Tidbit #2

People who don’t want to do their duty to this Academy.  People who don’t want to help to resolve the conflict going on in the other part of the world.”

“We’re not helping the conflict,” Roch said, raising his voice to a point where he was almost shouting.  “We’re contributing to it.  There’s nothing to be gained by lending assistance to both sides.  You’re only perpetuating it, and I am if too if I continue on here.”

The Dean suddenly surged forward and slammed his fist onto the desk, eyes wide and fastened intensely on Roch.  “Watch your tone with me, boy,” he growled.  “I have sat behind this desk for more than a decade, and served this continent for longer than you have been alive.  I am well acquainted with the war, and our place in it.  If it were not for this institution that you are lucky enough to be a part of, Panontaea would have descended into the war long ago.  Instead we have the privilege to decide when and to whom our forces go without having to endanger our citizens.”

Roch didn’t say anything, frightened of the Dean’s intensity and yet still vehemently disagreeing with him.

“I served my time– as do all children –and as will you, whether you believe in the cause or not.”  He leaned back into his chair and straightened his shirt.  “Now whether or not you serve your time as an untrained member of the reserve, or you stay and finish the top class training this institution can provide is up to you.  It doesn’t matter to me, but I’m sure I needn’t tell you that your chances of making it back here are much greater if you take the latter option.”  As he spoke he tapped his index finger on Roch’s transfer papers, still staring at Roch with a ferocity raised up from the depths of his psyche.  “But know this:  You will serve this Academy one way or another.”

Roch looked down at the transfer papers as his face went red.  The only thoughts he could muster were so vulgar and retaliatory that he didn’t dare open his mouth.  It was silent then, the Dean obviously hoping his words would sink in during this period.

“I will leave the choice with you.”  The Dean’s voice had softened considerably now.  “Go back to class, I will let Mithse know that you’re on your way.”

Roch gathered up his stuff quickly, avoiding the gaze of the Dean at all costs.  By the time he was back to class, he couldn’t stand to look at Mithse either, both of them representing an institution he had grown to hate.

As he sat down, his friend Cottin caught his eye and smiled a wicked smile at him, arching her eyebrow.  He rolled his eyes at her and shrugged, answering her unspoken question.  She shook her head and returned to her work.  Roch sat up straight and watched Mithse talk about angles, application of force and other elements of mathematics that were useful on the battlefield, but his mind could not have been further from the room.

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