2008-05-23: Pedagogy

Starring:

Lee_icon.gif Sophie_icon.gif

Summary:

Sophie attempts to recruit Lee into a plan. Guess what he says? Hint, "Yes" is too long an answer.

Date It Happened:

May 23, 2008

Pedagogy


Brubaker Secondary School - New York City

Lee can be found at Brubaker at almost all hours these days - as the end of the year nears, he's holding study sessions and coaching his far-behind students on how to make it through the exam, often the only teacher on campus. It does make it easy to find his classroom - the light spills out into the antique hallways as he does the work trying to prepare for tomorrow. He is cramming for the final he is going to give more than any of his students are, it seems. The approaching end of civilization hasn't impacted him as much as the approaching end of the school year.

It really hasn't been that long since Sophie was attending classses in a school like this. Well, to be honest, not all that much like this, since she grew up in a small rural town upstate. She has to go to the principle's office first, check in and get directions. She looks a little lost as she walks the halls, until she gets to that classroom. She is, as always lately, dressed in long sleeves, turtleneck and gloves. She gets a few glances, but she just mouths 'psoriasis' and carries on until you hear a hesitant tap at the door.

Lee says, "Come in." distractedly. Most of the students and teachers have gone from this area of the school. It's just him trying to get things ready. "Oh, hey, ah, Sophie, right?" He seems pleased enough to see her, though he does start by saying with a teasing smile, "So how's the garbage distribution business?"

Sophie looks puzzled, then she chuckles, "Oh, yes. Well, it was just until Kory could get back on her feet. I'm back to shelving books at the University." she looks around, "How're things for you?"

Lee says, "Busy. We're coming up on the end of the year. Finals are only a couple of weeks away, it seems like just yesterday everyone was stressed about the state achievement tests, now they have to deal with finals, too." He gestures to a chair opposite him at the desk, one of several. Clearly he meets with small groups of students here after school. They must not give him an actual office, although she passed probably 10 empty ones on her way here.

Sophie nods and settles down. But she does glance around, probably some indicator of the kind of problem she's coming to talk about. She says, "Well.." she makes a face, "There's a problem. I hate to come to you with this, but, well, could use some advice on education."

Lee says, "I'm pretty new at this, but I'll give it a shot. How old's the student?"

Sophie says, "Its sort of a special situation. From what I /remember/.." special emphasis there, "She would definitely fall under 'non-traditional'. But so has been her education so far. She seems to be in her early 20's."

Lee nods. "Non-traditional in what way? Home schooling or…?" he asks, leaning back in his seat and lacing his lengthy fingers behind his head. He likes the conversation so far, at least.

Sophie says, "In a way. One man, she calls him 'teacher'.I don't mean she calls him HER teacher, I mean.. she calls him 'teacher'." with a wrinkle of her nose. She takes a breath, "It would be hard to describe, but.. I think he's a sociopath, and no, I'm not using hyperbole." Well, that was easier than she made it out to be.

Lee smirks, "I wish I could say that would be the first teacher I ever heard of that was a sociopath," he quips, but then he sees she is serious, "Really? Well, there's always the Board of Education. They regulate even adult education. It's too bad we didn't find out about this when she was younger, Family Services might get involved…"

Sophie nods and she says, "No kidding. But, well, that could be problematic because.. there's some other issues." she sighs, "Special ones. I'm not sure about him, but, well, I know she's got some special gifts, and he might too."

Lee makes a face. "Ugh." he says firmly. "Why don't you tell me about the situation from the beginning and what your question exactly is." he suggests.

Sophie takes a breath. "There's probably a faster way to show you, but.. The short version is, her name is Elisabetha Belmont. His name is Novak Garibaldi. She seems to have some kind of emotional problem." she frowns in thought, "Like the most severe depression I've ever seen. I think he likes it that way because it makes her malleable. She has been told her entire life that people are wretched, that life is pain and suffering, and that it is her task to eliminate that suffering." she takes a long breath, saying, "Garibaldi does seem to be teaching his own life philosophy. Kory dream walked into his dreams, and it included cracking the world like an eggshell." then adds a final touch, "Teaching her is a sideline. He works for Pinehearst."

Lee rolls his eyes. "Those morons." he says, shifting his hands to rub his forehead with his thumbs. "So basically, this idiot is teaching her only what she needs to know in order to carry out his 'master plan'." He doesn't need to flex his fingers to make the dismissive, snide quote marks around it. "What an asshole."

Sophie nods, sighing, "Yes. She knows almost nothing he didn't personally teach her. Its like he's brainwashing her. He tells her that life is suffering, and her purpose in life is to end suffering. And, well.." she winces, "Well, it'd be more efficient if she didn't have to do it one at a time. I think that's what he's trying to work on at Pinehearst."

Lee says, "I don't even have to know the details to know that's the dumbest idea any person has ever had in the long and storied history of dumb ideas that have been had by all the inhabitants of God's green earth. So, ah, what's the question exactly?"

Sophie says, "Well, Kory got through with her, from what she let me see of the dream contact. Even briefly, exposure to new ideas had an impact. Right now, he has overwhelming influence, but he hasn't had any of his ideas countered. If someone opened her mind, and her eyes, maybe she can be turned from just a weapon he plans on loading and aiming at humanity, into a real human being."

Lee is looking slightly incredulous now. "Wait, are you asking me to go and teach this woman…in her dreams? Sophie, no reputable teacher is going to agree to that. It's…it's a completely unsound idea. It would never work, it could do a lot of harm." he insists.

Sophie takes a breath, "Well, I don't know what else to do." she then says, "Perhaps your professional opinion? Would you be alright with, well, experiencing what we are dealing with? I can show you what she is like."

Lee says, "No!" almost frantically, before recovering what passes for his cool and collectedness, "I'll tell you what to do, nothing, don't do anything. It's very sad for her, but she's an adult, and this guy's plan is so stupid that it can't possibly have any hope of ever meaning anything to anyone. But to go directly into someone's head and put ideas there? That's completely unethical, not to mention the worst way to teach someone!" Lee has an idea of what this is like and he's not going to let himself believe it is any different.

Sophie shakes her head, "Not put ideas there. I don't do that. You would actually have contact, actual interactive contact." she frowns, "I don't put things in people heads."

Lee is adamant. "If you're really concerned about her you will find another way to handle this. I won't be a party to it. Do you even know where she is physically? Start there." The one teacher on the List and he isn't even going to hear about doing the one thing he actually might be qualified to do.

Sophie says, simply, 'He could do it. He may very well be able to do what he plans. Maybe not all his plans, but while we don't know his gift, we do have an idea of hers. She causes decay and death."

Lee rolls his eyes. "That's a problem, but she's not the problem, the problem is that depressed, or psychotic, or just idiotic people the world over are going to be able to cause decay, death, or worse, disease or famine or earthquakes. The problem is these abilities are going to regular old human beings instead of colorfully drawn fictional paragons and eventually the evolutionary dice are going to come up snake eyes and someone really horrible is going to be able to do something really destructive. Nature is dumb and we're always the victims. This Ms. Belmont is just the first of many, many, many people that are going to pose that challenge." he says. "I mean, even if we stop this jerkoff she's going to be depressed and destructive. Depression isn't cured by education, you have to have medication and treatment for that."

Sophie looks over, 'We have a person that can kill a person through proximity and has been taught that everyone is wretched and evil. The only access is through a sociopathic professor who happens to work for a laboratory whose apparent purpose is to give EVERYONE the very powers you object to. How, precisely are you proposing we provide said medication and treatment?'

Lee shrugs and it probably seems a little callous. "I'm not saying I've got a better idea, I'm just saying that I'm not signing on to this one. Look, you didn't tell Kory you were coming down here, right? Right, because she would have told you that I wouldn't do it. I'm not going to go teach someone in their dreams. I mean, how would she even do the reading? Can she even do the reading, I assume this moron wouldn't teach her to read since he clearly doesn't know how to do it himself."

Sophie shrugs, "She can have access to entire books if she wants it, though I do believe she can read. It isn't so much about dreams as memories."

Lee adds, "That's another thing, does she even want this?" He waves his hands as if forestalling an answer. "No, no, Sophie, I'm not going to do this. I'm not going down this road. It doesn't lead anywhere good." And he's not even sorry.

Sophie smiles wryly. "You were worried about me putting ideas in people's head, and I really can't persuade anyone of anything." rising. "I know where doing nothin leads, but.. well, at least I heard I was doing good work.

Lee takes pause at that - he was told that too, after all - but it's a pause that comes too late. He's committed. "Good luck. And…don't tell Kory you came down? She thinks little enough of me as it is." he says with a wry half-smile, almost sad.

Sophie nods and she smiles with her own wry smile as she turns away, shrugging. "Maybe you're right. Probably overblown. What's one more powerful ignorant rich girl in the world? Doesn't matter anyway."

Lee chuckles sadly, "Right, right." he says, rubbing the back of his head as she goes. "Was good seeing you. I'll be around."

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