From a distance it looked like a castle, or maybe a mansion, but up close the Academy looked much newer, because of the concrete and its rounded shapes, but mostly because of the many geodesic-shaped buildings that surrounded the main building…

The new arrivals were blown away; Phyl swallowed the flies with her mouth wide open, Cerise stamped on the spot. Even Erin, who was hardly impressionable, gasped.

They had just stepped off the bus, happy to be able to stretch their legs after the long journey, when a tall man approached their group. Others gave them some sort of headset, which Erin, like the others, put on.

When the man began to speak, she saw the usefulness of it. It was a real-time translator, allowing people to easily communicate with each other. Obviously, since it was a European academy, everything had been thought out so that everyone could work together and easily.

The man introduced himself as Lukasz Kowalczyk, the warden of the establishment.

- “Welcome and Bravo. You are at the Academy.

If you look behind me you see large geodesic buildings, side by side with smaller ones. Each large dome represents a country of the European Union, or a union of countries for the little ones. This is a division like any other, but it has the advantage of allowing you to find yourself culturally speaking, and therefore of facilitating certain learning.

I know, some will tell me that there are tensions between Europe and England, Brexit, etc. But this project is of such importance that these have been put aside. So you will indeed find a dome for the English.

If possible, your teachers and members of the administration will speak French, which will allow you to avoid having to use this headset most of the time and to understand each other easily. You are obviously strongly invited to mix between countries.

The main building, the only one you see that isn’t a geode, is the administration. It’s like the administrative heart of the Academy. You will only come here rarely, for administrative reasons or during certain inter-domes meetings.

I welcome you once again to the establishment and hope you will thrive here. Now, follow your supervisors, they will show you around. “

They were about to set off when Mr. Kowalczyk spoke again for the last time.

- “I forgot. Obviously, now that you have accepted the terms of the contract and entered the Academy grounds, it is no longer possible for you to leave it, either on foot or virtually.

An internal telephone network has been set up, to allow you to communicate with one another within the Academy. On the other hand, it will not allow you to reach external people, for that, you will have to go through us.

The Academy and the surrounding forest are surrounded by an enclosure. You can walk in the forest if you wish, but don’t try to get out. We will be notified of any exit attempts, and I don’t recommend attempting to walk through the compound, it is electrified and will knock you out.

With that, I wish you a good day. “