Because I'm alone and the world is
Having more fun than me
Just A Kid, Simple Plan
Shinn Asuka was admitted into the ZAFT Military Academy as an officer-cadet in the fall of CE 70, just after the Accords of Jachin Due. This did not raise eyebrows. It would be more accurate to say that this caused eyebrows to jump directly off the faces of several people; and, more importantly, it produced a lot of shouting and protesting. This was especially noticeable in the fathers of boys who had failed to qualify for the Academy.
A question as to whether or not Shinn was even legally able to enter the Academy was raised. Although Shinn had been born in the PLANTs, and as such held dual-citizenship, he was nonetheless a resident of Orb. The Academy did not admit foreign students – a wartime policy – and Shinn was enough of a gray case to bring before a court.
Opponents to the boy's entry cited security risks as a concern. It was tacitly understood, however, that it was more a matter of 'unsuitability' than anything else. These students were, after all, the future officers of the Zodiac Alliance Freedom Treaty Armed Forces, and probably – by birthright and privilege – the future leaders of the PLANTs. The alumnae list of "old Redgate", as the Academy was fondly nicknamed, read like a "Who's Who" listing of PLANT industrial, political, media and (of course) military powers.
An orphan boy with no connections, no noteworthy accomplishments and not even a PLANT citizenship did not seem to belong in that august group.
The judge ruled in favor of Shinn, and his application for full PLANT citizenship – discarding his Orb papers in the process – was soon approved. He began classes, along with the rest of the cadets, on the seventh of September, CE 70.
A group of typical Academy students – that is to say, wealthy, with influential parents, and expensively educated – decided that the upstart had no place in their company. Various encouragements to leave were offered him.
They began simply enough – they laughed at Shinn, called him names, snickered when he went past. The laughter and smirking could be blocked out. The insults were annoying, but mostly because of how utterly unimaginative and uninspired they were.
"If it isn't the dirtboy, here to visit."
"I say, is that the bathroom, or just you?"
"I hear that on Earth, you lived with Naturals. Didja like that, huh? Didja like that, Natural-lover!"
Of course, it did have the effect of making most of Shinn's classmates avoid him like he was plague-ridden. Most were intimidated by his tormentors' status; the ones who weren't (they existed, though the tormentors liked to pretend everyone was impressed with them) couldn't be bothered. So Shinn was left mostly to his own devices.
It didn't really matter to Shinn – or so he told himself. It was nothing new, after all. He had become accustomed, back in Orb, to being somewhat of an outcast – ironically enough, for the reason that he was a 'ZAFT boy', which hadn't been true then but certainly was now. His only regular playmate had been his sister, Mayu. He had grown up so unaccustomed to friendly contact that, even had they not outcast him, Shinn probably wouldn't have known how to deal with the social complications anyway.
When they saw that Shinn didn't give a flip about their taunts – and with insults so pitiful, why this wasn't a surprise mystified Shinn – they moved onto more…active forms of discrimination. Their options here were even more limited than their insults, by the set-up at the Academy as much as by their lack of imagination.
They would have liked to sabotage his schoolwork. But assignments were handed in via personal terminal, and they couldn't crack the standard security system the Academy equipped on its computer terminals. Even, if by some sudden surge of capability, they had managed to break through the Academy security system, they would then have to contend with the personal firewalls and data-traps Shinn had programmed for his terminal.
In other words, it was impossible.
During class-hours, they made noise and roistered whenever Shinn was called upon to speak. Some teachers made them quiet down; some didn't. It was of no matter, though, as Shinn stopped reciting in class. This didn't really affect his grades; it only meant he had no room for mistakes in his assignments and tests.
They tried to sabotage his tests. But written tests were, like assignments, completed on personal terminals, and furthermore were time-limited. So, practical tests were their best bet.
Shinn would not cooperate, however. He refused to be startled during marksmanship tests, seemingly going deaf and blind to everything but the target in front of him. No matter how many times he was tripped or jostled in physical examinations, he somehow managed to get by with passing grades – grades that, in many cases, were higher than their own. And they all agreed to never speak of the time when, put into a malfunctioning flight simulator, Shinn had not only outflown them, but somehow manipulated the sim-network so their simulators were also malfunctioning.
It was then they decided to take…more drastic measures.