Roland Gilly was led to an interrogation room unsurprisingly, even though they had told him it was to be a debriefing. This would probably be their preliminary investigation to spearhead a future court martial, if all went horribly for the Mechanical Petty Officer. The only thing he could think to do was play along, answer honestly, and do his damnedest to paint the positives of his actions in a clear picture.
The man that eventually sat across from him- and the only other person in the room at that time- was a Lieutenant Dirinkovchka according to his perfectly kempt uniform. He had a few sheets of paper before him which were mostly empty, and a single ball-point pen. Dirinkovchka- or Diri, to his family and closest friends- was a straightforward and blunt kind of soldier, and still had the edge of a drill sergeant even though he'd been sitting behind a desk for the better of a decade. To begin, "This conversation is being recorded, and I will be making my own personal evaluation as well. Please state your rank and name, soldier."
Very plainly, he answered, "Mechanical Petty Officer Roland Gilly, sir."
"Very well. Roland, please explain to me the events that led to you piloting a MAGE."
"I was in the armory, taking inventory for the end of my shift when I noticed the Commander running training drills take off to engage approaching HARMs. A couple of the Recruits followed after him, asking for assistance. I noticed no one else was going to aid them, so I climbed inside the nearest ExoFrame and went to help."
The Lieutenant leafed through a few of his sheets to find the one he desired. "Your record here states that you have attempted and failed the entry examination twenty-two times. Why is that?" He obviously had the answer before him, but Roland entertained the question none the less.
"It is on record that there's a 15% chance that I may become unstable in extreme conditions such as combat, that my reflexes are not quick enough to handle the fast-paced combat experienced within an ExoFrame, and my decision-making skills were determined to be too slow and sloppy in the quick-response section."
"The same results twenty-two times. Some would call you insane for trying so hard."
"Or obssessed. Or passionate. Or stubborn. Yes, sir, I've been called many things, but I've only ever dreamed of being called one: MAG."
"I can see that, Roland. Despite these twenty-two failures, you still chose to get in a MAGE and engage two hostile Neci Maras. Why is that?"
"No one else was going to help them, and they certainly needed it. Furthermore, I know all of the MAGEs like they were my children. I've been maintaining almost every MAGE we deploy for the last fourteen years, sir. I know these ExoFrames better than most pilots. With this knowledge in mind, I felt it would be irresponsible for me to not take action."
"Did you consider the possibility that you might be making a mistake, Roland?"
"Yes, sir. I determined that if I was making a mistake that I would pay for it with my life. I also have enough in savings to pay for a quarter of the suit, should it have been damaged; I could only hope that my sacrifice for comrades and that money would be enough of an apology."
"Duly noted. Now please continue." The Lieutenant was then handed a cup of water by a man that had entered mere seconds earlier, only to leave immediately thereafter. Diri began to gulp it all down while MPO Gilly explained.
"I grabbed a shortsword and automatic rifle, then sprinted toward the scene."
"Why those weapons?"
"I needed weapons that would handle well at close range."
"Why not long range?"
"I don't trust myself to be accurate enough not to hit friendlies in my field of fire, and felt it would be best to be on scene, should anyone need immediate assistance."
Dirikovchka nodded. "Proceed."
"On my way there, one of the NMs- the Neci Maras- fired a mortar amidst our MAGEs. Everyone took heavy damage from what I could tell, but the Commander was still in fighting shape and the Recruits seemed capable of taking on the other NM. As I got closer, though, the Commander and Recruits were further disabled. That's when I stepped in, shooting one Neci Mara while charging the other. I emptied my gun on the one, and impaled the other before tackling him."
"Sounds like a very reckless tactic, Roland."
"I had the element of surprise, and both were already slightly damaged. I felt there was no better way to make use of my advantages and still maintain everyone's well-being, my own included."
"What happened next?"
"The NM I shot down was disabled by the Commander. The other one was beat up."
"By the Isaac Risa I was piloting. The Commander locked it up before the HARM pilot was critically injured, but he's in Intensive Care I imagine."
"Why the distinction, Roland?"
"If you don't know, sir, the IR's are programmed to utilize nerve impulses in addition to vocal commands to increase their performance in combat by using the two sources of input in tandem with its own processing speed to increase response time and action speed. However, this makes it unpredictable for less knowledgeable pilots that do not fully understand its needs. I did not recall this information until it had begun to wail upon the NM without my input. I would have set it straight as well, but the Commander was able to act faster."
"Seems like things could have gone terribly wrong if he hadn't been there."
"The same could have been said for any Recruit, sir, but they also have basic training in the use of MAGEs. In my defense, sir, I was able to climb into a MAGE and defeat two enemies almost single-handedly using only the knowledge I've gathered from my time as a mechanic and manuals I've read. And although I did break the rules as an unqualified user of a MAGE, I also saved lives by my course of actions."
"Very strong speech, Roland. Seems like you have something else to say." Reading people was a skill this Lieutenant had picked up quickly and mastered over the last decade or so.
"Yes, sir. I would like to formally propose that my performance today be added to my record insofar as my potential as a ExoFrame pilot is concerned. I feel that I displayed exemplary intuition in standard maneuvers and combat, and that I should be considered for MAGE BASIC."*
"Is that so?" Lieutenant Dirikovchka seemed, in Roland's opinion, to be teasing the mechanic.
"Yes, sir. I mean every word of it."
"Anything else you'd like to note?"
"Very well then. You're free to go, but we'll be in touch." The Lieutenant rose, pausing only at the door. "Good luck, Roland. I have a feeling you'll need it."
"Thank you, sir. I believe you're right." Dirikovchka nodded and then left. Roland sat for a few minutes, contemplating all that had been said, only rising when a MP entered and ushered him out. The interrogation/debriefing had done little to settle his nerves. The Lieutenant had been impossible to read with his stonewall expression, and his words had been very flat. It was impossible to tell what they were going to do with him. With nothing left, Roland Gilly simply prayed to the forces that be.
*BASIC: Basic Actions Simulations for Intuitive Combat. This comes after boot camp, and is basic training for all MAGs. Its overall course can be described as the repeated simulation of the core maneuvers of ExoFrame combat with interspersed open-combat simulations- all designed to ingrain said maneuvers into reflexes that can and will save the pilots' lives.