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The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye (Cover Art)

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Chapter 118 - The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye[]

"It's about culture...

...Your Highness." Rear Admiral Alicia Li explained. "We isolate the cadets from all outside supports for the first year to two years, and change everything they thought their lifestyle was to inculcate the basics of Space Operations, this also has the benefit of severing many of the more dangerous and toxic social ties they came in with. Your Brother is learning from one of my best people-Bianh Vu Dao is highly experienced and has conducted or survived several major operations as a Coast Guard officer in a Naval context."

"All connections?"

"That's what I said. You wanted a Navy to be free of the kind of rot we both know is all through the Lyran and Federated Suns services. part of that, is making it so uncomfortable that the easily corrupted will leave on their own, and the stupid will either leave or die. At the end of their four years, those young officers will be competent spacers, and they will likely have a distinct dislike and distrust of common corruptible influences because they'll have survival mindsets suitable to BE spacers in a naval environment. the practices work, Highness, we've got generations of experience turning Dirtyfeet into Rockjacks, this isn't that different. We burn away the unprofessional, the destructively self-interested, the cowardly, and the foolish, what is left will be razor sharp and diamond hard, and very, very difficult to seduce with offers from contractors or other political operators."

"Why?" Victor asked.

"Because they'll know in their bones that anything that compromises the mission or their crewmen or their ship is a threat to their survival. Human beings will do anything to avoid the humiliation of being exposed as venal, lying scum, the program your brother is in, will inculcate the mindset he needs to excel as a Starship officer-He'll either quit, die, or become a professional worthy of the commission you're going to give him at graduation. It's what you asked for."

Victor blinked. "I guess I, about the rest of this..."

"We need to establish a professional environment for those young officers to enter." she said, "That means removing the unprofessional influences. The Addicts, the lazy, the slothful, the gluttonous, the excessively prideful, and more to the point, the incompetent officers who are a danger to the service just by existing, I also recommend making, at least the Navy into the sort of environment that social climbers and 'social generals' avoid on principle of not wanting to endure what is demanded. The Navy and the proposed Marine Corps needs to be austere, harsh, and unpleasant enough to keep the kind of people who don't belong there out of their own free will, while developing the kind of esprit d' Corps that makes for an otherwise elite service. Thus, the high standards, decent pay and restrictive living conditions. People who can't handle it, shouldn't be there full-stop. I myself have lived a career in the Guard where the sum total of my personal belongings fit into a one meter by half meter by two meter locker, the rest of my pay's banked for my retirement, that's the model-austerity, good looking uniforms, and an air of 'mystery' to lure in the new recruits while filtering out the sort who really don't belong on the crew of a ship. Naturally, we'll also invest in rec facilities on-post or on-base, and loose off-duty discipline at those facilities, once someone has proven they can handle the responsibility."

"But your core focus is to drive out, and keep out, incompetence." He grasped

"Ayeh, sirrah." she said firmly. "History is full of what happens when high ranking positions are held by unqualified people. I was tasked to help you get the Navy in shape, that's going to be my focus-driving out the people who don't belong, and bringing in people who do, then making it automatic after I'm gone, so that National Policy can be enforced efficiently, evenly, and adequately...and to do that, requires purging the upper ranks of the unqualified, and growing your junior ranks into qualified competency. we have until 3067, so that means three, maybe four generations of officer candidates and enlisted training, by that year, if we do it right, the Federated Commonwealth Navy and Marine Corps will be more than a match for any equivalent force in the hands of either the Clans, or Comstar, and superior to any equivalent neighboring force serving another nation. By then, we'll not just have the ships, we'll have the crews and officers to make best use of them."

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