Dan turned the page of his notebook as he reclined in the row of chairs outside the lecture room. Keno grabbed the seat next to him. "No, you can't borrow my notes."
"I don't need to borrow your notes. I already borrowed Helen's notes."
"That's right," Dan sat up, interested. "The big date was last night. How'd it go?"
"It went fine."
Dan dropped his notebook. "It went fine! It never goes fine for you!"
"That's not important. I guess I was so worried, I forgot to be nervous around Helen."
"See, I told you she was nice." Dan paused as he picked his notebook off the floor. "What were you so worried about?"
Keno dropped his voice. "A female ninja saved Donnie s life last night while they were on patrol. I found out about it delivering pizzas. And it wasn't Lotus."
Dan gulped, "You don't think . . . ."
"I don't know what to think," Keno concluded as he used both hands to pull back his shoulder-length, black hair.
"She could be working for the Shredder."
"That's what the Turtles are worried about. And I'm worried that she isn't."
"You don't think . . . ."
"I don't know what to think."
"She's been asking a lot on the mechanics of fighting. You don't think . . . ."
"I don't know what to think! And neither do you!"
Dan sighed, "We're probably just jumping to conclusions."
"Well, somebody better answer to this conclusion."
Dan looked at the door of the lecture room. "We better get to class." Keno sighed but followed him into the room. The red-haired young man paused just inside. "Have you talked to Allie yet?"
"No," Keno replied gruffly.
"Has anyone else?"
"I don't think so."
"Let me handle it."
Keno bowed and gestured down the aisle. "Be my guest."
Dan sighed and headed down the steps to the front of the lecture room. Allie was reviewing her notes as she sat in the third row. "Hi, Allie."
She looked up, "Hi, Dan. What's up?"
"That's what I wanted to ask you."
A well-muscled, tall man shouldered his way past Dan and into the desk Dan was aiming for. "Take a hike, Pennington."
"Nice to see you, Donaldson," Dan muttered as he headed back up to the next empty seat.
Donaldson leaned over with a seductive gleam in his eye. Allie glanced at him and looked down at her notes. He coughed softly, "Hello, Allie. How's it going?"
"Just fine, thanks," she turned another page in her notebook.
"Going to my Frat's party Friday?" He asked with a sly grin on his face.
Allie didn't even bother looking at him. "Wouldn't miss the party, but I hope I can skip you."
Donaldson was saved from coming up with a good retort by Professor Dale's entrance. "My time starts now. Everyone punch in." The class tittered as he took his place at the lectern. "We're continuing the discussion of the role media--all forms of it--plays in criminal behavior and law enforcement. Mr. Pennington."
Dan looked up, "Yes, sir?"
"Your father is in charge of Channel Three?"
"What gets the ratings?"
"The blood and guts," Dan grinned.
"Exactly," Professor Dale exaggerated. "There is a definite correlation between human's love of violence, seeing violence, and being violent."
Allie gestured for attention. "What about the media's glorification of vigilantes? It basically says it s fine to trash the people who have hurt you."
"And as always, Miss Baker, you have stated it so eloquently." Allie smirked back at the Professor's retort. "But seriously, it could be part of the cycle. What brings on this question; an interest in the city's local heroes, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?"
Allie tossed her blonde hair back with a slight, sly grin. "I find them fascinating." Keno and Dan gulped simultaneously. "What do you think of them?"
Keno leaned toward Dan. "What is she doing?" he stressed in a whisper.
"I have no idea," Dan whispered back.
"I admire them, Miss Baker," Professor Dale answered. "They are not vigilantes in the true sense of the word. They managed to fight crime without resorting to killing anyone."
"If she gives something away, I ll kill her," Keno declared.
"She won't give anything away; Allie's not stupid."
"Meet at her dorm, after classes."
Sammie gazed down at the diagram she had drawn during the Psychology lecture. "This theory applies to almost anything?"
"Just about," the professor assured her. "It tries to explain where in Psychology do emotions fall. You think you know someone who falls under it?"
"It would be the theory to explain one of her major traits."
"It's not a drug problem, is it?"
"Oh no! Nothing that simple."
"Maybe you should encourage her to get counseling if the trait is dangerous."
"I would, if I was suicidal."
Keno threw himself into a couch in the lobby of the girls' dorm. "Do you see her?"
Dan stepped away from the door. "No, but Sammie's coming."
Sammie stretched for the door handle to pull it open and her fingers brushed against it. She stretched further and pulled her stack of books closer to her chest. She grabbed the door handle, swung open the door, and stepped inside in one continuous move--hoping to look graceful and dignified. Instead, her foot caught on the doorstep and she fell into the lobby, pitching her books everywhere. The girl behind the lobby desk never looked up.
Keno and Dan grabbed Sammie's arms and set her back on her feet. "Thank you, sirs. I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."
"You have been watching way too many movies, Sammie." Dan admonished as he laid some books in her arms.
"It's a classic; leave me alone. You guys here to see Allie?"
"Yeah," Keno answered. "When is she coming in?"
Sammie twisted her arm to see her watch. "In a few minutes. But so is everyone else to finish watching the soaps. Come up to our room."
"No boys allowed," Dan reminded her.
"Oh please. You guys aren't boys. Boys are men you are dating. You're practically family. Head for the door on the left. Third floor. I'll distract Ms. Cosmo."
"You know, it always happens," Keno observed. "A little of Allie rubs off on everyone she meets."
Sammie poked her head over the desk. "Can I borrow this month's Cosmo?"
The upperclassman flipped another page in the magazine. "Does this look like the library?"
"Just let me see it for a minute." Sammie grabbed the magazine from her hands. "Somebody told me about an article."
"Hey! Give that back!" The girl jumped up but Sammie pulled the magazine to the right and out of reach.
Keno and Dan opened the door to the stairwell and quickly ducked inside. Sammie snorted, "Well, if you re going to act that way about it." She handed the magazine back in a huff. She let the stairwell door swing shut behind her and yanked her elbow and fist behind her. "Yes!" Keno and Dan were waiting nervously for Sammie to finally reach the top of the stairs. "So what did Allie do this time?"
"What hasn't she done?" Dan asked irritably.
"That bad?" She replied as she unlocked the dorm room door and ushered them inside. "Find a place to sit." She apologetically dropped her books on her side of the desk and swept up the clothes onto her bed, leaving the chairs and Allie's bed open for seats. "Sorry about the mess; I'm afraid I'm not really good at this cleaning thing yet." Keno and Dan grinned as they grabbed the two chairs. "So how's college going for you guys?"
Dan rolled his eyes. "I'm still trying to convince my dad I don't want to be a reporter."
"Yeah?" Keno ribbed, "Then why are you taking so many journalism classes?"
Dan ignored him. "So how are the psych classes coming?"
"They're doing just that--coming. And it's all I can do to catch them. Why in this slightly rotting apple did I decide to go to college?"
"Because you can't get a decent job without a college degree," Keno answered.
"I knew there was a good reason."
A key fitted into the door and Allie opened it. "Hi Dan, Keno." She turned to Sammie, "It worked?"
"She never had a clue."
"Have you two figured out how to get us back out?" Dan asked. "Or do you expect us to live up here?"
"You can leave by the back door. The alarm on it isn't set until curfew." Allie dropped her back pack on her bed and landed beside it. "But I get the feeling this isn't a social call."
"You're right," Keno scowled. "What the hell did you think you were doing in class?"
She looked up, her blue eyes opened innocently. "Participating?"
"You're not supposed to give away anything about," he looked at Sammie, "that."
Allie twisted her lips into a grimace. "Did I give anything away? Did I lie about anything?"
"No, but that's not the point," Dan argued. "You have to be more careful."
"You're just paranoid," Allie retorted.
Sammie gave each of the bickerers a good, hard stare. "The Three Musketeers share a secret. Boy, do I feel like Chris O'Donnell."
"What?" Allie demanded, confused again by Sammie's unique analogies.
"Chris O'Donnell; ya know, the movie. He played the new guy."
"He played D'Artagnan. D'Artagnan is the character in Alexander Dumas's book. You feel like D'Artagnan."
"Okay, Allie, okay. But you do at least get my point?"
Keno sighed, "We're sorry that we can't tell you what the big deal's about, but our hands are tied. It's not our secret."
"No big deal," Sammie shrugged. "I just hate being left out." She picked up her Walkman and snapped the headphones over her ears.
Dan turned back to Allie. "Look, they have enough trouble without you stirring up more. With this new female ninja . . . ."
Allie jerked her head up and sat down on her bed. "What new female ninja? He's not an equal-opportunity employer."
"A female ninja saved Donnie's life last night when they were out on patrol, and it wasn't Lotus. We're not sure what side she's on." Keno's eyes narrowed suspiciously, "You hadn't heard anything?"
"I was studying last night at the library." She jumped off her bed and shifted through the papers next to the phone. "I asked you guys not to use the Comms unless it was an emergency." She turned to Sammie and waved her hands. Sammie noticed and shut off her Walkman. "Did anyone call me last night?"
"Zack and some guy named Mike. He had a sexy voice in a boyish way. He wanted you to call him back."
"Sammie. You're supposed to write phone messages down. On paper. And put them where I can find them. If millions of people on this planet can master this, why can't you?" Sammie shrugged and pressed play on her Walkman. Allie sighed, "I'm going to find out about this. Now," she turned to Dan and Keno, "what are you two doing Friday night?"