It was a dark night, cold and rainy with a heavy storm raging overhead. Lightning was flashing like short bursts of sunlight. Thunder cracked liked the sound of shattering glass and broken wood combined together. And the rain was beating relentlessly on the many buildings, trees, and heads of the poor people who couldn't find cover from it. As all this happened a dark figure wearing a long black cloak placed an item no larger than a loaf of bread and covered completely in a dark cloth into a dumpster beside a random building. After making sure that the item was actually down in the dumpster and didn't somehow manage to slip out in any crevice, the cloaked figure slowly began to walk away.
But suddenly, a voice shouted loudly over the thunder and beating rain;
"Who's there!?" Exclaimed the voice of a middle-aged man.
The figure stopped instinctively from shock and looked up to see a somewhat portly Caucasian man standing several feet away from him. He had brown eyes, a mop of curly brown hair that was starting to grey and a likewise graying beard. While he looked average the less average sight was the baseball bat in his hands. He must be the owner of the building or a worker. Either way, he didn't seem to care for trespassers.
"Who are you? What are you doing here?!" The man demanded as he slowly advanced with his bat raised up to attack.
The dark figure gave a low growl of annoyance. He didn't have time to deal with this. And so he took out a smoke pellet from his cloak and tossed it on the ground. As the heavy smoke filled the entire space the figure disappeared into thick artificial clouds. The man with the bat rushed to try and at least get in one hit. Unfortunately, the figure was got away by the time he got over to him. The man just stood there for a minute, mentally processing the situation and why it happened, when he heard a noise that sounded like a baby crying. His attention then turned to the dumpster beside the building.
"What's this?" He asked quietly to himself. The man walked over to the dumpster and looked inside to further inspect the contents. And to his great surprise, he found a six-month-old baby boy staring at him. He had kicked off the dark blanket and he was wailing pitifully, his face wet from rain and his body somewhat grimy from the trash.
The man immediately reached inside, grabbed the infant and clutched the squirming boy to his chest. He then quickly ducked inside the building and attempted to dry the lad off. "Who throws away a baby? Who would do something as heartless as this?
"Who throws away a baby? Who would do something as heartless as this?" He mentally wondered.
The baby began to cry again and the man began gently rocked him. Even though he knew next to nothing about babies he has seen enough passing by couples to know that rocking usually settles them down. After a while of being rocked the baby boy, thankfully, fell asleep. The man then went over to the couch, grabbed a pillow and took out the lone apple from his large fruit basket then set the pillow in it. He then placed the child on top of the pillow and soon he made himself comfortable on his makeshift bad. This made the man also realized that he would have to go shopping for supplies tomorrow because he had nothing to feed the baby with led alone diapers or clothes that he would need.
As the infant slept the man sat in his rocking chair, contemplating on what to do with the child. The adoption laws in this country were lax at best so adopting the child would be an easy task. Still, he had to wonder why anyone would literally throw away a child. Was that man the father, or perhaps a parent of the mother or father who sought to get rid of the child to avoid scandal? Sad as it is he has seen such things happen before. But it doesn't mean he'll ever get used to it or tolerate it.
As he made his way to where the youngster lay, a little shiny glimmer caught his eye.
"Hmm… what's this?" The man asked as he grabbed onto the glittery item. In his fingers was a silver pendant with a black dragon on one side and the name David Blair on the other. "Well, well, so you have a name after all. Well, little David, my name is Steven Volkoff, and it looks like you have just been adopted."
Fourteen years later
Nearly a decade in a half passed since Mr. Volkoff found and adopted that small child left in the trash. And said child, David Blair, grew into a bright and happy young teen. jet-black hair and eyes that were as blue as the sea. And unlike most laid back teenagers he was inquisitive and eager to learn about everything.
"David, your ride is here," Steven called out from the kitchen as he poured himself a cup of coffee.
"Thanks!" David shouted as he ran from his room upstairs, bid his adopted father goodbye and ran out the door to hoped onto the school bus. He lived in Terra of the Bantus Republic, a medium power on Earth.
"Hey, David!" Called out a voice.
David looked up to see his fellow student and friend, John Coiners. One year older than the raven head, John was a kid with hair that looked like the top of a palm tree and just as green.
"John, how ya been?" David asked as he plopped down on the seat next to his friend.
"Been keeping busy. You?" John asked back.
"Just finished the evaporator last night," David said.
"You mean the one that dropped three stories?" John asked in surprise.
"The very same," Davis said with a boastful grin, making John give him a look of amazement.
"You are a miracle worker!" The green haired teen exclaimed in admiration.
"I'm no Scotty, but I get the job done," David said with a modest smile.
From there the two rode on in companionable silence along with their classmates. After fifteen minutes or so the buff finally arrived at their school. The James Brink Middle School was small with just four classrooms, so there was no gym or music class. Despite this, the teachers were nice enough. And today students could look forward to a very special class. A class on mechas, which are giant robots used for combat or industrial purposes. Everyone sat in attentive silence as they listened to their teacher give her lecture.
"In 2017, the threat of all but assured destruction by nuclear weapons in the U.S. led to the creation of Mobile Attack Armor. Or mechas are they are also known as. These mobile weapons were very slow and bulky. However, their armor efficiency proved itself in the Avery Incident in Iran where militants attempted to fire a nuclear missile at the U.S. capital, which was stopped by the MAA. This resulted in the complete destruction of the Iranian government. With its destruction came the complete downfall of all radical terrorism in the twenty-first century."
"After that point," The teacher went on to say after her pause. "...the MAA evolved into the mechas we know today." She pushed up her round glasses and switched to the new slide showing a suit that looked like a mechanical predator. "2024 saw the first of these modern makes, the X-J Bird. It did not have the best maneuverability, but its speed was unchallenged. Then came the Brokerage, perhaps the best-known mecha in known history, equipped with twelve long-range ion guns. The Brokerage was the dominant mecha of its time."
While everyone else was listening with eagerness David was slightly less attentive than his classmates. He already knew most of this and zoned out during the rest of the lesson. Eventually, the class ended and everyone soon piled out. The last pairs to exit were David and John as they went to the lunch room. As they made their way there the two friends conversed as usual.
"You know, David, that was probably the shortest class I have ever been to." John pointed out.
"And there is a problem with that?" David asked with a slight smirk.
"I don't see one, myself. A short class means less time to hear the teacher drag on." Said a voice from behind them. "Leaving me behind?" David and John turned around to see another one of their best friends, Nozomi.
Nozomi Shina, a fellow classmate, and a close friend David have known most of his life. But she isn't like most other girls in town. Nozomi is actually a Nekomata, which is a person born with a unique genetic change that gives her the characteristics of a cat. This genetic change includes the most common feline features which are the pointed ears. Her catty appearance also makes her the cutest girl in school. But her down to Earth personality makes her gracious towards the mass attention. Nozomi caught up with the two boys and they went to the cafeteria.
"Heh, Nozomi. We were just looking for you." Said David sheepishly, obviously lying.
"Hmm-mm, right." Said the girl who both looked and sounded unconvinced. Never the less she followed the boys to the cafeteria.
"Blast, they're serving spaghetti again," David said with a disgusted look on his face as the familiar smell of marinara sauce and pasta. Nozomi also didn't seem to care for the scent and wrinkled her nose.
"Looks like you're going to have to go without lunch again." The cat girl said.
"I'll live," David said with a frown on his face. The friends proceeded to seat themselves at their usual table by the window in the cafeteria. This time, John broke the ice and spoke.
"Hey, have you heard?" John asked.
"Heard what?" David said, trying to ignore his belly growling.
"The local Mech Academy is coming to town this weekend. They're having a test at the civic center, and those who pass are let into the academy." John explained.
"What are you proposing? That we all sign up?" David asked with a curious, cocked eyebrow.
"Possibly..." John trailed off with his trademark grin.
"I don't know, John. After all, you can't even make it through gym practice without weeping from doing two laps. I don't think you can handle a complex machine like a mecha." Nozomi said with a grin of her own.
"Humph! Shows what you know, miss kitty! I can hold my own with the best of them!" John exclaimed boastfully.
"Then why is it that you can't beat our history teacher at arm wrestling?" Nozomi asked with a deadpan expression.
"Well, that's different. She used to be the captain of her girl's baseball league." John defended making the two laugh. "Seriously though, I think that we should definitely consider it! Especially you David."
"Me?" David asked with a blink of confusion.
"Yeah! After all, you're smart and good with your hands. You'd be the top pilot easy." The green haired teen stated.
"I guess...It's still a sudden decision to make." David said. Then another growl from his stomach made him groan from the hunger pains.
"Well, we can't make any decisions with no food in our bellies. I'll go ask Charles from our math class if he wouldn't mind sharing some of his home lunch. His mom always makes him enough for two." Nozomi said as she got up.
"Why, cause he doesn't eat enough?" John asked.
"No, so that he can charm a girl and find a future wife." The cat girl replied making the two young man chuckle.
Later that day, when school was beginning to each it ends, David went up to the roof of the school where he set up a chair for his daily ritual. Said ritual consisted of drinking a can of pink lemonade he got from the vending machine, then watch from the seat of his chair as the sun sank and the sky went to a nice shade of dusty red. As he sat down to watch this phenomenon occur before his eyes David found himself thinking something. And that something was John's previous mention about the Mecha Academy and the thought of possibly signing up to it.
"Should I sign up? I mean, I haven't even finished school. But then again, being a pilot is a high-paying job and I could see a lot of places that I wouldn't normally get to see with a normal job. Of course, there is an equal number of cons to being a mecha pilot also..."
He let his thoughts trail off and took a sip of his pink lemonade before letting out a long sigh. "I'll give it a few days to think about it."
Suddenly the sound of someone clearing their throat caught the raven head's attention. David looked to his side and saw his adoptive father Mr. Volkoff.
"Time to come home, David," Steven said.
"Yes, sir," David replied and stood up, folded his chair, sat it beside the entrance leading back down into the school and proceeded to exit with the older man. As they went down the stairs, Mr. Volkoff spoke.
"I've heard that you're thinking about joining the Mech Academy at Tresser," Steven said.
"...Yes, I am. Are you angry, sir?" David asked somewhat nervously. And to his surprise, Mr. Volkoff smiled.
"No, quite the contrary. Even though you're young, I think you'll do well at the academy, David." Steven replied kindly which made David's eyes lit up.
"You mean—?" He slowly asked and the old man gave a simple nod of yes.
"I think your friend said the registration test is at the civic center this weekend, so you might want to rest up," Steven said.
"Thank you so much, sir!" David exclaimed, grabbing onto his adoptive father in a tight hug.
"Certainly, son...But don't hug so tight. I am an old man after all." Steven said.
"Oh. Heh, sorry." David replied with a meek smile.
And so after that David spent every waking moment studying all about mechas. Whatever free time he had during the weekdays he used it to get ready for the registration test. Then that Friday evening he went to bed early so that he would be ready for the big day. When the weekend came with the rising sun David, John and Nozomi made their way to the civic center. Despite his previous confidence, David was very nervous, and John quickly noticed.
"You will do fine, David. Don't worry about it. Nozomi and I are taking the test, too." John assured as he patted his friend on the back.
"I studied all week, so I hope I get in." David sighed tiredly.
"We'll all get in, David. So don't worry! Now let's get going." Nozomi said and the trio made their way to the center.
And upon reaching their destination they realized they wouldn't be the only ones participating. The term "packed" was an understatement. There were at least a thousand people at the center and the chances for passing seemed little to none. Among these many hopefuls, there was only room for the very best with potential. This sobering fact just made David even more nervous. But he tried his best to keep a straight face. If his friends could stay confident then so could he. They stood staring until a new voice asked them a question,
"Are you here for the tests?" The teens spun around to see a man in black suit. "Well, are you?" He asked impatiently.
All they could do was nod their affirmation.
"Alright. This way, please. That includes the rest of you." He said and led the three along the back way until they came to a small room. "Please take your seats." They did so. "The test will start soon." The man said simply and then left the room.
Thirty minutes later another black-uniformed person, this one a man who was slightly older looking, came in and passed out the paper tests to the group. And each test was three pages long.
"You have two hours to finish them. Begin." The man stated and once he set the timer on his digital watch the group went to work.
However as time passed, David and his friends were having little problem with the test. Most of the questions were tricky and could have anyone answer. Others were questions they didn't even know had anything to do with being a pilot. Even still they carried on and answered each question as best they could. Finally, the timer on the man's watch dinged after the two hours were over.
"Time's up." The man said and went about collecting the test papers then went to the front of the room. "We will give you the results next Friday. Thank you for coming." And just like his colleague before him the man left.
Everything happened so fast that the trio was greatly confused. But they couldn't process it any further when three new people came in, led by another suited person. So the three friends got up from the desks and left the new group to take the test. Afterwards, they decided to go to a local burger joint for a bite to eat. During their meal, they talked about how the test went and what their results would be like. Of course, they could only hope for the best and brace themselves for the worst. But no matter what happens they'll be there for one another. Eventually, the sun had begun to set and David, John, and Nozomi made their way to their respective homes after bidding each other farewell. That night David looked out his window and stared up at the night sky as he took in the sounds of dogs barking, bugs making various noises and cars passing by
"Can I do it? If I get accepted, can I get through the thing?"
"Can't sleep, can you?" Asked a familiar voice and David turned around to see Steven standing at his door.
"No, I guess I can't stop worrying…" David stopped as a frown came to his face.
"…about being accepted into the academy?" Steven finished, and David's frown got bigger at the question. Steven gave a sympathetic sigh and walked into his adoptive son's room then put his hand on the teen's shoulder. "Now you listen to me, young man. I did not raise any fool. You have a chance few people like you ever get and besides, you always said you wanted a life of adventure. Now's your chance for both—don't waste it."
The statement made the young man look at his adopted father with a stunned expression. It was certainly a powerful indictment. And it helped to make him feel better.
"Don't worry, sir, I won't," David assured with a smile.
"Good, now get some sleep," Steven said and gently closed the door. David didn't need any further prompting after that and went into a dreamless slumber.