Leaning back in his chair with his feet on the table, Richard hummed to himself as he swayed back and forth. His arms were cradled behind his head while his glasses were tinted a navy blue, covering his light blue eyes. From far away, he would just look like he was humming, but upon closer inspection, one could spot a carefully concealed wireless earphone which pumped music into his ear. Behind his glasses, his eyes were closed as he enjoyed this moment of relaxation in what would otherwise have been a tumultuous day. Despite his initial reluctance, Richard had decided to don the school uniform, if only for the benefit of Jack, however, he didn’t wear it in the conventional way. While the pants were still the regulation black of 1st Squad, the jacket, which was meant to be worn closed, was open and swaying along with Richard’s motion, revealing his customary white dress shirt, black vest and bowtie. He looked for all the world like some dropout from a random school, albeit a very sharply dressed dropout.
Groaning as he leaned his head back, he rolled his neck and started to attempt to picture the academy ground again, from what he had gathered during the tour yesterday…that, and recall the faces of his squad mates who were currently sitting around him. Opening his eyes, which was an action that could not be seen from the other side of his glasses, he began to quickly scan everyone’s faces and attempt to place a name to them. Thinking back to yesterday, he tried to assign them specific features.
Richard…was not a morning person. One could probably tell from his slouching posture and zombie-like gait. With a navy blue duffel bag slung over his shoulder, the English boy let out a soft, breathy yawn as he rubbed his eyes, trying to get himself over his morning lethargy. The several cups of tea this morning did nothing to alleviate this desire for inactivity, nor did the several slaps he delivered unto himself afterwards. Feeling a phantom presence behind him, Richard ignored it for the most part. It was most probably Jack Roman, his counterpart…scratch that, it was definitely Jack. No-one else would follow so closely behind him without reaching for his wallet, which had an anti-theft trap, or his duffel bag, which was equipped with an internal bear trap-like mechanism. “Lets go Jack,” he said with a tired sigh as he trudged forwards, not even waiting for a reply as he scratched his unruly blonde hair and tried to suppress another yawn.
Stopping at the entrance to the ‘Lunar Bazaar’, Richard could not help but grunt in amazement. Not only at the range of items available, but at the ludicrousness of Luna itself. The sky looked so very real, almost like the natural one back on Terra, but this one was actually a cunningly crafted atmospheric shield, which blocked out the harmful UV rays and space debris, as well as simulated terrestrial weather. Holographic clouds moved above them, looking almost too real. The real engineering wonder, though, was the gravitic engine below, in the core of the asteroid, keeping all the occupants of Luna firmly rooted to the ground. A marvelous product of science, it generated enough pull to simulate Earth’s atmosphere…more or less. The difference was unnoticeable though, as Richard continued to trudge forwards, into the crowded bazaar. Lifting up his left hand, he looked at the Complicated looking watch on his hand, before leaning down close enough to it so that he could kiss the face if he wanted to. “Map,” he shouted, over the incessant bartering and calling, “Lunar Academy.”
+Searching For…Lunar Academy…Map…+ The machine replied, a holographic interface popping up a second later, with the sign of ‘Spirit’ rotating around and around again. While waiting for the map to load, Richard took a look around, marveling at the multiculturalism that the bazaar displayed. Everywhere he looked, there was an alien, either buying, or selling something or rather. There, a four armed Palladian was selling some sort of…fish…in a murky stew. To its right was a Szactyr, its chitinious plates clattering as its mandibles clicked time and time again in an attempt to imitate speech, which a voice synthesizer beside him interpreted. Looking down at the watch, Richard groaned. It was still loading. “Oh bloody hell…shoddy blightin’ piece’a crap,” he muttered as the Spirit symbol continued to rotate. Sighing, he resigned himself to the inevitably long wait time and spotted a small coffee stand that seemed relatively unempty. Shrugging, he walked towards it, Jack in tow.
Grasping a paper cup of Tessarian coffee in his left hand, Richard would occasionally take a drink from the cup as he used the watch on the same hand to navigate his way through the labyrinthine streets of Luna Prime. The bitter, yet tingly feeling that ran down his throat went some way to waking him up, but not quite. Usually, back on Terra, Richard would be able to find his way back to the Spirit building by virtue of the gigantic spires that pierced the heavens, but here…it was more like some sort of holiday resort. The buildings were all much smaller than skyscrapers, and a balmy breeze blew in from the west, accompanied by the artificial sun’s glow, which felt quite pleasant to be in. Taking a moment to savour the feeling of unpolluted rays bouncing off his skin, Richard also noticed that the air here tasted much…cleaner than old industrial earth. There was no ferrous tang in the air of the seas of rust, just crisp, somewhat recycled air. Unconsciously, he gripped the pack of cigarettes in his breast pocket, but refrained from actually pulling one out. He wasn’t at that point yet. He could still hold out, for the sake of his health.
The directions from the watch ended up bringing them to a large, tree lined avenue appropriately named “Academy Ave”. The street broke off in several branches, each one leading to a different school, but the one most visible, was that of Lunar Academy, which was a straight route through the fragrant Pawwal trees, which went some way to waking the still sleepy Richard up. All the stimulants from the tea, coffee, biscuits and now the trees managed to bring him to a state approaching normal, his breezy charm becoming visible again as he placed a hand in his pocket. Grinning, he started to amble his way towards the school, with Jack trailing close behind. “C’mon then lad, theres nothin’ t’ be afraid of here,” he said, throwing a glance back to the almost furtive Jack Roman, “It’s the day before school, at least buck up a little bit.” He found himself sighing a bit at his timid friend…Honestly…why couldn’t he learn a but from Jackarse.
After signing in with the receptionist, and receiving their nametags, which had their class/squad assignment on it, Richard and Jack, as well as a host of other students, apparently all from his new group, were led around the school in a tour. The damn place was so vast it might as well have been a system of castles. The architecture seemed to change from tower to tower. There were three of these towers, each one reserved for a specific grade. The first years were assigned to the newest tower, a plain looking, seemingly pre-fabricated steelcrete structure that reminded one of a giant bunker. The second years were in a building that seemed to have been build in the period when everything was neo-futuristic. There were no corners on the damn thing at all, and it would have all shone a bright crème, had the birds not soiled it. Circular windows dotted the structure…but for some reason, Richard felt that it was utterly wrong. The third year’s building…seemed to have been built during the gothic revival period, which Richard had mixed feelings about. Great stone arches and gargoyles saturated the building, and turrets occasionally jutted out, making it look for all the world like a castle…and yet he knew that those turrets contained defense systems potent enough to shoot down spacecraft. He shuddered at the thought.
After being led around the 1st year building, the students were then shown the arenas, and given a basic rundown on how the hologram system works. Richard had tuned out as it began. He and Jack were already quite familiar with the system, after all, Spirit had developed it, and they had been the guinea pigs for it. Instead, he had subtly plugged in a wireless earphone and started listening to music, mostly from other planets. Music from Terra these days was terribly loud and screechy, and grated on his sensibilities as a gentleman…well, a gentleman by his standards. Thankfully, their guide had been too into explaining the nuances of the system, and so Richard was able to stare blankly, feigning mild interest as he adjusted his vest and bowtie.
After the remaining tours of the fields, cafeterias, and given a rundown on the basic rules, they were shown to their dorms, and then left there to mingle and meet. The dorms were separated into different sections for different squads, and each one had a gene reader that responded only to those who were in the database. One could bring a guest in, but they could go no further than the common room. Speaking of the common room…it actually wasn’t that common. A gigantic holo-screen television dominated one wall, while the other side was given to a state of the art kitchen that would have put cooking shows to shame. The bedrooms and bathrooms were separated, of course, into two sections which were split even into the rest of the space, each one having another gene reader that would only let in members of the correct gender. Not much went on after that, just some introductions and smalltalk that made things quite awkward for all. To be quite honest though, it was strange in that there were only five members in this team...When Richard had gone to visit an old friend from a rival company, he found that he had been stuck in a room with around 19 other people. He chose not to think too much on it, but it still niggled at the back of his mind.
After that, they all went to sleep in preparation for the next day to come. According to their tour guide, the first day was always the longest, and the hardest. Then he made some sort of innuendous joke that Richard didn’t even bother to remember.
With the course of yesterday’s events running through his mind, the rusty gears in Richard’s head finally began to turn, and he gained some semblance of cognitive function again as he took a deep breath and let loose another yawn. Pushing his glasses up his nose, he tapped a button on the side, and the glasses faded from blue to clear, revealing his light blue eyes for the first time since he arrived here. “So…” he said to no-one in particular, if only to break the silence which had descended upon them, “any bets for what out teacher will be like?” he asked, his accent showing through strongly as ever. Leaning back once more and straightening his legs on the table, he shot an entertained grin at the sky. “Let’s hope he’s not one of those hardarses, eh?” Once again, Richard made not of how empty their room was. While he was passing by on the way towards this room, he had seen rooms packed full of wooden tables and chairs. In this room...there were only five, and the wooden tabletops had been replaced by a graphical interface, with a stylus on the side to facilitate writing. Even though this was such expensive technology...Richard still had his legs up over the corner of the table.