Alan's alarm went off at 5:45am, reminding him that he was not in Chicago any more. For a moment he struggled to get his bearings, to figure out where he was in the world. The impulse to go back to sleep was immense, and he almost did. Catching himself on the verge of unconsciousness, he deliberately rolled himself off the dorm room bed onto the floor below.
He was to meet someone called Quirk in front of Peterhouse for a morning run and exercises. This was a "run club" in Peterhouse. He would be joined by a random collection of Peterhouse students who, for various reasons, liked to kill themselves early in the morning.
He arrived to find eight or nine students already there, mostly men but with a couple women, as well as a slightly older person he took to be Quirk. He imagined that some of this collection must also be part of the Society. Clearly he was the new person.
"Six kilometers this morning, ladies and gents," Quirk said. "I expect all of you but the new guy to be under 32 minutes. Randolph, I'm with you this morning."
Fox had warned him that there was a physical component for those who were able. It wasn't expected of every member of the Society. After all, Fox had said, some members were constantly falling down stairs because their heads were somewhere else.
But Fox thought he might have the capacity to be the complete package, the "full monty," the brains and the brawn.
"Begin at your leisure," Quirk finally said. "Ready Randolph? How far do you think you can run and how fast?"
"I've been training for the last month," he said. "I've been doing three miles in about twenty-two minutes."
"Well, that's pathetic," he said. "Alright then. Let's go."