Hilthros and Sirius

Baggins

Petty Officer
Ok, so where are these... Is there is a Hilthros system, and a Sirius system? Or are they the same system.

Red and Blue starts out in an unnamed academy on planet. The academy bible stats that it's Hilthros. Although there are a number of details that differ from Hilthros as its described or shown in other sources. Additionally some issues with KIlrathi Saga which seems to give Blair (and LaFong) an Anthony as their room mate, meaning they had to have shared the same room. Star*SOldier makes Blair adn LaFong seperate characters.

In the tv show though it shows Blair has his own room, as do others training at that academy.

Now this is where it becomes even more tricky... The Wing Commander Movie Handbook, describes the events of Red and Blue and places them in Sirius. Whereas the Movie Novels describe the same events and mentions it occurring in Hilthros (as in the Academy bible)...

Some fans (including some essays and articles on this website) seem to split these systems into two (there might even be references to specific Hilthros system and Sirius system as well). While other fans seem to put Hilthros as a planet in the Sirius system. This makes sense since the events of Red & Blue are pretty specific (defeat of a blockade runner/destroyer) and not likely to have happened 'twice' in two different systems, and if it did, sources would be more likely to note it as well...
 
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Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I'd say it's unclear what Hilthros is, but I would tend towards it being a planet in the Sirius System (I don't believe it's ever called the Hilthros System.)

That said, I believe there IS a difference between the Terran Confederation Space Naval Academy and what we see in Red and Blue.

But: Red and Blue takes place AFTER graduation, with the characters attending Flight School (assigned to the 145th Training Wing at Sirius.) Blair, Maniac, Archer, etc. are already comissioned officers who have graduated from the Academy and been selected for advanced flight training.

A few things speak to this:

- The characters are already comissioned officers on the show itself: they're Second Lieutenants, according to the doors on their quarters on the Tiger's Claw in 'The Most Delicate Instrument' (and of course any other story set in that same time.)

- The Confederation Handbook includes reviews of Blair and Maniac from their Flight School instructor, which explicitly mentions the events of Red and Blue having happened during Flight School (it talks about their having taken out a Kilrathi blockader unner together; poor Archer is forgotten.)

- This is how it works in both real life AND in Wing Commander's world a few years earlier. Action Stations starts with young Geoffrey Tolwyn graduating from an academy with a billet for advanced flight training where he'll actually become a pilot. Even the Wing Commander I & II Ultimate Strategy Guide talks about how only a few people out of the large class become fighter pilots. That's how it works in reality, too: graduating the Air Force Academy doesn't mean you're a trained fighter pilot, nor is one required for the other: you'll have pilots who come through ROTC programs, OCS and in Wing Commander other service academies.

So what the heck are we seeing in the other 12 episodes of the series? The answer is a little unexpected. 'Wing Commander Academy' is a proper noun inside the universe, and the program on the Tiger's Claw during the show is a special command school these particular promising pilots are attenting. As ridiculous as this sounds, it's actually the intent of the show (and is referenced in the press kit!)

(You can pretty much disregard the bible; it's from a much, much earlier version of the show that was going to rewrite Wing Commander I and The Secret Missions as a prequel of the live action games...)

tl;dr - Blair and company graduated early in 2654 (or even in 2653) and then attended Flight School... and were then selected for further command training.

I think the most reasonable answer to the original question is that Hilthros is likely a planet in the Sirius System where the Academy is located... and it's also where the Confederation trains pilots.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
An additional nod for Sirius and Hilthros being the same system: the Wing Commander I and II Ultimate Strategy Guide mentions: "When the door slid open, the two suns of the system were blinding. " Perhaps a coincidence, but Sirius is also a binary star system...
 

Baggins

Petty Officer
Heh I wonder how that fits in with Sirius later being attacked... Although its fitting that they would attack one of the major locations of Confederaiton Naval and Pilot training.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Heh I wonder how that fits in with Sirius later being attacked... Although its fitting that they would attack one of the major locations of Confederaiton Naval and Pilot training.
It kind of doesn't fit in at all, in the sense that Sirius was attacked on the way to Earth. Nobody had to detour or anything to hit Sirius - it just happened to be on the main invasion route.
 

Baggins

Petty Officer
I meant more along the lines of how that affected 'future' naval/flight training past that event. Where did they move the schools?.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Right... well, that depends on what kind of advance warning they had. For a flight school, you can imagine most of the school contingent simply being scrambled into flight on whatever spacecraft they had available on site - and at this particular point, considering the truce and the associated cutbacks beforehand, it may well be that the number of spacecraft sitting around at the base would have in fact outnumbered the number of students, because probably many students had been let go beforehand. As a historical analogy, in 1939 the flight instructors and the most senior students from the Polish Air Force flight school formed an ad hoc squadron using the equipment they had on hand, while the more junior students were simply evacuated out of the country. Something similar could have happened here. And afterwards, relocation... well, who knows? Many places they could go, obviously.

However, you have to consider the possibility that the academy actually survived intact. We hear about Gilead and Sirius Prime being devastated. Hilthros is never mentioned, so who knows?
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I think the theoretical loss of this one, specific Academy (we know there's at least one other, in Houston!) would be less of a blow immediately and would have more of a long-term impact on leadership. Remember that, like the USN, the TCSNA is turning out some of the best officers... but they make up only a minuscule portion of the total number of people serving. The TCSNA, specifically, recruits 1200 cadets a year and turns out only 200 pilots... while, according to Privateer, the Confederation is losing hundreds of ships each day against the Kilrathi (and the casualty figures from the Prophecy guide more than confirm that!) So the vast, vast, vast, vast, vast, vast... vast majority of officers come from other colleges, OCS programs, other Academies, etc.
 

Baggins

Petty Officer
I wonder if when they refer to Sirius and the OTC flight school in Wing Commander Handbook, implying it to be a planet that they are referring to Sirius Prime? Seems somewhat silly that there would be two planets named "Sirius" in the same system?
 

Baggins

Petty Officer
Also not sure you discussed this in your above post but Red and Blue is also referenced in the Wing Commander novel as well. But it also talks about Hilthros at the same time. So ya having Hilthros and Sirius being the same system and possibly being nearby each other is really is the best fit.

Is there the potential that Hilthros could be a moon of another planet, or that vice versa?

I also went back and checked it's also the place that talks about "Hilthros system" specifically, uh oh. See page, 15, 56, 63.
 

Baggins

Petty Officer
After graduating from the Terran Confederation Space Naval Academy on Hilthros just a month earlier, First Lieutenant Christopher Blair had entertained a number of fantasies concerning his first non-training assignment. He, like many of the other fledgling pilots, had put himself on great carriers like the Concordia or cruisers like the Waterloo. Some of Blair's classmates had actually been awarded those prestigious assignments, much to his jealousy and chagrin, because for a month he had been shuffled around, leading him to believe that his superiors could not find him a home. He had served a brief, thirty-hour stint on the destroyer Gilgamesh before being ferried back to the academy. The commandant had asked him to give several testimonial speeches to the new classes. But Blair felt that his wisdom had fallen on the deaf ears of bright-eyed baby birds too excited to listen, their hearts pounding at the thought of strapping on starfighters and hauling their particular asses across the cosmos. But Blair couldn't blame them. He had behaved the same way when graduates had come to speak to his freshman class. - pg 15

The youngest of four sons, Marshall had grown up in a competitive household where his older siblings had constantly challenged him to meet their unrealistic standards—not that Marshall had ever volunteered this information. Blair had deduced this after meeting and spending time with Marshall's brothers. Never had he encountered a more demanding, ill-tempered, hard-core bunch of military brats. Two of them still flew for their father, Boomer Marshall, a retired Marine pilot who owned a charter service on Leto. Thanks to his father, Marshall had entered the academy with more logged flight hours than any other cadet, and he had made sure that no one ever forgot that fact. Despite his constant boasting, Marshall's experience had actually come to great use during a training exercise in which he and Blair had discovered a Kilrathi destroyer hidden in the Hilthros system's nebula. With Marshall's fearless flying to counterbalance Blair's by-the-book combat tactics, the two managed to destroy the ship, which had already penetrated Confederation counterintelligence measures and had nearly gained access to highly classified data regarding fleet positions and strength. -pg 56

With the lights off and his eyes closed, Blair lay on his cot in the quarters he now shared with Marshall. He needed to sleep. Needed to dream. Dream about anyplace but the carrier. He thought of dreams he would like to have, dreams of home, of Nephele, of his aunt and uncle who had worked so hard to raise him after his parents had died. He thought of old girlfriends, of old summer jobs, of a particular July 17 birthday party that had marked the end of his teenage years. He considered his time at the academy on Hilthros, days that felt like several millennia ago. His life had become a streak of indistinct memories. Nothing stood out anymore. All of it seemed blighted by his depression. The only thing tangible was the Pilgrim cross around his neck. A blessing. A curse. 63
 

Baggins

Petty Officer
On a side note theoretically speaking nebulas are huge areas... Not quite the dense gas clouds movies show them to be but rather as it was described to me in a geological science class that from a distance it looks like 'dense cloud' but in reality if you were flying within it the particles could be many many miles apart from each other. Perhaps Hilthros system and Sirius system are located near the same nebula?

Is it possible for two planetary systems to have 'merged' or share the same near-orbit?
 

Ijuin

Admiral
Most nebulae are in fact hundreds or thousands of times thinner than the air that we breathe--it's just that looking through millions of kilometers of this thin gas is enough to give fairly strong opacity (compared to the dozens of kilometers of sea-level-equivalent air that would give similar opacity).

As for the two planetary systems thing, remember that it is a double star system. If the stars are sufficiently far apart from each other (a couple billion kilometers or more), then they could both have habitable-zone planets in stable orbits.

Also, where does it state that the academy that Blair, Maniac, etc. attend is the only such academy? The Confederation is spread across more than a hundred systems and has a population of hundreds of billions, with a military force probably over a billion strong during the height of the war. A guesstimate based on scaling up the United States forces during WWII would imply over a hundred thousand new officers would be commissioned every year. Even allowing for ROTC and OCS, the Confederation would need a couple dozen schools the size of the 1200-cadets-per-year one that we have seen.
 

Baggins

Petty Officer
More like 200 cadets per year, it has a high attrition rate, and it's more of the school for the best of the best. The leaders.
 

Baggins

Petty Officer
BTW, there is another detail that differs from LaFong's account vs Blair's account of the academy days.

Blair seems to remember a graduation at Hilthros. Note: While the above quotes doesn't bring up his stint on the Formidable, chapter 7 of the novel does and places it in his last year at the academy. So he was actually spending time on both Formiable and at the academy's, before he returned to the Academy for Graduation, and then ended up in the Flight School, then returned to Hilthros to make a speech, before being transferred to the Claw.

Whereas LaFong, never had a graduation ceremony, went directly to the Formidable, and then directly to the Claw.
 
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Baggins

Petty Officer
During Blair's senior year at the academy, he had flown training missions off the TCS Formidable, an Exeter-class destroyer assigned to the Vega sector. He had been on the Formidable's bridge only a few times but had seen enough to fill his heart with awe.-49

Having to share a cabin with just one other pilot might be the last luxury available to first lieutenants aboard the Tiger Claw. During training on the TCS Formidable, he had been assigned to a berth with seventeen other pilots and had slept on a lower bunk above a two-hundred-and-ten-pound Neanderthal with a hearty appetite for fried
onions, cabbage, and broccoli. -65
 

Baggins

Petty Officer
Didn't say there weren't others. It seems we can confirm one on Sirius, another on Hilthros, and another at Houston, Earth.

The only thing confirmed about Hilthros is that it's described as being one of the most important schools, the one that all pilots strive to attend. Anyone going there and passes is sure to get good placements and leadership positions. If they don't wash out before or after (Archer?)
 

Baggins

Petty Officer
Another of those details from Kilrathi Saga is that Blair is from the 201st Plebe Class, and it talks about his graduation from Hilthros as well (Bandit mentioned the descrepency in dates when the 'graduation' takes place as there are two references in the series one graduation in 2653 and another in 2654).

But the reason I mention the Plebe class reference, is Kilrathi Saga suggests this is the name of Blair's class, whereas in LaFong's account, plebe class only refers to the first year of the academy, basically the freshers.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I also went back and checked it's also the place that talks about "Hilthros system" specifically, uh oh. See page, 15, 56, 63.

HARAKH! Good catch. Teenage Ben strikes again. Super fan-servicey references like that in the movie novelization are usually the result of me suggesting them to Peter seventeen years ago, based on what the fan community was thinking way back when. I always cringe a little. But good, answers the question once and for all, it's a separate system.

Perhaps, but that still implies that there are lesser officers' schools in the Confederation.

Not even necessarily lesser ones - we see in Action Stations that Tolwyn attended the 'Terran Confederation Service Academy' in Houston (Earth.) (Which I used to hate but now rather of like; the suggestion that a space academy would derive from historical astronaut training rather than being Annapolis in space was nice.)
 
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