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The first step for selection as a Starfleet officer or crewmember after the recruitment offices in city or on the Federation Internet System is the local Cadet Selection Centre. For the area once known as Great Britain [England, Scotland, Wales], there are three selection centres. These are the former training bases for the military forces. Former Naval College Dartmouth, former Army College Sandhurst and former RAF College Cranwell. All of these bases taught men and women how to be officers and NCOs of the finest calibre. Now, these same centres of excellence continue their long tradition by training Starfleet personnel.
Once the candidate has made their intentions known that they wish to join Starfleet, they are given a period of between four and six months in which they will get their fitness levels up to the standards expected of Starfleet Cadets. They will also be urged to familiarise themselves with current affairs on the Federation Newsnet. The delay between acceptance to the selection process and actually being selected is due to the sheer volume of applicants and the cooling off period to let the depth of the decision sink into the candidate. Once the day finally comes, the candidate is brought to the selection centre for an intensive 3 days of testing and selection.
From arrival at the selection centre, the candidate will not have time to stop. They will be placed under pressure to see how they react. The time honoured warning is given that the alarm to wake them will go off at 06:00 Hrs. and no later. The candidate is well-advised to be awake before then. Before the candidate has had a chance to unpack they are taken for aptitude testing, to determine what skills the candidate possesses and to see how they react under pressure. This aptitude testing covers everything from problem solving to pattern recognition. Finally by 18:00 Hrs. the candidates are able to unpack and relax a little. This time until the following morning is time for the candidates to interact with one another, socialise and sample the nicer aspects of the Selection Centre. There are usually Starfleet selection Officers lurking around, do not let their presence fool you, they will be watching how each candidate interacts as well as casually chatting to them. Testing continues for every minute the candidate is on site or with Starfleet personnel.
The first morning consists of a breakfast at 06:45 Hrs. and reporting for the first stage of selection at 07:15 Hrs. The group of candidates is then split in two and one half goes for the rigourous interview. Starfleet selection interviews are renown for their friendly but thorough nature. The second half of the candidates are taken for their medical examination. This examination covers everything. Every sensory organ of the candidate is tested: eyesight hearing, balance etc. Any medical difficulties that may be discovered are recorded, although in this modern era most of them can be rectified on the spot [ a far cry from the days as military training bases]. Once both groups have gone through the medical and interview, they will then be assigned to groups. This is the beginning of the second phase of testing.
Candidates will have a holo-image taken of them for reference by the Selection Officers. The candidates will be in groups of six or less. Once alloted their identity the team member will only be referred to henceforth by thet designation by the other team members. [For example, Candidate Nathaniel Hawkins was Charlie 6]. Once assigned into these teams the candidates will then be tasked to the leaderless training missions. This takes place in the large hanger area to the rear of Cranwell. These missions will allow the candidates to work in groups of no more than six. The selection officers wil be looking to see which candidates put forward ideas, which cadets communicate clearer and put plans into action. A Starfleet Officer must be able to lead, academic skills and talents are but half of the equation. The universe is a dangerous place and Starfleet personnel must be able to deal with unusual situations, think on their feet and keep their collegues and themselves in one piece. These tasks will involve rope-swinging, climbing, moving barrels, having areas declared unsafe to touch. The usual rules are that black areas can be touched, but white areas cannot. The second hard and fast rule is that should one team member touch any area declared unsafe to touch then the whole group will be forced back to the previous stage, whatever that may be.
Having survived a morning of medicals, interviews and swinging like Tarzan the group will be able to enjoy
lunch and a time to rest a little. After lunch, the group will be taken into the bowels of the building to undergo current affairs discussions and debates. This is to allow the Selection Officers to see which candidates can articulate their viewpoint and carry out a logical argument. Winning the arguement isn't necessary, it is how the debate is carried out. After this is carried out, the candidates are given a problem to solve as a team. This will include reading maps, and plenty of time/speed/distance equation problems. As a final poser, each team member is timed for a final s/t/d equation problem. Having survived this test the candidates are tested more as a team again. The testing for day two ends at around 18:00 Hrs. The cadets can finally relax and eat their evening meal [usually with some relish] before relaxing in the cadet's bar for a couple of drinks.
Day three is the decider. The candidates are told that the Selection Officers have a fair idea of the best candidates and today will act to confirm this. The day starts with an individual task. This is a time/speed/distance equation problem involving a number of people [usually in one team, perhaps two] that have to catch a ferry or shuttle by a certain time. The footspeed or vehicle sped for every eventuality is given to the candidate, the candidate must choose the route, means of transport and method for the whole of the theoretical team's hourney to the target destination within the alloted time. The candidate must write down the reasons for their decisions as they must present it to the Selection Officers next. After the 20 minutes allowed for solving the problem, the candidate presents their problem to the selection Officers, spelling out why they made the decisions they did. The officers will question the candidate on the wisdom of their choices and ask why they didn't make some of the other choices available. Having explained every step of the plan, the candidate is thus given one final parting scenario to solve on the spot which assumes some part of the plan goes wrong or changes, to see how the candidate solves a plan that goes astray.
The final part of the afternoon is spent in the teams again. Only this time each of the candidates is alternatively declared to be the leader. This leader must keep the group in order. They are given two minutes to examine the problem facing them before they must come up with a plan. The leader then has to call the remaining members of the team, brief them on the plan and then lead them to completing the mission. The leader is in charge of all aspects, including punishment of the team for transgression of the groundrules. This testing phase is the one that will display which of the candidates possess the leadership skills to go on and be Starfleet Officers. The Selection Team will also take into account aptitude scores all the way through the candidates education, as well as examining the candidates academic abilities and records.
Having completed the testing phase, the candidates are one again questioned to make sure details are correct about the candidate. Preference for department and training are recorded. The candidate is informed within two weeks of their success or failure at selection and are encouraged no matter what the result is to excel in their future careers. Successful selection will lead shortly thereafter to Starfleet Academy. The Selection Centres still have a role to play for the Starfleet Cadets, many training programs take place via these local centres.