Academia: Year One

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The Royal Navy Academy was founded in the year of OL 233, by order and generous donation of the Ra'liton family, who have long been alumni of the fine campus over the century and so years past. T'was the head of the Ra'liton line who, upon the first arrival of the infamous Nathaniel Flint, led the as of yet newly created Spacer Council in a petition to begin the first official training ground for those who would hold in highest regard the keeping of regulations and peace. Though at the time it was a small organization with a paltry force that could barely follow nine merchant ships, much less a single trading route, it had the makings of greatness in its sturdy core, and it slowly but surely grew (with much credit due to the merchant families who hired the first naval officers).

A standard of excellence was eventually formed, taking a proud precedence over the initial beginnings in mercenary missions and a sort of dignity that was tied nervously to whether or not one would be paid. During the turbulent years when Nathaniel Flint, the Vanishing Scourge, first began his reign of anxious terror, nearly everything was dependent on wooing new customers that might pay for the gradual foundation of a true university; to achieve this aim, the achingly slow stream of what few officers could be trained was diverted entirely to managing task forces of small mercenary teams. Granted, it took some effort and quite a few embarrassing mishaps before the Royal Navy Academy found its first class of highly efficient naval practitioners. They were the first in a long line of prideful men and women of all races who struck out into the vast darkness once ruled entirely by pirates and their tradition persisted with glorious regularity.

This, of course, was before the appearance of one James Pleiades Hawkins.

At the age of fifteen, he single-handedly broke nearly every record that had been placed into being by a countless selection of others over the hundred plus years: not only was he one of the youngest cadets to ever grace the gleaming halls, he also managed to be the one student expelled three times and accepted back in and very well might have graduated with some of the highest unprecedented honors in the academy's university had he not been, as mentioned, expelled. At several points, his grades dropped to scores that would have forever blemished the school's fine record before he dragged them back up again, only to let them plummet almost disinterestedly; it was, as his weapons instructor in fourth year infamously said, as if he could hardly give a damn if it was not something he relished every second of.

In his first year alone, for example, he irritated something close to half the academy's entire staff with his undertone of sarcasm and, on more than one occasion, he was engaged in brawls he all but started each time. It is rumored thirteen expulsions of other students were caused by his constant ability to mutter things he ought not around certain people, though it has yet to be proven.

Were he like most students, he would have graduated with the standard triad of medals – academic excellence, military excellence, and the obligatory integrity excellence – but with his constantly see-sawing grades and his tendency for subtle, mocking disrespect for elder students (a thing not to be taken lightly), this was not to be. As it was, he graduated with but one medal, that of military excellence, which was an upsetting thing taking into light his participation in the quest for Flint's treasure (explored in great detail in Delbert Doppler's account of the circumstance, On Solar Wings: The Revival of Flint, currently in its thirtieth printing). His medal, however, was not one to scoff at: few students achieve a Silver Ranking in any medal field, much less that of military excellence (which takes into consideration all aspects of the brutal training, covering a range of twenty-one fields of military perfection).

Unfortunately, his accomplishments did little by way of impressing certain upper classmen, most notably being that of Ra'liton's descendent, Himu, one of the finest students academically to ever grace the school's hallowed corridors. If anything, his frequent verbal skirmishes (and physical run-ins with Miss Himu's elder brother) with her have become the stuff of legend, as they brought to light traits in both people the teachers had not yet paid mind to. Few instructors had ever seen the self-centered nature of Himu, not had they seen James' tendency for striking the truth in his own painfully cruel way with speech. They, to put it simply, brought out the worst in one another.

As mortal creatures, we must first see the worst before we can strive for the best, so perhaps it was not a total loss that the impending lawsuits, visits to infirmaries, and blindingly enraged elder brothers were of exasperating frequency.

Xats Holiban (Dean of Vehicular Department)

Royal Navy Academy: Class of OL 345 (as compiled by Xats Holiban)

Fifth Revision – Ra'liton Publishing Edition OL 354

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Somehow, someway, it was not entirely what Jim had expected from what Amelia had, with her usual succinctly deadpan manner of speaking, painted the academy out to be, and he had yet to decide whether or not that was a good thing as he shifted the worn sole of his tired boot over the glossy walkway leading to the front. Dubiously studying the several other walkways glistening ivory and gold was doing very little by way of helping him actually move from the same spot he had been standing at for the past five minutes, and he cleared his throat, eyeing the gleaming building with one eye narrowed slightly more than its partner. He reached down without taking his eyes away, waving absently toward the loose string of his bag and catching it with his ragged fingernail after a moment of effort, and he yanked his bag up to cast the heavy weight over his shoulder. "Wow," he muttered in spite of his own stern internal lecture to not be overwhelmed by the spacious brightness. "That's…really shiny," and he wondered if it was possible he had been taken over by some form of brain-leeching creature.

"But really," he heard B.E.N. saying insistently to Morph, who was happily flitting from shape to shape, adopting an alarmingly realistic miniature Scroop before abandoning it for the blander one of a large fruit, "if there's herbivores and omnivores and carnivores, what am I? Maybe I'm a vegetarian, except, wait, I don't eat vegetables, so am I an oilvore? Or what about gasavore? A reservoir! No, wait, that's, hn, doesn't make sense." As he watched the robot with an amused expression, smiling lopsidedly and shaking his head, he waved the pink blob over to his shoulder, the spritzing creature coming happily to rest on the aged olive cloth.

Nearly simultaneously, the robot began making a sniffling noise, the gridded eyes flickering in a second's passage to narrow slits, and it hugged its gangly arms to its loosely hinged mouth, making an odd sort of wailing sound that made the boy decidedly nervous. "Oh, Jim," B.E.N. said in a comically saddened voice, and the mentioned lad scratched unassumingly at his dark hair, eyes nervously flicking from one side to the other.

"Geez, Ben, I'll miss you, too," he said lowly, almost hissing for fear one of the thronging students around him would notice the emotionally dysfunctional robot's approaching hysterics. "Could you please not jump me or anything? And say bye to Mom for me again." Quickly, despite the flashing guilt in his mind, he vanished into the crowd, large bag thumping painfully along his spine as Morph gleefully turned into a heavy rock. Behind him he could readily hear B.E.N. weeping loudly before, with characteristic panache, it yelled loudly, excited, over some unfortunate creature it found indescribably intriguing.

Reaching a hand up, he ran his calloused palm over the smooth gel of Morph and the creature made a trilling sound in earnest reply, bringing a quirky smile to his face as he tossed his other shoulder up, sending the thin strap of his bag into a more secure position near his collar. "We'll be fine," he said. "It's just like on the RLS Legacy, only," he broke off hesitantly, not willing yet to broke the tender subject of the surrogate father gained and lost, and merely settled for smiling quietly, rubbing what he assumed was the flamboyant blob's chin with his rough palm. "Well," he continued for lack of anything else to say.

Morph agreed punctually with a chirping cascade of noise and it swirled, tiny bubbles left in its wake, around the tight knots of his ponytail before adopting a tight wind around the coarse fluff of chocolate hair at the end. "Hold on, then," Jim added with a slowly growing grin that fairly reeked cockiness, and he lowered his body, adjusting his center of gravity for all of two seconds as a few of the other walking students moved unconsciously away from him.

Shoving his feet hard against the sidewalk, the pads of his toes spreading out in the round mouth of his boots, he sprinted, heavily, through the ever-swelling crowd, bag smacking rhythmically along his back. A clear laugh bubbled from his chest and he ducked a startled, burly arm one of the upper classmen was holding out for the sake of a petite girl, dodging around a large group of gossiping girls and slipping over the shined surface. He smoothly collapsed into an admirable position, one leg bent up and the other stretched out to aid his unexpected process of sliding over the polished stone; Morph was making giddy shrieking sounds from where it had wrapped in a deathly tight grip about his ponytail.

"That was fun and interesting," he said in his subdued, adolescent voice, arching his arms back to coax the dizzy blob into his waiting hands. The skin of his lean arms was revealed by his short-sleeves and he flickered his green eyes to their corners, as if to peer at the hot pink alien whenever he managed to tease it away from his tugging hair. "C'mon, Morph, we're taking up space." After a moment of older teenagers from varying races passing him, giggling behind their hands and taking in obnoxious whispers amongst one another, he tucked Morph into the deep pocket of his pants, nervously judging the faces around him.

A fractionally sullen mood took hold of his chest with a surprising speed and he shifted his bag, lowering his head to stare at the ground as he shuffled forward, vanishing amidst the gaudy brightness of the uniforms all others seemed to be already wearing. He tried to remember why this had seemed like such a brilliant idea, and blamed it squarely on that rushing high that had quickly followed the knowledge that he was a hero of sorts, knowing he had found someone who could be a father to him and finding he was someone, even if he still did not know precisely who that someone was. Thinking on it as he studied the ground, he kicked his heel hard over the carefully hewn stone and lifted his head proudly, jutting his chin into the air as he grinned a cocky twist of his lips for all to see.

It did not matter yet if he would regret the order and punctuality of a naval academy, of the structured environment everyone lauded about, and he knew he stood out from everyone else in their pressed uniforms and rigid haircuts; he found he enjoyed seeing eyes turning to look curiously at the gangly newcomer that was Jim Hawkins.

And that was how it was going to be.

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Feedback would be very appreciated (especially considering this is my first Treasure Planet fanfic and reviews are the only barometer I have). Enjoy the prologue

Edited 05/09/2003: Just a very silly spelling error.

Edited 05/19/2003: Another spelling error! Geez! ;]