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Diverging Paths

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In one universe the SID arrives in time to protect a terrified student and her teacher. That universe is not this one and Li Qian finds herself summarily... teleported? Or something? Into Professor Shen's office, the last thing she sees before she recognises the familiar surroundings is a human shaped shadow turned to ice and a glaive appearing out of nothing into Professor Shen's hand. What the hell?

"Stay here, please." Professor Shen rests his hands against her shoulders, a brief squeeze of reassurance and she nods slowly, brain still trying to come to terms with everything that isn't sheer terror. Then her professor is gone again and she's alone in the room, breathing slowly and trying to will her heartbeat to stop jackrabbiting in her chest. It works eventually and she sinks down onto the chair in front of Professor Shen's desk, relieved that her fingers are no longer trembling.

On the one hand, she thinks, she should still be terrified, because Professor Shen is certainly not as human as he appears. She could walk out of here right now and he probably wouldn't comment at all. On the other... On the other, this explains so much, and even if she walked out the door there was no guarantee something else wouldn't come after her, even if Professor Shen deals with the shadow.

She stays where she is. She's a scientist after all, curiosity has always been a weakness of hers.

Oh, that looks more like a portal of some kind, not actual teleportation. Interesting.

"Is that why you can't use computers?"

The words spill out before she stops to think and Professor Shen blinks at her in bewilderment.


"Or any kind of technology," she adds. "Like the projectors. Or mobile phones."

He winces, moving carefully towards his desk and the chair behind it. Giving her space, she thinks. Room to run, if she wanted. If she wanted that, though, she wouldn't still be here. Besides, she knows there are stranger things in the world that what you can see. Her grandmother's life is proof of that.

"That... In a sense, yes." He sits down and just looks at her. It's his evaluating look, the one he gets when he's turning over things in his mind, looking for the weak spots in your arguments so he can poke holes in them until you reach a more comprehensive conclusion. "You're taking this very well, Li Qian."

"I think I hit the sheer terror barrier and came out the other side, Professor," she says honestly. "But I do have questions, if that's okay?" Really though. So. Many. Questions.

He stares at her again, then the corner of his mouth quirks up and he ducks his head slightly, the way he only does when he's truly pleased or happy about something. "Of course. Where would you like to begin?"