All people who want to be soldiers must first undergo a Citizenship Trial before enlisting in the army. No one is conscripted, and civilians are specifically banned from military service.
New recruits enter a period of bootcamp training, primarily composed of learning formations and some of how to take orders from ranking officers. Any soldier can, from there, either develop their skills for a specific military role (such as sniper or cavalry or drop troop), or challenge for Fourth Officer. Successful challengers must then show competency as an officer or risk challenge in their own right and loss of the position. A successful Fourth can challenge for Third Officer, and so on up to First Officer. Occasionally a ranked officer may field promote someone for exceptional service, and people may advance that way. First Officers and Droghi (not a military rank, as it is gained through being the oldest surviving member of your clan) are the largest demographic of challengers for the position of Leader, the highest position in Stenza society (anyone can challenge, but it is most commonly done by career soldiers).
Most broadly, soldiers perform offensive and defensive tasks on behalf of the Stenza empire. What this means in practice is: they fight the Leader's wars of expansion and acquisition, and very rarely are they called on to defend the Stenza from an external threat (or at least, one that isn't fabricated for propaganda purposes). During peacetime, under a peacefully-minded Leader, soldiers provide most of the internal security of the empire, facilitating trade and prosperity. Under other conditions, reasons for conquest are hastily fabricated, if pretense is bothered with at all.
Being a warrior or soldier (the Stenza language does not differentiate between the two) is highly regarded. Parents are proud when members of their litters commit to the Citizenship Trial for this purpose. Military service is seen as both a duty and a path to honor and glory. Several also regard it as a means to improve the quality of one's life. (Generally, those on the other end of a tour of duty have a more nuanced view of it, and have discussed among themselves and with others whether Stenza are truly made for modern warfare or not. Stenza are also fully capable of understanding "war sickness", and it is acceptable to transfer out of the army for a safer line of work.) On the other end, it is seen as critical that the army receives the support it needs, and through this means a lot of professions have gained social credibility and respect, from food preparation and service to manufacture and maintenance to medicine.
The Nine Systems supports an approximately 7% enlistment, not counting Infantry Drones. Within that group, it is a rough even split between male and female across the board. Women tend more toward "brute force" roles, such as breaking enemy lines, and men more toward following them and cleaning house. Either is as likely as the other to be a ranked officer or strategic advisor (although the genders have tendencies in their suggestions and tactics).
The modern Stenza soldier evolved slowly out of pre-Unification-era warriors, who protected their clan from enemy clans and hunted for food. Following Unification, each clan's warriors and their recognized leaders had to gradually learn how to cooperate with one another, especially helping Iradae the Lawgiver develop the system which would become the backbone of a modern-looking Stenza army. Over the years, armaments improved, but pre-Unification traditions hold traction even to this day: Facial Decoration, combat or other prowess demonstration for position, the use of formal speech to address officers, and the thriving of intra-clan slang among them. Additionally, new traditions developed as technology advanced: on the use of guns, the christening of spaceships, and even peculiar superstitions such as not looking an Infantry Drone in the eye for too long (for fear, they say, that it will take your soul. It happened to that one Ship's Technician just last week, you know).
Other Associated professions
Ranks & Titles
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