It was a week later when Wen called everyone who had registered to the class, because Ying and Ran had an agreement to exchange their knowledge on photonic behaviors and both Xin and Wen wanted to be present as well, each for a somewhat valid reason. The meeting location was set to be Huangshan, a small city named after the historically well-known mountain, famous for its misty natural beauty, which served to remind them of the historical moment in which they lived, one in which they were about to join the organization established to maintain the peace and security of the greater area of the universe, bounded by all parallel universes under its control. The class began with an introduction, as usual. The students arrived in a timely fashion, each assigned a pair of wings before they entered the classroom. Wen, as the teacher, was the last to enter the room, since she was at the door handing out the wings.
“This is just a bit too sissy for me,” Ran couldn’t handle it anymore. “Why can’t we have the option of using a flying skateboard or something?” he raised his hand and asked.
“It looks better to dance with wings than with a skateboard in the sky,” Wen replied. “Trust me,” she appeared a little annoyed, “because I have looked through all conceivable options. When you socialize, you don’t want to look too different.”
Xin, on the other hand, had a different opinion. “Why don’t we market these wings,” she asked, “because I am sure they will sell better than flying cars? Besides, they look really beautiful.”
“Well,” Wen replied immediately again, “these wings do not come with a raincoat, but it could be an option. Natural wings work more efficiently than traditional jet engines and propellers. That’s why humans have delivery drones that fly on bat-like wings, started by MIT at the beginning of the 21st century. However, if efficiency were the primary concern, I would prefer dragonfly wings that simply vibrate through thin air. Unfortunately, Arthropodans do not have a high social status among Avians, mostly because they can’t get beyond level-5 membership. I try not to look like them.”
“You mean we can dance with butterflies?” Xin was trying to be enthusiastic.
“And flies?” Ran was trying to be realistic.
The class was getting excited, but Wen was not quite as amused. “No,” she laughed, “you don’t want to get in direct contact with alien species. It’s just too easy to get sick.”
Feng interrupted this time, “Oh, I thought Qin already had a solution.”
Amused suddenly, Wen turned to Feng, “I suppose you really want to touch and hug them. Plus, Qin doesn’t have a solution with bacteria yet. It’s just the viruses he was dealing with.”
“But,” Feng was rather upset, “we need a better excuse. Weak immunity is not an excuse. Maybe it’s too easy to get cut with them or something.”
Laughing instead, Wen announced to the class. “Guys, listen,” she said, “most flying Arthropodans don’t hug one another. They simply kiss, so as to better maintain their positions in the air. They understand that our lips are too soft and we don’t have tentacles.”
“I thought we’d be meeting birds,” Yue was about to opt out.
“We’ll be meeting the few top species that set up the organization,” Wen replied, “who are actually birds.”
“Thank you very much,” came the response of Yue, “so we will look like Victoria’s Secret Angels, I suppose.” She was trying to tease Ran by pointing her finger at him, who early on had proposed using a skateboard instead.
“In fact,” Wen was laughing, too, “I don’t have the time to work on the uniforms. Just wear whatever you like. Be yourself.”
“How come Qin isn’t with us?” Feng followed up, “he’s a good friend of mine and I am sure he’d love to meet aliens.”
“He’s under Ying’s observation now,” Wen answered his question rather coldly, as if nothing had happened last time. There was a brief silence, a sudden change of atmosphere. She tried to cheer up the class, saying, “You know, he’s the only one of us with a human girlfriend.”
“Anyways,” Feng responded just as coldly, “Let’s just get straight to the class. I’ll talk to Ying about this later.”
“Good idea,” Wen nodded.