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A Call to Duty consists of a total of 31 chapters, separated into three "books" according to the year in which the action takes place.
Chapter One Edit
17-year-old Travis Uriah Long discovers that his mother really does not care what he does; after years of benign neglect, he has just graduated high school, meaning that the minimal, probably legally inspired, interest she has shown is now gone. Using the family air car he meets with his friends in downtown Landing, a group led by Peter "Bassit" Corcoran, whom Travis admires for his carefree view of life. Wandering into a Royal Manticoran Navy recruitment center, he manages to avoid unkowningly being involved in a failed armed robbery, with him cast as the get-away driver. Although the recruitment officer, Lieutenant Blackstone, is impressed with Long and indicates that he might be able to get into the Academy, he opts to immediately enlist.
Chapter Two Edit
Travis' older half-brother, Gavin Vellacott, Second Baron Winterfall, the self-admitted least important First Shareholder of the Manticore colony, joins Chancellor of the Exchequer Breakwater's "Committee for Military Sanity", a group officially dedicated to downsizing the Navy in favor of the Chancellery's Patrol and Rescue Service, starting with the nine battlecruisers currently moored in orbit of Manticore. Baron Winterfall is aware that this is a power play, and decides to play along, even after the Chancellor surprises him with the news that his younger half-brother has enlisted in the Navy and is currently going through boot camp.
Chapter Three Edit
At boot camp in the Casey-Rosewood Instructional Center, Travis's rigid belief in procedure causes friction, until in a moment of solidarity he takes the rap for the rest of the platoon's food theft for Charlie "Chomps" Townsend, a Sphinxan with a genetically enhanced metabolism. Soon after, the boot camp commander, Colonel Jean Massingill, summons him to her office and informs him that Bassit is trying to shift the blame for the robbery onto Long. Travis admits to stealing the cookies for Chomps, but assures Colonel Massingill that he had nothing to do with the robbery.
Chapter Four Edit
Once Long has left her office, Massingill confers wiht Long's platoon commander, Gunner's Mate Johnny Funk, and they determine that Long is covering for his fellow recruits, and that he is too much the "ethical, rule-following type" to get involved in a robbery. They decide to let him of the hook with a mere ten hours' extra duty.
Funk leaves, and the Colonel contemplates the whole reason for the recruits having to steal food for Townsend: Captain Alexander Caldecott, the RMN's Recruit Training Syllabus Officer, has decided to conduct a social experiment by giving equal rations to all recruits, even though some of the genetically engineered among them, including many Sphinxians, require extra nutrition to stay healthy. This was to create better unit cohesion, with the "normals" giving up part of their rations for the "genies". For several reasons, that plan has proven to be an utter failure, and Massingill on her own initiative orders the mess personnel to rescind all restrictions on meal portions.
The following day, Long makes his appearance in court, and is supported by Lieutenant Blackstone's testemony on his behalf. The judge decides he need not even review the testimony, dismisses the pending charges against Long, and orders them both back to their duties. Back at boot camp, Chomps declares himself to be Long's friend for life. Over the following days, the other recruits begin to subtly show more respect for Long, and the nickname "Travesty" begins to appear. Four weeks later, he and his comrades are officially inducted into the Royal Manticoran Navy. Long is assigned to impeller tech training.
Chapter Five Edit
Baron Winterfall attends a meeting of senior cabinet officials overseen by King Michael I. Chancellor Breakwater argues for a radical downsizing of the Navy and wants to cut the moored battlecruisers into two parts and turn them into much smaller sloops for the Patrol and Rescue Service, which is historically controlled by the Chancellery. First Lord of the Admiralty Thomas Cazenestro and Defense Minister James Mantegna, Earl Dapplelake, argue against that plan, saying that the young Star Kingdom must be able to defend itself against threats like the Free Brotherhood and the growing empire of Gustav Anderman.
Winterfall eventually suggests to start with converting just one battlecruiser and then testing the concept on the first two sloops for a couple of years. The compromise is agreed on by all sides, and Breakwater considers the meeting a victory for his committee. Winterfall, on the other hand, wonders wether he did exactly what the king wanted in the first place.
Chapter Six Edit
At impeller tech school, Travis informs the division's senior officer, Lieutenant William Cyrus, that he has observed a number of fellow spacers cheating during exams, only to find that Cyrus does not seem to care. Later, he is visited by Chomps and Gunner's Mate Funk, who tells him that it's normal for the recruits to cheat during the theoretical part of their education, and that their superiors would straighten them out once they arrived on their ships.
Captain Horace Kiselev, the officer in charge of the caretaker crew that looks after the moored battlecruisers, is shocked to learn that his favorite ship, HMS Mars, is going to be dismantled and turned into two "sloops". He voices his concern to Admiral Carlton Locatelli, commanding officer of Manticore System Command, but is told that the choice has already been made. Kiselev himself is promoted to Commodore and reassigned to Casey-Rosewood as commander of the Northwest Sector training school. With these news, he prepares to send a personal message to Commander Edward Winton, who also happens to be the crown prince of Manticore.
Chapter Seven Edit
During impeller training, Long and his fellow classmates are "killed" by a hypothetical two-stage impeller missile that Lieutenant Cyrus worked into the training exercise. Long objects to this and even takes his complaints directly to Cyrus, stating that such a weapon is physically impossible to build. They have an argument, and the Lieutenant silently decides to get rid of Long for good.
Crown Prince Edward arrives in his father's private study at Mount Royal Palace, and is shocked at how old and beaten the king looks. They discuss Chancellor Breakwater's sloop project, which Edward violently opposes, and King Michael explains that this is a political minefield the crown has to tread through carefully. In the end, he also reveals to his son that he is not actually as frail as he appears in public, but that it is the role he has to play in order to be able to reach his own goals.
A short time later, Johnny Funk takes Travis to see Senior Chief Dierken, and the two inform the young spacer that he should have staid away from Lieutenant Cyrus; now, his life is going to change drastically.
Chapter Eight Edit
A few weeks later, after settling in at his new job, Commodore Kiselev comes across Spacer Long's personnel file. He promptly summons Lieutenant Cyrus and demands an explanation for the file, which says Long was suspected of cheating and was immediately transferred to the gravitics tech school. The Commodore correctly deduces that Cyrus just wanted to get rid of a student who irritated him. Later, Senior Chief Dierken explains that Cyrus wanted to kick Long out of the service, so Dierken and Funk orchestrated the transfer to protect him. Soon, he will be transfered to the battlecruiser HMS Vanguard, whose crew is known as "a troublesome bunch".
Meanwhile, Colonel Massingill's husband, Senior Chief Petty Officer Alvis "Gill" Massingill, starts working on cutting the Mars' hull in two, even though he considers the project a terrible idea.
Chapter Nine Edit
In 1532 PD, Spacer First Class Travis Long serves in the gravitics division aboard the Vanguard.
Chapter Ten Edit
Chapter Eleven Edit
Chapter Twelve Edit
Chapter Thirteen Edit
Chapter Fourteen Edit
Chapter Fifteen Edit
Chapter Sixteen Edit
Chapter Seventeen Edit
Chapter Eightteen Edit
Chapter Nineteen Edit
Chapter Twenty Edit
Chapter Twenty-One Edit
Chapter Twenty-Two Edit
Chapter Twenty-Three Edit
Chapter Twenty-Four Edit
Chapter Twenty-Five Edit
Chapter Twenty-Six Edit
Chapter Twenty-Seven Edit
Chapter Twenty-Eight Edit
Chapter Twenty-Nine Edit
Chapter Thirty Edit
Chapter Thirty-One Edit
Having returned home, Travis waits in his parked aircar outside his mother's home. He ponders the fact that neither his mother nor her guests really expect him to show up, when Commander Metzger arrives. She explains that she was helping to pack up the Massingills' things at their nearby home; then, she tells him that he may have been passed over for a citation for petty political reasons, but that the Navy does in fact have great plans for him. To his surprise, Travis is handed orders to report to College and then Officer Candidate School, all the steps neccessary to earn him an officer's commission. Metzger assures him that there are great things in his future if he works hard enough for it.
King Michael and Prime Minister Burgundy receive a report on the events in Secour from Crown Prince Edward. They discuss Guzarwan's potential motives and the fact that even these recent events seem to not have changed Chancellor Breakwater's mind in any way. They are concerned that there is a powerful enemy lurking somewhere in the neighborhood, but Lord Burgundy points out that Manticore is a small system that will never be the target of a major military operation because there is just nothing truly valuable in it.
Meanwhile, in a secret Axelrod Corporation research base on Beowulf, site manager Karen Wamocha is informed by one of her analysts that there are clear indicators for the existence of a wormhole junction in the Manticore System. She instantly promotes the analyst and sends a message with the news to her superiors on Earth.