I can't believe this, Timbo thought to himself as he peeked through the bushes at his father, speaking to someone that looked like an Academy Scout. "Will you be quiet? I'm trying to hear what they're saying!" Melky sharply whispered, while leaning her small frame over his. " If I have to go, it would be nice if you were with me" she said as she batted her glacier blue eyes in his direction. Like hell, he thought. He had dreams of becoming a Weapons Master on his own planet, gaining the prestige and wealth that came with it. Not some drone enforcer for the Commonwealth.
"It would be good for the boy to gain some structure and discipline in his life," the Academy Scout said. "We've been getting some very promising reports of his skill with the sword from his finishing school". Timbo's father looked intently at the Scout for a moment, then said, "I'm not sure about this, I've heard that the Academy can be a dangerous place, and how can you assure me that i'll see my son again?" The statement caused a look of dismay on the Scout's face, then he gathered himself. "We can assure you that you will see your son every two cycles or so" he said with a measure of uncertainty. "Please, by your pardon sir, we have a interim program he can attend for a half cycle. If it doesn't meet to your satisfaction, then he'll be returned to you." Timbo father stood completely still for a moment, almost as if he had frozen. " I will store your word for faith's sake" he said.
The transport that Timbo and Melky ended up on was cramp and musty, the smell of persperation and burnt leather was thick in the air. As it traveled smoothly across the plain, they could see in the distance a very massive and intimidating structure come into view. Timbo thought it looked like something out of the old heart books that his father kept in his study. The color of the structure was as dark as burnt coal, with massive spires and ramparts surrounding the perimeter. Cannon batteries prickled the very rim, and the whole thing seemed as if it floated over the landscape.
"Gather around!" one instructor yelled, tring to maintian control over the melee of people and vehicles swarming about. "You will now get a change to meet your Shipa, they will be your guides and mentors during your training here." As Timbo looked around, he saw a group of people approaching that looked like they had been through hell and back, and hell had paid the price. As the instructor started pairing the students (which he heard the instructor call them shadows) with their Shirpas, he noticed one Shirpa that looked abolutely scary.