0051st Imperial Kagomine Skycutter Squadron "Arnd Surfers"

"Welcome, I am OR-03 Kademillou Ludmillon, welcome to NDF!"
  "Hi, I'm OF-03 Piersa Ouranos, I've come to take command of this squadron?"
  "I... do think that will take quite a stack of orders for you to carry with you, Zim!"
  "I beg your pardon?"
  "I intend no disrespect, but the Squadron's been... rather happy to follow the Wingmistress directly, you expect to walk in and pluck us from our chosen commander, a Méritant of Honor, no less?"
  "Well, no, pluck, isn't quite the word, but you are right, I do have orders for you and the rest of the squad.  I take it everyone's quite used to the Flags running things around here?"  Someone had heard the enunciated M-o-H and was walking in their direction.
  "Ah-em!"  Piersa had never even seen a Merit of Honour in person before, but the training kicked in immediately...  She didn't also have to think to salute this rotund individual?  How did he get to flaunt the fitness requirements like that?  Well, probably that MoH, and he probably earned it twice over, judging from the limp.
  "Are you making a mess of things again, Ludmillon?  Maybe I can take it from here?"
  "As you command, Kon, I shall go attend to orders... elsewhere."
  "Please walk with me, Skua Ouranos..."  Gosh, he said please, and with THAT much brass and braid, he was a non-com above quota, for sure.  Which, for the navy, meant he was one of the ten, usually much less, in the running for Telbun ... 
  "I very much want to attend to orders, Kon, but I don't recognize you..."
  "I am, by the Powers of the Elements and the Grace of Birth, Na-Na-Domei of Garay Amarat Veneer Junior , Tiger-Striped Javelin Bundle 6THFLEET 5THDIVCHAP 5THDIVMED, Meritant of Honour, Meritant of Honour, Feyd Veneer, Lanungmei of Kimaguré.  I am the one who invited you aboard this vessel, Skua Ouranos.  I'm the one who picked you to get those oakum pickers to shape up.  I hope my trust in you isn't misplaced. Still, your evaluations, your test scores, especially in the spatial visualization specialties, were most impressive, and Meihomei's Treaty Authority-mandated Squadron needs someone with your skills."
  "You throw her name..."
  "Because my mother and Meihomei grew up close as sisters from childhood, she lets me call her Auntie when I'm good.  She is, after all, my mother's adopted sister."  The statement tripped the slight woman.
  "Your... Aunt?  What am I saying, of course, she's your aunt, you're a Domei 's son and heir, you learned to give orders to men under arms while I was learning crayons!"
  "I wouldn't quite put it that way, but she is a close relative, and yes, that coloured my family life quite a bit...  This conversation, however, isn't about me..."
  "It's not?"
  "No, this is about the World Surfers, the Colours, and Pathfinder, Airborne Early Warning for the entire Treaty of Rannick Airborne Traffic Control scheme.  I earned this Emm-Oh-Aitch under the command of a Skua, not unlike yourself..."
  "And her?"
  "She earned her own, and her flag is right there."
  "He pointed, nonchalantly, almost without looking, at the five flags at the back of the ship."
  "Which one is hers?"
  "No one ever asks that question..."
  "Why not?"
  "Because they're intimidated, they don't want to admit they don't know..."
  "But I did..."
  "You did, and hers is the fifth one in order right now, on account for Meihomei, the Honor and the Telbun being in attendance at this very moment."
  "That makes her the second in command of the ship."
  "She is, and the third or second in command of Sixth Fleet, depending on shifts."
  "Do not think about getting into contests with her; I'll lose, is that what you're saying?"
  "You're an OF-03, Skua Ouranos, care to guess how many half stripes you need to get into a contest with the Skua that used to be my commander?"
  "One hundred?"
  "Close, ninety-seven, I checked your tally before you joined."
  "Wait, she's ..."
  "She's looking at Eagle wings on her boards next, yes."
  "But she went from here to there?"
  "The Emm-oh-Aitche helped, so did ordering 'fire' and downing what is for all intents and purposes, the Enemy Flagship.  Her box of honour has the only octagon in it, attributed in this conflict, for that very reason."
  "An octagon?  And yours?"
  "Oh, I misspoke, hers has the only platinum octagon, mine's bronze."
  "Oh, I heard of that story, her mom's OPM..."
  "You think it changed anything?"
  "Why would it?  Just because your mom's loud doesn't make you a good leader.  But neither does it mean you can't be a good leader because your mom's a leader herself."
  "And what does that make me?"
  "Going by the eyes, you're a Dandelion, an... almost underachieving Dandelion...  Except they're too dark, you're an actual Kagomei?"
  "Let me say this story once, and I won't repeat it...."  She nodded.
  "I am the grandson of Meltran Nameihomei and Prithyanka Dandelion."
  "So, you're as Dandelion as it's possible to be, except you're also royalty of the kind that attracts newspapers, the lurid kind, from being so closely related to Meihomei, you've probably been sized for the crown a time or two already."
  "I was Bameimeito for some years."
  "I was... going for levity...  I swear."
  "You'd be pretty funny if life hadn't beat you to it, I guarantee it."
  "Wait, you showed me Meihomei's flag of office is at the mast, is she aboard?"
  "No, she'll be here in twenty though, we should hustle."
  "I'm Chief of Staff, remember?"
  "I thought you were CoS 5th div..."
  "Yeah, which has all odds and ends, including silly things like foreign object damage prevention, and escort duties for all flags."
  "You're military police for the ship?"
  "Of course, someone has to assign two master-of arms to keep you safe..."
  "What?  This AEW is on permanent security detail?"
  "You're Treaty Authority, I'm not letting them kidnap you, you know sensitive, important things, not to mention, we crib the entire population of Kagomei for your job, and only one in a hundred thousand is found qualified."
  "Wait, you ..."
  "I had your job, and I have those qualifications, I'm not just a pretty face?  Yes, yes, your point is?"
  "How long were you squadron staffing?"
  "Four months, then I got the Emm-oh-Aitche."
  "And now?"
  "Now I'm 5THDIVSTAFF, which means I'm still doing that job until you get yourself your very own non-com, so please do work on that?"
  "You gotta be about four levels above non-com for a Squad..."
  "Five or six, but who is counting?"
  "You mean a Quarter-Spear could do it?"
  "If I'd let anyone that low that close to Treaty Authority and the ability to blow up a fair-sized city with a few well-timed sneezes?  Probably.  I'm holding out for Spear or Harpoon, just so I don't get called into Meihomei's office to 'explain myself'."
  "Why would she bother?"
  "Because we're task force 79, the treaty signers.  My mother, may she live forever, keeps borrowing this ship and Southie , and the rest of Sixth Fleet , all five divisions of it, to jaunt around Arnd, signing treaties, making friends, impressive the natives. Regular helpings of parade dress and ceremonial uniforms are also attached."
  "So not only are we 'treaty authority' we're a propaganda tool?"
  "Treaty Authority is very real, and so very, very serious.  You, by virtue of your command, get basically right of way over everything between Hand  and Nisei , Goguryeo  and Tugaloo , you can shoot down anything flying in that airspace, if you decide you don't like the looks of it."
  "I thought AEW didn't carry weapons?"
  "They don't.  They just carry targeting jade banks, Midar, Lidar, Radar, Sonar, Echosounders, MagAnoDets LIFAR and every other detector we know.  And... they got friends, called Northie and Southie, who carry three hundred aircraft apiece, and a hundred Hammers each, plus their escorts.  Over four hundred Hammers will hurt just about anything."
  "What, I thought... I thought this post was peaceful, I'm not ok with this."
  "Most of the time it's peaceful, like a lifeguard doing traffic duty.  But when someone crosses into traffic trying to run someone else over, that lifeguard can decide to ask for someone else to shoot, decide to protect the innocent, the victim.  Can you do that, Piersa Ouranos?"
  "What aren't you telling me?  You're larger than life, you're way above the pay grade for this job, and you got the chops, no one gets an Emm-oh-Aitche for free, even a Dandelion, but especially them, when they get one, it's never a party favour... And you're wearing it as a cordon?"
  "Title one-eightteen, less than ten recipients alive, can't wear it as a ribbon."
  "You can probably list all the living recipients by heart, can't you?"
  "Yeah.  Marhamat Dandelion , LGOF-06 Electrum for Life and Patriarch of Megamisama First Lifeguards, Star-Emerald Knight of Great Kagome. Valour-keeper of Kagomei, Tadros Dandelion , Ryder Templum, Flora Rolli Na-Bameimeita of Kagomei, Na-Domei of Megamisama, Meritant of Honour, OF-08 Goshawk, brévet-Eagle Kagomine Sixth Fleet Commander Air Wing, then myself."
  "Any of those NOT related to you?"
  "Well, three of them are Dandelions... So exactly zero are totally unrelated to me."
  "And so am I, a distant branch to be sure, but enough to have seen Flora Rolli before, at a family meeting..."
  "She's a fourth cousin of mine."
  "Oh, what a relief that must have been..."
  "I beg your pardon?"
  "Oh, nothing."
  "I'm not in the habit of repeating myself..."
  "Look, it's fairly obvious you have a massive case of hero worship for the Goshawk?  Wouldn't knowing all the woman you admire all be related to you become a bummer after a while?"
  "Ok, I'll grant that, I'm kinda glad she's not related.  You know her though?"
  "No, well I know of her, and I've seen her at a family meeting, the eyes are unmistakable."
  "Like mine?"
  "No, yours ... Well ok, yours are so dark you throw me off, but you're just as closely related to me as she is, aren't you?"
  "How related are you to Prithyanka Dandelion?"
  "Let's make it simple, you're my third cousin, twice removed."

  "Skua Ouranos, can we have a word?"
  "Sure, but I'm due in-flight in a cycle, it will have to be snappy."
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