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On the Education of Hawks

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Author: Arrow Quivershaft

Lt. Arrow Q. Vershaft's Audio Journal, September 28, GP407 (Entry 2)

"Alright, that's taken care of. One of the power couplers intalled on the spinal artillery feed line flagged critical for amperage. It's not really a surprising event, admittedly. The draw for the current artillery on the ship is far above what the hardpoint was intended to tolerate, and even further above the original mounting's demand. A fair number of the parts are kinda ragged so I'm sorting through them to fix them. I'm just glad I fixed that; amperage spikes can quickly wreck a lot of gear if they aren't brough under control.

So where was I. Oh, right. Childhood. Well...as said. I wasn't exactly the most cut out to be born into the position I was. It's not that I was an inherent failure, but I certainly wasn't able to handle it there. And my parents, in thier search for a solution, put me through several aptitude tests and programs to try and straighten me out, but nothing quite worked...so finally they submitted me for evaluation for the AGATE program.

AGATE, which stands for Accelerated Gmelin Academic and Technical Education, is a centralized educational program run by Terra Buteo. They've taken a outdated listening post and military base located on Gmelin, the second moon of Terra Buteo, and converted it into a state-of-the-art training institution. Or, well...that was the original facility. Mine was a replacement located nearby. Regardless, it's the toughest "private" school for Terra Buteo, and possibly in the Accipitrida system.

The general idea is to take kids who are having problems in society, but are inherently competent, and place them into a specialized academic setting that will be tailored to, and build upon, thier own aptitudes. Teach them how to think, nurture thier strengths, and help build them up until they can be productive in society...while removing all cultural influences. Furthermore, ALL rewards and punishments are directly proportional to achievement. And once an individual goes to Gmelin for the program, there's no guarantee on when they're coming back. Outside of washing out, you could end up there for years. There is no "average", everything is based on the students.

A frequent criticism of AGATE over the years as a "rich kids school", and while even I'll cop to the fact that being priveleged is helpful in getting in, once you're THERE, it doesn't matter how much money your family has. It's absolutely hardcore, with all sorts of challenges put in to help foster your own abilities, as well as build up skills in creativity, teamwork, and resourcefulness.

For just one example, one of the more 'frequent' challenges they'll put in place is to change the gravity of your sleeping quarters while you're asleep. Then when you wake up, you still have a strict schedule to get to class and such, so you'll have to work together with your roomies to get everything ready and prepped in time, regardless of if the gravity is normal, double, none, or completely reversed.

AGATE grads are well known for various neurotic tendencies, or being a bit 'off'. They're also sought out sector wide, if not wider, for jobs, given they tend towards extreme competence, and many believe the benefits outweigh the costs. Furthermore, AGATE grads are considered a core resource by the Terra Buteo central government, and their status and careers are closely monitored in order to maintain the proper reputation.

Graduating from AGATE comes with some significant priveleges and responsibilities. In addition, any AGATE grad is entitled to have thier eyes dyed to a greenish hue, following the name of the school; this is the only way any Buteo can have green eyes, so it's a clear indication of attendance.

To bring this back to the entry, the school itself is locked down and on the books as a classified military facility, and families aren't allowed access. So sending a chick is no small decision, because they may be gone for years and you may not even get to talk with them for months...or longer. But my parents had exhausted all other options by the time the evaluation came back with an approval to send me to Gmelin. It was an option they discussed extensively, I'm sure...I wasn't very involved in the discussion given I was only nine. But ultimately they decided to send me there...and that is probably the single most important event in my life that got me where I am today.

Looking at the clock, it's getting a bit late, and I've gotta be up tomorrow for a dry-run of a bomber scramble. Gonna clip this entry off here and get back to it another day. Lt. Vershaft, signing off."

Preceded by:
Damaged Circuits and Souls
Lt. Vershaft Audio Entries Succeeded by:
None