A screen slowly descended from the ceiling as Dr. Lani waved a hand towards stage left. A group of upper classmen quietly made their way out.
“When you all applied for Camp Schesi, you filled out a survey of some basic info about yourself, and some personal details, such as your study habits, your cleanliness, and your typical sleep schedule,” she stated. “I’m sorry to say that this wasn’t because we were this interested in getting to know you; we were actually in need of the information in order to find the best Schesi Somebody for you.”
Chika frowned. “’Schesi Somebody’…?”
“On the screen behind me, you’ll see you’ve been divided into two categories. Those of you in Column A, please make your way to this side of the auditorium—” She pointed to one side. “—And Column B, you go to the other. From there, someone will help you find your Schesi Somebody, and we can start!”
Everyone slowly started to get out of their seats, the chatter coming back with it. Soledad went to follow until a hand grabbed the back of her jumpsuit and tugged it. She turned to Terra, who was looking at her with wide eyes.
“W-We’re not together,” she whimpered.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m in Column B,” Terra explained, “And you’re both in A. We—We aren’t—”
Soledad quickly sunk back down and put her hands on Terra’s shoulders. “Hey, it’s okay. We’ll only be apart for a little while, alright? We just have a scavenger hunt, which probably won’t take very long, and then when we all meet back up for dinner, we’ll find each other again. Okay? It’ll just be a few hours, and it’ll be over in the blink of an eye,” she reassured. Terra grabbed onto one of her hands, but she just smiled and pulled them away. “Besides, you’re not gonna be alone. You’ll have your Schesi Somebody with you!”
“But I don’t—!”
“C’mon, everyone, let’s go!” an upperclassman yelled from the stage.
Terra stared helplessly at Soledad, but she only smiled apologetically and patted her on the shoulder one last time before standing and pulling her up with her.
“Just a little bit, okay?” she repeated. “We’ll find you as soon as it’s all over.”
With that, she slipped around Terra and hurried after Carlito, who was already in the Column A crowd. Terra watched until she was gone before curling in on herself and slinking over to the Bs.
Adela looked at Chika. “What’s wrong?”
Chika let out a sigh and ran a hand down her face, sinking lower into her seat. “Looks like we’re being separated…”
With a frown, Adela turned to the screen, searching the rest of Column B in an attempt to find her new friend’s name anywhere alongside hers; sure enough, she came up empty. Her shoulders sank as she returned her gaze to Chika, who was now staring at the ceiling with a small grimace.
“Well… We can meet back up for dinner, if you want,” she offered. “Maybe if we run into each other during the activity, we can stay together, too.”
“What even is the activity?” Chika asked.
“Oh, it’s just—”
“Come on, everyone, let’s go!”
The two looked at the stage, and then back to each other as they got to their feet. Adela wrapped her arms around herself and shrugged. “They’ll explain when you get your Somebody. I’ll see you soon?”
Chika pressed her lips together and sighed before nodding. “Yeah… Yeah, see you soon.”
The two split apart towards their respective crowds; Chika had to force herself to keep looking forward instead of turning back to keep an eye on Adela. Instead, she stuffed her hands in her pockets and wandered around, staying as close to the edges as she could.