Tidbit #1

So, given that the shell is travelling at 500 metres per second, and has been fired from a location that is 2.43 kilometres to the west, and given a wind force of 20 kilometres per hour blowing to the east, how long would it take to hit you right on the head?  Rochons?”

Roch looked up from the paper on his desk, which he had been doodling on instead of working out the equation his teacher had presented.  “I have no idea,” he admitted.

“Well, what part of the equation have you made it to on your paper there?”

Roch looked back down to his paper and felt his whole body tense up.  Then after a long sigh he said “I’m just working on the hair at the moment.”

His instructor, named Mithse, cooly strode across the classroom and looked at the paper on his desk.  Mithse was not much older than Roch, or indeed any of her students.  She had only just graduated from the same class she now taught three years earlier.  Most students at the Academy were transferred into advanced placements the moment they passed their field exam, but Mithse had been selected to become an instructor.  From what Roch had seen, she seemed to thrive in the position, which was more than he could say for a lot of her co-workers.

“Not bad,” she commented, holding the paper up.  The class had, of course, frozen and turned all eyes on her and Roch, who could only bring himself to look at the whiteboard at the front of the class.  “I think you could probably use some more detail in the eyes though.  They’re a little dull.”

“You think so?” Roch asked insincerely, recognizing this display for what it was.   Still, he was too embarrassed to look up at her, or indeed anywhere other than the front.

“I do,” she said, and placed the paper back onto his desk.  “You should get some help with it.  Oh, I know!  Why don’t you take it down to the Dean and show him?  I’m sure he’ll have some advice on what you can do with your drawing during class time.”

The class snickered at him as if they were still in grade school and he picked up his drawing and his binder and left the classroom.

He had been in the Dean’s office more times in the last four months than he had in his entire stint at the Academy.  He recalled being told the last time he was here that the Dean had not wanted to see him again under any circumstances.  The Dean had given him a pep-talk that Roch understood, and yet couldn’t bring himself to apply.  He doubted he would get another one.

He waited for the better part of an hour before the Dean called him into his office.  Roch pulled out a chair and sat while the Dean shuffled about the papers on his desk, organizing them into neat piles.

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