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

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Chapter 119 - The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye[]


Eddie Vanh checked his...


..I am Bianh Vu Dao, My last rank held, was Lieutenant Commander, and this is my staff tour."
Arthur heard the clipped accent through his helmet fine as he stood with the rest of the year one cadets in their space-suits.

"I will be your senior instructor for year one. I know that some of you were hoping to have time off to see the sights and enjoy leisurely pursuits between classrooms. That is not going to happen-you will be doing your side-courses by correspondence. for those of you who can not handle this, or whose expectations differ so significantly that you can not bear the thought of not seeing an open sky without a helmet, you may drop this field at any time, and seek placement in one of the Ground Arm majors. the rest of you-those that can cut it, anyway, you will not see the surface of a habitable planet again, until you have passed this course to my satisfaction. Forget your boyfriends and girlfriends down in the well, forget holiday visits home, recreational activities like pub crawls, forget the smell of cut grass or the feeling of dirt between your toes, because for the next three hundred sixty five days, your life is out here. See that slightly larger star over my shoulder? that is the sun of New Avalon. This is as close as you will get for the first year you are in this program-provided you can keep your grades up. Those who can not, those who slack, or screw off, or give up, will be sent back to re-cycle, or sent home."

She trooped the line by floating in null-gee. "Each of you will have to complete your standard coursework, but in addition, you will have to master vacuum operations, Damage Control duties, Technical analysis, and Navigational basics including celestial mechanics and basic KF theory. At the end of this year, you will have a basic understanding of what is required to operate in a naval context as an able crewman, at the end of your second year, you will begin learning techniques and doctrine of a Naval force, at the end of your third year, you will have chosen your initial specialty, and you will gain basic understanding of your specialty, with loose knowledge of your brother specialties. Your fourth year will be spent demonstrating proficiency until you show you're capable of joining The Fleet as a Junior Officer."

She twisted, and did something to halt without touching the hull plate. "While you are in this programme, you will be referred to by your first name, and a number. Family ties, connections, wealth, Noble status? all are meaningless here, your value in this program is based solely upon what you bring and what you earn-your old life is dead until you do one of three things: Drop, fail, or graduate. Am I understood? acknowledge by raising your right hand to shoulder level like this."

She demonstrated, the gathered cadets responded.

"NOW...to encourage the less committed among you, I must warn you, this program has a planned five percent fatality rate built into it. That means that out of this particular class of three hundred students, fifteen of you will be going home in a box, or as a letter to your family beginning with 'The Federated Commonwealth regrets to inform you that your child is dead'. It is not a guarantee that we will lose that many of you, and I'll do everything I can, but five percent fatal casualties are considered acceptable losses on the basis that one casualty in training prevents ten to twenty in live action. If this risk is too high, please step smartly for the airlock to your left, you will be returned to the NAIS campus and offered an alternate assignment in another branch. Please do this now, while we are docked with the station, because while it is POSSIBLE to drop out once we get to the actual training site, it is SO MUCH more difficult to get someone back to the planet from there."

A few cadets moved toward the station lock. Arthur stood his ground as they waited for the leavers to depart.

"Okay, the rest of you are either stubborn, or don't know what you're in for despite my warnings. today we will begin with learning how to unship for transit..."


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