The blackish gray clouds that were a common site on New Tokyo slowly rolled across the sky. The warm and inviting sun's radiance transformed into the dull haze that gave the island cities their trademark dreary tone. Soon the rain would fall in sheets and everything would be as usual.
"So much for the sunny forecast…" I thought to myself as I gazed out the window, fist propping my head up.
The cold white lighting gave the classroom a doctor's office feel that would have drove me crazy if it wasn't for the mere two hours a weekday I was there. This wasn't public school of course; I had graduated that almost six months ago; this was a private training course funded by the Kusari police force for budding new pilots looking to get a hold of their license and learn some space combat tricks along the way. It had cost my parents a pretty penny. The other students were all around my age; either trust fund brats, children of Kusarian dignitaries, or scholarship wielding youths hoping to earn a spot on the police force or some other house security org.
Me? None of the above. I just want to fly.
"Now then, can someone give me a brief rundown of g-force's effect on humans?" The teacher, Mr. Jon Fischer, turned his attention towards the class. "Orin, how about you?"
My attention rudely shifted off the clouds outside to the waiting face of Mr. Fischer, "Uh…" I faltered; a blank, surprised look on my face.
"Could you be a little more specific Mr. O'Reilly?" The teacher half-smirked and a hush of quiet chuckles and giggles echoed around the room. "Anyone else-"
"Normally, the human body can handle about 5 gees for a short period of time before g-loc." I quickly stated aloud and paused for a moment to collect my thoughts, "With a specialized suit to counter the effect of downward gees and force blood back to the brain, 10 or more gees can be withstood before loss of consciousness. 20 to 30 gees can be handled for a small moment. 100 gees or more even for a brief moment are almost always lethal." I crossed my arms and held back a smug smile.
Mr. Fischer froze for a split second due to the unexpected accuracy, "V-Very good Orin. I see you've done your homework." He reached up a long knotty finger to adjust his eyeglasses further up his large hooked nose. "Of course, as we know, space is considered a zero-g environment. Although there are gravitational forces from nearby planets and moons, the effect of gravity is very low. However, g-forces; or what feel like and have the same effects as them; still occur on the body when thrust and turn are applied. Tunnel vision might be experienced, but even the most powerful of fighters have a hard time producing upwards of 4 gees, so use of g-suits is mostly precautionary in space."
As I rubbed my eyes lightly and focused closer on my instructor I felt a tap on my back.
"That was pretty smooth there O-Man." A student behind me whispered as I turned my head back slightly.
"What was?" I asked lazily.
He smiled and shook his head, "You pulled that one out of the fire, man. You were off in lala-land when Fischer dropped that bomb on you, and sure enough, you go above and beyond." He glanced up, making note that he wasn't too loud and continued in a hushed tone. "I'm just saying; you're good. Damn good."
I rolled my eyes. "It's called studying Yuri. You should try it sometime."
He shrugged and I turned back towards the teacher.
"That's all for today. Remember, three weeks from now: final exam." Mr. Fischer widened his eyes dramatically. "Continue reviewing your procedures notes until then. Class dismissed."
The crowd of students left their seats and moved towards the exit. I stood up as well and headed out with Yuri. He was a year younger than me; still in high school. The shaggy mop of dark brown hair on his head made him look like a big fluffy dog. That, and his round chubby face and his… round chubby body. We had met during the first day of this class and he had proved to the easiest one in the class to hang around with. The guy was the son of an accomplished officer on the police force. Looks like talent skipped a generation, I found myself helping him with his homework more often than not.
"I'll see you Monday Yuri." I waved and as he headed out the door in front of me. He nodded and I followed.
"Orin," I heard a voice from behind me and turned around, "Can I talk to you for a minute?" It was Mr. Fischer.
"Yeah, sure." I replied quickly.
"I just want to commend you." He humbly took his glasses off. "Your dedication to this program is outstanding… I'm giving you top honors. You're clearly the one with the most talent and passion for this."
I felt my mouth hanging open a little. Graduating with highest honors would show anyone hiring you for anything involving space flight that you know what you're doing. Simply put, your resume would look pretty good. "Y-You're kidding right?"
He shook his head, "No, the rest of these students just don't have their heart set on space like you do." Mr. Fischer chuckled shortly. "You really want this, don't you?"
"Yeah, you could say that." I smiled for a second. "Thank you. This means a lot to me."
Mr. Fischer clasped his hands behind his back and turned around, "The final exam… It's not going to be a cakewalk. This course is funded by the Kusari Police." He pivoted towards me on his heel. "You'll be ambushing a wing of Golden Chrysanthemum fighters. If the class can wipe them out… you all pass."
A lump found its way to my throat. "Real pirates? That sounds like a bit much."
"This isn't a simple flight training school; you knew that when you enrolled; this is for those who are going to make a living running escort and swatting fighters out of the sky." He looked me straight in the eye. "You've trained for this for almost a year Orin. I have complete faith in you."
I nodded and averted the gaze.
He pulled a white sheet of office paper off his desk. The writing on it was so small that I thought you would need a magnifying glass to read it. "A waver," I immediately thought. My suspicions were quickly verified as Mr. Fischer continued.
"You'll need your parent's approval of course." He handed me the paper. "This is it Orin. A week from today, you'll be a pilot."
"Yup…" I acknowledged quietly and headed out the door. "If I survive."