Chapter 138: Did you miss me?
The first teaching class of the day was ship navigation and piloting which was to be held jointly with the students of the regular class.
While it was true that most spaceships would have an onboard AI to handle all the calculations and maneuvering required to travel safely through the universe there was still a need to learn how to fly manually.
The main problem was that these artificial intelligence systems were vulnerable to hacks or data breaches during enemy attacks.
It may seem obvious now but during the initial founding days of the Earth Federation, most of the personnel on spaceships did not know how to fly their vessels.
The higher ups relied more on AI and robots to handle the basic tasks while the soldiers of the imperial army were the main fighters.
This all changed when the army met a race of mechanical lifeforms known as the Azarens who could control artificial life.
Mechanical lifeforms were quite interesting from a scientific viewpoint as instead of being composed out of biological molecules such as carbon or silicone, they were made out of metallic alloys.
Such beings tended to form highly technologically advanced civilisations but conversely their cultivation talents were usually very poor.
The encounter with the Azarens was the first major loss suffered by the imperial army as their own ships turned against their allies during battle and caused immense damage.
From that day forward, every member of the imperial army was required to undergo basic pilot and navigation training as part of their core knowledge.
As for the first alien race who had caused the Federation to suffer such a loss….
The Azarens home planet was bombarded by orbital strikes until it became uninhabitable and the remnants of the race were hunted to near extinction.
Rumors still lingered how the last survivors sought refuge in the Unova Syndicate, but no concrete evidence had ever been confirmed.
Sophie was currently walking to the ship hangar and docks with Cleo and Qiana by her side.
The homeroom class had ended a few moments ago but Sophie was still feeling rather upset.
“Why am I such an idiot?!” Sophie held Cleo’s hand tightly and pouted cutely.
“I thought you did a good job letting those people know not to mess with you,” Cleo teased as she gently squeezed Sophie’s palm.
Sophie’s brief self introduction to the class did not go exactly how she planned.
Actually…. it went the complete opposite.
Standing up and just saying a few lines about herself seemed like a simple enough task but Sophie was struck by a rare moment of panic as she blanked out.
She could not recall any of her noteworthy hobbies or traits after she introduced herself.
If that wasn’t bad enough already, her rising surge of emotions caused Sophie to enter fight or flight mode.
She ended up baring her sharp fangs at her new classmates while her spider appendages extended outwards with a menacing aura.
Okay… this was not good.
Sophie decided to quickly spit out a few words and then sit back down before she drew more attention to herself.
She could vaguely recall what Katarina had told her was a good introduction when meeting new people and gave it a shot.
“Don’t cross me,” she growled in a dark tone while crossing her arms and staring at the students with piercing golden eyes.
Why did she have to say something so unnecessarily edgy?!
She then sat down and faced the front of the class with a poker face while screaming internally.
Sophie’s image in the eyes of her classmates was that of an intimidating and dangerous girl that one would need to avoid at all costs.
Who knew what she was thinking behind that cold and deadpan face.
Only Cleo could tell that her girlfriend’s lack of expressions was to cover up how utterly embarrassed she felt.
Professor Gracie was a bit taken aback by the aggressive nature of her student’s introduction speech, but she recovered quickly and moved on to the next person without comment.
The rest of the introductions were fairly straightforward, and the class was dismissed shortly after to head to their other lectures.
Sophie had maintained her fierce appearance when leaving the classroom with Cleo, but her image had instantly collapsed once they walked out of sight of the other students.
“You were very scary,” Cleo blushed slightly and whispered in Sophie’s ear,
“And it was honestly…. pretty attractive.”
“Well if you thought that was sexy,” Sophie growled in a deep husky tone as she pressed her lips against Cleo’s.
Cleo melted away in the soft embrace of her lover who held her tenderly but kissed her with great passion.
The kiss lasted for what seemed like hours, days or even eternity as Cleo felt protected and loved.
She never wanted this moment to end.
“Are we going to class or….?” Qiana interrupted the pair who were now looking deeply into each other’s eyes.
The quiet dark-haired girl was not amused at having to stand awkwardly on the side as her two friends got lost in their own private world.
Plus, they were getting strange looks from the passing students who gawked openly at their display of affection.
“Sorry Qiana,” Sophie broke away from Cleo with an uneasy smile.
“Don’t worry but please try to save that love stuff for your dorm room,” Qiana smiled back with a gentle tone.
Qiana hid her true feelings of slight jealousy and smoothed out the atmosphere between the girls.
Maybe it was time she got a bit aggressive when interacting with Astrid. Lord knows that the stupid wolf girl did not know how to take a hint.
The trio headed to their next lecture while joking and laughing with one another.
(Zrudread University- Martha Wayne International Spaceport)
“Impressive,” Sophie looked around in amazement as the girls entered the imposing complex of carefully designed buildings.
Zrudread University had several different specialized training centers and ship navigation training was held in the Martha Wayne International Spaceport.
It was one of the first training centers to be funded and built from outside sources as a rich former student of the university had dedicated the spaceport in honour of his late mother.
This student had certainly spared no expenses and the spaceport was on par with those from grade S trading colony planets that handled millions of arrivals and departures per day.
Each building was constructed out of a metal alloy called Xnertium that was resistant to extreme changes in temperature and was quite sturdy.
This metal was dark reddish-purple in colour and artists were hired to carve beautiful pictures of flowers on the outer surfaces of the buildings.
The spaceport was for the exclusive use of the Zrudread University students and each year was assigned to their own separate hangar.
In fact, students were also able to rent their own spaceships for the duration of their four years on campus.
Of course, the wealthy students would opt to buy their own private transport vessels as it could be customized with different weapons and protective devices.
Sophie, Cleo and Qiana were among the first students of the elite class to arrive at the hangar as the majority of the regular class students were already there.
The hangar was about the size of ten football fields with sleek, silverly blue spaceships lined up at regular intervals along the walls.
These spaceships came in different designs, colours, and sizes.
There was a raised platform in the center of the hangar where rows of chairs were placed directly in front of the podium.
Students were already sitting down on these chairs so Sophie and her friends followed suit.
“Don’t you think we stand out?” Cleo whispered as she felt the piercing stares of the other students.
Sophie stared back at some of the gazes and saw a variety of emotions.
The attention was not due to her hybrid nature but rather it was the elite class uniforms on the girls that stood out.
Envy, longing, and jealousy was openly on display by some while others revealed an intense competitive desire.
More students of the elite class trickled in slowly and soon the attention on the trio shifted towards the new arrivals.
Time passed by and no instructor could be seen.
“Can we leave if he doesn’t show up?” Qiana muttered.
The class gradually got noisier and noisier as more students started to talk and gossip amongst themselves.
A series of loud siren noises were blared from a megaphone which caused several students to cover their ears in pain.
“Did you miss me maggots?!” a loud chuckle was heard from behind one of the spaceships as Instructor Selvon emerged with a familiar smirk.