KEMS Southern Diagonal Flare, Constellation-class Flycarrier
"Attention to orders!"
The deck flutist flurried, the deck crew saluted, and the distinguished visitors came aboard. None on board had seen such a sea of brass and senior-non-coms over quota. Two Telbuns, with a Merit of Honour a piece, six other non-coms above quota, three OF-10s, two of which had the green medals as well, six OF-09, two green medals apiece, twelve OF-08, sixteen OF-07, and that's just those that were considered very senior-flag. The Kon manning the deck saw adjen had been forced off the ship, and were watching the coming ceremony from shore.
"Have you ever seen anything like it?"
"No, but then, not many see even this ceremony even once." The Kon responsible for deck clearance looked at his colleague, whose regular duty station was senior Kon aboard ship, 'helping' the lone NFOF-01 Flag Officer officer who hadn't been told 'stand there, way back there on shore, and look at the ceremony nicely', and who, as an actual flag, had to rise before the dawn, and hoist the flag of the senior officers present to salute the dawn. That there had never been a time before such as this, where OF-09 of impeccable character and impressive resumes had to admit 'no, my flag has no place there', and stand silently, watching even more impressive officers' flags flying, and the centre flag, of course, was a statement today. Half the officers who saw it had almost fainted. The others remembered just why, this officer, this one particular flag-bearing officer, had chosen this flag, not that one. Those that did, didn't feel faint, but they were trying not to let their knees quiver and tremble, it was a statement to make a slashbeast think twice.Happens over 20 years after my novels, readers advised
"I said: Attention to orders, you scurvy sons of tutu-perpetrating mongrels of low calibre skeet-shooting target pigeons and skin-changing octopods two-stepping on eight legs!"
The silence became intense, immediately. No one swore like that... Oh, him! Ok, maybe he would swear like that, if he were drunk...
"Attention to orders, officers and crew of the storied KEMS-219 Flycarrier Southern Diagonal Flare, may they hold you in their arms and never let go! By order of Meihomei." Sniffle "By order of Meihomei, Southie is to now be withdrawn from active service, and to enter the reserve, as a decommissioned reserve ship, ready to be reactivated at need after twenty-two years of active duty! They are to be based in Megamisama harbour, and to be berthed in Megamisama Dockyards, in preparation of their next career as a museum and training ship, assigned part of the year to duty at Valias Herringbone Naval Academy, and the other part of the year at Maelle Comma." He saluted the seniormost officer present, whose badge as Nessun-Honour was for life, even after her retirement, two years ago. "Aerospace Academy, seconding the principal training ship there, EMS Ambulon." Damn, he's throwing out all the stops, thought Telbun Cavill, half the crew was tearing up, and he hadn't even gotten through half his speech.
"Furthermore, Sixth Fleet's pennant of honour is to bear the dual inscription of Northern Diagonal Flag/Southern Diagonal Flag, over the marking 'Defense of Megamisama, 813-815', in perpetuity, as a mark of the role both ships, Northie damaged beyond repair, two years ago, now sunk in the Tunnel Reef, bore in the defense of the city, and its key role in our joining the Coalition." He had been there, the speaker, every other sailor on that deck could tell, they didn't know he'd had his flag on her for years, but they knew he'd been aboard her for a long time. They'd have been shocked to know that's where his flag was, when he earned his Dawn standard-bearer medal, a foreign award, shocking to wear, really, at such a profoundly Kagomine ceremony, and his first Merit. He wasn't aboard her, though, he flew off her. So was one the three OF-10 present. Her petite blonde head almost disappearing between the massive curls of Maelle's head, still steel-grey, even at her age, and Ria Baker's grey-and-red pelt.
"Lastly, both Southern Diagonal Flare and Northern Diagonal Flare are to be written into the rolls of honour of the Kagomine Navy, and to be rematriculated EMS-198 and EMS-219, to be kept in active duty in perpetuity, to honour the service it rendered to the Kagomine People, that which could never properly be repaid. I call upon Maëlle Comma, who as Southie's commissioning officer, bears especial meaning to this ceremony."
"What, she laid the ship?" The deck was abuzz, Maelle snapped her heel down, her military boot still 100% regulation, and the leather clad wood cracked loud like gunfire over the metal deck.
"I was privileged, serving Meihomei, I was commissioned by Amalthéa-who-was-Meihomei to be the first divisional commander of sixth fleet, and to supervise the construction of what was then relatively new designs of ships, the first Flycarriers of over 300m long decks. I couldn't sleep at night, such a challenge, the ship was so big we couldn't assemble two in a single dockyard, so for some months, I spent half of every week in one dockyard, and the other half in the other, crossing Kagomei like a yo-yo. Thankfully, in 814, the enlargment of Dock #2 at Megamisama Drydock Complex #4 afforded me the chance to bring them together, and prepare for their assembly."
"I was lucky, but not so lucky, already, Mikhala-who-was-Nameihomei begged off Northie, who was complete, and sailed to Lai Dang, where off the deck, the treaty was signed, a sign of prosperity for Kagomei, and a harbinger of even further glories." She sipped some water. "Southie was kept away, for indeed the builders were not finished, nor would they be for some months. I was assisted by some Kons of note, three of which stand with us today, and a large contingent of officers, indeed, sixth fleet for many a year, was considered the premier command of Kagomei, where careers were made, where officers would discharge their duty not by swabbing a deck, but by trading fire with actual enemies, and show their mettle by meeting clever innovation with clever innovation of their own. I saw your reactions earlier, some of you did not understand whose flag rode in pride of place today. Nepotism, some of you surely thought, when Nameihomei, Meihomei's own father, put his own flag there?" She sipped more water. "Get over yourselves!"
"That's not the Red Parrot, who he is entitled to, as Amarat-who-was-Meihomei, nor the Red Parrot with an emerald border, nor any of his other flags, as a Defender of the Dawn Standard, nor the Star-Emerald Knight Emeritus, eternal champion of the order of Kagomei. This is his banner, as the actual Telbun, Soldier's Soldier of Kagomei, which he earned, briefly, on duty aboard this ship, then had, by duty, to give it up. Those who don't understand being a soldier, they wonder. Those who served, those who look at him, and know he saved thousands of lives, in a few short years as a combat flight engineer, those honour his service. Amalthéa-who-was-Meihomei saluted him first even in those days, just after his first merit. I salute you, Meritant Amarat."