be mandatory."

"Annie," Jeff says, looking over his own paper. "You're being creepy and also, you're missing something major here. Professor Summers!" Jeff exclaims, getting her attention. "I just wanted to clarify this 'Participation – 15%'part right here; I get marks just for showing up?"

"Does it say 'attendance – 15%'?" she asks with a raised eyebrow. "No, it doesn't. You have to show up and give me half-assed responses to the questions every once in a while and then you'll get marks."

"Can I get that in writing," Jeff demands.

"You already have it in writing," she says looking at the syllabus in his hand pointedly.

"Okay, you're right," Jeff tells Annie. "These things should be mandatory."

"We have a project worth 50% of our grade?" Troy asks incredulously, eyebrows climbing.

"Yeah, about that," Summers says. "I'll go into more detail later but basically the project involves you or a group of people solving a problem you came up with. When it comes to presenting your solutions or how you came to those solutions, it's been highly suggested that I get you guys to do at least one diorama, which is why anyone who hands in anything other than a diorama will get at least a B."

"Seriously?!" Jeff exclaims excitedly at the same time Annie cries, "That's not fair! How does that make any sense?"

"Well the official reasoning behind that rule is that one of the greatest assets to problem solving is creativity. If you're trying to solve a problem just like everyone else, you'll probably get the same answers. That's great if that's what you want but not so much if you were looking for something different," Summers explains. "My unofficial reasoning is that if I piss off the Dean and get fired, I can go back to not having to teach for free."

"You haven't tried to take over the school with an adolescent militia and you haven't attempted to strangle me in front of the entire class," Jeff states bluntly. "If the best you can do is bringing a few crickets to class and not assigning us a fourth grade project, then I can guarantee that you're not going to get fired any time soon."

"We'll see," Summers shrugs with a devious glint in her eyes. "Any other questions or comments? No? Then get out of here- I have a dozen crickets to release into the school's vents."



"3... 2... 1... Drop," Abed commands and Troy drops the little plastic army man over the edge of the rooftop. Troy whistles as they watch it fall and then flinches as it lands none too gently on the top of Pierce's head.

"Uh-oh," Troy interrupts.

"That's not good," Abed says.

"How many times do I have to tell you guys to stop throwing things at me like I'm some damn stripper?" Pierce hollers, shaking a fist up at them.

Troy and Abed share a look. "Just pretend like you're asleep!" Troy advises hastily, dropping to the ground and closing his eyes. Abed quickly follows suite.

Pierce squints down at the little toy in his hand and unfolds the paper bill they'd made into a parachute. "And if I was you'd better believe I'd be worth more than just a dollar!"