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The Pilot-in-Training who flew over Jonas's community by mistake was "released".
The Pilot-in-Training had "misread his navigational instructions and made a wrong turn...desperately the Pilot had been trying to make his way back before his error was noticed". Unfortunately, in attempting to get back on course, the Pilot had flown over the community twice. It was "against the rules for Pilots to fly over the community", and when the Pilot in question inadvertently did so, he threw the citizens into a panic. A "rasping voice through...speakers" instructed all citizens to leave what they were doing and "go into the nearest building and stay there". Within minutes, the plane had been identified, and the voice on the speakers explained what had happened, ending with the somber pronouncement, "Needless to say, (the Pilot) will be released".
Even though Jonas detected "an ironic tone" to the voice on the speaker's final message, to be "released" was a grim statement. Although the particulars of the process were not discussed, what it meant to the citizens was that the Pilot would be erased from the community. Children were taught at a very young age the seriousness of the concept of "release", and they were scolded if they ever used the term lightly, even at play. For "a contributing citizen to be released from the community was a final decision, a terrible punishment, an overwhelming statement of failure" (Chapter 1).
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