"Everyone loves a spark… right up until it starts a fire." —Amanda Holliday
Zavala glanced past the flight instructor to the clock on the wall. He was becoming impatient, but meetings like this could not be rushed.
"…after which she called me a 'bent grape,'" the disgruntled teacher concluded.
"Is that… bad?" Zavala inquired.
"It sure ain't good," a teenage Amanda Holliday piped up. She was slouched in her chair next to Zavala, her lank hair hanging over her eyes.
"You see!" The flight instructor stood, his face turning red. "This young lady's disrespectful attitude is a danger to herself, her teammates, and her aircraft!"
Amanda rolled her eyes.
Zavala frowned at his young charge. "Thank you for bringing this to my attention. It will be dealt with."
The flight instructor shook the commander's hand. "I hope so. Amanda shows a lot of potential. I'd hate to see it wasted."
After they had been dismissed, Zavala walked with Amanda across the Hangar Bay. He gestured to a Hawk airship.
"Do you know how those ships are made?" he asked.
The sullen teenager shrugged, her eyes downcast.
"It takes a lot of people," Zavala continued. "Scrappers risk Fallen attacks in the Cosmodrome to find the metals. Machinists get burned; they lose fingers forging the parts. Mechanics throw out their backs to keep them running."
"Yeah, so?" Amanda scoffed.
"When you talk back to your instructors," Zavala replied, "or think you're better than their lessons, you're not just disrespecting them. You're disrespecting all the people that built those ships. And you make yourself unworthy of their sacrifices."
"One day, you'll be a pilot," the commander stated with certainty. "And you had better hope that all those people gave the same respect to their jobs that you owe to yours."
Though she didn't raise her eyes, Amanda nodded sheepishly.
"Because otherwise," Zavala concluded, "you'll never get off the ground."