As the evening drew to a close, each went their separate ways. For Hardy and Aria, that meant returning to their quarters. As mentioned before, the two roomed together, and had grown used to a nightly routine. Each cadet was paired with another, and they roomed together during their entire time while attending classes. This was extended to those who were civilian students as well, which made up the entirety of House Falcon. For those of House Ocelot, the sixth year cadets had grown to know their bunk mate and their House comrades very well.
Though, some still had their secrets.
“One month from finals,” Hardy sighed as she packed away her clothes into a hamper near the entrance to the small room. “And we’ve still got a lot of activities left.”
“I know,” Aria agreed with a nod as she sat on her bed. “We’ve still got the last simulation, there’s the semi final, and the final if we win…”
“When we win,” Hardy corrected with a chuckle.
“Alright, when we win,” Aria said with a small smile. “And there’s the surprise maneuvers that we still need to accomplish. It’s getting to the point where I don’t know if that’s going to happen, however.”
“Are you kidding,” Hardy said as she walked into the small washing room to retrieve her brush. “I’m getting pent up anticipation with all the waiting. To get a chance to fly those Maverick Mark VIIIs in a real field test. Not just the holo-simulations.”
“But those holo-simulations are fun,” Aria grinned. “To test the controls of the test ship the Nighthawk. That was something.”
“I noticed something amiss with those controls,” Hardy said as she returned from the washroom and sat on her bed. “It seems like they’re hiding something. The controls felt… I don’t know. Unfinished.”
“Well, it is an experimental fighter craft.”
“True,” Hardy agreed with a nod as she began brushing her tail. “Oh, and let’s not forget the last thing. The official graduation ceremonies. The look on Senia’s face when Philly mentioned Dawkins as guest speaker.” She laughed at the memory. “Senia was always hero struck by that one, I’ll tell you. I just look forward to seeing Clarfax in a kilt. Always thought he’d look dashing in one.” Hardy looked over to Aria for a moment, taking note of the slight apprehension in the young Felanus woman. She also wasn’t purring like she usually was. “Aria, is something wrong?”
“Just thinking about the graduation ceremonies is all,” she replied with a sigh. “I still have a date to ask as escort.”
“Anyone in mind?”
“Oh, yes,” Aria replied with a smile and a nod, and for a moment it seemed to quell the feeling of apprehension. “I’ve been meaning to talk to a young Felanus in House Falcon. Robert Quickfoot. Very bright, he’s the one who has those long discussions with Clarfax.”
“I’ve seen him before,” Hardy said as she continued to brush her tail. “He seems quite shy unless he’s talking about quantum mechanics or astrophysics.”
“That’s one of the qualities I admire about him,” Aria said with a nod. “But, there’s also…” She paused for a moment, as though she struggled to find the words. Hardy stopped brushing her tail and looked directly to Aria as though encouraging her to continue. “My parents will be coming, naturally. And, well no one knows who they are…”
“Yes, I know,” Hardy said with a grin. “You’ve kept that very quiet. I always wonder why.”
“My parents are Claude and Maria Sharpspeer,” she said without hesitation. Hardy blinked as she looked to Aria for a moment. Sharpspeer was the family name of the ruling class of the Ocata nation, so it was no secret that Aria was a member of the royal family. But Claude and Maria Sharpspeer were the royal monarchs, the king and queen of Ocata.
“That,” Hardy finally managed to say as her mind tried to put it all together. “Means. You’re. Great Mother, my roommate is the Princess of the Ocata Royal family.”
“Yes, it’s true,” Aria said with a nod.
“My goodness, I feel so embarrassed now,” Hardy said as she looked around her room with some worry.
“Well, it’s not proper to… do some of the,” she caught herself for a moment and looked like she was going to apologize, but Aria managed to catch her before she began.
“Hardy,” she said calmly. “Nothing is different, really. I didn’t want word spreading around because I didn’t want to be given favours or have my status affect others in the House. My professors and superior officers knew, but they kept things quiet.”
“Well, that stands to reason,” Hardy replied with a nod, now that she was back in full control of her faculties upon hearing this news. “Wait! You mean Senia knew. Senia can’t keep a secret from me if she tried.”
“She kept this one,” Aria replied with a sly grin.
“And I’ve been your roommate for six years and not once did I know.”
“You do have the habit of immersing yourself in your studies,” Aria reminded her. “Remember fourth year? When you managed to drag an engine block in here just to cram for a mechanical engineering exam. You looked like a grease ball.” The two chuckled with the memory.
“I did get into a bit of trouble for that,” Hardy said with a sigh. “But, I made some points for managing to replace the engine and make Custodian Ramirez’s jalopy run smoother.”
“That you did,” Aria said as she climbed into bed. “It’s getting late. We’ve still got one last astrophysics lecture. Maybe Robert will be there.”
“You never know,” Hardy said as she climbed into her own bed. “Maybe you’ll find an opportunity to talk to him as well.” The pair chuckled lightly, then wished each other a good night. For Hardy, she was like Aria in that she also had someone that she wished to see at the lecture in the morning. Clarfax Billings.
- Rocket Fox – Chapter Four redux (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
- Rocket Fox – Chapter four musings (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
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The image combines four light wavelengths, three visible and one infrared. The three reflected sunlight bands can simulate a conventional red-green-blue color picture. The near infrared channel (orange in the image) is a vegetation indicator, since plants reflect near-ir as well as green.
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