you first hear about these kids through one of your subordinates, a small group of kids using the 3-d maneuvering gear to pull off petty thefts. at first you're impressed, not many people can teach themselves how to use the gear without harming themselves. so they fact that mere children
were doing something that took you years to master, it was unfathomable.
the first opportunity to scout the streets, you're out looking. mike questions your actions, wonders why you're so interested in a bunch of street rats and you just smile and wave him on, his answers will come shortly. you want to see these kids with your own eyes first. it's almost pure luck that you run into them when you do, stopping them from whatever theft they were trying to organize that day.
you demand answers from their leader, at least the scrappy young brunette looks to be their leader as he was the most skilled in using the gear. it's surprising to hear that no one had really taught him anything, that everything he'd done was purely self-taught. it was amazing what he could do, if only he would join the survey corps.
that's when the gears in your mind start turning, you offer all three of them a deal. join the survey corps and crawl out of this hell or be turned into the military police brigade and be thrown into an even worse hell than the streets provided. the other two agree readily, it's the last one, the leader that you need to convince. you don't need to convince him though, he'll join the survey corps as you whisper a few choice words into his ear before the brunette is standing up and following the rest of your subordinates towards the barracks.
it was easier to get them to join than it was to train them. they were decent, but their raw natural talent could only get them so far, could only keep them elevated above their peers for so long. except for the leader, levi. he was the only one who continued to rise above those around him, to out maneuver even the most trained scouts, even yourself. it was pure, unadulterated talent. you'd never seen anything like it.
as levi proves himself on the battlefield, hange is quick to point out that a new squad captain is needed and she's quick to point to who she thinks it should be. you're not sure why you let her get close to you, to find a perch on your shoulder and squawk like the pet bird you never wanted. but you know her advice is well met, a new squad captain is needed and levi is the best option. you're hesitant about the promotion, but he's proven himself time and time again despite his constant desire to undermine your command. you know it isn't because of how you run things, but instead a personal desire of levi's to get his revenge on you though there's no real reason why he feels this way. you've done nothing but try to help him out of his shitty situations.
it's more of a shock when it's discovered that titans are humans. were humans, can be humans. it's as if your father's theories have come to life and you don't feel so idiotic for believing in them. there were even humans amongst the survey corps who could transform into titans. you're hesitant at first, titans only mean to kill and destroy, so wouldn't one that's involved with the survey corps be just the same? it's weird having eren under your command, having control over one more thing that brings you power. the lustful taste of power is heedy, alluring, you give in to the temptations at times, you grow too cocky for your position. levi is there with a glower to bring you right back to your feet.
deep down, you knew the government was corrupt, you knew there was some secret they were hiding like your father had told you when you were a boy. you see this at work as they try to have a trial about eren despite him doing nothing but provide help for the survey corps. they simply want a scapegoat for the wrongdoings of the titans and he's the easiest one to get their hands one. thankfully there's a distraction at wall rose and the trail can't be carried through at the moment.
it's one of the largest attacks that you have seen before in your life. there's so many titans approaching the wall, that it's hard to use the long distance formation. for once, you are scrambling with a tactic that can be used to help the survey corps win this battle and yet you can think of nothing but charging forward at this problem head on. it's dumb, you know that, levi knows that, hange knows that. and yet no one can think of anything better. with a yell full of as much bravado as you can muster, you tell everyone to ready their horses and then charge.
one second you're steering your horse in the direction of the massive group of titans, the next there's an earth-shattering pain in your arm and then you are flying. you feel like the son that started to fly too close to the sun with his makeshift wings. only you know that's not why you're in the air, not why you feel this pain. disappointment floods your senses as you realize that you likely won't make it out of this in one piece, maybe not even alive. with what little sense you have left, you yell at the squads to continue onward - to continue the fight for humanity. you'd already talked to hange about what should happen if you were to die on a mission.
the pain grows stronger, your vision fading quickly as you realize you're losing too much blood at too fast a rate for your body to sustain itself. keeping the fear from your eyes, you feebly try to get the titan to release your arm, but it's pointless, only makes the pain and failing sight worse. with a crunch you feel your bones snap and you're falling, the ground rushing up to meet you and at least you have enough decency to remember to roll upon impact.
laying in a daze, you feel the pounding in your body, the faint beating of your heart as you close your eyes. the darkness surrounding your vision making it pointless to keep them open any longer. steeling yourself, you manage to tear a strip of cloth from your scouting cape and fasten it around your arm to help quell the bleeding. it does nothing to quench the pain.
and you realize, with a sad smile, that you've finally lost your wings.