“Still nothing,” Ada confirmed. She opened her eyes and looked up to see Herman sitting beside her in on one of the sofas in the nearly-deserted student union, his head cocked to one side. Carefully, she took off the headset and twisted it in her hands before holding it out to him. “You wanna try?”
Herman eyed the battered, second-hand headset his crush had spent weeks restoring and shook his head, his long red hair covering his eyes. “Uh... I'd rather not,” he replied, scooting out of the way as if the headset was a cursed object that would jinx him for life if he touched it. “Even if it is up and running again, I would never go anywhere near one of those headsets. I've read the articles and that Hellfire...”
Ada tuned out his rant as she weighed the headset in her hands. Ever since it was developed and released to the public, she had wanted to try Ingress and see what the big deal was surrounding it. Everyone from the mechanical engineering department and the students in her T.A group to her friends and neighbors were raving about it.
“This is the future of alternate reality,” they said.
“I mean... what do they expect to fix in London?” Herman ranted, loud enough that the few students still hanging out in the hall were now staring at him.
“It's so awesome,” they said.
“You can't just fix something like that with a vacation!”
“You wouldn't believe the worlds I've been to,” they said.
“You hear about Graciela? Dante's sister?”
“You won't believe the people I've met,” they said.
“She has to see a therapist after what she went through!”
“Dude, will you keep it down,” shouted one of the students seated at a nearby table.
Herman rolled his eyes before dropping his voice to a low whisper and continuing.
It wasn't like I was going to use Ingress for fun, Ada thought. It was just for research purposes. Something to help me with my thesis. And there was no way you would have known about what was happening in the weeks leading up to it.
Sure, I missed out on experiencing what it has to offer. But considering the alternative...
“Maybe it was for the best that I got it working following the incident,” she whispered, setting the headset down on the coffee table in front of her.
Herman paused mid-sentence and glanced over to his right. Ada was perched on the edge of the couch cushions, still staring at the headset.
“So much for my thesis,” she continued. There was no way she was going to make it to London. Not when the fall semester was due to begin during that same time. There were T.A classes to prepare for and meetings with her adviser and professors. And considering how she wasn't directly affected by the event, she felt that it wasn't right to travel to the Ingress Inc's headquarters.
He inched closer to her, leaning over and trying to get her attention.
“Yeah,” she mumbled before shaking her head, snapping out of her trance. She reached for the book-bag laying by her feet and stashed the headset inside before standing up.
“I'm going to the library,” she announced. “I think I'm going to need a new topic to write about.”