I love it when games create the storyline o that you fill the role of the main character, but it bothers me. This is my vision of the main character Blaze, in Ace Combat 05. I will try to be as descriptive as I can and please tell me your thoughts as you read through. I am prone to make errors so please tell me of any.

Sit back and enjoy.

Fire

1995. That year meant a lot of things, many different things for every person. For most, I suppose it meant the end of Belka.

Belka, so I know, was the aggressor state. Over the years it held control over the northern valleys of the Osean Continent, and they made several attempts to build an empire. Each time, once they were sure of their strength, they fought an all-out war against the rest of world. I guess the world is different than it used to be, way back when. But it seemed that a ghost haunted them constantly. Each attempt failed. And with war after war the lands of Belka slowly diminished from the vast territory they once held.

1995. That year is when the final conflict with the Belkan's began. They isolated themselves, shunning all those around them. They built their industrial strength to heights unmatched by Osea or any other country in the world. They spent all they had in one last offensive, one last chance to see the black and green banner fly in glory over the world. It failed utterly. I remember seeing old photos from that time, of tanks and trucks rolling through cities, soldiers with their M-16s pointing off at some target. I doubt though they really captured the truth of what the war was. Black and white just doesn't match up to the color of war.

That year, something happened that no one thought would, or could ever happen. Faced with the inevitable allied advance, the Belkans committed the unthinkable. Looking back on the record, I think the world should have suspected it. Perhaps they were in denial with what desperate men could do? Fear has that effect on people and compounded with pride, can spell tragedy. And the prideful Belkans, in an effort to stop the advance, used nuclear weapons on their own soil. Seven bombs went off at the northern gate, blanketing the area in a giant cloud. The cities near the gate were vaporized instantly. Millions died, only for the Belkans to be entombed in the cold North. Nothing lives there anymore.

For a long time, I sat ignorant of this fact, this piece of history. Only in school when the controversy went down did I ever read anything about it. I guess it was too shocking for most to bear. I couldn't imagine it for a long time, till I saw ground zero myself along with the flat basins of the once thriving cities. It's crazy what some people will do because of pride. Though I also guess it served as God's way to hit the world on the side of the head, wake it up to the true horror of war.

1995. Most say it's when the war ended. In the wake of that tragedy, people threw down their arms and weapons, and pledged peace hitherto. It went well I suppose. We became allies with our long time rival Yuktobania. That was unthinkable before the War. However even with peace, rivalry will always go on.

To me though, 1995 is not when war ended, but when I began.

I was alive at the beginning and the end of the war, but I can't remember anything beyond one day sometime after it all happened. I am not sure how I lost all my childhood memories, or the reason why my actual parents were never found. I might have hit my head very hard. It's possible, since the earliest thing I can remember is not a memory, not really. It's the sensation of falling. Just nothing holding me up. Then I think I hit water, like I fell off a cliff or something like that. I remember trying to stay afloat and being battered against a rock. Then I hit a black area. It's almost like I died. For all anyone knows, maybe I did.

After that, it all gets mashed together. I think I was walking through some woods and then along a road, which I don't know how I happened upon. It might have even been the other way around. Eventually I was picked up by a car. Now I think he was a police officer, at the time I was too tired and young to care. That's where my earliest memory ends. It's hard not being able to think back to earlier years. I don't like it. A never-ending headache, it's like. After that, the lapse could be weeks or even months. Like a year of your life is just robbed from you.

Some time later I can remember a white room, a hospital room. They were examining me so I could be labeled in "good health" or "he is allergic to corn." They were checking for something along those lines. But that isn't what shocked them. I couldn't tell them why, but I had numerous scars along my back and the sides of my torso. My legs looked like they had been shot by something and my arms had been broken and mended in several places. This went along with, what they called, "apparent head trauma." Even I thought they were stupid at that young age. They said that all those injuries could have been caused by several falls, and these falls could also have "contributed" to the loss of my memory. While they were doing all those checks, they talked on and on about how I would soon get a "good foster family." That never happened.

I only can for sure repeat one thing an aid said to me after shining a bright light into my eyes. It was, "Your eyes are very beautiful. It's like they are on fire." I don't think I will forget that. It was the only compliment I ever got; at least I think it was. She then asked me my name. I said didn't know, to which she persisted, and eventually left the room very troubled. I never saw her again.

I think one of the doctors had a heart attack when he found something strange in my muscles and skin tissue. I didn't understand at the time why it was so disturbing. And I wouldn't for a long time. Going along my arm he was muttering something about "holes" or…I don't know, on my skin. He went along for ten minutes I guess trying to think of what could cause them. He hit the floor when he found it. I thought it was little funny at the time, which I guess disturbed him a lot. There was a little brown mount in my skin, which he thought was a mole or something. He pulled on it, sliding its long point out and then dropped. It turned out to be a pin; a long needle-like pin that had been in my muscle so long it had nearly rusted brown. They found many more needles in my arm and shoulders. As you can imagine there was big commotion then. Nurses came to help and covered their mouths. I think then I started to cry yet I don't remember being afraid or hurt by the doctor pulling the needles out. Soon male aids came and hauled the doctor off somewhere. Like the nurse, I never saw him and most of the aids again. I can't help but think that he thought I was a demon or a little monster when he pulled the needles out. Like he was facing his worst nightmare. To my young eyes he looked like he had died. That made me feel bad for awhile.

I know it was awhile before I saw much of anyone. The usual group of people coming down the hall seemed to stop as well. Like I was evil or something. I do know I cried then. I hated not having people around me. But after awhile I got used to it. The next doctor was a lot younger and I guess better nerved then the other one. He helped me get the rest of the needles and pins out of my muscles. It turned out we found five more to make nearly ten. Two of them were almost as rusted as the first. The rest looked new. They still had a lot of shine once all the blood had dripped off. I wish I could remember his name. I thought of him as a friend by the time I said goodbye to him. He really was the only one who could really stand to face me in the entire hospital. Somehow, whether in childish ignorance or false logic, I began to think that I was some kind of monster. He assured me that a lot of people got sick and the aids were very busy, but I could hear the falseness of his speech.

I was in there a few days and it was some of the loneliest days I would ever have. I had no one to talk to and I thought very low of myself. Damn it all! What was his name? He came to me one time and showed me some paper, which was the form or file he was going to give to the orphanage. Then showed me that I was nameless. He said that I needed to pick a name for myself, so he could give me a place to sleep at night. I think they were going to kick me out of the hospital. I had no money to pay them. I asked how I was going to name myself to which he was without an answer. Stuttering I think he said, "Pick a name…that…that describes you."

At that point the only thing I knew about myself was what the aid had told me about my eyes. With fire as the only analogy I had, I named myself, "Blaze."

He scribbled it down it pretty fast and said that was all he needed. It was a few days before I saw anyone but the people who came to give me meals. After that they threw me into another police car with bars separating the officer and me, giving me the impression I really was a demon. I never heard a word from him. He showed me in and out of the car, that's all. I remember I was too short see over the car door through the window. So I stared at the sky instead and saw birds flying through it every once in a while. That might be the only good memory I had for long time.

I think I would describe my introduction to that orphanage as an introduction to hell. I can't remember the name of it now, and I don't really want to. When the cop dropped me off, I was greeted by the oldest woman I had ever seen. She wore a black sort of suit and some sort of headdress. I wouldn't find out till much later that the headdress meant she was a nun and just crazy. When I asked about it, she gave a long and almost academic answer about modesty. It just confused me more.

It turned out that state was in a dire budget crisis at the end of the war with Belka. Since a budget crisis combined with a massive deficit from the war had the effect of closing down many public orphanages, it looked like I was going to be left on the curb because none of the public orphanages that were still open had enough funds from the state to feed and house me. They were filled beyond capacity. The result of all this was that I was sent to a private, church-run orphanage, instead of being left on the curb. I think I would have preferred the curb more though…

I remember the building looked like it had been built four hundred years ago. And when I asked, I had underestimated how old it was, in my young head at least. The place was incredibly cold. The heater, which was meant for us, never worked properly. Thus we little children were left to be freezing under the tiny blanket we got. At my age, something they just guessed at, I was supposed to start the first grade. Thus, I got moved to different part of the building that was even colder. I can't remember all of the details. I know I didn't sleep much. Since there wasn't much else for me to do with the time before I started the schooling, they had me go to mass in an effort to get my spirits up. I think it had more of an opposite effect.

It was truly a hell; at least I thought it was. Each day they woke me up early and I had dress in this cheeky uniform which had the tackiest pants to ever been tailored. I resented that a lot. Everything I did there was regulated. The food, I ate, the time I had to study, and even the free time we had. Every class began and ended with prayer. Even as I got older, I didn't, and still don't, like the idea of an all-powerful being that supposedly loved us all, would rob me of my memory and make me miserable through the rest of my childhood. And I said so. Because of that, all of the staff resented me thoroughly. It might have been all the scars I had or my rebellious nature to the staff priests and nuns that made them and the other kids not want anything to do with me. It became a regular thing for me to sit alone and watch the birds and the occasional jets fly overhead. Throughout my time there and even before I suppose, I had always wanted to be free of all the bonds and rules people had over me. I was a rebel then, when I look back upon it. Even though I never once thought of trying to defy them by whatever means. So I accepted the misery and spent all my time alone.

I think they might have turned me over to the public institutions once they had the resources except for two reasons. The first was that I performed better in school than most other kids. In fact I think all other kids. They wanted to brag of how great they made a child that had been so traumatized in his youth that he even forgot his own name. Even in the holy church there was rivalry. It's hard to imagine my life if I had remembered my name. People made a lot jokes about my only name. At first I was hurt by the taunting, then over time I got angry myself. And finally I just shook all of it off. The second reason I wasn't bunked out of that place was that one of the priests whose name I do remember, Father Thomas Arré, made it his personal quest in life to show me the glory of God. I'll admit he did make good points, which I rebutted, but I guess they made an impact. The only reason I chose to talk with him when he was free was that he was the only one who wouldn't hit me if I did something that was "out of order," as they always said to me. I guess he charmed the heads of the schools to keep me here, much to my dismay. With Thomas' preaching and all the absence of any affection from the other kids or most of the staff, I quickly became the character I am today.

At some point, when we kids got older, they allowed us to venture into town, which I took great pleasure in doing. We weren't allowed to go more than five miles from the orphanage and we had to stay out of a list of places they gave us. The list itself was so extensive I could barely go anywhere. Still, I enjoyed walking down the streets and thinking to myself of all the things I wouldn't miss when I was old enough to leave. There were two places I went to regularly. The first place I spent all my early visits at was just a photo shop. There were cameras in the windows with pictures of girls and other things the nuns would have reprimanded me for. Still, inside there was a wall filled with pictures from all over the world. Apparently the guy who owned it, his name was Lars, made copies of the best pictures he got in to develop and put them on the wall. By that time I was very interested in flying and lucky enough for me, Lars had a lot of pictures of fighter jets. One day he asked me when my birthday was. I told him I didn't know and right out he said, "Happy Birthday," and gave me a large poster of an F-14 Tomcat. I still have it too.

The other place I discovered by accident, and it was on the list of places not to go. It was just a local bar and restaurant, but it was also a place where rock groups and a lot of bands from the metal underground came to play every day, with occasional jazz and latin groups, though they were much rarer. For the life of me I forgot the name of the band from my first day, but I came in at the opening song for that one band. The only music I had heard before that point was from the choirs singing songs of worship and praise which I had a hard time enjoying. The fast moving, hard hitting, ass-kicking guitar that the band played blew me away. Like it came out and surrounded me. I instantly fell in love with the genre. Every time I got out I would go there after my stops at Lars' photo shop. Most would agree the music suits me well.

Every year we could request a few gifts for the holidays. Most of the kids wanted things like trading cards and toys. For me the only thing I put down was an electric guitar with an amplifier. I didn't get it that year much to my disappointment. The next Christmas, the staff didn't get it for me either. All I received was a book describing a story of some child who found God. I am not sure what I did with that. But a few weeks later, Father Thomas Arré, and his brother in the photo shop, Lars Arré pulled some money between the two and got me a solid black electric guitar. To most, it was a huge monster but to me it a thing of beauty, besides the fact that it was much bigger than I was.

It's hard to describe the little terror I became at that school when I was learning to play the thing. Even with the amplifier at its lowest I still had to use the grounds keeper's shed, which was very cold that time of year, to practice. Learning the guitar was one of the most challenging things I had to do, especially since none of the priests or faculty could help. Lars, my only friend, showed me tips when I stopped by, but most of the technique I learned from the bands that came in and out of that bar. At that time thrash metal and speed metal seemed to be the dominance in the underground, so all the music I learned how to play was much resented by everyone at that orphanage. It was metal, metal, metal! At first anyways. It wasn't until I was older and wiser that I began to appreciate anything else. Heavy metal just seemed to capture my personality at that point. All the aggressive tones and scales gave me a sweet release that I couldn't experience listening to jazz, to classical or any other style of music.

Next they said I was thirteen and for the holidays Thomas took care of my needs and gave me a five-dollar book that had nothing in it but pages and pages of empty music bars for writing notes and spaces bellow for lyrics. He told me it was so I could express all the anger and frustration that I had and get it out so God could come in. I told him it was the only time he had done something kind for me.

All the misery that I had in that place diminished from then on. I really owe everything to the music. It helped make all the sermons and classes there much more tolerable and took up so much of my time, I didn't really socialize with the other orphans. I was ever more a recalcitrant and always by myself.

One year, a student that I sat by, who was very quiet like me, said she had an old radio that I could have. I have to admit I was a shocked little teenager. I asked why and she said she thought I could use it. I didn't know what to say. She had a few friends, not many but it was more than I had. I used the radio to pick the few stations that played the big metal and rock bands out there. The songs I had been working on took a turn for the best after that. It flowed out of me like a torrent. I thanked her each time I could and she almost blushed each time I did. A few times her friends came out to hear me practice my music. They were nice. Each time they asked questions on "how could I move my fingers so fast" and "how do I still have hearing." Slowly they came to appreciate it but eventually they stopped coming, giving me the chance to concentrate. In that early part of my young adult life, it seemed that the only thing I cared about was getting better at music and playing the guitar. I didn't know at the time what it would lead to, or if it would lead to anything at all. But everything else seemed sour then. Looking back, I have to say I brought most of the sorrow onto myself.

I don't remember the rest of the time I spent there that well. I only have a feel for how long it was by each of the songs I finished or songs I learned to play. While I wasn't in the shed writing or just jamming, I sat out in the hall and jotted down notes and ideas for different compositions, or I just relaxed, playing over stuff I had heard and sometimes just daydreamed. While sitting I saw a lot people come by and pick kids up, in other words adopting them. When I was young, I wished someone would come and take me away. At one point I resented Father Thomas for keeping me there. It was the old urge I had to be free that kept longing to get out. I hoped for someone to come and just take me away. It wasn't till after I saw "her", the one real friend I had in that place, get taken into a family that I knew I would not leave that way. I started to wonder about my parents then. The mystery people whom I share genes with. I wondered if they were like the collected people that came for "her." I'd lay in bed sometimes and think of their faces, but I couldn't recall them. All of it was gone; every memory I had of them disappeared. And my thoughts turned into a nightmare when I remembered the pins and needles that were shoved in me. I made the choice then never to find them.

It wasn't till we were 16 that they allowed us to leave the institution if we wanted to. I did in a heartbeat. I didn't have any regrets then. I didn't go far, though. I made a deal with Lars to work in his store if I would still go to classes at the orphanage. With little else to do, I accepted. I got an apartment a block from the store and went to work with him early in the morning and then after all my classes finished. I do owe Father Thomas a lot too. He pulled some strings that allowed me to stay in those classes, even though I left the orphanage. At night after I was done with Lars, I would carry my guitar over to the bar. It was a little illegal since I wasn't old enough to drink, but I started with just playing some of my songs solo, before the other bands. Eventually, I was asked to play with some of them. I grew to be pretty popular around the local musicians, though there were not that many of them.

It slowly grew and I played at a lot of the clubs in the nearby towns as well. Still that's all that happened with my music. The classes at the orphanage suddenly got a lot tougher than they were when I was a little kid. They took up most of my time. Since I wasn't really staying there, I couldn't stretch it by taking time off classes. This persisted until I was 18 and graduated with a full diploma. Then I started to really concentrate. I packed my guitar on my motorcycle and rode around played at clubs and bars. I joined a few bands but they never lasted that long. I always ended up with the most unstable people as band mates. A year later I came back to Lars's shop. The life on the road was rough and I always got the bad hand. He had the idea that I apply for the academy, the Air Defense Force Academy. I remember I laughed when he suggested it. I never thought I would get in. Why would they accept an orphan who doesn't really know how old he is and whose name was Blaze? But by some miracle, Thomas said, I was accepted. I didn't believe it at first, but there it was stamped and everything delivered with the Commandant's signature. While I had no regrets of touring before, I didn't want to leave Lars for that long of a time, so every year he sent a post card telling me how he was doing. I haven't seen him since then though.

I didn't have much to take with me to the academy. All the books I used for studies were kept by the orphanage, so most of my things fit onto my bike. It was awkward riding with my guitar strapped to my back and my whole wardrobe packed in the rear basket, but that was the only problem. I didn't have nearly enough money to afford a plane ticket, and it was not too far from where I was. Still getting there was an experience of its own. A long time winding down the narrow roads in the mountains and dodging speed demons coming around the curves. It was a harsh ride, but I got through it with my guitar in perfect condition. The cold was a bit of problem. While the distance I traveled was not incredibly long it took me several days to get out of the mountains. Somewhere in there, all my spare change ran out and I had to play for some weird characters in bars to get fuel for my bike. Once I was out it was a long straight line to the academy. It got boring pretty fast. There wasn't much to do when riding 16 hours at a time. At one point I was in a kind of daze from the cold and my bike ran out of gas. That time I nearly scrapped my face along the road. It was another day delayed before someone cared enough to take me to a pump station. Didn't catch his name but I owe him a lot for getting me out of that situation.

It must have been at least eight days riding before I arrived at the academy. I forget the actual number. I wasn't late which was very good considering the trouble I had getting there. To be honest I was sure the academy was going to be just like the orphanage or worse. The military was always a big machine to me, with little guys marching like robots and firing weapons. I knew there was a uniform but this one was a lot better than the cheeky outfit I had back then. Used the money I saved up working with Lars to purchase it. It was so overly priced too. It must have been at least 3,000 dollars, and if I didn't pay they wouldn't let me in. That made me angry at first, but I had to admit I couldn't afford anywhere else. The Academy was only place one was paid to go to school. They gave me a room and a place to park my bike; I had to bargain for that parking spot since vehicles were forbidden to new students. That was the best part of my first week. There was a big ceremony where they introduced us to the academy and gave us a tour of the campus, which is very large.

Once classes began I learned what a freshman was. The upper classmen lorded over us with their higher rank. They forced us to do a lot of stupid things in my mind. It wasn't that bad I thought, though I saw several people quit there and then. I didn't want to go back to playing around the metal underground so I put up with all the damn jokes and pranks they had us do, until they found something better. The classes weren't easy either. While I scored much higher than most, it was some of the hardest work I had ever done. But the idea of flying kept me in check.

While it hit like a brick at first, I quickly got comfortable in my own routine. I was still regarded as antisocial, since I spent all my free time playing music. The guitar didn't give me much friends but it scored me some respect from the upper classmen. On the weekends I played regularly at a nearby club and that earned some fame as the musician around campus. Unlike everywhere else, they seemed to accept my unique name, Blaze. I wonder what they actually thought of it? They were not as closed-minded as the nine year-olds I grew up with. With that, my first year went by smoothly and I even was at the top of my class by the end of the second semester.

The summer after that held something interesting for me. Most went home to see their families for a few weeks. There wasn't much for me to go back to. So I didn't. I didn't know what I was going to do for those weeks off. Where was I going to go?

After the graduation ceremony for the senior class, the Commandant called me into his office. It seems I impressed him too. Seeing that I was an orphan and had no real home, I was allowed to stay at my room during the summer. He also gave me a job helping mechanics maintain the fighter jets at the base nearby. I don't know how he found out about my desire to be fighter pilot, but I didn't complain. With all the time spent at the airfield and playing at all the local restaurants and clubs occasionally, my summer vacation came to a close quickly. It was the best summer I ever had up till then though.

I sometimes confuse things that happened second year with all the crap that went on first year. It wasn't much different for me, though for everyone else in my class it seemed to be. I didn't bother wasting any time with the lower classmen. That year I wrote two songs that seemed popular with all the classmen. They weren't that impressive to me but others liked them a hell of a lot. Time and time again I was to go to parties and play those songs. In between them I would sneak in some of my favorites and some covers by my favorite artists. They appreciated them, but it still didn't stop them from asking again and again. It was almost insulting by the end, until they found something new. It secured me a stop in any party list but also painted a permanent canvass of me as a silent musician. Several times I was asked if I was a Satanist to which I mildly pissed off. I never hit anyone but I did let them know of my dislike.

The second year ended the same way and I was left with the same summer as the first year. I had become good friends with the air mechanics by that time and spent more and more of my time with them and not with my guitar. I still always found time for music though. By then I had filled up over five of those small books with my own songs. I had thought about giving them to a record company, but they were my own and I didn't want to go through the dismal life on the road.

The third year, and I think it is the same at most colleges, we were asked to choose our major or majors. I had no idea at the time, but I figured having three, which was the highest they would allow for me to take, would be better than taking just one. I chose guitar theory, aerodynamics and chemistry. I really didn't know what I was in for. More work and more classes were lodged in my schedule than I thought the academy would allow. The classes and the work they assigned me ruled my life utterly. I had little time even to play guitar despite the fact I had classes that were about guitar playing. Instead of music, often they had me give them essays on the most unrelated subjects to guitar playing imaginable. Amazingly enough, chemistry, my worst class the first two years, became my best subject. I found the ordering of molecules, and the hybridization of orbitals much more interesting than guitar theory which still is one of my few passions in life. A lot of the aerodynamics ended up being covered in the chemistry, will helped save some time, but not a lot.

That holiday season Lars sent a package full of all the pictures that he had put on the board in his shop. I sent a card back and mounted all of them on my wall as a collage. My roommate, who I barely ever saw, thought that was the best decoration for an academy wall. He took several pictures of us standing in front of it and took them home with him.

When the year resumed I felt more driven than I ever had before. I finished my first major, to everyone's surprise, at the end of the year. Though it wasn't hard to get the credit for guitar theory, I was gladder than ever to start working on new material during the summer.

I ended up spending the summer working on jets at the airfield. I was called up by some band to play with them as a featured guitarist, while they opened on one of biggest rock tours I knew about. At first I wasn't going to accept and told them I would give it some hard thought. They gave me an address and a date to show up on if I accepted. I was going to turn them down at first; the tour would take a long time. I would only play for some of it, although I would still have to go overseas at least once. It was daunting but I probably would never have many offers like that. I rendezvoused with them at the date and we set off right away.

We went to so many cities so fast I barely remember all the songs we played. We did several covers and some of their and my own material, and we got a pretty spearheaded reaction. It was a good feeling playing for real fans like that; I have to admit. I might call them up someday and do it again. They said I could any time. I stayed on the tour a lot longer than I planned, which no one had a problem with but it was not easy getting back into academy life after parting with them. I arrived back on the day before classes were scheduled to begin and got the worst night of sleep ever. It wasn't a bad way to begin my last year there.

I am not sure what happened, but I became a sort off mini-celebrity at the academy, it was a kind of semi-popularity. I was called into the Commandant's office several times to talk to majors and colonels about myself. I think the Commandant had a hand in my acceptance and wanted to make me into a poster boy since I was doing so well at the Academy. It was flattering but I would have preferred the Commandant to not use me to brag about the air forces' performance in relation to the navy.

I remember one of the majors very clearly.

I walked in, presuming that the Commandant was going to question my playing on campus again. Instead I saw what looked like a marine major. I saw the wings indicating he was fighter pilot.

The Commandant began it some what like this, "Ah, Major this is the cadet I told you about. Cadet Blaze, meet Major Jean Schinect."

I saluted then shook his hand not knowing what I was going to say back to a major. "Blaze, interesting name Cadet. Did your father fly planes? The Commandant tells me you're one of the leading Cadets to become a pilot."

"I don't know if my father flew, sir. I never knew my parents, sir." I couldn't believe how much I stuttered when I spoke to him and any superior officer. I could ride a motorcycle like no other and not break a sweat and yet I am nearly scared shitless whenever I have to address a superior officer.

"Oh you were orphaned. I am sorry Cadet. How rude of me. But that makes your getting accepted and outperforming the norm even more impressive. I am sure your foster family is very proud of how they raised you."

"I…I was never adopted, sir. I lived my life on my own."

The major's face turned painfully at that comment. "Don't I feel like a horse's ass. It is amazing that you managed to get here without your parents support. If I may shake your hand again…I think you got a real future in the military. I hope to see you in the skies, Cadet."

"Thank you, sir."

"Just out of curiosity, how did you end up with the name Blaze?"

"I named myself, sir. They said pick the name you like."

"Well, it certainly suits you, Cadet. Look me up when you get out of flight school."

The conversations didn't get my other majors done any faster, but it gave some self-assurance back, which had been dwindling while the year rolled on. I became busier; it was almost like I disappeared from the school. Only my roommate really knew I still lived in that room. The new classes I was taking for chemistry were almost unrelated to the other ones I took. It seemed all of us in the class were running for our lives from a monster. We were given so many research projects I thought I was going to explode. Tests after tests were given out. It became almost a joke to everyone not in the class. While I was back in that living hell, some of best parties happened. Everyone was partying while I struggled to stay afloat. Even though I wasn't the most sociable, it would have been a nice and well-deserved reprieve from the endless combinations of chemistry. I was so inundated with the work that before we all knew it, I had finished the major and I was well on my way to finish the third by the end of the year, or close to it.

I think I understated how wild and stupid my fellow cadets were. Some of the most hilarious pranks happened, nearing the close of that year. Sure it happened every year, but for whatever reason my class seemed to enjoy it more. Several of the statues were painted in some of the most unusual colors. Many strange events happened which involved a lot whipped cream. While I didn't have the chance to partake in any of them, it was a nice epilogue to the long years there.

And then the fourth year was over and I had finished everything right on the dot. I remember telling my roommate jokingly that I had a flare for the dramatic.

I remember seeing all the parents of my fellow cadets right before I got a bruise from one of the hats that had been thrown at the end of graduation. It was the only then I wished I had known my family. It seemed I was the only one in full dress uniform without a girlfriend and a parent taking pictures with me. I might as well have been wearing a Yuktobanian military combat gear. I stood out far more than everyone else and would spend the night drinking alone. I could hear everyone talking to their families as I past. I was amazed how people knew I was orphan and had no family whatsoever. I called Lars the night before and he said he would have liked to be there if he wasn't afraid to close his shop for even a day. Walking through the crowd though, I recognized someone I knew. Father Thomas Arré had come up to visit me. He stood out even more than I did, dressed in full black with his collar. We probably were quite a sight. I had the reputation for being a metal head and a recalcitrant bookworm and I was walking with a priest.

"You have done great things Blaze. You've done better than anyone else thought you would. I am glad all my words didn't get lost on you."

"It still hasn't been that easy, or that enjoyable."

"Oh, I know. I thought this place would be a challenge for you. I am guessing it ran you harder than the old school ever did. It must have been as though it was impossible. But look at you. You completed three majors in four years. When I went here I would have said that to be impossible."

"You went here?" I said.

He nodded in reply. "Yes, as did Lars. We both took the academy course. Graduated as ensigns and were lieutenants when we were out of flight school. We were ecstatic. I remember passing whiskey around as we listened to the graduation ceremony. We both fought in the war fifteen years ago against Belka. When the last day of the war came and the skies were like fire, we both decided that the world didn't need war and soldiers. Thus we both found ourselves in separate places."

I never thought of him the same after then. He and Lars seemed almost like my family.

"Now Blaze. I see you having a great future as a pilot. You have a determination and a respect that no one will expect. I always knew that."

"Why did you take so much care for me?" I asked.

"When I saw they were having trouble with you and I read what you had been through. I was sure you fall out of the system as soon as you could and become a criminal or die from loneliness. Newly ordained, I couldn't let someone who had such a bad past that God wiped the memory of it from him, fall into misery and lose all faith. I knew without past experiences you would not understand the other children and get alienated. It would have been a lot worse if the decision to deport you had gone through. I saw it only fit that I help you." He didn't speak for moment. I suppose he knew how much of a revelation it was for me. "Though I never wanted you to become familiar with Lars, but it seems to have turned out for the better. You are like a brother to us, Blaze."

"I still don't see why you hold so much to him when you've seen what lessons he deals."

He knew what I was alluding to, but spoke very calm in reaction. "I thought you would still hold some resentment. But you…I know you'll see it some day, when a person comes into your life that you can't deny." He stopped and put his hat on then we embraced as he prepared to leave. "And now my younger brother, I must get back to my flock."

I went back to my room that day with a piece of a puzzle I never knew existed.

(A/N): I know it's no too exciting but this chapter is vital to understand the character of Blaze. I promise the air battles will be fantastic.

Thank you for reading.

-Stonehenge