“Hey Sam, about the work on the custom rig. If anyone asks, say that John did the targeting calibration.”
On her way home after going to university, Sam stopped by school to make sure they weren’t letting work pile up for her to do when she got back. On her desk, she saw that note and immediately realised something was wrong. There was no John working in their department. It was a code they used when they needed to band together against investigation. If everyone inside the department insisted that there was someone named John there, eventually anyone looking into it would feel stonewalled and give up. Apparently they had used it before, but not since Sam had started her internship.
From the context, and the ruckus she had heard on her way in, Sam could basicly piece together what happened and agreed that oversight wouldn’t go well for her. Any investigation into the working environment would see her drug use, and there was always the chance that the person investigating would actually care. Sleepless was relatively harmless, but it was still a controlled substance that she had to obtain through less than above board means. The growth stunting wasn’t the reason for its ban, but instead was due to the damage it caused future generations. Since it worked through the manipulation of brain chemistry, it completely trashed a user’s DC, and even affected the score of any children they had. After years of constant use, Sam wouldn’t even be able to move an ordinary prosthetic limb with her mind.
In particular, the government wouldn’t want sleepless anywhere near that prized transfer student. From the rumours she heard, he had been able to dodge a sniper’s bullets with only the slightest of margins of error, a feat that shouldn’t be possible for someone who had only piloted twice prior. Apparently their mistake was being written off as that Satou kid’s talent. Even if she wanted to come clean, at that point it was unlikely that she would even be believed. After his success, it was revealed that the reason he was allowed to enter the school late was that he had an unprecedented high DC percentage, at a record shattering 78%.
Apparently he would even be awarded his own personal rig soon, with the right to customise it as much as he wanted. That was something she really dreaded to hear, since that level of work would require most of the mechanist to work on that, leaving the school rigs to be done by Sam. She could just imagine the frustration of having to deal with a school’s worth of rigs while the rest of the department got to initialise a new model from scratch. That kind of thing was why most of them got into the industry. Though she heard that the income was a big part of it for Jeff.
Another rumour going around is that after the fight, Jenna started to hit on Satou, though he seemed unaffected by it. It seems like a lot of the girls were were calling her shameless behind her back. “How sad to be her, if it keeps up like that, she will have alienated herself from the rest of the girls in her class.” thought Sam, only taking the slightest joy from an idiot hurting herself to chase an uninterested guy.
Though, as Sam went to the shops to pick up some ingredients, she found that Jenna wasn’t the only fool. Together with the transfer student was the tree in the forest, Sachiko. There was a saying that went, ‘the best place to hide a tree was in a forest’ and from there the department’s nickname for Sachiko came about. As the sole granddaughter of the rig core’s creator, there were an endless number of people that wanted to take her hostage, so she entered a pilot training school thinking that she would blend in with the other students and go unnoticed. That she used her real name on the entry forms really didn’t help her out, but it seems that she didn’t really think things through much.
Any pretence of hiding was certainly thrown out when she decided to go out in public with the DC record holder with linked arms and an embarrassed expression. If not for the dozen undercover guards throughout the building, she might actually be in some danger.
Though, one person she was clearly not in danger from, was that thick headed Satou, who seemed oblivious to Sachiko’s blatant flirting. Sam had to wonder if there was something wrong with that kid to not notice the affection of the big breasted woman draping herself over him and frequently brushing her back length black hair against his face for him to smell. Sam remembered watching a video about a bird that appealed to potential mates with elaborate dances and colourful nests, and felt that that bird was still somehow more subtle.
Feeling incredibly disappointed at the site of the future core maker acting like that, Sam finished her shopping and went home. After dinner, and finishing her studies for the day, she got changed and went to work at her second job. Once work finished there, she returned home again to take a shower, to a dose of sleepless and got ready to start uni for the day.
On her way to campus, she received a call that made her have to stop in at the school and leave a message. “Hey Jeff, good new and bad news. My application to work of cored rigs under supervision was approved. The bad news is that the school pushed for it. That probably means that the worst case scenario rumours were true.”