Shawn walked back into the his home, a large two story house that set dwarfed in the center of the Wardens Hall Academy complex, after returning from the disaster of a interview. Upon walking through the front door Conner, Shawn’s younger bother and at eight years old the baby of the family, came running into the foyer at the sound of his mother and father entering. He made a mad dash for Shawn in an attempt to tackle him. Shawn quickly dodged and grabbed his brother in a bear hug while messing up his hair which earned him a look from his mother.
Shawn released his brother and followed his parents into the large family kitchen and dining area that served as the family’s normal gathering area. Shawn’s fifteen year old younger twin sisters were already seated at the large family table and looked up from what they where doing as their parents entered. Danielle, known by all as Lee, and Talia were as different as identical twins could be. Where Lee was a tom-boy with skinned up knees and sport inflicted scars, Talia was a bright intelligent artist at heart. It wasn’t just the girls’ outer personality that differed, but also their inner selves as well. Lee was all bravo on the outside, but Shawn knew that she was very sensitive and easily hurt; and where Talia was all quiet on the outside she had an emotional strength that was unmatched by any of his other siblings. It came as no surprise to Shawn to notice that Lee was reading a sports article from the newspaper while Talia was reading one of the many large books that she had received from Aunt Ky.
No one had spoken on the way back or since they had entered the house until his mother Hesper broke the silence, “So that could have gone better, but there is nothing for it. Shawn what is done is done. Now girls, come help me with lunch.”
With that Shawn’s mother had put the matter to rest as she saw it and walked off with Lee and Talia in tow. Lee gave Shawn a concerned look while Talia seemed as to not have noticed Shawn’s mood other than to give him a brief smile before following their mother. While Conner headed off towards the kitchen area, most likely in search of a pre lunch snack; Shawn took a seat eyeing the book Talia had been reading. Shawn’s father took a seat across from him with a look on Reese’s face that he normally had when he was concerned over one of his children or students.
Reese smiled and broke Shawn’s silent brooding, “So it was nice to see Dakota’s daughter Eva, she sure had grown. The rest of the Cadets seemed like an interesting short. Val has made her choices like a good teacher, and I have a feeling this group will have something to show the people of Galava.”
“I didn’t even recognize Eva, and then again I never really did hangout with her like I did her rogue brothers,” Shawn answered back, but he wasn’t really involved in the conversation as he just couldn’t pull himself away from his thoughts. Shawn knew his father was trying to get his mind off his self imposed doubt over the interview, but Shawn knew that the reporters were being unfair and had ambushed him and his fellow Cadets. It irritated him to see how politics were working their way into his life once more as his Aunt Val and her school came under the press’ scrutiny.
Out of nowhere someone grabbed him into a hug from behind; lost in his thoughts Shawn hadn’t heard his sister Serena come up behind him. Serena was the second child at the age of sixteen and the family trouble maker to the point that the papers had coined the nickname ‘the MacGregor Siren’ do to her flirtatious behavior and her dress out in public and the few scandals she had started at the mere age of fifteen. Shawn loved his sister and was very protective, but he really worried about her he feared that her uncaring attitude about the press was just a front and wondered how much of what they said stung her. Shawn’s parents had tried to shelter them from the attention of the press as much as possible, but when your parents are a former Knight and protector of the planet and a founding member of Whitestone and planetary leader it is kind of hard not to draw attention everywhere you go.
Serena set down beside him flashing her good daughter smile despite what she was wearing towards Reese before turn back to Shawn, “So brother, all ready to stop being just another student and taking on the role of Cadet and future hero of Galava, huh? Now don’t mess up or anything Sir Perfect.”
Shawn was about to respond in kind to his sister when Val walked in through the back door with her dark haired nine year old daughter Kenze in tow. Shawn stood up and gave Val a sorry look as he addressed her, “Lady Val, I’m sorry I let the interview get out of hand.”
Val gave Shawn a stern look before her face softened to smile, “Shawn I’m just Val in this walls and don’t worry about it, you guys didn’t do anything wrong. Well, we could have done without the spoken Pikkinese protest from Miss Pixie. Although I did get an interesting call after the interview was aired, Miss Tamaka O’Dell has requested to be the official Cadet spokesperson.”
Shawn’s face reddened uncontrollably and he heard a snicker from his sister Serena, but he couldn’t help it. Tamaka was so annoying it didn’t matter if she was his name sake’s daughter. Shawn wasn’t sure when it had started, but she had been at odds with him for so long. Unlike most girls who either treated him with interest or keep their distance from him, Tamaka seemed to go out of her way to fight with him or place herself as his rival for anything he did. Just like now, Shawn had hoped to become the public face of the Cadets as it was obvious he should as he had the most experience with the press and the public, but no Tamaka was already trying to work her way into the position.
Val’s voice brought Shawn out of his dark feelings over Tamaka, “On another note, the final instructor showed up today. I think Marshal Joss Kroeker will be a good addition to the Academy with all his experience as a Master of Arms and Police officer. He has lots to teach and share with the students. Also, I got an official invitation for all the Cadets and Instructors to attend a Pikki Party tomorrow night right before I left to come over for lunch.”
Out of the kitchen area Hesper’s voice came, “Don’t even thank about it Serena. You’re still grounded. So, no party for you,” and with that Shawn’s sister got up in a huff and headed for her room.
Shawn thought about going to the party and although he knew that Tamaka would be there he was looking forward to meeting all the other Cadets. So far, the only ones he had met personally besides Tamaka was the ones who had been at the interview, and he had not had all that long to get a good feel who they where. Shawn had butted heads with Olan, but he could tell that the other boy was a strong leader type use to looking after others. Olan’s sister Pixie had been rebellious and jokingly defiant during the interview, but Shawn didn’t know if that was what she was like all the time or just that moment. Eva had turned into an attractive young woman since last he had seen her, but she seemed to have a chip on her shoulder that Shawn just couldn’t place and didn’t seem all that interested in being at the interview despite the fact she had handled herself well during it. Then there was Blixt, a much quieter individual than his others siblings. Shawn was surprised to find out that he was the only other Cadet at the interview that was not enrolling in the Mechwarrior program. Then, there was the quiet Catalina who he discovered was called Cat; she had seemed to be intelligent but not all that confident in herself. Shawn knew that first impressions could be deceiving and wondered what he would discover about his fellow Cadets in the following years and just what they thought of him in return.