tablets in education

more postwar berkeley aliens: the human perspective

Eddie Cheung

I should have sat in the front of the room, but I’m too nervous. I went to the back instead, and now I feel very conspicuous, because this is a large amphitheater-style classroom, and it’s already started, and it’s only half full. And for some reason, I am sitting right next to the alien.

I’m not looking at him. My eye level is halfway up his naked humanoid torso part, I don’t want to get caught staring at Andalite pecs. I’m still thinking about how Andalites aren’t as blue in person as they are in Hasbro toy form, and hoping that Wikipedia is right and that Andalites aren’t technically telepathic.

Today is horrible. I want to go home.

The teacher says, “All right, let’s—“ and then something slangy and incomprehensible that makes no sense.

Students start gathering their stuff up and getting out of their chairs. Is class cancelled?

“Wait, what’s everyone—uh,” I shake my head, trying so hard to replace the words with English. I’m too tired, I spent too much time on the phone with my parents this morning, I’m remembering Mandarin instead, and I can’t remember the English at all.

<We have been asked to move closer to the front,> says the alien.

I twist around to look at him so fast my spine cracks. It’s the first thing I’ve easily understood all day that hasn’t been overheard from another Chinese student, some of them with really strong American accents. “You speak Chinese?”

<I understand all spoken and written language that I have been sufficiently exposed to,> the alien corrects. <I made a study of the most common languages at the university once I was enrolled, and my translation implant ensures I am understood. >

I am envious. Also, I am so confused.

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