Full Metal Panic! Chapter Ten Deep Gambit By Steve Edward Wednesday, 0830 hours, Jendi High School Gymnasium Andrew had carried out his morning ritual of a physical workout and while doing so had seen the arrival of various preparatory school representatives. It had been bedlam in the gymnasium as the representatives trying to seek the best spot got into verbal arguments with each other and even the school staff. Andrew leaving the locker room after changing saw one getting rather obnoxious with Eri Kagurazaka. Eri heard the metallic sound behind her then feeling a hand on her shoulder Doctor Andrew Simms appeared and said “Ok, look everyone wants a good spot however if Miss Kagurazaka says that is where you will be then that is where you will be,” as the suddenly long black staff appeared between her and the preparatory school representative. The metallic staff reflected no light and it did not waver from the shoulder of the man before her. Andrew spoke again, “Did I make myself clear?” The man suddenly nodding backed away hurriedly. Eri watched as the staff suddenly shrank and Andrew returned it to it carrier on his belt, “Doctor? What was that?” Andrew smiled and said “Just a little extra enforcement. Now Eri can you show me the list of students who are going to be courted so to speak?” Climbing the staircase to the stage with Eri, Andrew sat next to her at the faculty table from where the recruitment activities could be closely monitored. Eri retrieved the list and spoke, “All of course are seniors. The only ones exempt from recruitment are the foreign exchange students of which there are currently three, Teletha Testarossa, Souska Sagara and Alice Wren. They can of course visit each representative if they so desire; however it would be their own choices to pursue entrance into a preparatory school, but based on their scores all three would be accepted by any one of them.” Andrew mused over Sagara. Not well versed in Japanese history he was however gifted both in mathematics (which had surprised Andrew), and in electro-mechanical theory, (No surprise to Andrew considering that Souska had operated and been around various Arms Slaves for over 10 years) it was doubtful Souska would even consider a preparatory school unless of course he was tasked with attending one that Kaname Chidori chose. The attacks against the students had been an effort to steer them away from other schools, Burien’s handlers had made mistakes early and in some cases just to delay the student’s education. The two middle school students murdered in Okinawa six years earlier had been suspected to have been “Whispered”, but no one would truly know for sure as their school records had been ordered destroyed, and Andrew pondered if they had been “Whispered”; just what had been their abilities?
Full Metal Panic! Chapter Ten Deep Gambit By Steve Edward The idle chatter in the gymnasium came to a halt as the seniors, excused from a day of classes entered. Nearly in the front was Kaname Chidori and Kyoko Tokiwa and Andrew could hear the urgent whispering taking place and some were even pointing, pointing at Kaname Chidori. Kaname walked slowly down the length of the gymnasium, passing the various tables displaying brochures of schools both near and far. Turning and walking up the other side, with Kyoko she paused as Kyoko approached a table of an engineering preparatory school, and said “Kyoko? I am going ahead. I want to look at others.” Kyoko turned briefly and smiled “Ok Kaname, see you later.” Kaname continued forward till she passed the last table, then she stopped and looked back. All the other seniors had made their choices. Many were her friends and they were making new paths for themselves. Looking away, her gaze passed over Souska who had stopped at the gymnasium entrance. Souska’s expression was unreadable, no smile, no frown he was but a statue. Kaname walked slowly towards Souska and stopping before him said “Souska? I really don’t know what to do.” It was rare for Souska to show emotion and even affection and for him Kaname Chidori had become a long term assignment. Taking her hands into his he said, “Miss Chidori, there comes a time when one must embark to a new path. You have that choice to make; I can not do it for you.” Planting a surprise kiss to her forehead, Souska Sagara let go her hands and walked out of the gymnasium alone. Looking up briefly from grading papers, Andrew Simms had seen Kaname and Souska talking together then the kiss to her forehead and his sudden departure. Kaname Chidori as far as Mithril was concerned, once she graduated from high school; she would be on her own unless she chose further schooling and her protection would be limited. Mithril had expended considerable resources protecting Chidori in the past year and they could not continue this forever. There would be other “Whispered” to look after and Kaname even though she knew of Mithril’s existence would no longer be fully protected. Then there was Kaname’s father, somewhere in California. He had not had any contact with Kaname in nearly five years, not since the death of her mother, and according to Mithril records it had been rather brief. No phone calls, letters or even an e-mail had been exchanged. Kaname would have few friends to turn to and Souska if kept on assignment, he would be for limited duration.
Full Metal Panic! Chapter Ten Deep Gambit By Steve Edward Kaname came to the edge of the stage then looked up seeing both Miss Kagurazaka and Doctor Simms sitting together. Whether it was her indecisiveness or something else; Kaname Chidori climbed the steps to the stage and approached Andrew Simms and said, “Doctor Simms? Could I speak with you alone please?” Eri said to Doctor Simms, “Andrew. The coach’s office is vacant.” Andrew closed the door, and then pulled a chair in front of the desk which he offered to Kaname then he sat at the desk and said “Miss Chidori? Are you troubled with something?” Kaname said softly, “Captain, I see my friends choosing their next stage in life, but I can not see mine within theirs.” Andrew steepled his hands and spoke, “There comes a time in life when you make choices. I also call them gambits. There are various types of gambits, they are shallow gambits, middle gambits and then there are the deep gambits we have to play from time to time.” Kaname said, “Like a game of chess?” Andrew replied, “Yes. You can look at it that way. You are facing a gambit as of now. You can go back to the gymnasium and choose a preparatory school and take a shallow gambit on succeeding or use the middle gambit to choose another educational venue not represented out there or take the deep gambit on Tessa’s offer.” Kaname replied, “No hint, Captain?” Andrew replied “No Kaname, I can’t. But think about this. In a short while those that you have come to know will go their separate ways, and each has a dream. They will take their own gambits as others before them have. It is the gambit you have to make like they. That is all I can offer Miss Chidori. When you make the choice, I’ll be in the gymnasium with Miss Kagurazaka until then good morning Miss Chidori.” Andrew Simms stood and left Kaname alone in the coach’s office and walked back to the gymnasium. Wednesday, 1100 hours, Jendi High School Gymnasium Whether it was because of his presence or other circumstance, Miss Kagurazaka stated it had been the best behaved “Decision Day” in nearly 6 years. Perhaps the staff demonstration had been enough to keep things in check or possibly that Andrew not being Japanese and an American school teacher had kept things mildly silent.
Full Metal Panic! Chapter Ten Deep Gambit By Steve Edward Miss Kagurazaka spoke as the last senior in the gymnasium, Kyoko Tokiwa stopped at the table on the stage and handed her their decision form. Kyoko spoke, “I have decided to attend Tokyo Technical Preparatory, Miss Kagurazaka! Did Kaname make hers?” Andrew replied, “I am sorry Miss Tokiwa, but Miss Chidori has not informed us as of yet.” Kyoko Tokiwa groaned and said, “Well Kaname did say she was having difficulty, but maybe she will still decide by the end of the day.” Miss Kagurazaka waited till Kyoko left then picked up the microphone and spoke “To all the preparatory schools, thank you for coming. Congratulations to those who have accepted our graduating students from Jendi High School. I look forward to seeing all of you next year.” The noise picked up a bit as the school representatives began to dismantle their booths. Andrew seeing that he would not have to “police” this part of the event rose to his feet and said to Miss Kagurazaka “Eri, I am going to take an early lunch then head home as I have some lesson plans for tomorrow; I have to put together. I’ll see you Thursday.” Eri waved farewell to Andrew and turned to attention back to the representatives ensuring that none would leave any trash behind. Kaname Chidori had remained in the coach’s office alone, pondering the future. During that time she could hear the laughter of her fellow seniors as they made their past in the hallway each congratulating others on their choices. Captain Simms could not make it for her, neither could Miss Kagurazaka or even her close friend Kyoko or even Souska. Hearing footsteps in the hallway, Kaname came to her feet and turned towards the door as Captain Andrew Simms stopped before the entryway, “Captain Simms. I have made my choice,” said Kaname as she exited the office. Andrew keeping pace with Kaname as she walked down the passageway spoke, “Miss Chidori, I am sure it was a wise choice.” Andrew briefly separated from Kaname who went to her locker and returned to his classroom to drop off the graded papers which was where he found Captain Teletha Testarossa and Lieutenant Alice Wren sitting with Sergeant Souska Sagara. Souska coming to attention said, “Captain Simms has Miss Chidori decided yet Sir?” Andrew placing the graded papers in a file cabinet turned and said, “Perhaps Sergeant, you should ask Miss Chidori yourself.”
Full Metal Panic! Chapter Ten Deep Gambit By Steve Edward Captain Testarossa spoke, “Where is she Andrew?” Kaname’s voice said from the hallway, “I am out here Tessa.” Kaname entered the classroom and joined Teletha, Alice and Souska at the rear of the classroom. Andrew quietly closed the file cabinet door; speaking as he did so “Will one of you see to locking up the classroom for me please? I am headed home. Souska see to it that they get to the apartment complex safely.” Souska replied, “Yes Captain I will.” Wednesday, 1600 hours, Apartment of Captain Andrew Simms, Mithril Apartments The chime of the door bell sounded softly as Andrew resting on the balcony listening to a soothing Japanese string piece opened his eyes and came to his feet. Peering thru the peep hole and seeing Commander Drake Ward, Captain Simms opened the door and ushered his friend in. Drake taking the cue, headed for the balcony and setting a two cups of coffee on the table waited for Andrew to join him then said, “Well I guess you already know then about Miss Chidori.” Andrew replied, “No not really. I was not privy to her choice.” Drake responded somewhat puzzled “Well that’s odd. From what I gather it was you that swayed her decision.” Andrew taking a sip of his coffee said, “I did talk to her, but I did not highlight any particular gambit.” Drake sitting back replied “A gambit? So you used the gambit analogy again? Shall I quote the meaning of gambit again? Let’s see, “Gambit in chess, an opening move in which a player sacrifices a pawn or other minor piece in order to gain a strategic advantage.” Andrew replied, “In truth Commander, life is a gambit. Kaname already knows the risks and has faced some already. She took a gambit on her life and the lives of everyone else a year ago on the Tuatha de Danaan when she put herself inside T.A.R.O.S.” Drake spoke “I suppose she did at that. Oh by the way, congratulations are in order. Commander Kalinin called and said to tell you that the false preparatory school has been shut down in Tigil as of noon today. It was a military development center and definitely not a school. A Mithril recovery team extracted the students and it seems two are likely “Whispered”, one of them like Kaname has technical knowledge of the Lambda Driver system. Both had been drugged repeatedly in an effort to extract the knowledge that each had so both are on their way to medical facilities for further treatment. Kalinin advised we got to them just in time.”
Full Metal Panic! Chapter Ten Deep Gambit By Steve Edward Andrew heard the balcony door open at Testarossa’s apartment and he turned to see who came out on the balcony. Teletha carrying a tray of tea cups looked towards Andrew and smiled then behind her came Alice, then Aryl and finally Kaname Chidori. Waving to all three he turned back to Drake and said “Behind us is the future, there will be gambits they must make, but I think they will all do just fine.” Drake about to speak turned to see what Andrew was looking at as Captain Simms spoke, “Sergeant Sagara! Get off my balcony! It is the next one over.” Drake blinked as the fingertips moved along the edge and the muffled voice spoke “Sorry Captain. It will not happen again.” Commander Ward spoke, “Andrew? Does this happen all the time here or what?” Andrew picked up his coffee and spoke “Only when we have a balcony full of the “Whispered”. Are you up for a game of chess?” Drake smiled and came to his feet and followed by Captain Andrew Simms they left the balcony together.