Mandatory Military Service
Hook Island created Mandatory Military Service in the year 25. It originally started at 5 years. In the year 27 it was reduced to 4 years. In the year 32, it was reduced to 3 years, where it has remained.
While the service must be fulfilled, it doesn’t necessarily have to be performed by everyone. Substitutes are allowed. It is not uncommon for a wealthy person to pay someone to fulfill the service requirement of a son or daughter. There are many who volunteer to take another’s place, having grown accustomed to the life style and steady pay. This has led to a more experienced defense force. While officers are professional soldiers, the lowest levels are all conscripts. However, once a person enters their second three year term, they are generally given a low level promotion, a small increase in pay and some degree of autonomy to carry out their duties.
Note that if a person dies, whatever term they are serving is considered fulfilled, but not any future terms that they have yet to serve. This can cause problems for the person whose future term the dead soldier was supposed to fill.
Soldiers are generally referred to in three categories:
Scrubs – those in their first and likely only three-year term.
Subs – those who have volunteered to serve for others and are in a term beyond their first.
Lifers – those that have either been hired in professionally as officers or those that have volunteered to take so many other people’s terms that they are in the service “for life.”
Those who have avoided the service are often referred to as dodgers by those who have served.
All non-officers are required to take a tour across The Channel to The Outposts on The Mainland once per year, usually for about two months at a time. This duty is dangerous since the likelihood of encountering wandering monsters is quite high. Some crave the excitement and volunteer for extra duty. Others are traumatized by terrible experiences and it is not unheard of for a soldier to be decommissioned (with honors) after a particularly bad experience.
When not stationed at an outpost, soldiers are either stationed in a town or patrol the island, acting as both defense and law enforcement. Scrubs are generally kept near the city while the more experienced subs and lifers are used to patrol the more wide open areas. They always operate in groups of two or three with the most senior member generally in charge.
Officers are assigned whatever duty is deemed appropriate by their commanders.