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

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Chapter 42 - The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye[]

Overview, 3047

In October of 3047, the official "Kowloon Coast Guard and Naval Academy Spider Moon" was added to the department of military education's rolls. Unlike other DME facilities, this facility (shortened to "Spider Moon Naval Academy" in common use) does not offer Battlemech training, nor does it have much in the way of conventional ground warfare options at all, with the extension campus at Vin Drin Lap providing Marine Infantry and Landing force training, and the second campus at Giap Island providing Maritime wet-naval training and 'dive school' for completing one aspect of the hostile environment training. (the other portions, conducted near Kowloon's south polar region and in the almost ludicrously dangerous continental mass of Phuket, a region where earthlife failed to displace the planet's original biosphere).

Oversight of the "Spider Moon Academy" is managed by "Kommodore" James Cartwright, the Spider Moon Academy is unusual, in that much classroom material is done 'on the practical' using worn out jumpships and dropships on cyclical 'system cruises' that include a nine month period spent in the hostile vaccum environment under varying levels of gravity termed 'Spacer Lifestyle training'.

The main course is four years, and heavily emphasizes null-gee operations, survival in Vacuum and other hostile environments, and learning to solve problems quickly under pressure.

Also unlike most AFFC affiliated Academies, this one has an expected fatal casualty rate per year of five percent of students and personnel. This is due to the choice to use 'live equipment' instead of simulators for all levels and aspects of training from piloted aviation to jumpship navigation to basic maintenance and damage control (Freshman year).

Graduates are expected to be proficient in shipboard damage control, first aid in hostile environments, and basic "Newtonian navigation" (ballistics and simple orbital mechanics tasks and calculations) in addition to their MOS specific training.

Spider Moon makes Spacers who have tactical training, unlike Pandora's focus on making great warriors who have proficiency with aviation and space operations.

Marine track personnel undergo a school process similar to the Naval officer training until their third year, when they gain additional course-load. marine officer training is a six year course instead of four, and includes training in a number of fields normally reserved for LIC and Loki, including electronic intrusion, camouflage, and SERE training, along with weapons and unarmed combat training with an emphasis on close quarters or long range sniping, and Sabotage.

The SERE phase is done close to graduation for all students, and is conducted on the Phuket continent by overseers from Loki and Lohengrin. This training is done with live ammunition.

Unlike many Academies, students to Spider Moon may elect to drop out at any time prior to graduation without official negative consequences, and accumulated credits may be applied to any suitable AFFC academy in the Lyran Commonwealth.

Upon graduation, Cadets are filtered directly into assignments in the AFFC Naval Branch, Marine Graduates may be assigned to ANY AFFC formation of infantry, though some units have priority on graduates of the Spider Moon school, and AFFC (Naval) gets first pick of Marine officer candidates.

In addition, DME recognizes the "Junior Programme" run by Kowloon's own domestic government as providing sufficient advance qualification to short-cut certain preliminary courses. The Junior Programme is open to sixteen-and-unders, and is heavily subsidized with some...odd...recruitment sources outside the system, including being an option for certain juvenile offenders in the Coventry province.

Discipline is considered to be strict, and many core skills are imparted or developed in addition to the basic education and military decorum.

In December of 3047, the first collection of 'pre-qualification' tests were sent to several of the Commonwealth's juvenile rehabilitation and correction facilities. The tests for these 'jailbird' cadets focus heavily on talent in computation, technology usage, aggression factors, and learning capacity and adaptability.

This is, in part, financed by the Commonwealth's department of justice, as well as being partially funded by the Federated Commonwealth's Department of Military Education.

It's a 'pilot program' find otherwise disqualified candidates with certain qualities that are militarily useful to the FedCom Navy.

Notably, despite the high standards and the Archon's own endorsement, this has made Spider Moon less attractive to Nobles and wealthy patrons in the Lyran member state, being seen as 'low class' due to the inclusion of large numbers of 'scholarship' and 'Rehab' students.

The School Rag for the official Military Academy is a killer whale rampant over a coiled Fursnake (a native animal on Kowloon, known to be extremely venomous mammalian snake-analog) The Rag itself is gold-and-red with the symbol in black, white, and brown.

Given enough time, these academies might have been influential in what was coming, but time is ever unkind, and sometimes, you're just too late.

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