The lowest ranked commissioned officer, an Ensign is mostly responsible for support tasks
As seen in A Few Good Elves
Avalonian Imperial Navy ship. The name "ensign" is another word for a flag. As might be gleaned from this, Ensigns are responsible for the flag and signaling. The on-duty Ensign in charge of this is also called a Yeoman. Ensign is also the typical rank assigned to a Ship's Druid , who is responsible for tending the ship's garden, and for the health and "repair" of the Starseed ship on which they serve. Ensigns are of sufficient rank to be assigned permanent duty as a Star-Pilot, which usually means they Pilot pinnaces, messenger-craft, and transports, but can also mean a subordinate position as a Pilot on a ship-of-the-line. They may also command a prize-ship, a watch, or a crew on their Captain's orders.
Ensigns are chosen from among promising Midshipmen as candidates for command. They require a basic education in literacy and mathematics. If they intend to train as a Star-Pilot, they also need to be capable of casting some form of magic. A particularly promising Druid may be allowed to "bone up" on the other necessary qualifications of an Ensign's rank in order to facilitate their advancement.
An Ensign is required to have been a Midshipman for at least five years before they are considered for the position. It is worth noting that many Midshipmen are still younger than the age of majority (40 years) after this period, so as with Middies. all minors are dismissed from service if combat conditions present themselves to the crew of their ship; whether this due to wartime conditions, or just particularly dangerous assignments.
After the required five years, with a recommendation from their commanding officer, a would-be Ensign must pass an examination from the Navy Board that tests their knowledge of navigation, command, mathematics, literacy, and starfaring. Assuming they pass the test, they receive the promotion.
Ensign is a commissioned rank, and therefore falls directly in the chain of command. NCOs answer to them. In practice, this is more likely to mean than the Junior Lieutenant relays the commands of the higher-ranking officers to the non-commissioned ranks, but occasionally it may mean giving orders of their own. They are expected to put on a brave front in the face of danger, and to show leadership qualities to inspire the crew under their command. There is also a greater expectation of not embarrassing the Navy with their actions; they are expected to be a good example.
An Ensign serving as a Ship's Druid is responsible for the tending, care and growth of the Starseed ship and the ship's garden. A ship's garden both serves as an additional source of food and medicine, and as an additional refresher to the air supply. A Sub-Lieutenant who is training as a Star-Pilot may be called upon to either serve as a secondary Pilot on a warship, or to Pilot pinnaces and, potentially, small fighter-craft. They might also be called upon to Pilot prize-ships back to an appropriate port-of-call. They are not usually trusted with the responsibility of Piloting an Imperial messenger ship.
An Ensign is paid 18 Galaxies (platinum) and 5 Novae (gold) per year. Like all Naval starhands, a Junior Lieutenant's food and accommodations while on active duty are provided. Further, an Ensign is a commissioned officer, and is entitled to receive "half-pay" when not on active duty. This is literally half the wages they typically receive when in active service.
Accoutrements & Equipment
If a Junior Lieutenant is also a Ship's Druid , they are issued a blue headband, which carries a live plant, usually a Starflower or other starfaring flora. The exact plant used varies with individual fleet tradition. A Ship's Druid does wear sword and bandolier, but this is often ceremonial, since their calling may require them to only use natural, unworked weaponry. An Ensign-Pilot is also issued a silver-grey flight suit. The suit is designed to be loose fitting and comfortable, and may feature a butt-flap. There is a patch on the front with a metal chevron and button, which, on a Sub-Lieutenant's uniform, are both made of brass. Ensign-Pilots are also issued a shorter boot to replace the hot, sweaty sea boots, a bomber jacket with brass strips along the sides, goggles, and a silver scarf. These suits are more easily worn with the belt buckle version of a Starmetal Talisman, which is less constricting, and less hot and itchy, than the collar. The rank insignia of an Ensign is a brass double-crescent pin, worn at the collar of a coat or flight suit. Coats also feature an embroidered epaulet with the double brass crescent, and this is also stitched onto the middle of the upper back part of the flight suit. For this reason, regulations require that a Pilot keep their hair off of their neck, exposing the insignia. To more easily distinguish them from Middies, Ensign-Pilots are required to wear their berets with their flight suits.
Grounds for Removal/Dismissal
A Junior Lieutenant can be dismissed from service for inappropriate conduct, abusing their position, inappropriate behaviour, or dereliction of duty, through a court martial. They can also be dismissed due to unfitness for service due to physical or mental defect. As a commissioned officer, it is more difficult to dismiss an Ensign from service than an NCO. Demotion is far more likely, although due to most officers being drawn from the noble classes, this is viewed with a certain shameful stigma.
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Civic, Military, Commissioned
Form of Address
Ensign, Junior Lieutenant, Sub-Lieutenant; elan (sir,) elana (ma'am) or elanan (non-gendered term of respect)
Second Lieutenant, 2nd Lieutenant, Junior Lieutenant, Sub-Lieutenant
Source of Authority
Length of Term
Reports directly to
Ensigns are often assigned to Pilot pinnaces and small fighter-craft.
New uniforms and rank insignias from the tailor arrived the next day. Shaundar wondered who had ordered them. They came with a certificate of promotion. “Ensigns now?” Selena asked. “You get a promotion for defying the Mithril? That’s a switch.” Shaundar nodded. “Well, we’ve officially taken our Oaths now. So if they’re going to recognize our previous service, we’d have to be officially commissioned officers.” Selena nodded. “Right! Because Cadets and Midshipmen have no command authority.” She grinned and sketched them a salute. “Congratulations, sirs!”