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The rank-and-file

When I first landed on this planet, I thought we could do anything. Give us a place to stand, I thought, and we will move the Earth. But after seeing swarm after swarm take to the skies of the Baiqiang Union, perhaps I finally understand what Stalin meant when he said, "quantity has a quality all of its own."
— Analyst Drone 24-09
  The ajrora, or ajroran (masculine), is a colloquial designation for any non-officer in the Baiqiang Union's massive military wing. The term "ajrora" may refer to any enlisted rank in the Baiqiang Union, from the most junior ajrora voralea rank to the most senior ajrora vetkesa.   Similarly, ajroras are versatile in their roles. They may be element leaders or element escorts. They may serve in lead elements or support elements. They may work in logistics, engineering, or operations. As the backbone, enlisted man of the Union's defense force, every ajrora can be trusted to do their duty to gate and country.  

Understanding the Ajrora grades

  Compared to the NATO code, each ajrora grade (besides cadet) fills two slots of the NATO organization. The lowest rank, ajrora kadetti, equals an air cadet, or an OR-1. The second-lowest rank, ajrora voralea, equals an ajrora still in compulsory service (four years). This rank equates to the OR-2 and OR-3 NATO ranks.   Next, moving up the hierarchy, we have the more senior ranks. The volunteer rank, ajrora volno, would equate to a senior airman (OR-5) or staff sergeant (OR-6) in NATO terms. These soldiers must have served at least four years or one year in combat, whichever comes first. They are the first rank to have the opportunity to compete for flight leader training.   Finally, the highest rank in the military is ajrora vetkeska. Having to have served ten years, of which at least two were combat years, these veterans are on a direct path to promotion to specialist officer or commanding officer status. As such, there are relatively few (less than one-half percent) vetkeskas in the military.


Every four years, all youth of the Salt Plains must take the arzhanik, a battery of exams designed to test one's leadership abilities. Those that do well will feed directly into the military and the bureaucracy.
— Code 67, Stele of Nora
  The entrance to the ajrora rank is limited to a number the Examiner's Council decides every year. As one of the few tracks of upwards social mobility for peasants, serfs, and slaves, many lower-class people take the exam, and it is estimated only forty percent are accepted each year in peacetime.   After the arzhanik, accepted cadets go into military training for three months alongside a veteran flight. This time-period is called "the changing of the guard", as the veterans are nearing the end of their compulsory service time-period, and after three months they are replaced by the incoming cadets.


Yeh, I serve my four years, and then I get that ticket to a military university to go study.
— AVR Peterson
  Serving in the military has many benefits. All ajoras have a stable job for four years, and do not have to worry about starvation, homelessness, or emergencies. After the four years, the military can help those who have served honorably enter state-run businesses or learn at state-run universities. If one decides to voluntarily serve longer than four years, one can even rise to officer ranks from ajora, and command units up to the size of a swarm.

Grounds for Removal/Dismissal

If an ajrora commits a misdemeanor, a felony, or a military crime, the ajrora is brought before a court-martial of officers who decide whether the ajrora is guilty or not. After that, the ajrora is brought before a sentencing panel, also of officers, and a punishment is assigned based on the magnitude of the crime. Only for the most severe of crimes is the ajrora dismissed from duty.

Enlisted Ajrora Ranks

Rank Kadetti (AKD) Voralea (AVR) Volno (AVL) Vetkesa (AVT)
Insignia None




Roles Cadet Light Drop
Heavy Drop
Point man
Point man
*Logistics, Engineering, Operations
Civic, Military, Not Commissioned
Alternative Naming
Ajroran (male Ajrora)
Voralea (wingman)
Volno (volunteer)
Vetkesa (veteran)
Equates to
NATO OR-1 Cadet (ajrora kadetti)
NATO OR-2 Airman (ajrora voralea)
NATO OR-5 Staff Sergeant (ajrora volno)
NATO OR-7 Master Sergeant (ajrora vetkesa)
Source of Authority
Public Service, Merit
Length of Term
Four years or until retirement
Reports directly to
Flight Leader
Related Locations
Related Organizations

A Path to Freedom

  For enslaved halorin, the military and the ajrora rank in particular represents a path to freedom. People were generally enslaved as a punishment for a crime: many considered this punishment to be worse than death. To prevent slave revolts, upwards social mobility was given to children of slaves by the route of the military.   On the other end of the table, a master was also happy to free their slaves when they tested in to the ajrora rank. The government was willing to pay up to sixty percent more than market value for the slave, which represented a healthy profit for any slave-owner.  

Land of Their Own

  Serfs were bound to the lands of their lord, having to pay crops to the lord every year. They wished to just have their own land. If a serf tested into the ajrora rank and served his four years honorably in the military, he could get a land grant from the government. This represented a great gain for any serf.  

Road to Aristocracy

  For many peasants, the military represented a path to aristocracy: a way to move up through the social hierarchy and gain power. The military allowed them a way to easily get into state-run businesses and universities, allowing them to leave their farms for a new way of life.  
Learn more about military organization:
Military Formation | Dec 17, 2018

A one-hundred-bird unit that acts as the basic tactical unit of the Brown Halora.

Military Formation | Dec 17, 2018

Composed of five elements, a flight is the basic offensive air unit of the Halorin.

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