"Which one is the act?"
"Sometimes you're just like the other pilots, and sometimes you're almost shy."
"I don't think anyone's ever called me 'shy' before."
"At graduation, when you sent him over to introduce you."
"I didn't send him over!"
"He didn't come because *he* wanted to ask me out."
"All right, I sent him. But it was his idea. Why did he call me shy?"
"He was trying to think of an excuse for being sent."
"Did you believe it?"
"Not in the slightest."
"Because you assumed I was just like the other pilots."
"I don't know. What are the other pilots like?"
"Overconfident and condescending are the words that spring to mind."
"Is that the way you think I am?"
"Sometimes. Sometimes not. That's why I asked."
"Are you ever anything but brutally honest?"
"When we first met, I told Reiya I didn't like you."
"For a graduating pilot, I've been singularly unpopular all night."
"Possibly because you hit my sister's friend with a diver."
"If she hadn't--wait, your *sister's* friend?"
"Aura is my sister's roommate."
"Older sister, or younger?"
"Does it matter?"
"I answered your question."
"No, you didn't. Which one is the act?"
"I like being above the surface to see the stars."
"I can't help thinking there aren't enough of them."
"I've never been into space."
"My research is on the reefs, not the stars."
"Really? What do you study?"
"The physiology and culture of bioluminescent communication."
"...You just made me feel about three years old."
"How and why creatures on the reefs glow."
"Are you going to keep flying now that you've graduated?"
"There's nothing better than a fighter and the stars."
"Why the Kith squadron?"
"You say that as though you already know."
"The escorts are the only interstellar squadron?"
"Isn't it more dangerous, though?"
"Aquitar hasn't been at war in living memory. Who'd attack us?"
"I guess that's true."
"That's the most diplomatic I've heard you all night."
"How do you know I don't believe you?"
"I just feel it. Why do you think Kith is dangerous?"
"...I just feel it."
"I'm serious. Do you really not think the Border war will affect us?"
"Do you know how far away the Border is? Aquitar isn't going to get involved."
"Aquitar has no ties to Eltare anymore."
"You only say that because we don't need them right now."
"And they don't need us. That's what it means to have an independent government."
"I think you're wrong."
"I'm sensing that, yes."
"Does your aunt agree with you?"
"That the fighting won't affect us."
"Probably... I'm not sure; we don't talk much."
"That surprises me."
"Do you spend a lot of time talking to your relatives?"
"I might if they were Rangers."
"It's not as exciting as it sounds, believe me."
"Are you telepathic?"
"That's not a question that usually comes up in idle conversation."
"Your aunt's a Ranger. I was just curious."
"The telepathic alleles are recessive, you know."
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"Just because I have a telepathic relative doesn't mean I'm likely to be telepathic."
"You're more likely to be than I am."
"Neither am I."
"Then why didn't you just say so?"
"Because I didn't like your reasons for asking."
"You don't know why I asked."
"Why did you ask, then?"
"I was trying to find something that wasn't an act."
"You said your arrogance and your shyness are both acts. So who are you, really?"
"You thought finding out that I was a telepath would be the answer?"
"No. Telepath's just another label. Like fighter pilot."
"So what was the point?"
"You were offended that I asked. That wasn't an act."
"Should I be disturbed that you're so devious, or flattered that you put so much thought into it?"
"If I'd really thought about it, I would have asked if you ever wished to be telepathic."
"How much older is your sister?"
"Why do you want to know?"
"Because Aura was a class marshal, which means she's graduating next year. Your sister is Aura's roommate, which means she's graduating next year too. But you said your sister is older than you are, so you're either yearmates or there's something you're not telling me."
"How did we get from telepathy to my sister?"
"There *is* something you're not telling me. And we got here because there's something I'm not telling you, too, so I figured you might as well take a turn at feeling defensive."
"You *are* telepathic."
"And you're not old enough to be a class marshal."
"No. My sister's in Medical, so I took her place at the ceremony."
"Is she all right?"
"Would she be in Medical if she was?"
"*Will* she be all right?"
"I hope so."
"So do I."
"And you're running your own research project?"
"Did I say that?"
"No, but--I just assumed. You sounded very fond of it."
"I am. And yes, it's my project. My advisor pushed it through for me."
"She must have a lot of faith in you."
"...You were right about me being telepathic."
"You didn't have to lie about it. You know I'm friends with Aura."
"I know your sister's friends with her. I didn't know how you felt about it personally."
"I think the fact that we make it into such an issue is ridiculous, that's how I feel about it."
"I agree with you there."
"But you're Ranger kin, and even you wouldn't admit to it."
"It's different when it's you. Even my friends don't know. Except Sanaro."
"Why did you tell me?"
"I asked the first time."
"Maybe I like you."
"I know you like me. That doesn't explain why you told me something you won't tell your friends."
"Sure it does. I like you more than I like my friends, that's all."
"Am I supposed to be flattered now?"
"If you want to be."
"You're doing the cocky pilot act again."
"Takes one to know one."
"I can't even flit, let alone pilot a fighter."
"Want to learn?"
"It'd be a start. It isn't hard."
"You saw how bad I was at the sims. I can't believe you're even offering."
"The sims are obstacle courses, not training programs. Go out in the middle of the ocean and there's nothing to hit. You'll be fine."
"Are you a patient person?"
"With you, I suspect I could be endlessly patient."
"Did you kiss me in the laser arena?"
"In the laser arena. Did you kiss me on purpose?"
"Is this going to affect whether or not you let me teach you to flit?"
"Then yes, I did. It was sort of... accidentally on purpose."
"Could you be more decisive in the future?"
"So how do I start the flit?"