Tomi Kleinman stood before the professor for a mentoring session. On guard, as sometimes this involved defending against an attack.
'Kleinman, your posture is defensive, good good,' Adept Boon said, 'Your essay was acceptable, continue the good work, the fencing practice is fine among the students, but you leave yourself vulnerable against a master. Do not to let the first mistake be your last, after graduation the swords are live.'
'What purpose is there to strive to conquer?' Tomi asked, 'The lectures were lengthy and detailed.'
'The time for instruction is over, and it is now time for you to learn from reality,' Boon said, 'As each breath you take enlightens your path. We know that the Blanc regard those who seek power as Dark and evil, yet those who carry the banner of light also seek power to support their cause. It is the Noir counterbalance which brings order to the fabric of life.'
Observing that Tomi had let his focus slip, Boon used telekinesis to lift the student and suspend his feet off the floor. ‘Tut, tut, constant vigilance even among your supposed friends,’ Boon said before returning Jeremy to the floor chastised.
‘Tomorrow your graduation awaits, I advise that this involves great danger, the guard locks the door after you, the exits are several, one leads to a career as an officer, another leads to death, and last for what you strive. If you are deemed unworthy, your dreams will alter to accept the military as your destiny without powers beyond an ordinary man. Succeed, and your name will disappear from the records, and a new Adept will emerge.’
The graduations were set for the next day, followed in the afternoon by the official graduation for those who used the military exit door, with the families either notified to attend for those graduating as officers or to pick up the “ashes” of the failed candidates. The men that the authorities selected for the adept echelon effectively were dead to their relatives and were reborn with a new identity.
The new day began with the last morning parade; each man was certain that he would emerge as a new adept following the righteous path.
As the first graduate Kleinman entered the door. The door slid shut behind him, and he strode forward to the emblem at the rear of the room.
‘Welcome attend to me,’ A disembodied voice echoed in his mind, ‘open your thoughts so I may judge your worthiness.’
A heavy presence descended on Kleinman, invading every corner of his mind. After an eternity of pain, the weight lifted and a door opened, ‘Welcome to the Force, Adept, serve me well.’ The voice ceased, and the new adept strode out to join his fellows to strive towards uniting the Galaxy under the leadership of the Noir Empire.
Waiting was a bench with his new uniform and equipment; he bundled this up and made his way to the change room where he exchanged his old uniform with the new. Among the gear were instructions for his new role.
Place your old equipment in the chute. Select a name suitable for your ambition and exit from this building; further instruction will await you.
Kleinman considered that Tomi was unsuitable as was his last, with a chuckle he decided Klein would do, suggesting a small challenge for the coming trial allowing his opponents to form a lighter challenge. Beyond the exit door was a table with a computer with the legend Write Name, place thumb on the pad, apply eye to the camera port and state name.
Klein performed these tasks, and the next door opened to a room with seats. The video screen read Take a seat and wait for further instructions. Klein took a seat at the back corner away from doors so that he could observe all the action. The instructors had taught that sitting in a vulnerable position was not conducive to a long life.
The next accepted walked and glared when he saw his competitor in the optimum area, glancing around, he chose the next best. As each of the accepted entered, they had to take the seats left.
The small room was relatively empty as the last adept assumed his seat. Klien noted that several of the ‘bright’ students were absent; while academically bright some of them avoided the more rigorous activities.