National Service in the universe of Les Histoires Duchemin is a compulsory stint for selected 18-year-olds throughout Sauveterre. Irinie and other regions have no known system similar to this, as all participants in other regions are volunteers.
National Service was implemented in Sauveterre six years prior to the events of The National Service Journal. The introduction of this programme was done in response to the rising rate of delinquency and crime in young adults. With the programme, it has been hoped that the youth would have a sense of pride in the country's achievements, contribute to the nation and "vote right", in the words of those who proposed the Bill allowing National Service.
The camps started out as tents in the middle of the forest, but gradually evolved to more bases more conducive to proper military training, though still only where the bare necessities were provided. Many of the camps are situated in the middle of the forest, in so-called "high-risk" areas where several threats abound: wild animals and sleeping beasts, haze, electrical hazards, rough terrain... While the point of National Service is to make the trainees hardy and survive through these hazards, the programme itself has come under fire, particularly by the trainees' parents, who worry about the safety of their children.
National Service takes place each year, in three separate intakes: one early in the year, one during springtime, and one during summer. Owing to the fact that a school year in Sauveterre goes by the year, rather than by the season, Intakes 1 and 2 are often filled with school-leavers. However, Intake 3, the most notorious of the three intakes every year, comprises largely of dropouts, delinquents, full-time workers with families...... just about any other group of people who are aged 18 and do not fall within the category of school-leavers. Because they do not get the disciplinary training that is instilled in school-going students, most, if not all of the disciplinary problems in National Service take place during Intake 3.
The selection process, as quoted by Sauveterre's Ministry of Defence, is done randomly from a computer-generated list of people born in a particular year.
It is often wrongly (and commonly) assumed that the selection is done from the list of school leavers, as provided by the Ministry of Education, but considering that the majority of trainees in the Third Intake every year consist of dropouts and delinquents, the public perception is false.
The selection system is subject to tampering, as revealed when primary antagonist Daedalus Beaulieu reveals in Les Histoires Duchemin 7 that he slipped Aimée Duchemin into the list so that she might be eliminated when she came of age.
The stint comprises several modules. Each of them is explained below:
- Physical Training: The core module of the National Service stint, which serves to make trainees physically hardy and resistant. Prior to the execution of the module, trainees are required to undergo a test, where they are to run the most number of laps possible in a specific amount of time. Outdoor sports, abseiling, obstacle courses and setting up camp figure in the list of activities in this module. The infamous drill, referred to by trainees as the "Hellmarch", is also part of the list.
- Character Building: This is the trainees' preferred module. The activities are done in class, and there are forty trainees to a class (the numbers are greater if the number of trainees exceed 260), all from different companies. Each class is divided into four teams, each team comprising ten people. With the assistance of the trainers, the trainees carry out team-building activities and discover the weaknesses and flaws in a human personality. Despite the module being the trainees' favourite, it's also criticised for being a sort of "adult kindergarten". The trainees state that the activities are too easy or too boring, and the trainers say it's difficult to control the students. During the events of The National Service Journal, Aimée states that it all boils down to the attitude of society in Sauveterre.
- Nationalism Module: This module is carried out in class, and there are only ten to fifteen people in a class, all from the same company. Also involving in-class activities, it teaches trainees about Sauveterre's history, administration and the three organs of state - the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. Whilst this module serves to instill a sense of pride in the trainees over Sauveterre's achievements, it has also frequently come under fire for the induction of political doctrines in class. During the events of The National Service Journal, Aimée becomes the trainers' helper for her knowledge of the law. Yet, before this module is started, she sternly warns the trainers not to introduce any political doctrine... "or else the Bar Council will know about it."
- Combat: Trainees are taught how to fight. The emphasis has been largely towards physical and technical attacks, though during Aimée's stint, trainees were taught magic attacks as well, thanks to the contingent from Irinie. Several sessions are attended by the trainees, the most notable ones being hand-to-hand combat and using a firearm. Aimée is taken aside by Senior de Wardes to learn Summoning. Towards the latter half of the stint, a duel among trainees is held, and the best fighter earns a prize, as well as 50 merit points for his company.
- Community Service: As the name suggests, trainees are taken out of the camp to the surrounding areas to help people in need, or to attend talks. Trainees from other provinces get a bonus: they get to learn about the livelihood of the people of a particular province. However, this module was cancelled during Aimée's stint due to the haze, and the trainees were stuck in the camp attending talks.
- Mentor System: Each trainer takes a certain number of trainees under his wing and counsels them whenever they have something to bring up. Meetings between Mentors and their respective trainees take place at the beginning of each week, at night, at designated locations. This module has largely worked well, though it is often used by trainees as an avenue to bash others without them hearing. During Aimée's intake, there are smaller groups, each having only five or six trainees. Senior Ref tells Aimée during the latter half of the story that her time as a Mentor has helped her to truly identify what's going on, especially in cases where trainees do not tell their Mentors everything. Aimée and Tatienne are placed under Senior Bleddyn.
Aimée Duchemin's National Service stint takes place in Camp Point-Neuf. Aimée reveals, in the middle of The National Service Journal, that she had petitioned for a camp closer to her home in Lumine, but her petition was rejected.
- Main article: Iriniais National Service
The Iriniais National Service is a voluntary period of military training that generally follows the completion of secondary school, but which may be entered by anyone between the ages of eighteen and thirty. Laws governing admissions tend to vary between Blomrency, Ellicy, Wistery, and Perremy, though none of the four require it.
Many of the Iriniais trainees are surprised at the spartan camp to which they have been brought, indicating that most Iriniais camps are better-equipped and more comfortable, and also at the delinquency rate among the trainees native to Sauveterre, whose actions would have resulted in expulsion from any Iriniais camp.
|http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z55/oneskyfriends/post/cc.jpg|| This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.|