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"Welcome to your third year of high school, kids!" Yukari-sensei beamed at the assembled class 3-3. Everyone was there from last year, and in the same seating arrangement as back in 2-3; Yukari-sensei hated change.

"I know I'm looking forward to it," Kasuga Ayumu murmured happily, eyes forward dreamily.

There was a brief scuffling sound of a desk being turned to face her. "Osaka? You're looking forward to this year?" Kagura was aghast. "You barely do better than I do in class!"

'Osaka' slowly turned to look her fellow Blockhead in the eye. "I suppose that's true, but this year, we get to study…



"Physics 101"

An Azumanga Daioh story
by Ukyou Kuonji

Well, of course Azumanga belongs to Azuma Kiyohiko-sensei, Dengeki Daioh (Mediaworks), Genco, J.C. Staff, and TV-Tokyo. Let's just say I don't have permission to do this, but no infringement is intended, okay?

All together now: "I don't have permission to do this…"


This did nothing to calm the class jock. "EEHHH?!" Osaka was into… physics? Was her space cadet persona merely a mask behind which hid a second Einstein?

For her part, Osaka only responded by serenely turning back to face the front of the classroom, while giving her classmate an enthusiastic nod. "I have something I really want to learn about."

"WHOOOAAH!!" Yomi dropped her bespectacled face into her hands as her old friend Tomoe sprang to her feet beside Osaka. The third Blockhead would just have to throw in her own two yen.

"This is so inspiring! Osaka, you're gonna go far with an interest in the harder sciences like this!" All the while, Tomo-chan was thumping Osaka on the back with her open hand, hard enough that her doe-like eyes started to spin. "Ne, ne, can you let me copy your notes when you've got 'em together? I assume you'll be taking good ones for this class."

"She can't take any notes if you beat her into unconsciousness like that, Tomo-chan," Yomi snapped. She rose from her seat and, pushing Tomo-chan aside, gently placed a hand on Osaka's shoulder. "You okay?"

By now, Osaka's face had been firmly planted into her desk, so her response came out slightly muffled: "I'll be all right… Thank you, Yomi-chan." Slowly, painfully — at least, it looked painful — she peeled her face off the desk. A couple of quick shakes of the head, and her expression was back to her typical one of blissful serenity.

Yomi continued to lean over her classmate's desk. "Tell me, Osaka-chan… What is it you want to learn about in physics, anyway?"

Slowly, Osaka turned to face Yomi, a faraway smile on her face.

"Flying."

"Flying?"

"Yes." And she turned back to face the front of the class again. "Flying." Her beatific smile widened ever so slightly, and the other girls edged back to their chairs.

Well, it was about time for class to start, anyway. The door slid open, and the class was confronted with a new teacher.

Now, for whatever reason, male teachers always have a sort of creepiness about them. Some of them are pretty obvious, like Kimura-sensei's open-mouthed gape, and his constant attempts to watch the girls' swim classes and insistences that their gym shirts be firmly tucked into their shorts. Others, like Takamatsu-sensei, are subtle, favoring little Chiyo-chan even beyond what her academic prowess might account for; obviously, the man had a Lolita complex.

The fellow that just walked in, however, might only be considered creepy if one kept in mind that he taught physics. That, and the fact that his height, his slightly cleft chin, and his muscular frame seemed vaguely foreign. "Good morning, class! I'm Mr. Shimoi, and I'll be teaching you physics this year! Please do your best in this class!"

"YES, SIR!" the class chorused as one. The guy was enthusiastic; it was surprisingly contagious.

"Aaand, if any of you have any questions — anything at all — please, don't hesitate to ask. Remember, there are no stupid questions — just the unasked ones."

Nearly the entire class turned to look at Osaka as she raised her hand. "Sensei…?"

"Well, a question already. This has got to be a new record. What can I help you with, ah…" he paused as he looked down to study the seating chart, "…Kasuga-san?"

Osaka smiled; someone actually called her by her given name! Well, okay, her surname, but it was just so tiresome to be called 'Osaka' all the time. Everyone expected her to talk with a thick accent, to do manzai comedy, to jaywalk — well, to be fair, she did do that — and it seemed like she disappointed people by not acting like a stereotypical Osakan.

"Sensei, do you know anything about flying?"

Shimoi-sensei's face took on a puzzled cast. "You'll have to be a little more specific, Kasuga-san. What is it about flying that you want to know? Speed-to-weight ratios?

Mechanics of pitch and yaw?"

"Can a human being fly?"

There was a long pause, during which most of the class grew sweatdrops. Shimoi-sensei chuckled. "Well, not under his own power, of course, but after all, the Wright Brothers…"

"Etoou, Sensei… so you're saying that a human being can't fly on his own?"

"Well, no." The physics teacher blinked several times, wondering just what direction this line of questioning was taking. "It's a simple matter of weight ratios, Kasuga-san; granted, this discussion is probably better suited for biology class, as I've not got all the facts on this subject. But in order to fly, a human would need a physiology akin to that of a bird, including a prominent breastbone…" at which there were some giggles throughout the class, and Sakaki-san, in particular, turned a deep crimson under the stares of several classmates. Oblivious to this, Shimoi-sensei continued, "…and a wingspan of approximately four meters from wingtip to wingtip. Those stories about Daedelus and Icarus you study in Western Lit are just that; stories."

"Okay, well… That's more like an airplane, though, right? How about a helicopter? Like the ones Nobuto and Doraemon— "

Shimoi-sensei bit his lip to keep from chuckling. "Ah, Kasuga-san… You still watch Doraemon, eh? Wonderful show. But this isn't anime, this is the real world, and propeller beanies simply don't work. For one, helicopter blades are much longer than beanie propellers. For another, even if it did work, either the hat would fly off a person's head, or, if they decided to strap it to their head, it would wind up choking them to death trying to get off the ground."

"Well, what if it was someone really light, like, say… Chiyo-chan! And what if, instead of a hat… it was her pigtails!"

Sitting in front of Osaka, little Mihama Chiyo nearly facefaulted. Heedless of Chiyo-chan's reaction, Shimoi-sensei continued to dismiss Osaka's assertions. "I'm not sure what you're getting at, Kasuga-san, but again, it simply wouldn't work. You see, 500 grams of hair simply can't propel a twenty-kilo girl. It would be a case of the tail wagging the dog."

"Anou… excuse me, Sensei…" Chiyo-chan's hand was waving in the air like a pennant in a hurricane. "I'm twenty-five kilos, already."

Once again, Yomi buried her face in her hands. "She's gotta be the only girl who's actually eager to tell the world she's heavier than she looks. Dammit…"

Shimoi-sensei's expression was one of bemusement. "Well, even less so, then. What I'm saying is that, light as Chiyo-chan is, she's not capable of going airborne of her own power."

Osaka's eyes turned toward the ceiling as she pondered this for a moment. The teacher sensed that a reply was forthcoming, and he was already wondering if his open-door policy toward questions was such a good idea.

"Yes, Kasuga-san?"

"Well…" She stood up, and walked up to Chiyo-chan's desk. "Helicopters don't fly, either, unless their motor is running. Suppose she had some kind of motor…" She reached for the nearest of Chiyo-chan's pigtails, and began to wind it in an anticlockwise motion. The other pigtail rose and wound up in tandem with the one being twisted in Osaka's fingers.

"Osaka-san," Chiyo-chan protested. "What are you doing?"

"I'm winding up your motor."

"My m-m-motor?"

The pigtail was starting to resist her efforts to turn it by now, and Osaka merely murmured indistinctly in assent. Just a few more turns…

"Anou, Kasuga-san… Kasuga-san, could you return to your seat? I have a class to conduct here, if you don't mind."

"Just once more, Sensei… Ah!" And with that, she let go, and Chiyo-chan's pigtails spun backwards with a rhythmic flapping, lifting the little girl, yelping, out of her desk. Gently and randomly, Chiyo-chan began to fly around the classroom like a helium balloon with a slow leak. Shimoi-sensei and the rest of the class watched, slack-jawed and silent, as a wailing Chiyo-chan buzzed about the room.

Osaka finally broke the silence: "And that's what I wanted to ask you about, Sensei… How does Chiyo-chan do that?

"…Sensei?"

But the teacher was paying no attention to Osaka, only to the floating girl. Intent on at least getting some of the teacher's attention, Osaka stepped forward toward Shimoi-sensei, just as Chiyo-chan banked hard to the right.

WHACK!

Osaka took a foot to the face and went down like a sack of rice. When she came to, she half-expected to have the whole class staring at her on the floor, or to be all alone in the nurses' station. To wake up propped up at her desk was not an alternative she'd considered. "Well, Kasuga-san?" The teacher looked somehow… different.

"Well… what?" Osaka was confused. "You saw her fly, right?"

Shimoi-sensei, for presumably it was him, walked over to her desk. He seemed considerably older, and grumpier, up close. "All I saw fly was this eraser," he said as he bent to the floor by her desk to retrieve it. "And for your information, it was not under its own power, but rather the kinetic energy I gave it when I cocked my arm back to throw it. Which brings us to the matter of kinetic and potential energy; class, if you'll turn in your books to page 25…"

"Ne, Osaka," Kagura hissed as the teacher turned his back on them to return to his desk, "didn't you have a question or two to ask Shimoi-sensei about flying?"

Osaka slowly turned to look at Kagura, and after a moment of quietly staring at her, replied, "I think they'll have to wait…" Her expression was grave as she returned to facing forward, both at the teacher and at Chiyo-chan's pigtails. "Maybe once we start doing experiments…"

Outside, a large yellow catlike creature floated by the classroom window…

 

 


Author's notes: Thanks to the guys in FFIRC during the One-Hour Challenge, and special thanks to Latin D for a thorough going-over of this fic before final release. I don't usually solicit pre-readers, but the first Azumanga Daioh fic requires a little something extra, after all. Hope y'all like it, even if it is a bit derivative.

Itsu mo,
Ucchan ^_^

 
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