Andrew Able Jr. was the son of a wealthy industrialist, and a decorated figher pilot on the Crimson Blade. He is most famous for being the youngest person ever to complete a Jet-A Flight Certification and to attend NO MERCY.
Andrew Able Jr. was the son of Andrew Able Sr., an exceptionally wealthy industrialist who owned several factories producing war munitions for the Crimson Blade. He had made his fortune manufacturing the infamous LGB, the Foundation's primary air-dropped munition. Able Sr. successfully submitted a design revision that allowed the weapon to be made from far cheaper materials, thus earning him both a sizable income and the respect of the Foundation.
During his childhood, Able Jr. was not well known. Like any rich kid, he attended private schools and was mostly only notable for the lavish gifts he often received from his wealthy father. It was, of course, one of these gifts that would set his life on the trajectory that eventually made him famous.
The Gudersnipe Foundation, mostly as a joke, had begun selling a small number of modified Doer-Daisy F/A aircraft, in retail stores, in packages the size of a shipping crate. The fifteen million credit, bightly colored box, proclaimed to contain all the parts and tools neccessary to assemble a fully-functional jet fighter aircraft. The whole program was, of course, a gimic, but Able Sr. was among the few civilians who bough one of the kits, and gave it to his eight year old son as a birthday present.
Able Sr. admits "I kind of think it was mostly a joke... I always liked aircraft, and had three non-functional fighters as decorations around my property. I thought it was funny, that you could buy an airplane in a retail store, and my wallet sort of made the decision before I'd really thought about it."
Able Jr. was, unsurpsingly, enamored with the "toy", and said: "I remember tearing open the backaging... the box was most carboard on a wooden frame, believe it or not... and it was just like a giant toy building set. I actually started building it in my bedroom..."
Against all odds, Able Jr., with very little help besides the occasional crane hoist, spent the next three years painstakingly assembling the entire aircraft, piece by piece. When he was finished, he had exactly what you'd expect: an aircraft that looked like it was built by an eight year old. This, of course, did not stop the now eleven-year-old boy from wanting to fly it. Able remembers the occasion thusly:
"I don't mind admitting now that I was kind of a little shithead at eleven, definitely a spoiled brat. Despite knowing all of the things you can learn about a jet-plain by building one, I still somehow knew nothing about flying. I thought I was just going to taxy it down the garden path and jet off into the sky. I was absolutely furious when they explained to me that, in addition to flying it from a proper airport--with clearance--I would also need both an air-worthyness certificate for the jet and a pilot's licence for myself. I demanded of my father to get me all of those things immediately!
"My father, who loved me very much but was also great at spoiling me, had an inspector there within two hours. He spent about twenty minutes looking over the plane, and roughly another five asking me simple aviation questions. It was not the first time an adult had ever laughed directly in my face, nor was it the first time my father laughed with them... but, at the time, it was a really sobering lesson.
"The inspector told me that my airplane was so poorly assembled that if I dared to gas it up and attempt to fly it, there was a very good chance the engines would explode on the runway. Further, in the highly unlikely chance that the wheels DID leave the tarmac, I was so incredibly un-knowledgable about aircraft that I would probably crash within five seconds.
"I, of course, being the little shithead that I was, turned to me father and demanded a real, working plane, and pilot lessons!
"Now I've said before that I was definitely a spoiled brat, and while my dear father did buy me whatever I wanted, I also know he loved me very much. He did not attempt to bribe the inspector, and instead found me a real instructor. He also bought me a full, military-grade flight simulator and a real surplus Doer-Daisy Light--but the plane had to wait until I'd passed my certification."
Rather surprisingly, the then eleven year old Able Jr. scored well on the Crimson Blade's A-grade Flight Aptitude Test. Not well enough to pass, but scoring highly enough that the flight inspector actually admitted the boy had promise.
Able Jr. attended private school at the time and also had tutors, his father's conditions were that he had to maintain impeccable grades in school and also score well on his flight exams, but that he would receive whatever flight lessons he asked for. Able Jr. surprised everyone by having a real gift, learning flight physics quickly and gaining a solo license on propeller-drive single-engine aircraft within a matter of months.
Able Jr.'s usual boyhood exploits were very quickly replaced by a love of the air. He spent every spare moment not devoted to school either in his simulator or studying for his flight exams. And it all paid off when, at the age of thirteen, he became the youngest person ever to receive a Jet-A flight certification, on the fifth anniversary of the day he received the original Doer-Daisy.
Able Jr.'s life took a rather unexpected dip in the years after completing the certification. Though he'd been flying his second(and professionally-built) Doer-Daisy with an instructor since he was twelve-and-a-half, the flight certification granted him the ability to fly solo and to go super-sonic. Apparently, allowing a thirteen year old boy to quite literally live his dreams, had a detrimental effect.
Able Jr. says: "I put nearly sixteen-hundred flight hours on that ship in the first year alone and burned up tree engines. Those engines were designed to last ten thousand hours! I was pushing the airframe so hard that when I brought it in for a full servicing, my dad had to buy me another--it was going to take six months to refurbish that aircraft!"
At the age of fourteen, Able was invited to attend the Crimson Blade's Strike Fighter Tactics Instruction Center, called NO MERCY. Though technically just a publicity stunt, Able was put through the full paces as though he were a real Crimson Blade officer. While attending the program, Able was given the chance to pilot several dozen different fighter aircraft and was even allowed to fire a missile. Though he did not graduate from the program, his instructors admitted he had "promise", though most descibed the young boy as "intense" and "on edge". On even went so far as to state that "Flying is like a drug to the boy. He starts to twitch and stutter, he needs a fix. As soon as the wheels leave the ground, he's as cold as ice.".
Able enjoyed the program immensely and wished he'd been allowed to return, but in the year since receiving his certification, he grades had slipped significantly in school, and at fifteen he was in real danger of flunking out.
Able Jr. Says: "I had a driver since I was still only fifteen--yeah, I could fly a jet but not drive a car--He wouldn't let me cut school, so I'd sit there through the end of the day, going through pre-flight in my head. Then I went straight to the airstrip after school, every day of the week. I'd have the plane gassed up and waiting for me on the tarmac, then I'd fly basically until it was running on fumes. Sometimes if I really needed it, I'd refuel and go back up. There wasn't a single night I got back home before midnight. If the skies were really clear, I might stay out till two, three in the morning. Every day I had the same routine: wheels up, climb as fast as I could to fifty thousand feet. Go for a Mach run, push the plane to her maximum. Then I started maneuvers. It was Me time. Everything I'd worked for, I felt like it up there. It was luck I hadn't quite discovered girls, or I'd literally have never sleapt!"
Able Jr.'s second "sobering moment" game near his sixteenth birthday when he asked to go back to NO MERCY. The officer looked at him, and said "Son, with your grades, you'd be lucky if you even got to clean the floors at NO MERCY.". That was the moment Andrew Able Jr. realized his life was going nowhere.
Later Teen Years and Academy
With no prompting from his father, Able Jr. cut back flying to weekends only, and redoubled his efforts in school, not only completing his missed classes, but getting himself back on track for graduation. In hi sensor year he became something of an unofficial mascot for the school, doing flyovers at sporting events and occasionally taking lower class-men on short flights as a reward for good behavior. Though he did not make valedictorian, he did graduate with honors from his prestigious prep school, which was more than enough to earn him an appointment to one of the Crimson Blade's top academies.
Despite all expectations, academy was very hard for Able Jr. And not in ways anyone has expected.
"That I would become a fighter pilot was a forgone conclusion. At my intake interview, the sergeant handling my paperwork refused to believe that I had over three thousand flight-hours on super-sonic aircraft. I had aced all the entrance exams, medical, everything. The only real problem was... well, first-years didn't fly."
Able had more or less gotten over his flight addiction by then, but he found his flight training in the academy to be very dull, with instructors constantly belittling him and patronizing him in front of his classmates. It was a weird feeling, having played soldier at NO MERCY to being an actual soldier, full-time.
Still, the discipline of military life came easily to him. And while his instructors always made sure to be as condecending as possible, he had no trouble completing every requirement in flight school.
"I think what surprised them the most was when they introduced weapons. You know, a civilian Doer-Daisy is completely unarmed. My kit version didn't even have hard-points. My ex-millitary, privately-owned models didn't have controls. Everybody at flight school knew this, so while I was called "The know-it-all" for actually having years of flight experience, everyone just assumed that I'd be totally lost once I got missiles.
"They... must have been unaware that I had a military-grade simulator in my bedroom when I was eleven."
Crimson Blade Service
Able eventually graduated at the top of his class, and entered service in the Air Demonstration Wing. A year later, he was granted permission to re-take the program at NO MERCY, which he completed again at the top of his class. Still, despite being considered one of the finest pilots in the Blade, Able never flew a single combat mission.
Able said "I think it was politics. You know, too much good politics. I didn't want to be stationed too far from home and the region I lived in was just... stable."
As a member of the air-demonstration wing, Able participated in numerous community outreach programs, as well being featured in countless air shows. He became a minor celebrity, and was even allowed to participate in an exhibition dogfight against one of Gudersnipe School's top aces. The results of the simulated air battle were never made public, though Able did comment:
"I died VERY fast. That guy was good."
Able spent a total of twenty-two years flying for the Demonstration wing, before being honorably discharged. While he continued to fly his personal jet aircraft, he returned to school to study finance, with plans to eventually take over his father's company. Able is married, with two children, but maintains "No ordinary child should ever be given his own fighter jet, no matter how funny it might be!"