The first year cadets’ briefing was finished and the cadets had been released when the instructor added, “Cadet Gens, a moment please.”
Parthi waited for the stream of her fellow cadets out of the room to abate and went over to him. “Sir?”
“You applied for and were granted a gunnery officer’s position for this exercise. First year cadets normally take on roles where they are part of a team, not leading one. It’s not too late to change your mind – there are slots in damage control or you could be moved to.” The instructor looked a little worried.
“Thank you, sir, but I’m happy with my position.” Parthi smiled at him. “If you’ll excuse me, I’m meeting my gunnery crew in fifteen minutes and I’ve booked us into the Quartermaster and the Armoury.”
“Why have you made those appointments, Cadet Gens?” The instructor now looked interested.
“Because, surprisingly sir, although this exercise is being run under war conditions, war kit is not on standard issue to the ship’s crew. I intend that my gunnery crew will have all the equipment they need for the environment and their jobs.” She looked at her watch. “If you will excuse me, sir, time is getting on and I have things to do.”
Almost fifteen minutes later Parthi was fairly sure that she was not what the fifteen men, and they were all men, of her gunnery crew were expecting. The expressions on their faces told her that, so she took a deep breath and started, “I am your Officer Commanding for the duration of this exercise and we will be manning Gunnery Station Four. As far as you are concerned, I answer to Cadet Gens, sir and/or boss. According to the write up I received for this exercise, it will be run under full war conditions, with live ammunition and it begins at 0300, ship’s time tomorrow.” She looked around the room. “I expect the scenarios will run the full gamut of explosive and insidious decompression, firing exercises, enemy boarding parties and systems malfunctions. You have not yet been issued with full war kit – we will be rectifying that omission shortly.”