Chapter 1: Another Rarity

Morgan Richardson was just another American teenage boy. He was 5' 8'', loved video games and sports, and had thick, short, wavy red hair that made his head look like it had caught fire. The thing that really set Morgan apart from others was not his physical appearance, but his intellect. He possessed a high level of intelligence, and was able to process complex thoughts and ideas with ease. He had a firm understanding of physics and other sciences, and he absolutely adored reading and writing. Justly confident of his abilities, Morgan had signed up to take the SATs in order to get into college, but he now wandered, hopelessly lost, in the multi-purpose building where the tests were held.

'Where the hell am I?' Morgan wondered, 'How the hell did I get lost so quickly?'

He was silently lamenting the fact that he had not paid attention to the exact location of the testing room when he had registered online, but it was too late to change it now.

He was stuck wandering around in a massive building with absolutely no idea where he was.

Morgan turned a corner, and was thrilled to see a woman with a clipboard sitting behind a desk.

He quickly walked over to her and asked, "Hello, is this where the test is being held?"

The woman, didn't even look up as she replied, "Yes. Go into the next room and suit up".

'Suit up?' Morgan thought it was a strange thing to say, but he disregarded the thought, and quickly moved into the next room.

Morgan noted three things upon entering the room:
1. The room was devoid of all chairs and desks.
2. There room was entirely dark, save a lone spotlight that shone down onto a strange metal suit.
3. He was the only person in the room.
This was definitely not the right room, but Morgan was too fixated on the machine in front of him to fully register that thought.

It was a strangely complex piece of machinery.

It had many different panels and attachments, and it looked menacing.

There were many different guns poking out of different openings, and where its hands should have been, there were large, metal claws. Morgan was captivated.

He had always thought that machines were fascinating; especially complex things.

He put down the backpack he had been carrying, and went in for a closer look.

He realized that it was some sort of mechanical suit meant for human use.

He didn't understand how it worked or what exactly it was, but he was still itching to try it out.

'Well she did say to suit up', Morgan thought deviously.

He quickly jumped into the suit, and sat while all of the securing mechanisms strapped him in.

'What should I try first?' he thought to himself, 'I guess movement should be the first thing I try'

He tried walking around.

It was very difficult at first, but after repeated attempts, he got the hang of it.

'Alright', he said to himself after he felt comfortable walking around, 'Let's try punching next'

He raised his hands and tried to jab.

The suit resisted his every movement, but after a few more attempts, he found he was able to punch at a normal speed.

He then started bouncing on his feet and tried to kick.

By now, Morgan understood what it took to move, and he was able to kick quite naturally from the get go.

Morgan was about to look through the suit's other features when the woman with the clipboard, having realized her mistake, burst through the door yelling, "YOU SHOULDN'T BE IN HE-".

The words caught in her throat when she saw Morgan staring at her from inside the suit.

He stood there, frozen, before straightening up and turning towards her.

"I'M SO SORRY", he said as he bowed his head to her.

The woman with the clipboard stood staring at him in shocked silence.

Her silence was nerve-wracking to Morgan. After seeing him in the suit, her face had swiftly changed from one of annoyance to one of confusion and shock.

Morgan couldn't stand it anymore. He had to break the silence.

"W-What's wrong?" he asked nervously.

"You shouldn't be able to do that"

It was said so quietly that Morgan had to strain his ears to hear it.

Morgan was very confused and asked her, "What do you mean?"

"Stay here", the woman told him before leaving the room.

Morgan waited nervously.

'This is definitely not good'', He thought, 'I'm gonna be in jail for years'

He was scared out of his mind, dark thoughts racing through his mind.

Suddenly the door burst open, and several women with guns filed into the room, surrounding Morgan.

Morgan was so scared that he was shaking when another woman walked into the room.

She seemed different from the others. She exuded an aura of authority that only made Morgan even more nervous.

The woman's gaze fixed on Morgan, and she belted out, "What's your name?"
Morgan managed to stammer out, "M-Morgan Richardson".
"Why are you in that suit?" The stern woman asked.
"I just thought I'd play around in this suit for a bit", Morgan answered, "I'm sorry"
"Do you know what you're in right now?" The woman asked.
"No, ma'am" said Morgan.
"You are in a special suit called an 'Infinite Stratos'" The woman informed him.
"Oh..." Morgan quietly responded, "It's a very nice suit".

The term "Infinite Stratos" seemed faintly familiar to him, but he couldn't quite place his finger on it.
"It sure as hell is" the woman retorted. "It's the finest piece of machinery in the world, and you've just taken it for a joyride"
Morgan sank even deeper into the suit, and quietly replied, "I'm sorry".
The woman kept interrogating him, "Do you know why that's gotten our attention?"
Morgan gave the obvious answer, "Because it's a very expensive piece of machinery being operated by someone who wasn't supposed to be here in the first place."
"Not just that", said the woman. "It's also because of what you are"
Morgan was confused by her phrasing.

"W-What do you mean?"
"You're a boy", the woman replied with an icy stare.
'What the hell is she on about?' Morgan thought.

"Is that a problem?" he asked.
The woman replied, "Only girls should be able to operate an IS".

Morgan was stupefied.

He didn't know how to respond.

Thankfully, the woman wasn't done talking.
"The fact that you are able to operate one with such ease is nothing short of a miracle"

Morgan was still trying to wrap his mind around what was happening.
"Um, thank you?" he replied.
"You are a rarity Mr. Richardson.", the woman told him.

The woman looked him up and down

"The government will be contacting your family to discuss matters further, but it looks like you have a bright future ahead of you."

"Congratulations, Mr. Richardson", the woman said with a smile, "You are now officially an IS pilot, and you will receive training from the US Government within a few weeks. After that, you will be sent to the IS Academy"

Morgan stood there in shock for a few minutes before slowly sitting on the ground.

As he sat there, a smile crept across his face.

'An IS Pilot?'

'IS Academy?'

All of these thoughts were buzzing in his brain, but a feeling of excitement came with it. Morgan wasn't sure what exactly his future held, but one thought persisted in his mind.

'This was way cooler than the SATs'

But he never thought about all of the turbulence that his life would go through.

He didn't entertain the idea that his life would change forever.

He simply sat in the dark room, entertaining himself with thoughts of a brilliant future.