Phillip had his head buried in the glow of his drone’s video feed monitor. He had just bought a new camera that could also shoot in slow motion, and he wanted nothing more than to try it out.
Though he spent more time than he should have on flying his drone, he was smart enough to pass most of his classes without reviewing the “required reading.” That, coupled with the fact that he only had classes on Tuesday and Thursday meant he had a lot of free time but no friends to help keep him occupied.
Guiding the drone down to a gaggle of preppy girls, he flew down in front of them, and they screamed. One used her textbook to swat at the machine, but he brought it back, and she missed. Campus security was yet to ban drones, but they did say spying on dorm rooms was illegal.
Looping the drone back toward him he brought it down and caught it in his hand, powering down the motor. He checked the camera and smiled, again happy he had a mother that doted on him with random care packages. He walked down to the stretch of grass at the center of campus.
It was dubbed the beach because of how many sunbathers were sprawled out on it on any given day, and this day was no different. Only the boldest wore beach-like attire, and he debated flying the drone because of them alone. While that might be nice to some people, he had no roommate, the internet, and a laptop to scratch that itch.
His daring side was winning out, he turned the drone back on and flew it to fly right in front of him.
“Hey everyone,” he said into the camera, putting on his best cool-boy look. “Day three of my campus vlog. Today we’ll cover the beach and the surrounding area.” As he spoke the words, he spun the drone and panned wide to get a good shot of the whole place. “It’s always bustling in this area. You can catch a group of jocks talking about their latest conquest, a group of nerds working on a new algorithm, or the always-constant tanner soaking up the rays.”
He slowly moved the drone in a wide arch around the area, wondering how interesting it would be to eavesdrop on some of the conversations. His conscience told him to avoid it, and so he stayed high enough only to hear indistinct chatter.
Something stung the side of his face and knocked his glasses from his head. Whatever had hit him made his ears ring, and he dropped to one knee, stars twinkling in his vision. He found his glasses, and with a pounding heart, looked around to see what had happened. Inadvertently, during his drop to one knee, he had twisted the controller to send the drone spinning out of control, and it was headed for the brick Student Union building.
Before it could crash, he recovered and commanded it to hover ten feet above him. He had been hit in the face with a football. It rocked back and forth on the ground for a second more before stopping and rolling down the hill. He looked in the direction the blow had come from, and a ways away were the star quarterback of the football team. Beside him with an angry look on her face was the same preppy girl that had taken a swing at his drone. Her cronies were gone, but two of his buddies joined the football star.
Phillip had never been one to exercise, but he was naturally thin. As the football players approached, their massive muscles swelling beneath their too-tight shirts, he felt a wave of fear that reminded him of the bullying from his middle school days. He stood up but kept both hands on his controller.
The quarterback, Alphonso, reached him and jabbed him in the chest with his index finger as he spoke: “Look here, don’t go videotaping people without their permission. I’ll report you, and you’ll get expelled.”
Phillip swallowed hard, amazed with how much power Alphonso had in a single finger, each poke making him move back a little. It was unlikely that any action would be taken without any evidence, much less expulsion, but he decided to nod in agreement anyway. The last thing he wanted was to get on the bad side of one of the school’s biggest attractions.
Alphonso gave a final poke before walking with his crew back to the preppy girl. She continued to stare at Phillip, and he turned away, ashamed that he had done little to defend himself.
He guided the drone away from the beach, thinking anyone that had overheard the conversation would automatically assume he was spying on more people. He walked a good distance, his ego smoldering with each step he took.
When he felt he was a safe distance, he sat down and pulled out the camera. He made a mental note to delete the recording and go back another day. Or, maybe he would send his drone from his dorm room and survey the area and add in a voiceover later.
The buzz of another drone’s rotary blades pulled his attention, and he looked up. A smaller drone descended until it was right in front of him. It towed a camera similar to his, and he looked at the lens, wondering who was on the other side watching.
He imagined a hot red-head with plump features and grew excited. The drone skyrocketed up, and he tossed his drone into the air, the joy of the chase making his mouth water.
Even if it were a guy on the other end, it would be nice to have a friend. The other drone waited for him a second before blasting forward, and he followed, jogging after the two machines and hoping the person flying the other one was as eager to meet as him.