Welcome to the commentary for "Squirrel Brains and History". Please read the chapter first; no need to be spoilered.
The story keeps following Laura as she gets herself lost in the Academy's building. The chapter let me get a bit lighter while still emphasizing that the Academy isn't for normal girls. Case in point, Flora, who is building her own robot army. One of the goals I set out for myself was to make sure that every girl at the school had a reason to be there. They couldn't be up for something illegal, though. Flora and her twin sister, Fawna, are there because they're trying to break the laws of nature and possibly physics. Laura isn't really an exception, which I'll go on about in Chapter 5's commentary.
Flora and Fawna got their names before I discovered the Share a Coke campaign. The idea of the twins started as a running gag. Flora does not look like her sister Fawna, but no one can be bothered telling the two apart. Fawna will make an appearance later, and the difference should be obvious. For now, the mad scientist makes an appearance.
Flora also let me show how others feel about Caitlin. Reality and appearance can differ. The New Girl is the pilot, and getting everyone's personalities down is still in progress. That said, the basics are there. Caitlin is a natural leader, even if she's known to go overboard. Flora has far more experience dealing with Caitlin than Laura, but compare Flora's reaction with Autumn and Skye's.
Alyssa turned out to be a running subplot. Laura is taking her place in Caitlin's dorm room. The mentioning of her is just setting things up for a later arc. Her absence also shows that students do leave the Academy before graduation, sometimes under mysterious circumstances. Alyssa was Caitlin's chemistry expert, specializing in explosive compounds. The Academy had a field house. It hasn't been replaced.
Tomorrow, The New Girl Chapter 5, "Chocolate Bars and Gigglesmoke".
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, fixing The Legend of Chun Li.
Saturday, over at MuseHack, to be determined.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.