Feeling a little cooped up in my dorm I decided to go out and explore the university campus a little. I put on a white t-shirt, my big red hoodie, some jeans and the gears university uniform boots that are surprisingly comfy. Snaking around all the mess on the floor I grabbed my M.C.U and left the dorm. My dorm is on the 27th floor and there are 50 floors in total so there's a small wait when taking the elevator, I got inside and bumped into another freshman going down.

"Sorry" I said and joined him in the elevator, "don't worry about it," he replied and that's when I noticed the cut under his left eye. "Whoa where'd you get that?" I indicated it with a long finger while talking, "oh this?" he said gloomily " I had a run in with a couple star captains and I could of taken them except they had holo-cuffs and they immobilised me." Now that he had touched it small trickled of blood began racing down his face and then it turned into a steady stream. I looked horrified and said "you're losing too much blood, come-on lets get you to the hospital."

The elevator finally gets to the ground floor and I led him out to my hover-van "nice colour choice" he observed and I thanked him, "Thanks I picked the blue and red because they're my favourite colours and the van was a graduation present." "Nice" he said, "My dad bought me a new mecha for my graduation." We got in the car and closed the doors before I start the engine and drive off; we continued the conversation about three minutes later. "What kind of mecha did your dad get?" I asked politely, he bought me a Hastyflash mecha," he said, "no way" I reply surprised "I thought they only made those on Zargon" which was true; Hastyflash mecha were known for their incredible speed and fire based weaponry. "Yeah that's where I'm originally from" he said now a little pale from the blood loss.

He was mopping up the blood with his green sweater that was slowly turning brown. I put my foot on the accelerator and we soon got to Specific Hospital, which I still say is way to far from the dorms. They were serving number thirty and we were number seventy-eight, so we sat tight. "Hey" he said and I turned my face from the boring, outdated Soluna weekly to look at him "thanks for taking me here man" he said now quite weakly "it's not everyday you meet someone who'll help a complete stranger." "I'm Dave Days," he said and the added "we should be friends." I'm Romeo Buonarotti" I said and then added "and I'd like that." Finally the nurse said "Mr Days we're ready to see you now, and Dave was led into an infirmary with me following him and the nurse.

We entered the room and there were three people there. There was a doctor who looked about in his forties, a very pretty medical student with the gears Uni badge on her scrubs. She had dark brown hair that went past her shoulders in one direction, dozens of cute freckles scattered around her nose area and a cute grin that was a little too big for her face. Lastly there was a medium sized blonde girl who was dressed in casual clothes and was lounging about in the corner, it was her who spoke first "come-on Joy I'm hungry, your shift should have finished ten minutes ago" she said. The taller med student who evidently was named Joy then said, "be patient Amanda, I just have to fix this last patient and then we'll go eat" the annoyance in her voice very apparent.

The two Medicals grabbed several pieces of equipment and then the doctor spoke, "Okay Joy now this is a common case of a punch that split the face now what do you want to do first?" Joy's eyes wen into a focus mode and then she said "okay, so first I get the gel gun and squirt some Oziant into the wound to prevent infection" with this she grabbed a gel gun and squirted a yellow foam into the wound and this was received by a muffled cry of pain from Dave. "Then" she continued "I…I…I use a cell paster to cover the wound with a fresh layer of cells to stop all bleeding" she grabbed a weird looking, flesh coloured plaster and placed it over the wound before removing it and leaving behind a moist, transparent strip of biological goo that clung to his face. " And finally I get a wet cloth and mop up the blood" she did just that.

Now while I had been looking at Med student Joy fix Dave, Dave had been chatting up her friend Amanda they seem to hit off and when I really started paying attention I realized how much. "So would you like to go get some dinner?" Dave asked in a confident voice; the colour returning to his face. "I would" replied Amanda "but me and Joy were supposed to go get dinner tonight and we need to get the bus home… we're celebrating Joy getting her promotion." "Well that's no problem" said Dave and I had a funny feeling I knew what he was inching at. "My friend Romeo here has a van and he can take you girls home" at this Amanda smiled and said " then we'd love to go." Joy looked less than pleased and turned to whisper furiously in the corner with Amanda, I caught bits of it like Amanda saying "…haven't been out since Jack…" and a few other barely audible phrases. Joy eventually agreed and after Dave signed his discharge papers we headed to my van.

When we got out of the hospital I dragged Dave over to the side and asked in a furious whisper "what are you getting at?" and when he did not answer I continued "is this what you do to your friends? Use them to help you with hook-ups?" Dave just smiled and said " relax Romeo I'll pay for the meal and you can get to know that Joy girl better" I tried to sound flabbergasted but he saw right through and said "hey it wasn't my ass she was checking out" and left me standing there taken aback. Could what he said be true? Was Joy really eyeing me up when I was not looking? "Great now I sound like a fourteen year old," I said to myself "that's just fan tucking fastic.

When we got to the van Dave called the back seat and Amanda went

to join him. This left Joy and I in the front as I was driving and it was obvious to me that Dave had planned this all along. I started the engine, the car began to hover and we sped off. As we passed the exit sign and got onto the motorway I heard a Dave's voice from the back and it sounded out of breath. He said "Hey Romeo you got any music in here?" he sounded hopeful "yeah"-said Joy to my surprise, as she had not spoken since we left the hospital "I'm in the mood for some tunes." I pulled my blue Musiko out of my pocket and connected it to the speakers in the car before giving it to Joy. "Here" I said, "pick whatever you want".

As I sped past a service bot cleaning the highway she was looking at my music collection with a smile playing on her lips. She picked "fry the moon for you" by The Frankensteels and the bass slowly started. She seemed more content with the music and I ventured to talk "so where do you girls want to eat?" I asked in as much a relaxed voice as I could muster. "I don't know I'm in the mood for anything hot so Joy you can pick since we are celebrating your triumph" said Amanda. Joy thought for a moment and said "Mecharroni's" we all agreed in unison as the thought of pizza goodness filled our heads and I set a course.

"I'm actually from Italy, specifically Florence," I said as we neared the pizzeria near the university, "cool" said Joy "Amanda here is from Gestion on a small town on the side close to America and I'm from a town in the country Whitecastle close to the town Whitecastle" I chuckled and said "wow we have royalty present", she just laughed and rolled her eyes.

We pulled up in front of the large pizzeria and saw with much delight that there were a lot of free tables so we entered and the waiter took us to our table. I overheard him say " queste sono carine" and since I understood I glared at him and shook my head; he seemed to get the message. We had been there for ten minutes and no one but me knew what to order, Joy turned to me and said with a snide little grin "Since Romeo here is the expert on this type of food why don't we let him order for us" I could tell she was testing me and I was not about to fail so I cleared my throat and in fluent Italian said " cameriere una diavolella per I'l ragazzo, una cuattro stagioni per a bionda, una mozzarella di bufala campana per la ragazza bruna e Io mi mangio una romana." Which basically means " one spicy sausage for the guy, one four seasons for the blonde, one water buffalo mozzarella for the brunette and I'll have a roman.

The waiter shuffled away with our orders, his shoes squeaking on the overly polished floor, I saw the way the light reflected off the floor and danced on Joy's face, god she's pretty. Suddenly I was brought back to reality by a sharp kick in my shins and I looked to see Amanda grinning knowingly and shaking her head so that her golden hair moved like a wave. She mouthed, "Get your head out of the gutter" and returned to the conversation she was having with Dave. Dave however turned from the conversation and said to the whole table "okay everyone, story time I want to know everyone's story, who here wants to go first?"

"I will," said Amanda. "My name is Amanda Raytuk, I'm sixteen and I'm from the East side of 'the hammer' on Gestion. I live in a small town called Ayerville and my parents own a zontar farm. I found out I was a mecha-tuner when I stopped a trektor from killing my dad with my mind, that's when a Gears university Rep came and told me what I was. I have a younger sister by four years and she looks exactly like me, at home we have a real sense of family and were always together for the important dates like birthdays and Christmas. I did not have a mech so I was given one by the sheriff of the town and it's an advanced raven mech, which also gave me free entry into Mystraven house. I met Joy through a pen pal program and we have been friends for eight years, I have had six boyfriends and she has helped me through each break up so she is like a sister to me."

"Wow cool you have to take us to your farm sometime, I hear the steak is to die for" I said grinning." She gave me a bemused look and laughed. "Okay my turn" said Dave "My name is Dave Days, I'm sixteen and I come from Mechtropolis on Zargon" this got a reaction "wow your not even from this planet" said Amanda and you could tell she really liked him. "No actually my dad's name is Harold and he builds gadgets and mecha for the heroes of Zargon. I'm an only child and I found out I was a mecha tuner when I was six, I accidentally caused hulk mech to punch a hole in the house while my dad was repairing it and my dad gave me a Hastyflash mecha before I came up here. My mom died when I was born and my dad has taken care of me since. I met this guy (gesturing to me) after some of the star captain students beat me up and he took me to the hospital without even knowing my name and that's when we met you girls." He ended on that note and everyone had a moment of silence before Joy said "Aw what a nice boy" and she patted my back leaving a burning sensation where here hand touched that I'm pretty sure I was imagining.

"I guess its me now" Joy said rather reluctantly; you could tell she did not fully trust us yet. "My name is Joy Annabel Ironworks and I'm sixteen years old. My parents are Alexander and Nora Ironworks, the Kingadent's personal advisors" (I did a spit-take on my neo-cola at this last bit of information). I'm the oldest of six children and we are all mecha-tuners, but my parents are disappointed in me for picking medicine mecha-practice instead of the kingadent's royal mecha like them. The only reason I have a mech is because the three students who scored the highest were awarded Valkyrie mecha and I got myself a dark purple one. I live in a mansion in the upper ring of white castle city and I'm allowed whatever I want as long as I keep my place, do not speak unless spoken to, always be polite and be a damn DRONE" she had a vicious snarl on her face now and her eyes were wide as moons. "God that's the reason why I didn't want to go to white castle academy in the first place, I needed to get away from all of Aurora."

She looked so sad then and all I wanted to do was hold her and tell her people loved her, tell her it would be all right but as I did not know her that well yet all I could do was change the subject. "My name is Romeo Buonarotti, I'm sixteen years old and I come from Florence Italy." I said to draw attention away from Joy. "My parents are Bartolomeo and Pantasilea Buonarotti, dad is a head policeman of the city and mother is a cook for "la Luna Rossa" which is the best restaurant in the city. I'm the youngest of my family with five older sisters and one eldest brother.

I found out I was a mecha-tuner when I made my mother's car avoid a wild Robo-truck that would have killed us if I had not moved us. My dad was so proud he bought me a mech and a van; I got a Bladestorm mech because I like the type of fighting style. Because of my dad's influence I was able to get it even though it was a star captain only mecha. My best and only friend at the time was a star captain because his dad was part of the nobility and he always made fun of me for not being as good as him. So I left the academy in Florence to come to gears and well… you know the rest."

"Wow a BLADESTORM" said Amanda, "those are really rare what colour did you colour it?" she asked with eyes like saucers. "I gave it a midnight blue base with gold trim." I said half-heartedly as I was still in my flashback, then I felt a warm hand on my shoulder and turned to see Joy with a look of compassion and then she said "you're a good person Romeo, that guy didn't deserve you as a friend and you can be great without being a star captain." I put my hand on hers and replied "and you are a great person as well Joy, destiny is not something hereditary, it's something that we choose for ourselves and you are a prime example of that, never let that change." We simply sat there looking at each other in silence for about a minute, revelling in the moment before the waiter returning with our food brought us back to earth.

Joy blushed deeply and quickly accepted her pizza; I could see Amanda and Dave smirking out of the corner of my eye. The next fifteen minutes were in silence as we ate our pizzas but then Dave said "so Romeo" he took another mouthful before continuing, "what part of Florence are you from?" "Northern Florence" I said "but we also have a lake house at lago maggiore." Amanda lit up and said, "Oh my god I went there on vacation once, you have GOT to take us… it's so pretty up there," she said with a ridiculously happy grin. "Tell you what," I said now having polished off my entire pizza "next Easter will be midsummer at lago maggiore and I'll take you all then." "DEAL," said Amanda and Dave in unison but Joy just looked gloomily at her half-eaten pizza and mumbled something inaudible.

We got Joy a doggie bag for her pizza and Dave payed the bill before we left. We drove in silence (although I'm fairly certain I heard a couple kissing noises from the back) with only the sound of Joy giving me directions to the girls Dorm building, as I did not know where it was. I pulled up to the building and Amanda hopped out, turning around to wait for Joy. "Hey Amanda I can't find my M.C.U, I'm just going to quickly look for it, you can go on ahead and I'll catch up." Amanda nodded and left but the odd thing was that I could see Joy's M.C.U in her pocket so this was about something else. "What's wrong?" I said, "You've been sad and withdraw ever since that moment we haa…'Omf'" before I could finish my sentence she planted her lips onto mine and after a moment of realisation I melted into the kiss. Almost as quickly as she had moved in she pulled away, left the car with tears in her eyes and ran inside the building leaving me sitting there dumbfounded.