Welcome to the first of several ~dossiers~ intended to bring everyone up to speed on some core elements of the Jellybots world.
If you're here and you've pledged any amount of money, it's very likely that you know a little bit or a lot bit about the world of Jellybots. But it's *also* possible that you are just exceedingly kind and generous and haven't got a clue what I'm going on about.
Even more likely than both is that I, like many dopes lost in the tunnel vision of Making A Thing, have assumed my vague hinting and allusions to bits of story and world have been terribly obvious when, in fact, they super duper have not.
Whatever the reason, here we all are- and for the uninitiated, the baffled, the bemused, and the befuddled, the overinformed and underinformed- here's the deal with: Frontier Academy!
Full disclosure: like all aspects of Jellybots, I'm actively adjusting, tweaking and creating things. A good many things (names, looks, ideas) may change before the end. But I tend to approach this process like preparing a meal- a lot of the ingredients might look pretty different at the end, but they'll be in there somewhere, and hopefully they'll be tasty! Not my best metaphor. I'm working on it ;p
Frontier Academy is a secretive, floating school- a kind of science magnate for carefully selected students where an experimental curriculum is taught in a substance called Jelly.
It may float in order to travel from place to place as needed- nobody's positive exactly where the building came from or when it showed up. Then again, rumor has it the levitation is an elaborate way to dodge ground-based taxes and regulations.
Of course, the crazies insist that it doesn't float at all, but that its lower two floors have phase-shifted into another dimension and become invisible. But that's ridiculous.
While the faculty and student body are gradually expanding, very few are invited each new year. Children are selected from a variety of backgrounds and walks of life- most share some interest or proclivity in science and technology, but the surprising fact is that- as selective as Frontier seems to be- most of its students don't seem to share much in common at all!
Quietly forming some time around 5 years ago, founded by boyhood friends Leonard "Lenny" Saunders and Wilberforce Acres with a grant from the TostCo corporation- little is known about Frontier's exact origins.
Publicly, Frontier is about ~pushing the boundaries of education and enlightening promising young citizens through cutting edge learning techniques!~
With impressive brochures, fancy verbiage, a tip-top tuition, and bragging rights for parents who otherwise suspected their kid might actually have been a little behind the curve- most assume that whatever's going on must be fantastic! Anyways, it all sounds so complicated and technical it's gotta be good! Who reads the terms of service anyways?
In reality, life at Frontier revolves almost entirely around strange Jelly experimentation. Classes in Applied Physics, Robotics, and even PhysEd all revolve around using and learning about Jelly, and all of it's possible applications.
The frustrated adult faculty of Frontier have hit a wall: with only one known exception, no grown person can coax the dimmest color, wobbliest shape, or faintest flavor from the Jelly.
Only kids can do that.
Some professors are growing increasingly bitter about their inability to control it for themselves. The youngest adults take it the hardest.
The only adult known to be able to interact with the Jelly is Wilberforce "The Candyman" Acres.
Largely disliked by envious colleagues at Frontier, confounding to many, and beloved by a few particular students who've stumbled into his lab in the bowels of the school-
Acres is a reclusive old fellow, a tinkerer in toys, and a warmhearted oddball who stumbled across the Jelly "over breakfast in the lab one morning" or "on a hiking tour of Peru" or "in the back of a very strange cabinet"- you'll never get a straight answer out of him. But whatever led him there- Acres was the first person known to cross over into The Soup.
If you've read the fine print and signed your NDA of course you know: Frontier itself is, in fact, built around a Thin Place.
A spot where the fabric between worlds is a little more worn, and where access to other dimensions is possible. In fact, Jelly comes from just such a place. The Candyman and the students call it The Soup- a bizarre, half-gelatinous dimension where the Jelly comes from. Portals across the gap, to a world of Jelly, are at the heart of Frontier.
And a world of Jelly is a world where only kids can go.
The Frontier staff are terribly curious about the Soupside world, and student trips across the border (guided by robotic adult proxies) are a highly confidential part of classwork at Frontier. For science, naturally! And strictly controlled.
[See JellyBriefing 2 - The Soup for more information]
Beyond the staff, the investors in Frontier have particular interest in what potential may lie in Jelly and the world it comes from. TostCo Toys executives seem to pop up at the school with some frequency. Perhaps Tost's funding and interests in the school go deeper than they appear?
It's probably nothing.
Between learning about their very own Jelly and forays into another dimension, the young students at Frontier seem to get on much better than their professors, though the tug-of-war for control is always at play. Those who have a hard time falling in line are shuffled off to remedial after-school courses (where Acres is allowed to tutor the "hopeless-cases").
Everything is done with precision and excellence!
Nothing ever escapes The Soup, nobody ever goes missing, and what do you mean the Senior class all seem a bit dour? They're having a wonderful time.
There's nothing at all to worry about.