As I said to Tak earlier today, Sweet Mother of Buddha. On a certain date at 1700 Hours I completed the orientation session for the University of Anytown's NROTC program. It was, despite the unit CO's assurances to our parents, exactly what you'd expect a military boot camp experience to be like. Drill Sergeant-types running your life 24 hours a day, yelling in your face if you dared to make eye contact with them, or refer to yourself as "I" instead of "This Midshipman." Punishing physical conditions, constant running and pushups and situps and all sorts of other horrid activities. And all the time, a Sergeant strong enough and mean enough to rip your spine out through your chest watching over you.

It was a blast. No one believes me, but I had a fabulous time, mainly because I understand perfectly that it's all an act. But I chose, quite freely, to submit myself to their ministrations, and in a very real way I'm the one who was really in control. I could have quit at any time I so desired, but I did not. It is my wish to follow orders today, that tomorrow I might have the opportunity to issue them in a way that will make a difference for countless lives around the world.

The journey has begun.

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