Chapter 6:

Welcome to the K-SAF Academy

Routing in the three-dimensional space

Katz SAF Main Academy is not just a huge, sad, camouflage-colored box hidden somewhere in the forests. It is a complex technical structure. The layout duplicates a typical military space station or LRG-type vessel: narrow passages, low ceilings, mandatory handrails and notches in the floor/ceiling/walls, no windows, closed ventilation and air recirculation system with slightly rattling air grids, a vibrating deck, and other things that bring the typical military astronaut to joy. All rooms support the full lockdown function - you can close the doors, pour water up to the ceiling, and nothing will leak out. Well, almost nothing. Like, you see, complete hermetic is not that important.

Inside the Academy you'll find huge training water/gel pools, full-size replicas of WNG-types and SML-type vessels, replicas of battle stations from LRG-types, replicas of control bays, dark bays, SAF-style obstacle courses, firing ranges, and so on and so on. By the way, the slight rattling of the air grids is a feature - you will get used to these sounds and do not pay attention to them until they stop. A silent air grid means only one thing: the air regeneration and recirculation system have stopped. And if it wasn't planned, that's bad. Well, the deck (a “deck” in SAF terms is any horizontal surface where the force of gravity is directed) vibrates because of the power units. On the one hand, this is not a feature, it’s the needlessness to somehow compensate or hide the vibration in any significant way. Also, it would be expensive and useless to do so. And, if the deck doesn't vibrate, you are in deep shit. Because, the power units, the main source of the vibrations, are gone.

Personnel’s living conditions are the same as on the military station or LRG-type: a cadet is assigned to a room with one bunk and one drawer. The drawer hangs over the bunk, so you are always hitting it with your face.

There are several big mess rooms. The menu is the same for everyone, standardized, and does not imply any choice. For mentors, guests, seniors, instructors, and cadets alike. Breakfast and lunch are the standard army synthetic Astra-ration of the category “just add some water“. It looks like an incomprehensible homogeneous substance with a weird poisonous green color. All the vitamins, calories, micronutrients are in one bowl. It has no distinct taste or smell, and you don't understand what you're trying to eat. But the third dinner is real, organic. With real meat, real vegetables, real juice. And every 25th day (the concept of “day” in the academy is quite complicated) - we had a “nice food day”: organic breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And a real coffee with milk (optional)! And a dessert: ice cream or a piece of cake, that I always gave to Sanya [I want kittens from you! – Sanya].

There are also shared showers with no water limit and no limitation on visits. You can always go there, of course, if you have some free time. Since we are talking about shared showers, it is worth cooling some hotheads: sex will be qualified as intentional damage of two (or more, depending on the total number of participants) units of military property and infiltration into a restricted facility. Usually, the commission's reasoning is as follows: one of the crew members will be unable to perform his direct duties for some time, consequently, one vessel will not be able to participate in operations for a long time. In this uncomplicated way, a simple act of sex turns into an attempt of destroying a military vessel. The whole area of the academy is covered with surveillance cameras, not a single step is left unrecorded, there are no blind spots [Well, almost none - Rice], and every cadet undergoes regular medical examinations. So, the best strategy would be to keep it cool and jerk off in the restroom, I've done that myself. [I couldn't find records from security cams - Rice] [Why are you lying to us? - Sanya]

Every cadet has not only a uniform but also a special wristband. To put it simply, it is a handheld computer that you wear on your arm. It doesn't support connection to the augmented eyes, so if you want to do something with it, you must stick your face into your hand or open a terrible holographic display. With a bracelet you can: read SAF’s rules and regulations; download a manual, book, movie, or a video series from the local (no access to the big Internets) library; chat with cadets, instructors, and mentor from your group; took a sad look at the schedule; an alarm clock; health monitor; educational programs and, most important you can use app for navigating around the Academy.

But before actual training commits to action cadets have a lot of free time to do nothing. It is all because approved cadets are transported from all inhabited planets by all available means. It takes time. A lot of time. During the waiting period cadets roam around the Academy, annoy the seniors, try to get into the forbidden sections, try to not die from boredom, and try to get to know each other.

After finally arriving at the Academy, you must go through a quick re-check of your health and stats. Usually, it’s just a formality, they get all the data at the draft point. In unusual and extremely rare circumstances, they can change your specialty, reassign you to another group, or terminate your contract without penalty.

I was the last cadet of the group. So, in the next standard morning, Sanya woke me up somewhere near the end of the planetary day and dragged me through the medic’s personnel. One of them turned out to be a Vor suffering from a hungover. This is also an interesting nuance of the SAF: all drafted medics have the practical experience and will immediately act as a medic at the Academy facilities.

Vor took blood samples from the couch, took a long and sad look at the ceiling, marked me as “Fit for duties” and went back to sleep. Actually, he should treat the wound on my face so it wouldn't leave a scar, but I didn’t manage to wake him up once again. [Yes, yes. You just wanted to keep that cool look with that cool scar, - Vor] [Well, he looks mature and amazing, - Victoria] [Well, stop leaking all around about your husband, - Sanya] [Well, stop leaking all around about your lover, - Victoria]

I’ve already undergone these medical and psychological tests back home. It was just a quick and formal re-check. In general, any human or katz with standard or extended generic genetic modifications will pass without any problems.


As I walked around the offices, I crossed paths with other cadets from my group, that just happens to be nearby. New faces are always interesting. Especially the ones that arrived on time in a stollen taxi with blood all over the face. Twenty standard hours of new faces, endless medical examinations, and tests come to an end. I struggled into my room, collapsed on the bunk, strapped myself into it (a habit I had acquired on the Katy Maru will stay with me for life), and passed out. Only to wake up at 00:00 and finally begin training.