Wing of the Searen

Prologue


Final Simulator Test

Ace finished putting on the battle attire. It was time that he finally made himself known to this group of stuck up snobs. All of the people in the final class thought they were the best, but the sad thing was most of them were the best. The only people that ever made it this far were ready for real missions.
The entire time, everyone would talk about him because he looked different. They would do it behind his back, but of course he knew they were doing it. It was rather obvious when everyone would be talking until he came into the room. Then everyone would get quiet and stare at him. What was so weird about silver hair and one red and one blue eye anyway?
Two years he had been with most of the same people, and yet they still didn't accept him. He found it rather sad and annoying. They saw him as nothing more than a pilot, and pilots weren't considered to be that smart. All they had to know how to do was to fly a small fighter ship and how to turn it on. At least that's what they all thought. Ace was about to prove to them that there was more to him than meets the eye.
He smirked putting on the simulation helmet. Already he had set the level of the simulator upon his entry, and it was at the highest level possible. It was level that was mainly for the special operations. For the secrete spies that need to break into highly defended buildings and ships. In all truth, he had no idea what he was getting into, but if he could get far he would prove them wrong. Maybe he would even pass it. NO, he would pass it!
As soon as he turned the helmet's communicator on he saw a huge group of people looking in at him. It was his entire class was watching him, but two faces stood out from all of them.
Of course, there was the red hair demon spawn from hell, also known as Duke. Duke hated Ace most of all. He thought Ace was too arrogant just because he was the best pilot in their class, and he knew it. Duke had graduated from the training course two years ago, but had only been given one mission. After that, he was turned into a teacher's aid. In the academy though, most of the true teachers were out fighting in space. So, in other words, he was Ace's teacher who hated him. Ace always thought Duke would fail him, but apparently Duke had to send the information to the true teacher and the teacher grades the class. That is probably the only thing that has saved Ace's ass.
The other person was the only true friend that he had, and she looked very mad. Her silver eyes were glowing with anger and her eyebrows were scrunched close together. Her brown hair, that went down to her shoulders and spiked up at the ends, was shaking. He could tell that she was really angry.
"Ace, what the hell do you think you are doing?!" she shouted.
He couldn't help but smile. She really was beautiful, even when she was about to kill him. Lucky for Ace, she was out of reach of him, so she couldn't try to kill him, just yet anyway.
"Don't you understand? This is a full action simulator! With out the instructor's assistant in there with you, there is no way for an emergency shut down! Do you know what that means!?" she shouted.
"I could die?"
"YES, you could die!"
He winked at her, "But I won't."
Duke growled and pushed her out of the way. He got his face right up in the camera, and Ace had nowhere to escape to.
"You arrogant little bastard! This is a class on how to support your team, and to learn to make healthy, smart decisions in battle. Not to run off and show off your skills! Don't you see how you are worrying us!?"
Ace lost his smirk, "I really don't think any of you care, except Shiel."
"I care!" cried a single voice from the background. Ace had forgotten all about her already. This was her second year taking the final course, her third chance. She had failed it once before and took a years break, but this time she was doing really well this time through with Shiel and Ace's help anyway. Her name was Phaedra, she was very beautiful too, but liked to show too much of her body. Ace shook his head, yes, that sounds weird coming from a guy, but it makes her seem like a slut, even though she isn't.
"Oh yeah, maybe Phaedra too, but rest of you could give a shitless if I die or not. So just sit back and watch how this simulator should be done!"
"ACE, you will be susp..."
Before Duke could finish his sentence, Ace ripped off the helmet. It was time to get this over with.

~*~

Salihah began to bite her nails, watching Ace make his way through the simulator. He wasn't prepared for this at all, he had never had any of the training for it. She knew him all too well though, he was just trying to prove that he was the best, at everything. He wanted to show the class that he wasn't an idiot. She already knew that, but they didn't care.
Phaedra worked her way through the crowd of 20 somethings all watching the simulator on the screen. Salihah looked at her with worried eyes. She just hoped that Ace would make it through this thing alive, so that she could kill him.
They all held their breath as Ace worked his way through the boarder defensives. He got through them with little problem. He was very fast, the beams were just too slow for him. One did graze his arm, but it barely fazed him.
After that he came upon the first puzzle of the simulator. If he got it right, it would lead to the second puzzle, a third, and then the final room. It would take brains to figure out the puzzle, and if he was wrong, a group of high-powered soldiers would be sent on him. Each time a puzzle was answered wrong, the price of failure grew riskier and riskier.
The spies in training scoffed as Ace looked over the puzzle. "He'll never be able to figure it out. He's just a stupid pilot after all." Phaedra kicked the guy in the knee. He gasped in pain and hopped up and down on one foot. She crossed her arms over her exposed chest and glared at him. "It serves you right! I bet Ace is much smarter than you are!"
"That pilot? Pilots don't need to know anything except how to fly a plane and how to turn it on. There is no way he can figure it out..."
"He's done," said Salihah.
"WHAT?!" gasped everyone in the room.
Sure enough, they all looked at the screen to see Ace standing in the final room. He was wiping his hands clean and standing over a large defeated robot monster. All of their jaws dropped except for Salihah. Salihah was actually smiling, she was just glad he was ok.
"That has to be a record time!" exclaimed a girl.
"That little bastard!" cried one of the spies.
Duke pounded his fist against the control panel. He then rushed out of the room, and ordered everyone to follow him. They all did except Salihah and Phaedra who lagged behind, waiting for Ace of course.
Five minutes later he emerged from the simulator room to meet Salihah's hand.

~*~

Shiel slapped him hard across the face, and he knew that he deserved it. He had scared her, again. It seemed to be his forte. Gently rubbing his cheek was on the only comfort he could give himself. He felt really bad about scaring her, but deep down he knew that she loved it.
"Did you see their faces?" asked Ace.
He watched her, and waited for her to crack. In no time, her serious face gently turned into a smile. "It was great, they were all so surprised. Even I don't know how you do it."
"Do it?"
"All of this crap that you pull off with out even practicing for it. You do it all the time, don't act like this is the first time."
"Ok, it wasn't, but still, it was great."
"Yeah, it was. You got the record time...how did you do it?"
He smirked, "The puzzles weren't much of puzzles at all. They were set up much like my control panel. So, it was actually an easy simulator for pilots."
Shiel couldn't help but laugh, and Ace quickly followed her. "So much for stupid pilots, more like stupid spies!" laughed Shiel.
"I know...I know," said Ace, wiping a tear away from his eye. Phaedra shook her head, "You guys, we better go before Duke comes back for us. You know how that will go over. Besides, it's our last day of class. Let's enjoy it stress free for the rest of the time."
"Sounds good to me. Come on Ace, let's get out of here."

Recreation

Ace had his feet propped up on the table. In his hands was a book entitled, "Truth and Legends of the Milky Way." It was very interesting. I was full of mythology and real occurrences from Earth and beyond. He learned that many things he thought were true weren't, and the same with the other way around.
He always loved reading up on his old home of Earth. It seemed like so long ago he moved into space to become a pilot with the Galactic Fleet. Now, he was finally making his dream come true. He just wished his parents would be there to see him fulfill it. At least he had all that mattered, and that was Shiel.
The door to the room opened and he looked up to see Shiel in her normal leisure clothes. She had on a special Fleet jacket that her dad had given her. You get it when you first become a high-ranking officer in the Fleet. She told him that she one day wanted to follow in his footsteps, so he gave it to her for inspiration. Everything was just her normal attire. A black shirt and some jeans. Nothing too special.
Though, she did look rather good in those tight jeans.
She put down her recently received food canisters on the counter. The nice thing about going to the academy was that you didn't have to pay for anything that involved food, housing, and transportation. It was a nice job with decent pay, which was why it was so big.
Shiel took off her jacket, and put it on the back of a chair. Ace couldn't keep his eyes off of her, and was so amazed that he was actually living with such a beautiful woman.
She turned toward him and gasped. He knew something was wrong, but he didn't know what. She put her hands on her hips and glared at him.
"Ace, get your dirty nasty feet off of my table!" He quickly put his feet firmly on the ground. He should have seen that coming a mile away.
He was too slow though, and his head met a rolled up paper. He almost barked since getting hit reminded him of scolding a dog. "How many times do I have to tell you not to do that!?"
He sighed, leaned back in his chair. Now he remembered how he was lucky enough to live with her. No one else could stand her.
Shiel, or Salihah, was very particular about everything. It all had to be in a certain place and clean at all times. She would wash her hands for about an hour after she used the restroom. Ace sometimes wondered how she would act after she had sex. Though, he tried not to think about it too often. It might get him into even more trouble.
As for her being called Shiel, it's actually short for shield. Her father was the one who came up with the idea of the Intergalactic shield. It wasn't an actual shield, but it was a peace treaty with all of the plants with in the Milky Way. It was even beginning to spread to more planets out side of the Milky Way.
All of her life, she said that people called her Shield to make fun of her. Though, it didn't really work. She was very proud of her father's achievement, and liked it when people called her that. It wasn't until she got to the academy that people actually stopped calling her that.
Though, when Ace met her, he thought she was a snob. So, he started to call her Shield right off the back. She didn't care, and continued to annoy him about his slob like habits. Since Ace isn't open to anyone, he totally ignored her for a long time, except for the occasional smart-ass remark. After a while, they actually started to talk like normal people, and then even friends. He had called her Shield for so long, it felt weird calling her such an elegant name like Salihah. Some how, Shield got knocked down to Shiel, and it's been that for what seemed like forever.
He laughed, "Sorry about that, I guess I just forgot."
She smirked, "Well, forget again, and you can clean up the entire dorm."
"It's not that big..."
"Try cleaning it right, then you will see how big it really is."
Their dorm was really about the size of a small house. The largest part was the living room though. Other than that there was a small kitchen, one bathroom, and of course one bedroom. They had separate beds though. Ace had tried for one bed, but that quickly got shut down. Of course, her reasoning was that she didn't want his dirty feet in her bed. Maybe it wasn't that she was a clean freak, maybe she just has something against feet.
Shiel sighed and sat down on the couch. Though she was now quite a distance away from him, he still kept his wondering eyes on her. Now that she was there, his eyes wouldn't wonder very far, away from her away.
He wasn't actually sure what he felt for Shiel. Sure, she was very beautiful and she was a great friend of his. Truth be told though, he had never really had a real relationship. There was one girl, but she ended up dying before they could agree on actually going out. Now he was living with one of the most beautiful women he had ever met and was totally unsure about how he really felt for her.
"What's on the Space News?" asked Shiel.
Ace had completely forgot he even had the monitor on. There were flashes of many of the planetary leaders in the Milky Way. Also a couple of famous stars from localized movies that were created about the past. Localized meaning that they were from the Milky Way. The most famous stars were actually in the Tri-stellar galaxy. Anyone who was anyone lived there. Anyone that was famous that is.
"Not much, I think there is a peace treaty going on between Earth and Apollo," replied Ace.
"It's about time. The war between the two of them was over 100 years ago. It's time to move on and get over it," said Shiel.
"But the people of Apollo live longer than the people of Earth. It wasn't that long ago for them. There still is a great amount of hatred there for Earth."
Shiel looked over at him with curious eyes. "How do you know that?"
The truth was that he couldn't really tell her the truth. Why he actually knew about the people of Apollo and the war between Apollo and Earth was something he couldn't tell her. He wanted to, but he couldn't tell anyone. So, he mad up a lie, he had become good at them.
"I went there on a training mission back in the very beginning, when I was still in pilot training," he said. Not giving too much information in case she was curious enough to actually check it out. Knowing Shiel the way he did, if he gave her any suspicious answer, she would.
"That's cool, I only went on a training mission to Mars. Who in their right mind wants to go to Mars? It's so hot and nasty and..."
"Dirty?"
"YES, extremely dirty! It's not like Earth where it's just dirt, but there it's all red and it sticks to everything. Well, I mean Earth does have some red clay, but it's much worse on Mars. I hated it there, I was so glad to leave."
Shiel, on the other hand, always gave too much information. She went so into detail that you knew that every word she spoke was true. Shiel was a type of person who couldn't lie and couldn't hold her tongue very long. If someone asked her their opinion, she would give it to them straight. No beating around the bush with lies. Everything that came from her mouth was the complete and utter truth. Her favorite saying was, "They will find out one day anyway, so might as well get it over with now."
Ace felt like he was so with drawn from her from where he was sitting. He was use to being with drawn from people, but not from Shiel. She was his best friend, and unless you counted Phaedra, she was his only friend. Slowly, he got up and walked the six feet distance to the couch.
She turned her head toward him and smiled as he sat down next to her. They were both very quiet for a long time. Sitting there in silence, their eyes were locked on the Space News.
Once again, she turned her eyes toward him with a gleam in them. He tried not to notice and continued to watch the news. She yawned deeply and laid her hand on his shoulder. Before he knew it his face was beat red. Her silver eyes glanced up at his red face and smiled.
"Any good shows on lately?" asked Shiel.
She was so close to him. If only he had enough courage to act on what he was feeling right then. Too bad he wasn't quite as forceful as Shiel was. He could never really tell her how he felt. Maybe, he could hint at it though.
"Not too much. There is a new show though, about a guy and a girl going to college together."
"Sounds boring."
He stuttered a bit, "It...it's not! You just didn't let me finish. Anyway, they live in the same dorm together. But, the guy really likes the girl, he just doesn't know how to tell her. So it makes for some funny and awkward instances." This being one of them.
She snuggled up closer to him, bringing her arm across his chest. Did he ever light up like a Christmas tree. Cautiously, he moved his arms so that it wrapped around her. He drew her closer to him and took slow deep breaths.
"Maybe...he should just tell her. I'm sure she would understand," whispered Shiel.
"But, she's the best friend he has. He doesn't even know if his feelings for her are real or not. If they did go out and broke up, he could lose the greatest thing he ever had."
"She has the right to know though. He should just get over it and tell her."
Ace couldn't help but laugh, "Not many people can be as straight forward as you can be. Some people are actually shy. Besides, then the show would be over. It just started, so they have a long way to go."
"But it's better when they are happy and together. Like, romance...it's fun..." She yawned again and moved so that she was now lying down with her head on his leg. He watched her in awe as she eyes closed. "Hey...Ace...there is something...I need to..."
He brought his hand up to brush the hair away from her face. She looked like an angel, a very tired angel. A long time passed as Ace waited for her to finish her sentence. Still, she never quite said the end. She would mumble a bit, but he didn't understand any of it.
"You need to what?" asked the very embarrassed man. Still, there was no answer from her. It was only when he heard her slow breathing that he realized she was a sleep. He sighed, laying his head back on the couch.
He figured she would tell him the rest when she woke up. As for now, since she was asleep, there wasn't much to do. Watching her had made him tired anyway. So he closed his eyes and wondered off into dreamland.

~*~

Slowly, Salihah opened her eyes and looked up at him. It seemed her plan had worked. His head was back against the couch and his mouth was slightly open. Most of all, his eyes were closed. Unless he was pulling the same trick on her, he was asleep.
Ace was always a weird one when it came to falling asleep. Most men could care less if someone was with them when they fell asleep. If they were tired, they would sleep. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Salihah just always found it funny that he would never fall asleep unless she was already a sleep. Or at least, pretending to be asleep. Now that he was gone, it was time to do what she had to do.
Clean.
She cautiously pulled her self out from under his arm. It dropped to the couch and she pause. She sat there in silence, made sure that he wasn't awake. Once she was totally sure, she slowly got up and went straight for her magnetic space duster. Her first destination: The table.
She dusted it and used plenty of Lemon cleaner on it. Secretly she was praying that Ace wouldn't smell the cleaning product. He hated the smell of it, and if he smelled it, he would probably wake right up.
Once the table was clean, she moved to the next location: the bedroom. It was so hard to clean in there because Ace would always yell at her to stay out. But, it was her room too, and she couldn't stand it being dirty. Even if the dirty side was Ace's half. She would make it clean too!
She quickly worked her away around the room. Doing the job fast and good all at the same time. It was a lot more time than Ace had probably spent on cleaning anything in his whole life. She was trying to teach him cleanly habits, but it was so hard. Every time he would try it would be wrong and she would have to clean it anyway. He got the hint, and just stopped trying to help.
First she made his bed. She knew that he would notice that, it would probably be the only way he would tell she cleaned. It was done just to be funny so that he would find out anyway. She always had to be sneaky, but it was fun letting him find out she did it. He would always get mad, it was really cute.
Salihah smiled to herself as she dusted Ace's dresser. He was a really great guy with a good heart. She just wished that everyone else would give him a chance. Maybe then they would see just how great he was. It wasn't like Salihah loved him or anything, she was just really glad he was her friend.
For a second, she went into a daze, dreaming about the missions they would be going on soon. She wondered just how many people would pass the final. It was really hard, and Phaedra was testament to that. Many people failed the test every year. Though once you get to the end, you just have to retake the final class, you don't have to start all the way over again. That would be really bad for those who failed.
With out thinking, she dusted the lamp. She then turned to move to the window. From behind her she heard a crashing sound. Turning she saw that the lamp had fallen and broke. She gasped and bent down to it. It looked like there was no way to get it put back together.
"Oh no, Ace is going to kill me!"
She began to quickly pick up the pieces. She decided that she was just going to have to switch her lamp out with his. She would get a new lamp and he would never know the difference.
As she was picking up the pieces, her hand brushed against something. It felt like a hard cover. Must have been a book, but it was hidden behind the dresser. Her first thought was that it was porn or something. But, did porn come in books that big?
She peaked to see that it was a big photo album. She looked up toward the door to make sure Ace wasn't there. From where she was sitting she could see him still sleeping on the couch.
Biting her lower lip, she reached in and pulled out the photo album. She had heard about these, but most of them were electronic. Why would Ace have something that was so old?
She flipped it open to the first page. There was a picture of a young couple holding a child in their arms. Salihah had always assumed that Ace's parents were tall with silver hair like him. Maybe one of them even had red eyes. Though, she had never seen anyone like that, they would have had to look like that to be his parents.
Though, the young couple looked nothing like that. The woman had light brown hair with dark brown eyes. The man had shoulder length black hair with silver eyes. Both pairs of eyes were not on the camera put on the child in the woman's arms. The child had short white hair. His eyes were closed as if he were asleep. It was clear that he was very young.
Her fingers touched the image of the child. It was Ace, when he was just a little baby. He looked so cute, just like she thought he always would. He had never told her anything about his past, which was why this was probably hidden. She couldn't believe that something like this even existed. As touchy as he was about his past, she was surprised he still even had something like this.
As her fingers examined the picture, she noticed something very strange. It was a thick paper that felt very smooth, almost like a waxed metal, but not hard. She picked up the picture from its sleeve and held it in her hand. It was very flimsy and the coloring on the photo was turning a brown color.
"What is this?" she asked herself. It was a lot like something she had heard of before. She turned the photo over and it had a date printed on the back in blue ink. It said, "July 16th, 3412."
She gasped, "That's not possible...if that's true, this picture was taken over two hundred years ago!"
Now she remembered what this was called. It was a photo taken by film. Film had been discontinued for about one hundred years ago due to dangerous reactions from the processing of it. Something was very strange about all of this.
Quickly, she placed the picture back where it was. She took quick breaths as she put the album back in its hiding place.
"What are you doing?" asked a voice.
She gasped and looked up to see Ace glaring at her from the door. She pulled her duster up to try and cover her face. She quickly realized that was not a smart thing to do, considering she was trying to hide her cleaning from him.
"Nothing!" she quickly replied. She wasn't sure if he had seen her snooping or not. He looked really mad, so it was possible he had. She wasn't going to say anything about though. She let him make the first move.
"You are cleaning, aren't you?" he asked.
She almost breathed a sigh of relief, but didn't knowing it would give her up. "NO, of course not! I was just...uh..."
"CLEANING!"
"No I'm not!"
"Yes you are! You're cleaning my room!"
"My room too!"
"MY SIDE!"
She had no argument against that. It was true, she wasn't supposed to clean his side of the room, or even be on it. It was funny how he at one time wanted to share a bed with her, but now he didn't even want her on his side of the room. She just smiled and tried her best to hide the pieces of the broken lamp from his view.
He noticed what she was doing and quickly moved over to her. He looked behind her and noticed the pieces of the broken lamp.
"You broke my lamp!" shouted Ace.
"I'm really sorry. I was cleaning and I got distracted...please don't hurt me." She sunk even farther into the carpet, trying to hide herself from him. He rolled his eyes and sat down next to her. She looked at him with worried as she he glared at her with his blue eye.
He sighed, "I'm not going to hurt you Shiel, it's just a lamp."
"But I shouldn't have been over here in the first place. I just..."
"Couldn't stand it?"
"It's so dirty!"
He smirked, "It's really not that bad. I've seen much worse...in Phaedra's room."
She shivered and gripped tightly onto her duster. "Don't even mention her room. It's a disgrace to all human kind."
Ace laughed, and she couldn't help but laugh too. It was always fun with him. No matter how mad he got at her it never really lasted. Same with her being mad at him. They would always get over it shortly.
He reached out and gently squeezed her knee. Leaning in a little closer to her he stopped laughing and was just smiling at her now. Their breaths clashed against each other as their eyes met each other. The look in his eyes threatened to reach right down to her very soul. It was something she had never seen from him before. It almost looked like passion.
"Ace..." was the only thing she could get out. He began to lean in a little closer to her. She just waited, remembering the show he had told her about earlier. Was that even really a show at all?
Just as his lips were about to meet hers, they heard the door slam. They stared at each other in shock for a second. Ace then quickly sat back up, blushing.
"What's going on in here?" asked a woman's voice. They both turned to see a tall woman wearing a very low cut sparkling purple dress. Her wavy blond hair came down to her shoulders and lit up her light green eyes. On her face was smile that exuded beauty and confidence.
Ace's jaw dropped and Salihah just stared at her in shock. Phaedra was always beautiful, but this was to the extreme. It was clear that she was really excited about her date tonight. Phaedra winked as Ace and smiled. "How are you doing big boy?"
He just about fainted. He fell forward, and didn't notice that he was falling toward Salihah. She hadn't notice either, she was still surprised with how her friend looked too. It wasn't that big of a change really, but she was just shocked that her friend took her hair down. Usually it was all separated into many strands of hair around her hair. She didn't even know that Phaedra's hair had a wave in it.
Next thing she knew she was pinned to the ground with Ace above her. Their lips about the same distance a part they were only a few minutes ago. Salihah stared up at Ace in shock and he returned her the same look. From the distance they could both hear Phaedra's laughter.
After a minute like that, Salihah winced in pain. Ace gasped and sat up, pulling her with him. They both looked down to see there was a piece of the lamp stuck in her arm. She closed her eyes and winced as Ace pulled it out.
"You ok?" he asked.
She slowly nodded, "Yeah, it just hurts. I'll probably need to go to the doctor to get it closed up." She glared up at him, "Why did you fall anyway? I thought you said you didn't like Phaedra that way."
His considered face quickly went to a defensive one. "I was just shocked she took her hair down, that's all! Besides, you wouldn't have got hurt if you hadn't tried to clean my room!"
"Our room!"
"MY SIDE!"
Phaedra was still laughing from the doorway. They turned to see her standing there clapping her hands together. Once she finally stopped laughing she smiled at the two.
"Why don't you two just go out already?" asked Phaedra.
"WHAT?!" they both gasped. Ace had been holding onto her shoulders, but he quickly let Salihah go after Phaedra's words.
"It's clear that you two have the hots for each other, everyone knows it. You already fight like you are married. So why not just get it over with?"
"UH...no...that's ok," stuttered Ace.
"Well, I have to get going. Don't want to keep my date waiting."
"Who are you going out with anyway?" asked Salihah.
She winked at them and left the room. "See you two later. Don't do anything I wouldn't do."
They looked at each other, trying to forget Phaedra's words. Salihah knew there was a connection between the two of them, but she just thought it was because they were such good friends. She had no desire for anything more...right?
Suddenly she gasped and looked at the floor. There was a small pool of blood from her wound on the ground. She quickly grabbed her cleaning spray and started to spray it.
"What are you doing?" shouted Ace.
Salihah quickly worked on the pool, but her arm's blood was just making it bigger. "I have to get it up!"
"Why don't you go to the doctor first!" Ace growled and picked her up, pulling her away from the spot. She struggled in his arms, but he was too strong for her. He then made the long journey down to the doctor as Salihah complained on the bloodstain that would now never come up.

~*~

Phaedra smiled at her date as she sat down at the table. He was sitting across from her with his dark brown eyes carefully watching her. The look on his face didn't look happy. She hoped she hadn't upset him too much, she just wanted to freak the couple out first.
"Sorry I'm late, I had to make a stop before I came," laughed Phaedra. She unfolded the napkin and laid it across her lap. She paid careful attention to the detail of it and smooth out all of the wrinkles.
He just nodded and took a small sip from his glass of water. Phaedra placed her head on her hand and began to study his lovely face. He always looked so serious, but she guessed with the group that he worked with he had to. His spiked up red hair made him look sort of evil, but she knew he wasn't. He was a big teddy bear, just like he had been two years ago.
"So, how are the finals going Duke?" she finally asked.
He sighed, putting the glass of water back down on the table. "Quite a few people have already failed. I'm being to wonder if I'm any good at this teaching thing at all. Most of the students hate me anyway."
Phaedra gasped, "They don't hate you Duke! You are a very good teacher, they just don't want to pay attention."
He narrowed his brown eyes at her. Already she could tell he totally disagreed with what she said. "What about those friends of yours. Salihah and Ace. They hate me, I know they do."
Phaedra laughed nervously and began to play with the hem of her dress. "Well, they just don't understand you. You don't understand them either so...its' equal!"
He sighed, leaning back in his chair. He rubbed his forehead with his gloved hand. She had watched him do this many times before and she could tell he was really stressed out.
"Oh, Duke, they're just kids, ignore them."
"It's not that Phaedra, it's...the fact that..." He closed his eyes and shook his head. She knew that there was something that he wasn't telling her, and she had to get it out. She reached her hand across the table and grabbed his free hand. He looked up at her in shock only to find her smiling sweetly at him.
"Tell me, I want to help you."
He looked away from her, but squeezed her hand a bit. She smiled, knowing she had finally got to him. "I just can't believe that I was best in my class, and now I'm stuck here being a teacher. This..."
"Aren't you a teacher's assistant?" asked Phaedra. She was only met with a deadly glare. She waved her free hand, "Never mind."
"Anyway, this is not what I joined the Fleet for. I joined the Fleet to bring peace in the universe. So that we could spread the Intergalactic shield farther into the universe and make as many allies as possible. To fight and protect the planet I love so dearly. Not yell at students about being idiots and ignoring the logic of any normal human being."
Phaedra smiled, "Well, you have to admit, Ace isn't a normal human being anyway."
"You're right, he's just an idiot. I mean, what fool in their right mind would run into a fully operational simulator, that could kill you, just to prove that you could do it?! No one!"
"Well...Ace did."
"My point exactly! He's not normal...he's insane!"
"Doesn't that make him a good pilot though?"
Duke sighed, "Yeah. He's actually one of the best pilots that has ever come through the Fleet. They are very interested in him, and are hoping to place him on the Yggdrasil."
"The Yggdrasil? Are you serious! They are actually using it!"
"Shhh, quiet, no one is supposed to know." He leaned closer to her and whispered. "According to what I have been told, they are placing the best people of each type on that ship. So the best pilot, chief, spy, and everything else, are all going to be placed on that ship."
"I still can't believe it! Yggdrasil!" Phaedra quickly stood up from the table. She stood up so fast that she almost knocked the table over. She squealed as she and Duke both grabbed the table. He looked up at her as if she were insane. "I've read so much about that ship...I just can't believe they are finally using it. Uh...I better get going! Sorry Duke! I have to study. Make sure I'm the best darn gunner in the class! See ya around!" With that she darted away from the table.
Poor Duke was now all alone, hitting his head for even mentioning the ship.

~*~

Well, that was fun. Actually got the real characters in there. I was really focusing on certain traits and such that I usually don't. So this was different.