Disclaimer-once more I have nothing to do with Danny Phantom, or Nasa, or airplanes, legally at least.
As the plane taxied down the runway Danny stared out the window. Jump city was Huge! The old man in the seat next to him smiled knowingly and whispered, "First time in Jump, sonny?"
Danny was startled out of his stupor and turned back to the man nodding as he said, "Yeah, I've heard that it is an exciting city though."
The old man laughed a bit and said, "Oh yes, it certainly is, I've lived in Jump City most of my life, and I can tell you that it is certainly never boring." His eyes twinkled with an untold story and as Danny raised his eyebrow questioningly the old man just smiled and said, "Just keep your eyes peeled and your senses sharp and you'll do fine lad, What brings you here?"
Danny grinned and said, "I'm entering training here at Jump City Aerospace Facility, I want to be an Astronaut someday." The old man's eyes widened before he studied Danny a bit. After a few seconds Danny got a little nervous with the scrutiny and was about to say something before the old man spoke again.
"An Astronaut huh, You've got the spirit for it, I think, and training will tell you whether you've got the skill." the man said. Danny stared at the man a bit surprised by the judgment but simply nodded. As everyone was filing out the old man turned around again and said, "Good luck, Sonny"
Danny nodded a bit before he said, "Danny, My name is Danny, it was nice meeting you."
The old man turned and nodded, "My friends call me Billy, nice meeting you Danny." he said as he disappeared into the crowd of people in the airport.
Once Danny got his Luggage he quickly looked around, there was supposed to be someone with a sign that said, "JAF" on it. After a minute or two of searching he finally found the sign and walked up to greet the man holding it. The man didn't spare him much more than a glance as he pointed to the shuttle van behind him. As Danny got on he saw two guys in their early twenties and a girl about that age in the back of the shuttle van. In the middle seat was a guy with blond hair and a scowl on his face that looked to be Danny's age, maybe a year or two older. In the seat closest was a guy with headphones on and reading a book Danny had also read a little while ago.
Danny slid into the seat next to the guy with the headphones and said, "Hey dude." The guy continued to bob his head with the music on his head phones and obviously had not heard him. The guy suddenly reminded him of Tucker without the really bad singing. Danny decided to try again with a tap on the shoulder. The fellow jumped and looked around wildly before his eyes settled on Danny.
"Dude, you scared me, whats up?" the guy said, his voice pitched a little higher at first before it settled into its normal baritone.
Danny smiled and as he said, "I just wanted to introduce myself, since I was sitting by you. Names Danny."
The guy smiled a bit before he said, "My names George, but most of the people at the training camp last year called me Thumper, so pick a name and it's yours to call me."
Danny took on a confused face before he nodded and said. "Thumper? Why do they call you-" as Danny was asking him this the driver entered the shuttle and shouted, "Alright, we're heading to JAF!" And as quickly as that, the man turned the shuttle van on and cranked the stereo to some kind of classic rock station. He noticed Thumper had put his headphones back on and gave up on asking him about his name for now. He stared out the window at the buildings and people. The old man he had talked to was right, Jump city was definitely a huge change from Amity Park.
The Van slowly made its way through the city and closer to the outskirts. After the got a few miles out they finally came to a large field. Danny looked on in wonder at the facility. It looked very modern and new like Axion Labs, but all of the equipment was geared towards Aerospace Technology. The van finally camp to a stop and Danny was practically shaking with anticipation. As soon as the doors were opened Danny hopped out and looked a little closer. 'The Pictures did not do this place Justice, its amazing...' he thought to himself.
Danny was so busy walking around looking up at the various structures in the training camp he didn't see the Blond kid from the shuttle van till he smashed into him. The blond scowled and snarled, "Watch where your going Klutz!"
Danny put his arms up in a placating motion and said, "Sorry man, total accident." The Blond just grumbled to himself before walking away. "Geeze what a grouch..." Danny mumbled before he saw several other Vans pull up. 'These must be the other Cadets...' Danny thought to himself there were roughly two hundred people standing near the outside entrance to the center after fifteen minutes. Not sure who he should talk to he settled on Thumper since he seemed like a nice enough guy. Walking up next to him he said, "Wow there are a lot of people here..."
Thumper nodded his head and said, "About this many came last year. Only 30 people will be able to actually enter the space program by the end of this summer, most of those people will end up quitting the rigorous training to become an Astronaut and only about 10 will ever see the inside of a space shuttle and look down from space."
Seeing the serious face on Thumper Danny gulped as he looked around before he said, "How do you know all of this?"
Thumper laughed and said, "Including you, there are only about 25 new people here today, everyone else here as tried to pass through this training process and has been sent back. Its my 3rd year of trying."
Danny's eyes widened a bit at that thought. He had known getting into the camp was only the first step in a long arduous process to becoming an astronaut, but the selectiveness had not really hit him till now. Thumper saw his panicked look and clapped a hand on his shoulder. "I wouldn't worry too much about impressing people and becoming an astronaut right away. This training camp is a prep site, they don't expect too much out of you at first, Just stick with being attentive and keep the reason your here in mind and you'll do fine...even if you don't make it in the first year."
Danny nodded as a tall man with a rather large grin on his face and black hair strode to the front of the gathered Students. He clapped his hands together and said in a fairly loud booming voice, "Welcome, to the Jump City Aerospace Facility. My name is Andy Allen, and I am the coordinator of this year's training program. Alright I want a show of hands, how many of you want to be pilots." A little less than half the people, Danny included, raised their hands.
Danny looked over and saw that Thumper had not raised his hand. 'I wonder what kind of specialization he is taking...' he wondered to himself, he was startled out of his musings when Andy began to talk again. "Thats about the same amount as last year so we will proceed just like we did last year. As most of you who are returning know, the facilities you will be bunking in have room for two people. We have enough pilots to place a pilot and a specialist in each room. This is done to prevent any fighting. We don't need to people who are competing for a spot in the program as pilots sharing the same room."
Several of the people in the audience voiced agreement, while the hushed whispers of some others lead Danny to believe that something had sparked this need to separate potential pilots. 'I'll have to ask around later and see what thats about...' Danny thought to himself as the murmurs continued for a second or two more. Mr. Allen then began speaking and was greeted with respected silence. 'He must be some leader, even Young blood or Skulker don't have this kind of commanding Presence...' He thought before focusing on Mr. Allen, who was apparently dividing up the different specialists.
Danny snapped to full attention once he heard, "I want all of the people who are training to be pilots to gather over with Major Pierson." Mr. Allen gestured with his hand to a fairly attractive red-headed woman in her early thirties who smiled lightly at Mr. Allen before returning her face to a neutral expression. As Danny moved over to Major Pierson, he idly noted that one of the guys from the back of his shuttle van was going there as well along with that grump from earlier. As soon as all the potential pilots were gathered Major Pierson looked over to Mr. Allen who gave her a subtle nod as if dismissing her silently. She looked over the group, her eyes taking in each one of the new students, some she passed over rather quickly, others she studied for a bit. As her eyes met his he held her stare and smiled slightly. Her gaze lingered on him for a moment more before she moved on.
Finishing her inspection she finally spoke, "Follow me to the training compound, were going to have a little test, just to gage what I have to work with in terms of raw material." They entered the training compound and began to follow her down the rather large halls. Being of modern design the building had a lot of sterile white walls and metallic railings and floors looking every bit as futuristic as most would hope for a astronaut training center to look. Finally arriving at their designated area, everyone looked around. The room they were in was huge. There were several enclosed machines that looked like one of the inventions that his mother or father would cook up.
As soon as everyone was in the room she began. "What you see before you are some of the most advanced simulators that money can buy and ingenuity and technology can create. They are designed to be like the cockpit of one of our more recent shuttles the XLR8. Since there are only 25 simulators and nearly one hundred of you, we will be going in turns. Once you are eliminated or have caused sufficient engine failure in your simulation you are to leave the Simulator and let someone else on yours."
Seeing the anticipation and nervousness in the faces of her cadets Major Pierson smiled and said, "This is merely to gage reaction time and general piloting knowledge. Now I need cadets Abernathy through Glance to choose a simulator and begin."
Danny sighed to himself as he mustered his resolve and stepped forward. He was in the first group, hopefully he wouldn't spaz out or something. As he got into the simulator he looked around briefly and familiarized himself with the control panel and steering apparatus. As it flickered to life it instructed him to turn on the the booster rockets and thrust forward. Remembering both his simulator at home and his adventure in the other shuttle he proceeded. The view screen flickered to life in front of him, describing a situation to him. He performed admirably as the simulations got harder and harder. He went from situations like docking with a space station to approaching a satellite to a range where one of his crew mates could repair it. The difficulty in each was attempting to overcome whatever had been set out that wasn't considered in most simulations, like the slight rotation of the space station or the orbiting speed of the satellite.
What finally got him was ore mining in an asteroid belt. A sudden disturbance had lead to a meteor shower. As he weaved the shuttle in and out of oncoming rocks he accidentally hit one of the oxygen tanks. He watched the oxygen levels lower in the simulation as he dodged more meteors hoping to at least survive the storm. The simulation was realistic in that as the oxygen lowered his steering apparatus reacted more slowly, like someone who was deprived of oxygen would. Finally he couldn't avoid anymore and took a fatal hit to his engine core.
As he exited the simulator his eyes readjusted to the light and he walked back over to the Major and the group. As he approached the Major stopped and said, "If you're done, go over to the group over there gesturing to the larger group on the other side of the simulators."
Danny nodded and began to walk over to the others. As he approached one of the older guys smiled and said, "That simulator shur is sumthin iin'it."
His Texas draw was friendly as was his smile and even though the guy looked like Dash a little Danny couldn't help but smile and say, "Yeah, those sims are so much more intense than the one on my computer at home."
The Man nodded and said, "The latest technology went inta' each and everone of those. Name's Jason by tha way Jason Biggs." He put out his hand in a friendly manner and Danny shook it introducing himself as well. His grip was strong so Danny answered with equal strength, this seemed to put Jason at ease as he smiled and said, "People kin tell a lot 'bout a person from their handshake. And what I learned makes me think I was right in talkin to ya."
Danny looked over to the group acrossed the room and said, "So, who are they on to now?"
Jason looked over and said, "I think Major Pierson called out John Tanner las' I'd heard. You were in there bout five minutes more than me, did ya git to the meteor shower?"
Danny nodded and said, "Yeah, I got hit with a meteor on one of my oxygen tanks so I eventually crashed out because of lack of oxygen."
Jason nodded and grinned as he said, "Hoo boy, that would be some way to go wouldn't it? So pard where do ya hail from?" He and Danny began to trade stories about their hometowns as the last of the cadets filtered through the simulators. As they spoke they got so into their stories they hadn't even realized they were gathering a crowd of students. "And then, Uncle Jess realized that being the rear end of a horse in a costume wasn't such a good idea, especially considerin that fact that Old Pete was one mean stallion, but he had a tender heart for the mares. I ain't never seen anyone run so fast in ma life" He, Danny, and the other students broke down into guffaws over the thought of a half a horse running at full speed from an amorous stallion.
At that point Major Pierson strode over to the group as the last of the cadets came out of the simulator. "Thats all were are going to do for today, Also it will be the last time you will be in a whole group. Due to the number of potential pilots we are going to break the group down into four smaller groups. I will have your schedules posted up in the common room of your bunking area. I will also be selecting co-leaders for the groups based on the top eight scoring people in the simulation today. Follow me to the dormitories." She said briskly as she lead the group towards the dorms. She stopped looked over the group and said, "I expect all of you to be up and ready for a nice hard day of training tomorrow at 0500 hours, Good luck this year everyone. Dorm assignments will be up on the bulletin board of the commons area." A ghost of a smile appeared on her face as she wished them luck. She quickly wheeled around and began to walk down the hall.
Danny weaved around the people standing in the common area, which was a rather large room with a few couches and what looked to be a plasma screen Television. He read off of the bulletin board and finally found his name under Room 7A. He hefted his duffel bag from the pile they had all been placed in and headed towards his room. 'My roommate is named Jesse, I'm don't care that he's got kind of a girly name, just as long as he not a jerk' he thought.
As he opened the door he was greeted with shiny dark brown hair and captivating chocolate colored eyes. The girl before him was a rather slim looking beauty who was wearing the required Cadet outfit with the a name tag on it that read "Jesse" They looked at each other for a moment and both were quiet till Danny said, "Probably should not have specifically asked them not to refer to me as Daniel or Dan" he deadpanned realizing that Danny was a name that could belong to either sex.
Jesse clicked her tongue before she said, "And I should have told them to call me Jessica, but I had to have my nickname used." She also deadpanned as they both stood there.
Meanwhile in one of the upper offices...
Major Pierson was going over the results and performance ratings of each of the cadets. She had already found the best six and had assigned them appropriately, they had all scored very closely. Searching the list she finally came upon the seventh and eight placing cadets. Her eyebrows rose a bit, they had all placed very closely, this would be a year of fierce rivalry. As one got closer to the clipboard she was writing on she finally wrote the names of the final group's Co leaders, Daniel Fenton and Jason Biggs.
Sorry for the delay in updating, I really liked the reviews and I hope you all enjoyed the new chapter. Danny is gonna be a Co-leader, do you all think he can handle the pressure? We know from The young blood episode that Danny is a good leader, but how will his relative age affect his leadership status. Will he be rooming with a girl? Will he be able to handle the training? Tune in next time to find out on Space Cadets!