Erin and Cherry had been sharing their room for almost a month.

They hadn’t seen Phyl in a while. They saw each other in class, since they were in the same class, but he spent most of his time with his roommates.

- “At first, I thought you were together,” said Cherry to Erin.

- Why this ? Phyl is just a buddy. We were in the same school and we saw each other at the fablab, we took the competition together, and that’s all … Why? Erin replied.

- You came together. You looked really close. Besides, I could have sworn Phyl was having a crush on you. “

- Well, if we got there together, it’s because the Academy organized it like this… We didn’t have much choice. “

Erin had indeed wondered. His relationship with Phyl was ambivalent. Sometimes they were very close. And she loved his amazed side of everything. Phyl had a tendency to get excited quickly, to get fascinated by a lot of things … He was a living life. And it was refreshing for Erin who was very down to earth.

And some times, Phyl didn’t seem to take Erin anymore. He was no longer speaking to her, his presence seemed to make him uncomfortable. Erin suspected Phyl of being jealous of her and the ease with which she tackled computers.

Shortly after, they met again, discussed again, and everything was back to normal. Until it starts again. Erin wasn’t sure if she should continue dating Phyl. One of these days she would have to take some time to think about it.

But her schedule since arriving had been very busy, and the few moments of rest she had given herself had consisted of catching up on the sleep delay she had accumulated.

First there was Cherry. Being her roommate wasn’t easy. She had decided to take advantage of everything the Academy had to offer. And had dragged Erin from nightclubs to libraries and from libraries to gyms. She intended to test everything.

Cherry was bursting with enthusiasm. For that, she looked like Phyl. Except she was happy to be herself, good about herself and didn’t care what Erin could do in class.

There were also the academy classes. The first week consisted of an IT upgrade. In order to homogenize the disparate levels of the students.

They had learned about the Academy’s state-of-the-art hardware, took stock of existing operating systems and their specifics, and watched existing programming languages at breakneck speed. All of this being “basic” notions that were taken for granted.

During the second week, they had had numerous lessons in so-called “low-level” programming languages, such as assembler, and those close to the machine such as C and C ++. That had been more difficult. Few students had had this kind of class before and many were dropped.

Last week, they reviewed the basics of the network.

The lessons went on at breakneck speed. This left them little leisure time. And those times were greatly occupied by Cherry.

They were told that after these weeks of refresher training, they would review the same subjects, but in more detail. It was obvious that you couldn’t cover a programming language in one week, and that only experience would really help them acquire the skills.

This week, they tackled virtual reality. First, through a headset, like the evaluation one. Then, they were taught that there was a much more efficient way to communicate with the machine and immerse themselves in the virtual environment.

This required the implantation of a microchip in the brain. This implant was supposed to allow direct communication between the brain and the computer without going through the senses. And therefore allowed a total immersion, because the brain was no longer scrambled by the data provided by the senses not used by the virtual reality headset, such as smell, taste or touch, or even the information provided by the inner ear. It went without saying that the existence of this implant had to remain secret.

We hadn’t really given them a choice. The students had passed one by one to the hospital, and came out with an implant, placed just behind the ear. Combined with a headset, it was supposed to allow communication via radio waves to the computer.