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Eric Olafson, Fleet Cadet
0004 basic
Chapter number 4
Previous Chapter 3: Camp Idyllic
Current Chapter: 4 Basic Training
Next Chapter 5: Alcohol

CHAPTER: 4 Basic TrainingEdit

I was still as tired as a Tyranno during Longnight when the lights came on and a voice barked via the PA system:" 0400 hours Cadets rise and shine! 0430 is Breakfast. At 0500 you will receive your first class in the Elbhard Auditorium."

And we found ourselves in said Auditorium at that time an hour later. Clean, fed and still tired. Again I tried to find a place in the back, so I could perhaps close my eyes for few moments.

The Pan Saran Officer was already there. "Good Morning Class!"

We saluted and he ordered us to sit down.

"I am Lt Aurelius. As you can see I am of a human species, called the Pan Sarans. We are native to the Upward sector in the M-O Galaxy. Like most humanoid species of this Galaxy we share ancestry with the Terrans, Saresii and Sarans.

Why the Pan Saran Empire split form the Saran Empire and why we Pan Sarans dress in this somewhat anachronistic fashion is your assignment to find out by tomorrow."He obviously referred to that polished brass chest plate he wore.

"Once you are established officers you are allowed to display one or two things on your standard uniform that shows and links you to your heritage as long as it not interferes with your regulation equipment. Mr. Olafson that means you will have to cut that hair and shave for now. You may wear braids and beard if and when you are an officer.

I blinked as I had almost dosed off and was startled by his sudden calling of my name.

I struggled to my feet wanted to argue but instead just mumbled a grumpy." Yes Sir"

He picked a few others and told them to change their appearance or grooming habits.

Only then he began the actual class:" You will be instructed and drilled to stand, march, run and respond to orders in an unquestioning manner. Drilling performs a psychological function, by inculcating the response to commands and training; you will act unhesitatingly in the face of real combat or danger situations. It can also serve a role in leadership training. Combat situations include not only commands to engage and put one's life in danger, but also commands to disengage when military necessity so demands. This conditioning is essential for military function, because without it a military unit would likely disintegrate under the stress of combat and degenerate into a mere armed mob."

I felt a strong invisible force pulling my head up. Before I could yelp, Narth who sat next to me whispered .You where about to fall over!"

Aurelius continued his lecture unaware of my almost predicament and kept on with his sermon: "You will be subjected to rigorous physical training, both to prepare for the demands of combat and to weed out the less able or insufficiently motivated. That means all of you regardless of species or origin; you must be on peak of your species physical development. You are trained in marksmanship with standard and exotic weapons. We teach you the maintenance of weapons how assemble them, clean them and fix them if necessary. You will also learn to use bladed and other archaic weapons. Unarmed combat and martial arts, first aid, protective equipment usage, and basic survival techniques in every environment you might end up: Deserts, Ice planets, Jungle worlds, deep space and everything in between. Further training will focus on basic spacemanship, and skills such as firefighting, damage control basic engineering, and signals."

He took a deep breath and kept on listing:"To top it all off you will have classes in astro naviagtion, propulsion physics, xeno liguistics, xeno biology, xeno technology, diplomacy , strategy and tactics, geophysics and a host of other classes."

He took a drink of water." Simply listing this is a tiresome and exhausting exercise, but everything is exactly planned out and millions have done it before you, so you know it can be done!

After you finished Basic your almost over the hill and the following years won't feel as demanding because you get used to it.

It is my sincere wish that just once everyone would be here in this auditorium one year from now. However not all of you will make the entire journey. I challenge you to proof me wrong. Show me you are the class that can do it!"

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The dorms where simple, with beds that had to be made up every morning manually. Always Nine Cadets to a dorm. I shared my dorm with: Narth, Owar, Wintsun, Limbur, Naxwax, Azey, Galmy and Olia.

Azey actually was called Azey Azey Azeytytalitonitusiviy and he was from Oromarl. Most had problems saying his name. even the instructors called him as we did Az-Az. Oromals had humanoid characteristics, meaning he had two arms, legs and a head with the usual sensory organs but due to their size, about two heads taller than me and known body strength as well as their gray greenish skin, pronounced lower jaw Terrans often called them Orcs. Naxwax came from Oromal as well, but he belonged to a subspecies similar but twice the size of Azey. Needless to say that his name was a similar word monster so Naxwax was all anyone remembered.

Galmy was a female from Maltyr. She was almost human, had really long black hair, black eyes and her skin was white as deep frost snow. Her body was extremely thin and fragile looking and she appeared to be no older than maybe 15, despite the fact she was almost 60 years old in standard years. She was very quiet and appeared to always like a nervous animal that was about to run at the slightest sign of trouble.

Owar was a sickly looking human from a Terran colony world at the galactic rim area. He was quite intelligent but I wondered why they let him into the Navy or why he wasn't treated for his conditions. His skin reminded me of dull dirty yellow candle wax; his eyes were sunken deep into the skull and had a reddish color. He explained to me that his appearance was due to a not entirely successful genetic tailoring, to make the colonists of his world more adapted to their new home. On his planet, they lived underground for many generations and they farmed mushrooms of many different kinds.

Wintsun's home world was like Nilfeheim one of the earliest planets Terrans migrated to, after the Galactic Awakening of Earth. And just like Erikson led his followers of the Viking movement to a new world to live according to their own rules, Alice Brown, of a militant communist and back to nature group led colonists to Sunflower, as Wintsun's home world was called. Local conditions and genetic alternations with plant DNA made their skin green and allowed them to absorb light and turn it into nourishment via photosynthesis.

Limbur came from a world with triple the standard gravitation. His muscles and bones where denser and made him quite strong under one grav conditions.

Making our dorm complete was Olia. She came from Europa a moon in the Sol system and had the typical arrogant attitude of Terrans (All planet and moon colonies in the sol system considered themselves to be Terran.). She wore her hair short and used holo-dye making it sparkle and change color depending on the light source. But not for long as Lt. Aurelius confiscated her bottle.



We had to get up at 0400 standard and went to bed lights out at 2200 every night. The time between was planned for us down to the minute. Physical training, small arms training, hand to hand combat. Classes on xeno biology, military history, tech and science. Learning was different from school. In addition to Hypno- training, Neuro-direct uploads we had old fashioned standard classes.

After the third month of the original 200 only 141 Cadets remained. Both Naxwax and Azey left, but it was because they had to attend the funeral of their king and would be allowed to return with the next cycle.

We learned to survive with only the bare essentials in almost any environment. Snow and ice, Mountains, Jungles, Ocean world, Forests and every extreme one could think of. I was surprised how many cadets had never seen open fire or knew how to make it. While I too learned new ways of making fire at least it was not strange or new to me.

We were educated about bobby traps and hunting for survival. Every one physically able learned how to ski, Arti Grav Belt flying, sky diving, riding on horses and other animals, swim and dive. The instructors yelled at us, insulted us and did not let up.

The number of cadets every morning at breakfast was a little smaller each day.

I hated dancing and culture class most of all. Why was it necessary that we knew how to play chess and a host of other games? Everyone had to pick and learn how to play a musical instrument. Why did I have to know how to sculpt in clay or draw a picture with coal on primitive paper?

I rather went on another survival training mission than sit in that class room and listen to samples of music from hundreds of cultures and discuss the nuances and highlights.

But it was required so I did my best.

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Before I joined the Navy time had little meaning to me. Time does not mean much too any civilian. What was the difference if you slept in a minute or took a little longer to eat your meal?

To a Cadet at the Academy, a minute had sixty seconds and each second counted. Instead of getting up at 0400, getting up at 0348 was a better idea. In ten minutes you could shave, bathe, polish your boots and have time for mending a rip on your uniform.

Yes they made us do small repairs. And two minutes to spare if something else had to be done.

We just completed a grueling nine day march along the muddy banks of Jones River to the rivers source. Loaded with full gear we were ordered to map the river, record life forms and take samples. After we returned tired an exhausted we had to spend twelve hours in the labs to analyze the water samples, catalog the specimen and everyone had to dissect one of the specimens with making careful scientific notes. All could be done with scanners, robots and machines and they taught us to use the most advanced equipment but usually they wanted us to do things first as hands on and as simple as possible before we moved on to more advanced ways doing things. Dr. Gary our scientific checked on everyone with meticulous sense of detail and he would not ever miss anything. It was Dr. Gary who told about the planet: Originally Green Eden was slated to be colonized. It was a moderate garden world with lots of life and water. The planet had a gravitation of almost exactly one grav and neither harsh winters or blistering summers.

The six by one kilometer brown dirt strip and the wooden houses were left behind by the original colonists. There were many more buildings all over the place, but most were overgrown and mostly rotted away. We came across quite a few of those especially on our march up to the rivers source.

It was not entirely clear what happened but the settlers split into two groups and the dirt strip was made not just as a landing field but as some sort of demarcation line between the two sides. Armed conflict broke out and the settlers wiped themselves out. According to Lt. Aurelius there were only about twenty survivors and in very bad health when the Colonist Bureau sent and agent to check on them. Dr. Gary said it was some sort of religious matter and the difference of opinions. He said that few things got humans riled and ready to fight as about insubstantial matters of spiritual believes.

The Navy maintained the strip and the buildings both for various welcome scenarios and as a reminder for what happened. While Dr. Gary dismissed it as fairy tale, there was a rumor going around that there still were colonists living in the jungles, more animal than human now and more ape than man. Another rumor was that the colonists found a great treasure and were not willing to share. Since the Navy needed a training facility it started to use the planet."

Narth leaned back and pushed his hands under the sleeves of his robe. The twenty centimeter long snake he had caught on our trip neatly dissected and separated. His work space was always clean and tidy. I knew he loved the lab classes as it appealed greatly to his inquisitive nature. The PDD on his right in drawing mode showed a perfect drawing of the animal with detailed notes about its anatomy.

While I got along with everyone, and I had made good friends, Narth had slowly but surely become my best friend. Even now I did not know much about him, even though he tried to explain whatever I asked. I learned that the Narth had no concept of names. They were a society of perfect telepaths, and they recognized each other on a completely different level. Names were not needed. Narth not only meant him but every Narth and the civilization as whole. He told me that the word Narth itself was not a name either but the acoustic expression of a descriptive thought, whatever that really meant. He once said Narth was not so much a race or a species but a level of existence. We learned about many humanoid and non humanoid species and civilizations in Xeno Class but not matter how alien they were, they all shared some common ground. Whenever I talked to Narth about his home I felt his was the most alien of all.

All this however did not stop us from becoming friends.

I was still working on the big fish I had caught. Narth turned his attention to me and said." It took you less time to catch and cook ten fish over a fire while we were walking to the Jones Spring then to dissect this single specimen."

"Narth, there is a difference between gutting a fish and dissecting it and you know that! Not everyone has such neat Psi powers to help in dissecting."

"I have not used any such means to dissect the snake and you do not find Psionics neat, but I shall offer you assistance. "

The fish before me was dead and cut open, so it was quite unsettling to see it move again and turn on its belly. A fine line appeared and it neatly split along its length, exposing its viscera.

Galmy who was long done with a beetle turned to us and said." What do you think happened to those colonists? Do you think it was a religious reason?"

"Differences in opinion on traditions almost wiped out the colonists on Nilfeheim. So I think it very likely and I am sure it happened more often than not, especially during the second Exodus."

Narth used a stylus to draw parts of the fish on my PDD said."Why the migration of Terran groups is called the second Exodus? Before that they had no means of faster than light travel."

Dr. Gary had approached and answered. "There was a religious historic event described in one of Earth's most important religious books called the bible. The first chapter was called Exodus and describes the migration and wanderings of a particular tribe. When Earthers left Terra by the millions to settle other worlds, they called it the second exodus." He then checked on Narth's snake and my fish." Good work you two, now it looks the same artist made both drawings. Eric do draw me that fish's heart."

I took the stylus and my hand started moving over the drawing surface without me doing it. Narth's voice in my head said."Stop fighting me, I never get the lines neat that way!"

Dr. Gary however was satisfied." I guess you two have similar styles." Then he addressed the class. "You all did well both on the expedition and now in the lab. All of you have scored at least 60 percent and that means you passed this challenge. So I give you the rest of the day off. Regular duty begins tomorrow at 0800 hrs."

He was rewarded by a loud cheer.

The Camp Idyllic installation was mostly underground and spread over several modules connected with corridor tunnels. The installation had twenty levels. Our dorm was at the east side module Sub level two, and the lab we were in was in west side module Sub level three. Now there was an Inter base transport system and slide ways, but we Cadets were not allowed to use them and had to go everywhere on foot. The fastest way to the dorm was via main lobby in the center module. There also were a series of GalNet terminals. My plan was to get there as fast as possible, since there were more Cadets than terminals and they could only be used during spare time, something we almost never had.

The lab vanished before my eyes and a strange pulling sensation in my neck and the next thing I knew I almost walked nose first into one of the GalNet terminals. It took me a moment to realize what happened. Narth said with a happy tone in his voice."Now you be the very first to use GalNet and you teleported without any ill effects."

"Thank you, I guess. You could at least warned me."

He pointed at Gaarl, who was a Quadiped coming out of the connecting tower."Any delay and we would be too late, Eric. There are those who are very fast on their legs!"

He was right and I was glad to be able to make a call. Then I said."You first Narth, maybe you like to call home as well."

"I do not need GalNet to call other Narth. I am in contact with Narth Supreme as we speak."

"You are certainly full of surprises." I said and activated the terminal." System, I like to make a call to Planet Nilfeheim, Olafson Clan."

The GalNet logo flashed over the two Dee Screen. These GalNet terminals were not Avatar enabled. Then the Olafson Logo of the two wolf heads appeared and then the call was answered by very pretty blonde young girl wearing her hair in braids. She was standing by a terminal in father's study. It was Exa! She screamed."It's Eric! Eric is calling!"

Father came into the sensor view and I realized how long it was I had even thought about them. He looked the same and yet there was something different. His brooding look was completely gone. My father had a smile under his mighty black beard and the smile reached his steel blue eyes."Hail my First Born! I hope thy call brings good tidings!"

"I had this first opportunity to call home. I am still in basic training. I wanted to hear how things are at home."

"So you will not come for Yuletide. It is less than four weeks to the festivities?"

I made a surprised face." Yuletide was never celebrated on the Burg."

"Many things have changed, my son. I am not only free of the drugs but I also see the errors of my life and the things I did that cannot be excused by the influence of the drugs. As you decreed, the Burg is no longer a place of sorrow and fear. I have the court yard decorated this year and everyone is invited and we celebrate Yuletide as your mother always wanted it to be."

As he mentioned mother, I clenched my fists and old rage and horror boiled inside me and somewhere deep inside I cursed myself for not making good on my promise and killing him. I knew neither Tyr nor Old Egill would approve of such thoughts and I did not let my feelings reach the surface. He noticed anyway and his smile vanished, but little Exa tried to push his bulk aside and twirled around in a deep red velvet dress with snow white fur trimmings." Look at this dress, Eric! Uncle Isegrim got it for me for my birthday!"

I cleared my throat."Why are you not with Uncle Hogun?"

"Father and mother went off planet. They and about 200 others went to prepare Nilfeheim specialties forthe Assembly."

Isegrim stroked his beard." You know of course that Egill, Eldest is our planetary representative and there is a big planet product fair and my brother and the others are cooking and grilling for the delegates. Elena is there as well, she represents the Olafson Clan." He looked very pleased." We are the biggest and most influential clan now, not in small part of Elena. I hate to give a woman credit, but she might just be one day the best clan leader. Even the other clan Chiefs respect her now, it helps that she is becoming more beautiful every day."

Exa held up a book." Uncle Isegrim is helping me with my homework for heritage class. I am learning much about the history and all that."

I blinked."It sure looks like things have changed a lot!"

Father knew what I meant but he changed the subject. Maybe you can call Egill? I am sure they would love to hear from you!"

"I do that!"

Then I said good bye and had the system make a connection to Egill on Pluribus.

It took several call signals before the screen changed and the face of the Ancient came on. He grunted." What part of not disturb do you not understand? We just talked a few months ago!"

I barked back." I don't care about your not disturb signal. I wanted to call and so I called!"

His eyes glittered and even though we were too far apart for his Psionics to work, I knew he was smiling. Then he no longer was able to keep his grumpy façade up and smiled broadly." How is everything, Eric? Is the Navy life treating you well?"

"Everything is going fine."

"You couldn't stay completely out of trouble even in the Navy!"

I was not sure what he meant and said."I am not in any trouble I am aware of."

"A few weeks back I was invited by the Yokuta delegation after they made their membership request and they told me about a certain Cadet Olafson from Nilfeheim who saved their planet from a Kermac Spore Bomb attack."

"Oh that one…"

He kept smiling." We do have a Nilfeheim booth at the Pavilion of Planets and it is a great success. Your Uncle Hogun's grilled fish and fang snapper made the front page of the culinary section of the Pluribus Herald and your new sister is quite the business woman I tell you. If she keeps going she will outdo your Grandfather." His face became serious and said. "I have also some very bad news." Elkhart, the Ancient. The First keeper has died."

This was sad news indeed. The Old man was one of my mentors and teachers and I had been very fond of that old man." How did it happen?"

His cells were deteriorating faster than he anticipated and his organs failed. He was beyond the help of regular medicine and my Saresii friends arrived too late as we heard about it, but he died peacefully and said he was tired and ready to go on to the next place. He did ask about you and told me to send you his greetings and well wishes and that he is proud of you."

"It is still very sad. With him died much incredible knowledge. He was there on Nilfeheim from the beginning. I just wish our people would know a little more about him."

"Not to worry. Nilfeheim knows all about him. I made sure and he got a funeral of highest honors. He was laid to rest at his home region on Earth!"

Someone behind me said." Come on Olafson, find and end! There are others who want to call home."

Of course the Terminals here had no privacy screens either. Even though I wanted to call Elena, I knew it would be unfair to make a third call. So I asked Egill to say hello to the others and let the next cadet use the terminal.

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One morning, we were all sitting in the courtyard mending uniforms, a Cadet voiced his anger about the futility of using primitive tools like needle and threat, when we had auto dressers and Nanite factories that could make an entire uniform in less time it took us to sew on a button.

Aurellius heard it and said." Mr. Wintsun do you agree with Cadet Applegate's complaint, do you think this a waste of training time?"

Wintsun bolted upright dropped his jacket he was working on and snapped in attention." Sir this Cadet will perform repair tasks as requested but I must say I also do not see the reason why we have to know this. I fail to understand why our uniforms are made of primitive fabrics and have stupid buttons that come off all the time. Why can't we have Uniforms made of Memo-Fab? It doesn't rip, doesn't get dirty, it closes securely without the need of buttons and it is around for at least two-thousand years."

"Mr. Olafson. I noticed you are quite handy with needle and threat and it looks like you did that before you came here. Tell me why?"

Like Wintsun I jumped to my feet." Sir the culture I was raised in finds value in such activities. As a Neo Viking sews his first pants out of Tyranno fin leather and then is allowed to sit at the men's table and eat with the warriors. The leather has to come from his first kill."

"So your skills are born out of tradition and your native culture.

If you would be stranded on a planet, you could make a net to fish, fashion you perhaps protective garments or even a tent."

"I imagine I could, Sir."

Aurelius motioned us to sit down." Yes we have Nanite factories and auto dressers and it would be no problem supplying you all with new uniforms every day made out of the most advanced Intelli-Fab, have auto-beds that make themselves and why not a modern Colgate Complete Body Hygiene Center that does all the shaving and grooming for you?"

Applegate smiled at that."I sure would like that Sir!"

Even Aurelius had to grin." To be stranded on an uninhabited planet might never happen to any of you but you need to know what to do if it does happen.

"We expect you to be officers of the Navy and be as well groomed as possible. Even if you never get rescued and you are on that planet for the rest of your life, and we finally find your dried out corpse, it better shows signs of proper grooming."

Applegate nodded and mumbled." Or else! I can see it now! Instructor Aurelius punishing a corpse for a bad haircut. Yeah it sure is going to be in trouble for that one."

"I was trying to make a point." Aurelius so it became evident did have fine hearing and gave him a stern look.

"Such basic skills will help you find solutions to problems as shelter, food, survival and defense. The simple skill to know how to sew can be combined with other skills to manufacture weapons, traps and find solutions to obstacles and problems.

"Next week you will learn basic carpentry skills, how bricks are laid, how a pot can be made out of clay and how metal can be cast. You get to know basic engineering skills with all sorts of tools and materials.

All those skills might never be needed, but if you do you are glad you know how to use an old fashioned hammer."

He picked up a hammer." Even at our advanced Tech Level, you will find a hammer in every engineer's toolbox. Mankind's oldest tool is still with us and there are no real high tech solutions to replace it!"

Narth shook his hooded head barely noticeable, Aurellius saw it anyway." You don't agree Mr. Narth. Don't they have hammers where you're from?"

"No Sir. We do not have hammers. I shall however take one along once I return so we do have at least one!"

"You are spending way too much time with Mr. Olafson. You even developed a sense of humor."

Narth raised his head."I did? Fascinating!" He gestured with his gloved hand and one of the sewing needles started to float and hissed like a projectile across the room and buried itself deep in a bedpost." That is how we used to do it on Narth, but we will finally have a hammer!"

"Impressive display of Psionics, but what do you do if you are unable to use them. The Saresii for example have developed methods of suppressing Psionic powers and I am certain the Kermac have as well."

Narth was about to say something but Aurelius shook his finger." This is not open for debate, Mr. Narth. You too will learn how to use primitive tools. After hours you and Mr. Olafson will repair the compound fence by using Hammer Wire, Nails.

I was told there are three clicks of fence and it is in bad shape."

I protested," Sir, what have I done?" "I just wanted to teach you two my kind of humor!"

He grinned and looked quite satisfied and then kept explaining." Let's say you are on a planetary survey mission. You are the Officer in charge of the survey party and you come across a primitive civilization. You don't speak their language and the linguistic translators still have problems translating. But you see a group of natives mending nets.

Instead of being totally clueless you could join them, take up a tool and sit down with the locals and help mend nets.

"Actions like these break down barriers faster than any display of superior tech that might frighten them or make them hostile towards you. In the process you might pick up phrases and Names and you begin to understand them faster than the Linguistics-Processor of your Translator. Situations like this did happen many times before and might happen again."

He sighed and went on." When you see a Battle ship you think all the Navy does is parade around in known space, patrol shipping corridors and fight wars. This is of course part what we do, but only a small part. Space is so vast and there is still plenty of unknown space inside the boundaries of Union territory. This means there are endless combinations of situations you might have to face. We can't give you guide lines for all of them, but we can give you all a working base that covers as much about our combined civilizations knowledge as we can cram into you.

"Mr. Appletree's I want you to take the afternoon of, go to the library and research how many times the skill of sewing came in handy to an officer. You have access to every report and log entry Navy personnel made in the last 3000 years. Tomorrow I want you to give us a lecture on that."

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Weapon training was my favorite subject. It was fascinating to learn just how many different weapons all the known species had come up with .Narth said it didn't surprise him that Terrans where the unchallenged champions in that field. Remembering the lecture on sewing no one questioned the reason why we had to learn how to use clubs, spears and swords among many other primitive weapons.

I had learned how to throw an axe or a harpoon from as soon as I could walk and the instructor for primitive weaponry was very pleased with my results and even let me show others how to fight with axe and harpoon.

One morning about a week ago, Lieutenant De la Lupe, a human from Terra itself introduced himself as our fencing teacher. He was showing us how to use various swords and fighting styles.

After we went through the usual program he made us interrupt our training and sit down. His face was stern and it was clear something of serious nature was on his mind." Class I am very pleased with your general progress. Do you know why we stress this kind of fighting so much?"

Applegate answered quickly." Because a Monofilament Saber is still one of the best weapons in close quarter fighting such as boarding actions either in attacking or defending."

De la Lupe smiled briefly." And this is indeed one important reason why it is important you know how to use edged weapons."

He looked down the length of his rapier, but his eyes saw something else." Officers of this navy live by strict discipline and an equally strict honor code. You all know the official words

"United Stars Officers will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do"

It was totally quiet. None of the usual whispered comments or someone trying to catch a few winks of sleep in the back, everyone was listening. Lupe always treated us differently as any of the other instructors. He never ridiculed anyone, never resorted to punishments. He respected us! This was the reason he also was the most respected Instructor of them all.

I felt he was about to open a little known chapter of Navy knowledge that was never the less very important.

"Honor is exactly what determines a person's character: whether or not the person reflects honesty, respect, integrity, or fairness."

Lupe stopped playing with his sword and put it on the table behind him." This is the official side of the Honor Code, but there is a little known other side to it as well. It is neither publicized and some academy branches don't ever mention it, but as Officers you may come into a situation where another officer challenges your honor or claims to be insulted and his honor injured."

Narth landed over to me and whispered." There is nothing more illogical than humans in this entire Universe."

Lupe grinned as he heard Narth." What is it you find illogical?"

"Honor is a concept, how can it be insulted or injured?"

"Let me explain that in an Example. Captain A accuses Commander B of lying. Now it could be that A was indeed lying and by doing so offended B, or A did not lie and therefore the accusation is a lie."

Narth raised both his hands. "It is easier to understand the physics inside a black hole than to follow this logic." Narth actually sighed. I padded his shoulder." I feel for you my friend."

Lupe nodded knowingly."Yes it is quite antiquated but this situation I described could still lead to a duel. Duels are rare, officially not sanctioned but not illegal. It is expected of you to react in such a situation according to traditions and always as an officer and Gentleperson."

"So does that hold true to Cadets? Can someone challenge me?" Asked Olia, she was one of the finest rapier fencers in our group.

"That is a tough question as there is no official rule to this effect. We want you to act like full officers as soon as possible. One could argue that you are not officers yet, besides it cannot be used while on duty, only in private matters. You cannot challenge or be challenged while on duty."

Olia sighed and smiled." That rules out Cadets anyway. We are on duty 24/7 no spare time for us."

Lupe bowed slightly before here and when he did it looked elegant and full of style." This is a good thing, lovely Olia for you are quite a fencer already"

She blushed and we could see that she also deeply enjoyed his courtesy." I am not the best by far. Wintsun and Appletree are better and Narth and Eric are the best!"

"It behooves a fighter never to overestimate him or herself. Before you begin a fight you must always think this is your last fight and your opponent could be better than you, stronger, more experienced or has some other advantage."

He took up his rapier once more."I am proud of the entire class this year."

He dismissed earlier and said."So you have at least some free time. Please do not start any duels and remain out of the other instructors eyes or they might find something to occupy you with!"

Because of how he treated us I was certain we all would have done anything for him.

As we filed out the training hall he said."Not you two. Mr. Olafson and Mr. Narth would you please remain for a moment? I like you to remain"

He watched the last one leave and said." I know you two would have earned some leisure time, but Olia was right. You are both very talented fencers and I would like to train you in more advanced techniques and further I would like to ask you a favor."

Narth bowed slightly." I greatly enjoy the physical aspect of this fencing activity. I find the methods of moving, attacking and defending actually quite mathematical and fascinating. I am eager to learn more of it."

"I had seen myself to be a swashbuckling ruffian at best." I said."I would be deeply grateful for lessons and you may ask any favor of us."

I didn't even realize that I included Narth but we really begun to understand each other on that unexplainable friendship level.

Lupe put his hands on our shoulders and said." A cartel was delivered to me and I must answer it. A cartel being a hand delivered written notice of challenge describing the cause of the offence."

"Who would challenge you?" I asked perplexed." You are exactly how I always imagined officers are!"

"Indeed, my friend is quite correct. I still learn much about how humans act and live but your way of educating us appeals to me."

"Your comments make prouder than you might realize. I would like you to be my Adjutants and Seconds."

He stopped us with a motion of his hand." Before you agree let me tell you exactly what it means and what you will have to do. I also need to tell you why and where this takes place."

I simply nodded and Narth was listening as well.

"Let us not talk here. We will go into the officers' lounge and have a drink and there I will fill you in. Only then I would like you to answer me."

"Are we allowed in the officer's lounge?" His invitation there was the most incredible development to me.

"Yes I am inviting you. I am not asking you anything illegal or secretive. I did discuss this with Commander Letsgo as well."

"I never tried to imply that, Sir. I was merely surprised."

"Of course as I would be in your place. Now get cleaned up and get dressed in off duty civilian clothing and meet me at the Officers lounge at 1900 hrs."

With that he left us standing and walked out. Next Chapter: Alcohol

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