Alpha Omicron Kappa (AOK)
The oldest sorority on campus, Alpha Omicron Kappa was founded when Waverly University was simply the Waverly Schoolhouse. Its long tradition of service dates back to its founder, 6th-grade student Heather Grimaldi, who got a pencil for Dino Spinoni without even being asked.

Beta Sigma Sigma Gamma (BΣΣΓ)
Founded by a Milwaukee brewer in 1902, Beta Sigma Sigma Gamma fraternity has been on probation continuously since 1977, a school record. Pledges are (in)famous for the “Bring it Up For a Vote” tour, where the objective is to leave a liquid scream at each of the four corners of campus. It may or may not be an urban legend.

Sigma Tau Delta Beta (STΔB)
Though no one has ever forgotten the events of 1972, when a goalie-masked man terrorized the house, Sigma Tau Delta Beta sorority has moved beyond its checkered past. Popular activities include seances, midnight graveyard parties, and of course splitting up to cover more ground.

Rho Theta Rho – (PΘP)
Legacies are the name of the game at Rho Theta Rho: it’s impossible to apply for membership without having a father, uncle, grandpa, or gruncle who was a brother. This, understandably, limits membership somewhat, so Rho Theta Rho has an aggressive recruiting policy that verges on stalking.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!

Even after centuries passed and conquerors, caesars, and caliphs overran the island, the locals continued to swear that, on certain nights, one could glimpse Phagyana, the Ghostly Sphere, over the central mountain of the isle or out to sea.

The real danger, the islanders insisted, was not the Ghostly Sphere itself but rather its inhabitants. The Children of Phagyana were said to become fascinated by anyone who glimpsed their spectral home for more than an instant, and would descend upon them. Mischief and misfortune would follow, with the Children rumored to be behind everything from plague to pregnancy.

Worse, if the proper cleansing rituals were not adhered to, the Children of Phagyana would eventually bear down upon the unfortunate and bear them hence to the Ghostly Sphere. Those so taken, it was said, became Children themselves.

“Think about it. If no one spoke English any more, the people of the far future…they’d have no basis for comparison. If they only had a few hundred fragmentary inscriptions to go by, they wouldn’t even know if each letter was a sound or a pictogram. Hell, it’s hard enough for most people to decipher Chinese, and we have living speakers to guide us!”

Robert chewed this over for a moment, still gazing intently at the pottery fragments. “But some of it must be obvious,” he said. “Like that spoon over there. The Linear A letters on the spoon have to mean ‘spoon,’ don’t they?”

“It could just as easily say ‘this spoon is property of Aeneas of Troy,’ or ‘this spoon manufactured by the Mycenae Spoonworks.'”

“Don’t we know anything?”

A sigh. “There are only a few words that we know the meaning of. ‘Ku-ro,’ for example, means ‘whole’ or ‘total.'”

“Now,” Bethany said, toying with the ‘editor-in-chief’ sign on her desk. “With a Greek participation rate approaching 50% on our campus, we have to be very careful about offending our fraternities and sororities. Offense translates into boycotts which translate into lower sales which translate into pink slips and thin resumes and eventual refrigerator boxes under overpasses for the lot of us.”

“Do you really think a school newspaper run by students runs that kind of risk?” asked Tom, the sports editor.

“Try and get a Kenmore box when you land in the gutter,” Bethany retorted. “They’re the most spacious and are double-ply.”

Tom folded his arms and glared as Bethany passed a stack of papers around the office.

“The point is, people, we need to take steps to preserve our circulation from baseless attacks on the Greek community, especially on the opinion pages,” Bethany said. “So I’m beginning a new initiative.”

The paper contained the following list:
Digamma Ϝ
Stigma Ϛ
Heta Ⱶ
San Ϻ
Qoppa Ϙ
Sampi ϡ

“What the hell is this?” demanded Aaron, the opinion editor. “It looks like a rejected script page from a Star Wars prequel.”

“Those are obsolete Greek letters,” Bethany said proudly. “Unused since 500 BCE. They look Greek, they sound Greek, but they ain’t Greek. Not anymore, at least. From now on, you are to substitute these letters for the letters of an actual Greek organization when writing opinion columns, dealing in speculation, and so on.”

“You cannot be serious,” Aaron said.

“So, if you were writing about a rumor of a wild party in your opinion column,” Bethany said, briskly ignoring Aaron, “you could attribute the even not to the very real Sigma Phi Delta, but the fictional Heta Qoppa San.”

A moment of silence followed. “I like it,” Felicity, the weekend insert editor, said. “It opens up all sorts of puns to us. Frat acting up? We can tell people ‘don’t be a Heta.’ Sorority getting a bad rap? We’ll call ’em Stigma Heta Omega or the Stig HO’s for short!”

Elections for homecoming royalty were always a hazard, McClernan thought. The groups of sorority girls, always clad in matching too-big t-shirts in bold primary colors, relentlessly pushed their candidate of choice on hapless passersby and streamed across campus roads in droves. Strategically placed groups of women blocked every access point to campus and every thoroughfare between major buildings.

They were everywhere.

And they were well-prepared.

Drilled in late-night sessions over the past month, the pledges were prepared for every dodge and evasion that McClernand could summon.

A group of girls canvassing for Phi Qoppa’s candidate jumped him on the way in. “Vote for Brandy!”

“I”m a professor,” McClernand said. “I can’t vote.”

“Tell your students to vote for her after class, then!” They formed a human phalanx and wouldn’t let McClernand proceed until he’d taken a stack of fliers to pass out to his biology students.

Another group hovered near the cafeteria at lunchtime. “I’m a graduate student,” McClernand volunteered.

“We have a candidate for Graduate Council too!” they said as different fliers were unleashed.

Walking between Hurley Hall and Davis Hall, another group accosted him. “I’m just visiting,” he said.

“Tell your kids to vote for Mindy and the Qop Sigs!” the lead girl said.

“I don’t have any kids,” McClernand returned.

“Well, when you have some, tell them to vote Qop Sig.”

“I don’t ever plan on having kids. Can I go through?”

The head girl fixed McClernan with a steely, patrician glare. “Nephews? Nieces?”

By the time he arrived at Davis, McClernan had promised his niece Susan’s vote to three different sororities in perpetuity, despite the fact that Susan was three years old and in Connecticut.

“This is boring, Dad. Who cares about girls so much they’d go to war over one?”

I lowered my copy of The Big Book of Greek Mythology, sensing a crack in my plan to give Sean a classical education through the medium of bedtime stories.

“W-well, Helen was really just an excuse for Agamemnon to send an army to Troy,” I said.

“Armies are boring,” Sean sighed with a cynicism unbecoming a 7-year-old. “Uncle Dave’s in the army.”

This wouldn’t do. “Well, the army was just an excuse too,” I said, groping about for something to grab his attention. “They were really just…just androids, to make sure no one suspected.”

Sean perked up a bit. “Suspected what?”

“Suspected that…uh, that Agamemnon, Achilles, and Odysseus had superpowers. Agamemnon had…super-strength. Achilles was invincible. Odysseus could shoot lasers out of his eyes.”

“So they had a bunch of robots around so no one would wonder how they beat up all the bad guys all by themselves,” Sean said. “But how’d the war last 10 years?”

“Uh…the Trojans had robots too,” I said, trying to recall plot bits from Sean’s cartoons. “Lots of ’em. And superpowers. Priam could mind-control. Hector had super-speed. Paris had mutant healing factor.”

“Hmm…” Sean said.

“And Helen was a cyborg,” I said quickly. “The Trojans weren’t just in love with her, they wanted to use her technology to make an invincible army.”

“Wow! What happened next, Dad?”

I turned the page, hoping that what he was about to hear wouldn’t warp his appreciation of the classics too much.