Three final year cadets stalked into the bunk room Parthi shared with her classmate, Maide Crim. Both the first year cadets stiffened to attention, these weren’t just senior cadets but part of the cadre charged with keeping order within their wardroom.
“Well, slugs,” Cadet-Lieutenant Connell seemed to be in a snarling mood, “your first Commandant’s room inspection begins in half an hour and we’re here to check that you won’t embarrass the wardroom. We’ll start with Cadet Crim’s cabinet.”
Cadet-Petty Officer Faarnal, the only female member of the trio, pulled on a pair of white cotton gloves as she stepped forward and said, “Open your cabinet for me, Cadet Crim.”
Maide pivoted and pulled open the doors of her clothing cabinet to reveal the drawers and hanging space inside. Her uniforms hung neatly in place with civilian clothes crowding the portion of the rail set aside for them. The row of civilian footwear lined up behind the shoes and boots that went with her uniforms sparkled with glitter. The lower drawers designated for storage of non-military clothing appeared to be overfull, with folds of cloth and a bra strap protruding from the cut outs the drawers had instead of handles.
Cadet-Petty Officer Faarnal sighed. “You need to repack those two bottom drawers neatly, Cadet Crim, even if they’re not military wear. Otherwise you’ll be rearranging your underwear to the Commandant’s satisfaction while he watches.”
Maide blushed, “Yes, Cadet-Petty Officer. May I start now?”
“Please do.” The female senior cadet turned to Parthi. “Open your cabinet for me, Cadet Gens.”
Parthi repeated Maide’s action to display the contents of her own clothes cabinet. Beside her neatly aligned uniforms the civilian section of her hanging space contained two jacket and trouser sets while a polished pair of brown boots lined up behind her issued footwear. On further inspection, her two lower drawers contained four civilian shirts and nothing else.
“Where’s the rest of your stuff?” That came from Cadet-Petty Officer Liosan, the hitherto silent member of the trio. “The Commandant will check your study desk and under your bed, you know.”
Parthi looked at him confused. “This is everything. I was raised to think that if you couldn’t fit everything you weren’t wearing into a sealed gunny tote, then you had too much stuff. The number of shoes the Navy requires me to own is going to make that challenging,” she added.
“I believe,” said Cadet-Lieutenant Connell quietly, “that you’re going to pass inspection without any help from us.”