Chapter 2 – The Class Rep Fight, Part 1

“Hey Sam, that American rig uses imperial parts and we don’t stock any. Can you have someone check with the student if they’re willing to either foot the bill for importing parts or willing to use a school model. Honestly, what kind of idiot gets a personalised rig, but doesn’t even have a mechanic competent enough to prepare it for long term travel.”

Sam ground her teeth in frustration on reading the note Jeff left for her. As a part of the final years of her degree, she was required to work in a pilot training school for half of every week. As the youngest member of the School and Weapons Maintenance Department, the most tedious jobs often fell straight into her lap. When she finally found an opportunity to get some payback, passing the class rep fight over for Jeff to manage, she hadn’t thought that he would find a way to make her job worse.

Amongst all of the people within the department, Jeff was the person Sam got along with the best. That was mostly due to how different the two were, yet didn’t feel the need to push their differences onto each other, like other co-workers tried to do. While Jeff was fundamentally average, Sam tried her best to excel. Where Jeff was constantly tired, Sam used a drug to suppress the necessity of sleep.

Sam kept her hair cut short and the side effects of the sleep suppressant had left her skin pale, it also stunted her overall growth. Not that she minded that, she often said that it was a small price to pay for twice as many hours in the day. Despite the differences in their perspectives, their appearances were close enough that they were mistaken as siblings, though with there being nearly a decade difference in their age at worst it could look like parent and child, especially with Sam’s short height.

As a undergrad rig mechanic and programming support worker, or mechanist for short, Sam wasn’t qualified to work on personal rigs, though school models were still within her qualification, and as such any time the graduate mechanist were busy, work involving communicating with staff and students would be her job. In her short time working there, she had come to the understanding that that was actually the least desirable job. Having paid for her education with several jobs on the side, Sam was well versed on just how awful people could be, but nothing could prepare her for the attitudes of pilots.

Pilots tended to act like they owned the school, demanding that they be able to have fights when they want and only bothering to learn subjects related to rig operation. If not for the teachers being pilots also, it’s unlikely that they would ever get anything done. But worse than the entitled students was by far the nationalistic ones. Since pilots would fight with sections of their nations on the line, and also due to the expense involved in their training and operation, governments would often only sponsor students with overwhelming national pride to prevent defecting after international studies. Such students would often go out of their way to force sections of the school to be changed to better resemble their homes.

Naturally, that would spark conflict with other students using the same space, and in the end they would need to settle it through a rig fight. In Sam’s first week at the school, she spent half of her time doing repairs to school model rigs following a small war that broke out over what temperature the dorm’s air conditioner should be set.

Considering that the student Sam would have to talk brought a personal rig with her, it was very likely that the student was the nationalistic kind. With every core needing to be personally made by the inventor, the number of new cores made each year was very low. Her method for divvying up and deciding which country gets them was also completely unknown; if it was announced that the distribution was completely random, few people would be surprised. But, that being the case, a government would have to have complete trust in an individual, both in their personality and potential, if they were to be given a rig that could be given to an already trained pilot.

With the scarcity of cores, the second core a country gets almost always gets placed into a school field instead of a rig. Though, with the growth of international schools, some smaller countries were starting to send their students abroad to train, and use all of their cores in rigs.

A school or training model rig was different to a real rig on a fundamental level. A real rig has a core in its frame and can operate freely in basically any environment, while a school model was was powered by a core built into an arena and couldn’t operate outside of that. Given that one core could be used to power a dozen models at once, the power of a training model was only a fraction of a real rig.

When Sam eventually found the student, she was in the school cafeteria ordering the cooks around with a domineering attitude. Her name was Jenna Baker and as far as Sam could hear, or care to hear, it seemed that they hadn’t made the meal exactly how she wanted it, and was bossing them around till they got it right. For Sam, it was a shocking sight; she had 24 hours each day, but still didn’t have enough time to spending on pointless harassment like that. Sighing to herself, Sam approached the Jenna.

“Eh, Ms Baker, could I have a moment of your time?” she said, while putting on her well practised business smile, “It’s concerning your personal rig maintenance.”

With a cold look from her sky blue eyes, Jenna flicked her curled golden hair, an action that caused her substantial breasts to bounce, and replied with a humph, “I don’t care what you filthy grease monkeys have to do, just do your job and get my rig ready for my match. I’ll crush the commoner upstart and take my rightful place as the class representative.”

Her speech probably went for longer than that, but Sam zoned out, instead wondering how she could get a healthy bronzed skin tone like Jenna, and didn’t start to listen again until she gave a haughty laugh. Taking that laugh as a cue to start working again, Sam held out a tablet and said, “That being the case, please sign here so that we can by the parts your rig needs, and the costs will be billed to your school account.”

With that, the signature was given, and the parts could be purchased. Surprisingly, Sam had zoned out for nearly five minutes, and the cooking staff had used that time to finish their work uninterrupted. The rest of the afternoon was spent driving around the city, stopping at part dealers to try and find the parts they needed. In the end, she found about 90% of what was required. The remaining parts, Jeff would have to jerry-rig with what he has lying around.

Leaving a note on his desk, next to the parts shipment, Sam signed off for the day. Even though Jeff was in the same work space, he was too focused on his work to even notice her there. As things were, he would probably spend most of the night working. ‘Serves him right’, she thought to herself.

“Hey Jeff, I couldn’t find any imperial arm stabilisers, but there were some metric ones that would mostly fit, so remember to correct the aiming system two degrees to the left if you end up using them”

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