Wednesday, 9 July 2008

The Helix Assignment [Part 4]

Jennifer Lophat glanced around her. The classroom was totally silent, which was making her more nervous than usual. The reason? It was Doomsday, the period of time Man called Armageddon. The day where good and evil fight in an everlasting battle called Ragnarok, the coming of the Apocalypse, the end of the world................

Well actually, it's the day of the Chemistry test. Easy peasy, you think, Jeni thought to herself darkly. Yeah, right. She'd failed it once before, and she'd taken it hard then. This time, she was determined not to fail again.

Which was quite a deal for her considering she understood close to nil about electrochemistry. She read the first structural question.

1. In the electrolysis of aqueous copper (II) sulphate (Cu2SO4) solution with copper plates, state what will happen at the anode and cathode.

How the hell did she know? She wasn't a bloody scientist. She knew that it might have something to do with metal deposited somewhere. Jen searched the classroom. In front of her, Lauren Knight (Pierce) scribbled away calmly. It was pretty obvious that she studied. Even if she didn't, she'd probably manage to crap out reasonable answers that would get her marks. She was British. Good English? CHECK.

Next to Pierce, Hiroki Shinosuke, the mute Japanese boy, scratched his white (well, actually, albino) hair with his pencil. Jen thought he was having problems too, but he was merely breaking down the equation in his head before writing them out. Jen let out a silent groan. God help her.

Jen skipped the first question and went to question two, letting out another small groan.

2. In the electrolysis of aqueous sodium sulphate solution (Na2SO4), with carbon electrodes, what is discharged at the anode and cathode? State your reasonings.

She snuck another look. In front of Pierce and Hiroki, Joye was frowning. [P.S. Yes I know I put Joye in as a freshman, and Aqua as a sophomore, but for technical reasons I've decided to stick them all in one class ok? It makes my life easier.] She had studied the chapter on electrochemistry but she wasn't sure if she'd made any mistakes or not.

Aqua, on the other hand, was resting her head on her arms as though she was asleep. Wait a minute, Jen leaned in closer. She was asleep. What the hell?

Time to give it a shot, Jen finally decided. Focusing on her power, her X-Ray eyes zoomed in until she was looking past Pierce's skeletal body and onto her test paper. With delight she noticed that Pierce had the answer to the first structural question.

Ans: The copper plate at the anode will dissolve to form the cations of the salt. Hence, the mass of the anode decreases and the anode becomes thinner during electrolysis. The copper plate at the cathode accept electrons to form metal. Hence the copper plate at the cathode becomes thicker.

With a grin, Jen copied the answer. Man, life rocked!

On the other side of the class, Elsa struggled with the chemistry test as well. Oh, bugger, she thought sullenly. She would have to be extremely lucky to ace this test. Or, she smirked to herself, extremely talented.

Emphasis on "talented".

Closing her eyes, Elsa concentrated on her telepathy powers. Her mind touched Mr. Amh Arah, the supervising teacher's mind, albeit briefly, and she was eeriely disgusted to learn that her teacher was thinking about something she'd rather not know about. Pulling her face, Elsa turned direction.

Her mind floated around, tapping into Hiroki's, easily the smartest person in class. It took her three seconds before she pulled out. Hiro's mind was full of mathematic solutions she couldn't possibly begin to decipher even if she had an eternity.

She then turned to someone else. Pierce was the next best choice. Despite that however, Elsa hesitated, remembering the shock that ran through her body last time. She didn't know how it happened but she suspected there was something wrong with Pierce.

At that moment, Mr. Amh Arah looked at his watch and spoke. 'Twenty minutes left.' Shit, Elsa cursed. She had to do it. She closed her eyes and broadened her mind, touching Pierce's consciousness.

Hello, Elsa.

It was lucky for Elsa that she was sitting so far away from the teacher. She'd almost gasped out loud, but thankfully Amh Arah didn't notice. Her classmates around her did, though, and they were giving her weird looks. Trying to cover it up, she gave a deliberate cough, and turned back to her paper.

Nice to see I haven't lost my touch, Elsa. Pierce spoke again.

Elsa's eyes swung around wildly until they locked with Pierce's steely blue ones. She gave an acknowledging nod, a hint of a smile on her lips.

What are you? Elsa shot back. Pierce looked up with concealed amusement. I feel so insulted. You're smart enough. I'd thought you'd hit on it already. Another wicked smile. Or would you like another reminder?

She hadn't finished her sentence when another electric shock ran through Elsa's body. Pierce, she gritted her teeth. If not for this test, I would get up and kill you right now.

You're quite welcome to try, was the reply. Now do the test and stop CHEATING!

The last word vibrated in Elsa's mind, until Pierce's eyes turned black, and she wiped Elsa's mind from their previous conversation. It wasn't neccesary, but it amused her. She gave another wicked smile and finished her paper, quite aware that Jen Lophat was copying her answers. Maybe she'd be next.

Elsa shook her head, trying to figure out what happened. Unknowingly, she did a mind sweep, and stopped short in alarm.

Jen Lophat was a mutant! Horrified, Elsa snuck a look. There she was, writing steadily, with a gaze that bored through Pierce's back.

Literally, Elsa discovered in shock.

My oh my, Pierce smiled enigmatically. What happens next?

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