In an effort to train the future leaders of the Army and Navy of Ivona, schools were put into place in order to train the brightest young minds.
At least that's what they say on the brochures. There are three Military Academies in Ivona, one in Bellcius, one in Melior, and one in Tulgim. Of the three, the Bellcius and Melior ones are considered to be approximately on the same level, the Bellcius one is considered to be slightly better in the physical combat arts, while Melior is slightly superior for the more technical professions. The Tulgim one -- well it certainly doesn't have a good reputation for either. Graduates from Tulgim are considered second rate, at best.
Many a young man or woman sees a way out and a way up through service to his or her country in the form of military service, plum assignments working for or with Senators can be had after a four year stint in the military. Even some amazing research work or passes to some of the better Universities can be had more easily if you have military service in your background.
Unfortunately, over the last ten years, all of the Academies have been in something of a decline and the newer recruits are resoundingly considered useless.
Getting into the Academy is hardly easy, for officers there are physical and intellectual tests, psychological evaluations and so on. Students sometimes have a sponsor - an older officer, senator or professor, in good standing with the Academy, to vouch for them. Students can also be accepted without a sponsor, it is just much harder for them to get good assignments after school. Enlisting is comparatively much easier, all that is required is that the enlistee is fourteen years old and willing to work.
The absolute earliest a future officer can be accepted into an Academy is age twelve, but age sixteen is far more common. For officers, the training takes three years, during which time the student is a Cadet. After graduation, the students are given the rank of Sub-Lieutenant and assigned to ships.
For enlisted the training is one and a half years, at which point they graduate with the rank of Seaman. They traditionally work jobs like cooks, seamen, mechanics, shipwrights or powder monkeys.
Officers can take additional studies - equivalent to medical school or doctorate level education - after graduating. Students exiting as a magitech or steam engineer, or a medical doctor, earn the rank of Major upon their graduation four to six years later. Doctoral students must serve the Navy for an additional four years on top of the four owed from their Cadet years, or pay a hefty fine.
Being admitted to the Academy is hardly a guarantee of successful completion of training, fully fifteen percent do not graduate. The reasons for the lower retention rate are myriad, but some of the main ones are an inability to keep up with the physical or intellectual classes, or an inability to adapt to authority.
Future officers take physical classes every day, focusing on fencing, shooting and hand to hand. Students take classroom classes on history and core science classes. Students studying to be engineers, navigators, quartermasters or other positions that require specialized knowledge take classes in those fields as well. Basic navigation, radio operation, piloting and helmswork are learned by all students.
Enlisted personnel work on their physicals skills and specialized classes in their future area of expertise. All enlisted personnel take time to learn the cooks trade, but engineers or powder monkeys learn very different sets of skills.
Students live in dorms and are expected to be in their dorms before midnight. This rule is occasionally - or routinely - broken, and students caught out without an excuse are reprimanded, but unless they cause trouble with the local authorities it is not usually severe. Students return home - or may say in the dormitories - during holiday breaks. If students leave the Academy before the end of their first year, they are not subject to any fees, but leaving after the first year is frowned upon and requires a fine. The only routine exception is in the event that the student's head of household has been injured or killed, then their fine will be waived.
The culture is one of hard work intermixed with hard partying. Some students are very attentive and studious, but most make a great deal of time to party. Overachievers and workaholics are both mocked and envied. Tattletales are universally not tolerated, tattling on a fellow cadet is a one way ticket to having a blanket thrown over your head and helped down the stairs until you break something to learn the lesson.
Conformity, hard work and patriotism are all stressed as part of the culture from teachers to students and between students. Unfortunately, the lesson often gets lost in translation. More and more often, due to laziness of the faculty, the fact that the best and brightest often chose university over the military, or nepotism in the ranks, the Academy hasn't been turning out the best of classes.
Hard, competent workers are rarer and being near the top of your class is expected, not exceptional, as far as captains are concerned.
Regardless, your local recruiter wants you. Join the Navy. See the world!