The official title of the ranking cadet in each of the seven Metahuman Studies Programs at the United States Academy of Extranormal Studies at Evansville, Indiana, First Cadet is a position of great honor and responsibility for any cadet so chosen.
Each year, the seven USAES Metahuman Studies Programs selects and elevates the best cadet of the year (according to the specific requirements of the individual programs) to First Cadet status. It should be noted that the position is usually awarded to a Cadet in the Elite Academy, with Cadets Fourth and Second Class having the highest percentage in Academy History. It is not uncommon, however, for a Cadet First Year of excellent skill who has not been awarded any major honors to be chosen as First Cadet for his or her program as a recognition of service.
Far less common, however, is a cadet from the First Academy being capable of attempting to attain the honor, let alone succeed. Fewer than ten cadets in Academy history have been awarded First Cadet honors while in the First Academy. The majority of those cadets were in the USAES Advanced Cybernetics, Mechanics and Electronics Program; the latest cadet to receive the honor was David Allen Farrington, who earned the rank of Esper Prime as a Cadet Second Class in the USAES Mental Enhancement Program.
These cadets have additional privileges and responsibilities within their programs; some of those responsibilities include:
- acting as a teaching assistant in basic metahuman studies and training classes with Cadets Sixth and Fifth Years
- acting in lead capacities during special events and ceremonies (such as the person who heads up Banding Day ceremonies)
- standing in as an unofficial ombudsman for dealing personal matters between cadets and/or Agency instructors/staff
- leveling appropriate non-judicial disciplinary measures for infractions not severe enough to involve the department heads, security personnel or the Cadet Advisory and Disciplinary Board (or which all concerned want the issue to be dealt with unofficially). This includes serving (or dismissing) demerits, reasonable PT periods, and restrictions to privileges.
- awarding extra privileges for exceptional performance or behaviors, or recommendation for official Academy recognition of the same. This includes financial rewards, extra or expanded liberty, suspension or dismissal of prior disciplinary measures, filing of official commendations on the cadet's service record, and recommendation for official awards of merit and/or heroism.
- acting as USAES Ambassadors (representatives of the Academy with other institutions and organizations).
All First Cadets share elevated status; only the Cadet/Deputy Cadet Commander of Corps have greater status within the Academy hierarchy. The position is equivalent to that of a prefect in the school systems of the old British Commonwealth.
Each of the seven programs has their own title for First Cadet. They are:
- Sovereign (USAES Mystical Enhancement Program)
- Esper Prime (USAES Mental Enhancement Program)
- Number One (USAES Advanced Infantry Technologies and Operations Program)
- The Messenger (USAES Special Transportation Systems)
- The Doctor/'Doc' (USAES Enhanced Lifeform and Medical Studies Program)
- The Fixer (USAES Advanced Cybernetics, Mechanics and Electronics Program)
- The Marshal (USAES Combat Arcane/Ultimate Skills/Extranormal Program)
In addition, the ranking cadet of the Phantom Eagles elite cadre has the same status and responsibilities of a First Cadet for his or her cadre, and also shares the same rank (cadets who receive the position of First Cadet are simultaneously promoted to the rank of Cadet Lieutenant Commander (0-4). The First Cadet of the Phantom Eagles is referred to as the 'War Chief'.
After a First Cadet leaves the position, it is accepted protocol to address that cadet in perpetuity by his or her former title (in the way that it is proper to refer to a former President of the Unites States as 'Mister/Madame President' ). It is considered the respectful thing, however (in situations when a current and a former First Cadet are present) to address only the current First Cadet by that title, and to address the former First Cadet by the highest current rank or most prestigious USAES certification they currently possess.
Addressing a former First Cadet with the standing program title may be considered a misstep and not rude, unless done in a manner intended to imply disrespect. Any First Cadet who witnesses this may choose to invoke applicable disciplinary measures for this infraction, but it is not required.)
(Example: in the USAES Mental Enhancement Program, Chi Ling Kwan is the current Esper Prime, having won the rank after David Allen Farrington was stripped of the rank for his actions in the V.R. simulation conflict against the members of National Legion Chapter One. If they were in the same area, one would address Kwan as 'Esper Prime' or simply 'Prime'; Farrington, who is currently the Deputy Cadet Commander of Corps, has the rank of Cadet Commander and who has completed his Tactical Psionics Operations (or 'Hellhound') certification, may be addressed as Deputy Commander, Commander Farrington, or Hellhound. However, if Kwan were not present, he may then be properly be addressed as 'Esper Prime' or 'Prime'.)
The current First Cadets have not all been identified. Those who have are (as follows):
- Chandni Kaur (Sovereign/USAES Mystical Enhancement Program)
- Chi Ling Kwan (Esper Prime/USAES Mental Enhancement Program)
- Jamala Hamilton (Number One/USAES Advanced Infantry Technologies and Operations Program)
- Jeanna Towne-Diaz (Marshal/USAES Combat Arcane/Ultimate Skills/Extranormal Program, or CAUSE)
- Niklas Neubeck (The Doctor/USAES Enhanced Lifeform and Medical Studies Program)
- Malik Diamond (The Fixer/USAES Advanced Cybernetics, Mechanics and Electronics Program)
- Amorette Molyneux (War Chief/Phantom Eagles)