At age 10, Strawberry Plack entered a major fashion contest. The rules stated she had to submit a photograph of herself after doing her own hair, makeup, and designing her own wardrobe. Unfortunately, the rules also stated that entrants had to be 18 or older. Three days after she sent her submission, she received notification that despite her automatic disqualification she had impressed the judges. The sponsors of the contest flew Strawberry and her mother to Paris, where Strawberry met with several designers and artists about her natural talent for fashion. The trip culminated in a scholarship offer for Strawberry to attend the top fashion-oriented secondary school in the NWG.
Elated at her good fortune, Strawberry and her mother returned to the Plack home near Killarney, Territory of Ireland, to discover that Brickert had manifested some strange powers. The whole family had to be tested for the same abilities. Strawberry dreaded the day the government people arrived at the house to test her. Secretly, she hoped she wouldn’t have the ability. While it fascinated her that Brickert had it, her dream was to go to fashion school. Having some weird superpower would complicate things.
When word came that she did indeed have the ability, Strawberry cried for an entire day. Commander Byron told her she had several months before she needed to make a decision. But Strawberry’s mind was already made up: she was not going. When Brickert left for his new school, Strawberry’s problems slowly faded away, out of sight, out of mind. Six months later, two letters arrived in the mail for her. The first informed her that she had been accepted into the Lyon Fashion and Design Secondary School on a full tuition scholarship, the other was from Brickert. She read the acceptance letter first. By the time she finished it, she’d forgotten about her brother’s letter. She remembered it a week later while doing homework at her desk. As she read the note from Brickert, tears fell onto the paper. Without a word to her parents, she got on the phone, called Commander Byron, and informed him of her decision to go to Psion Beta.