It’s been over fifteen years since Samantha’s grandmother passed away, and during that time she’s been on her best behavior in the afterlife. This week she got her reward: a promotion to the rank of Angel (Second class).
Contrary to popular culture, that designation does come with wings of the recipient’s choosing, plus a halo. The latter is limited to a specific wattage after some individuals went overboard on the brightness. So much for Pride being a disqualifying sin.


Brenda Scrim (formerly Laptop the Border collie) has had a career that becomes more interesting by the day. She’s been Jeanine’s campaign manager and chief of staff, and in that capacity became close to the previous Governor (and Jeanine’s mentor). She and the Governor married, so for a time before Jeanine’s election Brenda was the state’s First Lady. She’s highly qualified to assume that top role herself, and plans to run in 2020.


As previously remarked, Feryl’s reaction to meeting Vince’s parents wasn’t typical of most humans. She didn’t freak out because, as she later said, the signs were all there.
Instead, her immediate reaction was to ask questions. She first began figuring out Vince’s age, since as a human he appears to be about twenty or so. Most of that maturation would have taken place during the time he spent as a mouse owing to their brief lifespan; about a year, tops.


It all started when Vince decided to transform himself back into a mouse to more easily clean Samantha’s test tubes. While a clever application, he didn’t count on Feryl entering the lab to do her assignments for Rupert and Rosalind. She spotted him immediately and recognized him by his scent.
Now, not many humans have such a finely-honed ability, but the upshot is that she wasn’t wrong. (Remember, she’d encountered him as a mouse during the Christmas incident at the same time she became a cat, and then a reindeer.)


Samantha is always thinking twenty steps ahead of everyone else. Case in point is the new lab assistant for Rupert and Rosalind, Feryl. She’s a freshman who just happened to move into Samantha’s old dorm, and came to Samantha’s attention due to her relentless pursuit of Vince.
Samantha and the rest of us will be gone to Mars for three years, so Samantha had to staff the lab with those she trusted to keep the place running in her absence. The department chair Prof. Allele is useless, and while Rupert and Rosalind are brilliant researchers they have zero management skills. Vince has proven himself trustworthy, but he needed help. Enter Feryl.


For all the details Samantha came up with while planning the Mars mission (And remember, she spent a lifetime doing that, and time-traveller Maria brought the results back to the present day), she didn’t indicate who the Commander would be. Now we know. It’s her.
She had called a meeting to discuss that very thing, and intended to convince everyone to vote for Luis. However, there was a crisis at the lab that required her attention, which put her in rush hour traffic. That delayed her for another 90 minutes. By the time she finally arrived at the house the vote had already taken place. (Luis was voted second in command.)


Samantha has always been bothered by the state of affairs between Remora and her family; she can’t help feeling responsible for the events leading to Remora becoming an outcast when she fell in love with Thomas. That all happened after Remora came to live with Samantha, although to be fair, Remora was intentionally sent by the merfolk to study human culture.


Saturday was the Dorm Talent Show, an event cooked up by Patina. Year by year she’s proving to be an able replacement for Samantha as resident advisor. (Pam…well, if you like drama…)
Speaking of which, the talent show delivered that by the truckload. Pam’s agenda was to create a situation where Pam was *expected* to transform into a cat, and then actually do so in a way that everyone, including the magician, thought was all a trick. She would therefore satisfy her mother’s demand that she not arouse suspicion.


Feryl turns out to have an interesting background: she was raised by her father who was a traveling stage magician. During summers she would accompany him from town to town, acting as his assistant and learning the craft. In addition to various tricks and gags, she also studied stagecraft and general theatrical skills.


Samantha is looking ahead to being away from the lab for three years, and one of those tasks is ensuring that there’ll still be a lab when she gets back. That requires people in charge that she trusts to maintain order.
Unfortunately, Rupert and Rosalind, for all their brilliance, don’t meet that criteria. They’ve shown to exercise poor judgment in the past, and now they have a full plate of responsibilities at home. Worse, Department Chair Prof. Allele is totally useless.