Disclaimer: I don't own it, bucko.
This was written after the original version vanished when my computer crashed. The original version was written in response to a discussion on Zoids Evolution Forums about the prevalence of Zoids high school fics. I wanted very much to parody one but the topic didn't really fit in with Tracey & Matt (which is more satire than parody anyway) so I wrote a whole new fic.
I also seemed to have been a bit fixated on graffiti when I wrote this one. Hmmmm.
The central characters are in Year 11 because I am, and therefore I know the right terminology and curriculum for the classes they're in.
Steve/Koobine, if you read this, please note that I did not take the Zoids out of Zoids, even if they play a lesser role.
At least the calculus makes sense.
"So you see, even though the gradient of the curse is constantly changing, we can find the gradient of any given point on the curve by substituting the x co-ordinate into... Van, are you listening? Van? VAN!"
A loud THWAP!, followed by a yelp of pain, shot through the school library as Thomas Schubaltz (inventor, class A debater, all-round genius, probable school-captain-to-be, probable Dux of his year and three times runner-up of the school yearbook's "most likely to be bashed" award) abruptly jerked his best friend, Van Freiheit, out of his in depth study of the graffiti on the windowsill and back into the world of Year 11 calculus.
"What was that for?" Van yelled, indignantly.
"QUIET DOWN! Don't you kids realise that this is a LIBRARY?!" roared Carol, the school librarian, briefly raising her head from her 'intellectual' discussion with the computer technician.
"Sorry, Ma'am!" Van said, but Carol had already gone back to the tech.
"Will you please pay attention to what I'm saying, Van?"
"I was! I was just distracted by the astounding historical value of this graffiti. Do you realise that some of it has been here since -"
Thomas cut him off. "Do I really need to remind you of how much you need to study? You've paid no attention in maths classes this year, you've done little homework in any of your subjects and you have only..." - he glanced at the clock - "... thirty-six minutes until your Maths test. And I'm sure I don't need to tell you how angry Hardin will be if you flunk another one."
Van flinched visibly. In the first class of the year, he'd asked Ms Hardin what brand of whipper-snipper she used to cut her hair. The week's worth of detentions he'd earned, stuck in a storeroom full of aromatherapy candles while shining Hardin's boots, was graffitied onto his memory forever. In black, shiny, lavender-scented paint.
"So," said Thomas, sternly, "Shall we get back to work?"
To be fair, Van tried to pay attention. He was forever grateful to Thomas for giving up his lunchtime to help him study, especially as Van, by his own admission, really did deserve to fail. It would be terribly unfair and ungrateful and un-hero-like of him to let his attention wander at a time like this. Plus he really was afraid of what Hardin was going to do to him this time.
... but it was just so much more interesting to stare out the window and watch Rudolf beating Raven at soccer.
"If you're asked to solve a problem from first principles, you'll have to use the formula h--0, f(x+h) - f(x) ..."
Seems Raven didn't like losing; he'd hopped in the Genobreaker, chased all the kids off the oval and stomped on the soccer ball.
"... but otherwise you're better off differentiating, so you use the rule f(x)=axn, f'(x)=naxn-1 and plug in..."
After chasing everyone away, Raven's changed his mind and decided he wants Rudolf back again. The Breaker's extendy-claw-thing caught our widdle emperor and wrapped him up in the soccer net.
"... the relevent x value and that'll give you the gradient for that point and for the tangent to that point. If they want you to find the normal to the curve..."
The school had finally had enough of Raven's antics - dismantling a soccer net was just going to far. (Unlike students, sports equipment costs money to replace.) The Ultrasaurus had been called out and was threatening to -"
"Hang on... since when has this school had an Ultrasaurus?"
"They don't. Moonbay probably took it for a joyride after she finished her deliveries." said Thomas, without looking up. Then...
"I was listening! Really! But you'd be distracted too if you saw an Ultrasaurus walk past!"
"Right," said Thomas, sceptically, "Well, in that case, you won't have any trouble with these practice exercises."
He highlighted several questions in his textbook, pushed it across the desk to Van and started his History essay. ('The contribution of cheap romance novels to the downfall of the Ancient Zoidians.')
Van sighed inwardly when he saw the numbers on the page in front of him. He had no hope of passing this test and he knew it. If he wasn't so scared of Hardin he wouldn't have even bothered studying - what did calculus have to do with him? Sure, you could use it to work out the correct angle to shoot at a missile following a parabolic trajectory, or calculate the probable speed and location of an enemy Zoid at a given time if it had an exponential rate of acceleration, but how on earth was he supposed to find time to do something like that in the middle of a battle?
In fact, the more he thought about it, the more he realised how little sense it made to be doing maths anyway. Or English, or Japanese, or History, or...
"Have you ever wondered why we're at high school?"
Thomas remained silent behind a thick reference book, which Van took to be a good sign.
"Think about it. The people of Zi are scattered all over the place. There would never be enough children in one place to warrant building a school, except perhaps in the capitals, but they have their poncy private schools, anyway. Even if there was a public education system, I'm from the Republic and you're an Imperial. Wouldn't Helic and Guylos have separate systems? So why are we even at the same school? And even taking that into account, I'm nineteen years old and you're even older, so why are we even at school any more? We're above the compulsory education age. Besides which, we're in the Guardian Force and we're pretty damn good at what we do. We're practically guaranteed jobs for life. Why would guys like us need a secondary education at all? Our being high school students isn't just pointless, it actively goes against all logic! Thomas, why are we here?"
Thomas finally looked up from his book and gave Van an inscrutable look.
"Van," he said, at last, "Will you quit stalling and do your work?"