Empire State University: Visual Arts Building:
Again, Emma hears a thought in her head that is not her own asking if she is going to at least say something. Emma stands dumbfounded before this girl in the hallway. Shakily she tells the girls she can hear her in her head and asks how. The girl again replies telepathically that she can project her thoughts without feeling the need to move her lips. Emma stands there and stutters “then you are a ….” Astrid finishes the thought for her by placing the word mutant in her head. She also telepathically asks Emma if she is one too. Emma verbally denies this fact about herself.
Telepathically, Astrid repeats to Emma why she came to see Ian. She tells Emma that she already knows the anti-mutant hysteria on campus has her scared. She also informs Emma that she knows Ian is a former high school teacher that Emma had a crush on. There is no use lying to someone who can read your thoughts. Emma switches to telepathy herself and asks Astrid exactly what she wants. Astrid tells her she simply wants to be friends. Astrid also tells Emma that she thought she was the only one with this type of power. Then she heard another mind and tracked the cries down to Emma.
Astrid and Emma converse telepathically as they walk out of the building and onto the main campus. The talk about many things including the reason there are mutants. Neither has heard a good explanation for the phenomenon except evolution. Astrid tells Emma that she believes there is a lot more to mind-reading than just telepathy as she has read a few texts on the subject in Scientific American. The writer is known as Charles Xavier. Astrid asks Emma how she could not take advantage of the library in her parents’ mansion. Emma asks her if her thoughts are on display like cue cards, or what? Emma then tries to read Astrid’s mind and finds that Astrid is a closed book to her.
As they are walking their silent communication is rudely interrupted by someone yelling loudly “Muties leave”.
Both girls quickly notice that they have walked right into the anti-mutant demonstration. Astrid jokingly (telepathically) asks Emma if the demonstrators want them to leave for the Netherlands. Emma simply asks why they are hated so much by the normal humans. Astrid vocally asks Emma why people envy birds? Vocally, Emma informs Astrid that her speaking voice does not sound anything like her inner voice. Telepathically Astrid asks Emma how her inner voice sounds and Emma tells her she sounds like a Bach concerto. Astrid agrees to use her inner voice (her real voice) whenever she talks to Emma. Telepathically, the two mutants agree to get dinner together.
Later at the restaurant Emma is shocked to discover that Astrid has invited her off campus to a real restaurant instead of the campus fare she has been living off. This is a pleasant surprise for Emma. The girls communicate telepathically and never utter a vocal work to each other the whole time they are eating.
After dinner, Astrid takes Emma out into the street world of New York City. Silently she tells Emma all about the citizens she has met. She points out Bill, a third generation New York City police officer who has aspirations of climbing Mount Everest.
Further along the street, Astrid points at a woman pushing a shopping cart. Astrid introduces Emma to Janice, who is a widow and became homeless after her husband passed away. She still grieves for her lost love and does not speak any English. Then, Astrid directs Emma’s attention directly in front of them to the man who is scratching his head as he ambles along the street in their direction. Astrid tells Emma he is called Larry and he is a paranoid schizophrenic. He believes his bird has been cheating on him with his best friend. He also believe the world will end next week and wants to confront the cheaters before this occurs.
Emma lets Astrid know that she is amazed Astrid can tell so much about them from just a glance. Emma tells Astrid that she has to make physical contact to achieve the same results. Astrid is shocked that Emma has such a limited use of her mutant abilities yet she has possessed them since high school. Astrid believes Emma should be able to do more than read surface thoughts and cast simple illusions. Astrid claims that she has never used her powers to get answers to test questions. Emma tells Astrid that she believes it is unethical to casually get a person’s life history in such a fashion. Astrid reminds her that she thinks nothing of using her powers to cheat on exams. Emma tells Astrid these two things are completely different. Skimming minds for test answers to test questions isn’t technically cheating because she never actually sees anyone else’s tests. However, going through a person’s most intimate memories is an invasion of their privacy. Astrid accuses Emma of trying to use rationalization to justify her actions. Astrid claims she is using her abilities to experience the human condition. She claims it will help her be a better psychologist once she gets her master’s degree. She asks Emma what she would gain from her powers besides good test grades.
Emma tells Astrid that she is being judged unfairly. After all, Emma knows practically nothing about Astrid. Then she tells Astrid that she can’t read her mind no matter how hard she tries. Astrid tells Emma that she has learned to shield her thoughts from others who possess the ability to read minds. Emma Asks Astrid how she became so skilled at using her powers? Astrid tells Emma that she will just have to show her.
Emma finds her mind being flooded with images of Astrid at seven years old. Astrid stands behind her mother and they are at her father’s funeral service. Astrid’s mother promises she will always love the scared girl no matter what happens in the future. However, eleven months later Astrid’s mother marries a man named Aubrey Chilton. Despite her unresolved grief, Astrid tried very hard to be happy for her mother and tried to like her stepfather. Things were going as well as could be, until her parents brought home Yvonne, her new baby sister.
Astrid found that her room was converted into a nursery and she was left to sleep on the living room couch. Astrid felt displaced, but she still believed her mother loved her. The final blow was when she overheard her mother talking to baby Yvonne and telling her she was loved best. Astrid felt tossed out of her mother’s heart. This was a crushing blow to her emotionally.
At age thirteen, Astrid suddenly developed telepathic abilities and had to flee high school because of all the voices she heard. Astrid made a mistake by confiding the truth in her family. Instead of being understanding, they rejected her so she ran away from home.
In the real world, Emma nearly falls to her knees and Astrid grabs her to steady her. The images and emotions have come very fast and very loud and Emma is not used to receiving information at this speed. Emma asks Astrid if she will teach her to use her powers this way as well. Astrid agrees to do so.
Emma returns her dorm room late at night with feelings of elation and disbelief. She can’t believe she has finally found someone who has the same type of abilities she has. Someone she can learn from. Someone she can finally have a “true” sense of family with. Emma looks at Christie’s bed and finds it empty. As she lies down, she wonders where her roommate can be as she is usually home by now.
In the morning, Emma awakens to discover that she is still the only person in resident in the dorm room. Christie has never returned home. Emma gets dressed for the day and goes out the door to get breakfast and find her lost roommate.
However, Astrid is there and the two greet each other telepathically. Astrid tells Emma that she hopes she got enough sleep for the regime Astrid has planned for them for today. A familiar voice behind Emma greets her by name. She turns and says “Hi” to Max. She introduces Max and Astrid. Max swears he has met Astrid before but when she asks if he has ever been to London he says no.
Emma takes the opportunity to ask Max what has occurred since the campus police came and broke up the fight between the two opposing teams. Max tells her that the Captain of the opposing team convinced the authorities he started the fight since her pushed him. Max says he tried to point out that the opposing team had no right to be on campus but he was sent to the Dean of Admissions anyway. The dean told him she would revoke his scholarship and be expelled from E.S.U. if a situation like this ever happened again.
Astrid telepathically asks Emma if she was aware Max started the fight to impress her? She also tells Emma she regards Max as gallant and advises Emma to give him a second chance. Emma silently asks Astrid to quit reading their minds.
When Emma does notice what Max is saying she finds she has lost tracked of the verbal conversation and she apologizes to Max for “zoning out”. She tells Max she has a lot on her mind right now and Max excuses her behavior. Max tells her to remember that he is there if she ever needs anyone to talk to. Before the friends part, Max draws Emma aside and asks her if the other girls is the shy type since she doesn’t seem to do much talking. Emma tells him he is close in his assessment of her friend. Max tells Emma he will catch up later and runs off calling to the girls that it was nice to meet Astrid.
When he is safely out of sight, Emma turns to Astrid and asks her verbally to quit reading her mind. Telepathically, Astrid agrees to do this favor for her.
11 A.M.: on top of a building at Empire State University.
Emma telepathically asks Astrid why they have climbed up here. Astrid tells her because of the vantage point. Emma is really caught up by the view of the campus from this building. Astrid points to all the other students going about their daily lives below them. She tells Emma that in order to get to her just one psyche over all the others, she must first tune out all the others but the one she is interested in hearing. Astrid tells Emma that this is difficult but not entirely impossible. Emma points out Dean Irving, her academic advisor and tells Astrid that she wants to try him first. Astrid agrees and tells Emma to concentrate.
Emma concentrates and finds her mind full of various thoughts. Some about boyfriends, others about girlfriends, one about needing a vacation and another about being sick of grading papers. Emma sifts through the others to concentrate on the one about grading papers. She discovers that the person who had this thought has been working at this school for seven years. This person feels they are accomplishing nothing because the kids aren’t even interested in applying themselves. This person has the mortgage paid off, and the kids are grown and out of the house. Emma discovers that Dean Irving is thinking or retiring and moving to a warmer climate. Emma quickly relates this information to Astrid. Astrid tells Emma to forget about Irvine’s drama and explain how this felt.
Emma tells Astrid that this felt a lot like tuning a radio to the right station. Emma says she now knows more about him than she wanted to but it was a lot easier than she thought it would be. Astrid tells not to give herself a gold star just yet. Astrid reminds Emma that she must learn to tap into someone else’s memories without getting over emotional.
Empire State University, the Dorm Room, 7 P.M.
Emma slides her card into the electronic door lock and goes into the room. She feels like she is taking double the amount of credit hours from her regular classes. She is also thankful that Astrid can give her the extra education that she so desperately needs. Christie is straightening out an outfit on her bed. Christie looks up and casually asks Emma where she has been all day. Emma asks her where she has been and tells her she has been worried sick about her since she did not come home last night. Christie turns to Emma and dreamily replies nowhere. However, Emma telepathically receives images of Christie in Ian’s arms and she knows exactly where her roommate has been.