Delia wiggled to the end of the diving board. One small bounce, and she was airborne and then wet. She could feel the ripples in the water. She brought herself down to the bottom, and rested. She brought a fin to the tile on the floor, wondering if the ocean was as smooth.

Above, no one paid much mind to her; their initial fascination with her had waned after she was banned from competitive diving. The DLIA government project had been folded for three years at that point, when (in large part thanks to her) it had been decided that there was no need to breed sea mammals for above-the-sea purposes. On her 12th birthday, the government check her adoptive parents received was suddenly gone, and the two happiest figures in her life suddenly found themselves in an unknown position without funds. Diving had helped with that, for a while.

And public education was no picnic. Not because of the kids. The kids didn't care one way or another. They were all weird in their own way, and Delia found that she had at least one or two friends in every class. No, the problem was the desks. Some teachers would let her sit up front, and some had other means of keeping Delia comfortable, but she was never so comfortable as she was in this moment at the bottom of the pool.

She wondered how long she could wait down there before they started to wonder if she was coming back up.