Parthi Gens asked curiously, “How many people am I allowed to have at this presentation?”
The Warrant Officer Ceremonial said, “Usually there’s no limit on current spouses, children, parents and siblings. Extended family can depend on how many other people are receiving awards on the day. How many did you have in mind?”
“Well, my only living blood relatives are my grandparents so that’s four but there’s my foster family who looked after me during the war.” Parthi twitched her mouth a little, “That’s a whole ship’s company, really. I mean, the Anchor of the Morning isn’t a big ship by naval standards, but….”
“Now, the Anchor of the Morning is the ship you are due the unit citations for and where you were stationed when most of these qualifying actions took place, correct?” The Warrant Officer Ceremonial flicked open a reference manual so that Parthi could see the relevant section. “That makes any attendance from her crew not only very correct from a ceremonial point of view, but completely separate to your personal allowance of attendees. The numbers and composition of their delegation would be subject to negotiation between their Captain and the Commandant – not your problem to arrange at all.”
“But I could have them there? If they want to come and can get here, of course. They might have a contract that has them somewhere else.” Parthi was unconsciously sitting on the edge of her chair in excitement.
“Of course you can,” replied the Warrant Officer Ceremonial kindly. Zir paused and asked carefully, “Is there anything the Commandant needs to know before approaching Captain Sarharmudi?”
“I lost my contacts data in the shemozzle of being taken from the Anchor and placed with my grandparents,” replied Parthi equally carefully. “Some chronic obsessive deuces with child protection responsibilities tried to check my personal data files when I was being repatriated. They used the factory settings and my device self-wiped. I had backups but those got left behind in the rush to get me off the Anchor and onto the ship coming here. Everyone was a bit embarrassed about that, but no-one seemed to be able to do anything helpful.” She added, “I had no idea that the Captain didn’t know how to find me either.”
The Warrant Officer Ceremonial made a note on the pad in front of zir. “Which gender is the Captain?” The Warrant Officer Ceremonial’s own choice of pronoun indicated not a personal gender. but rather that zir’s gender was none of anyone else’s business.
“Captain Sarharmudi is male, of the abodna, and, when I left the Anchor, he was entitled to three captain’s pins – gold, carnelian, and jade.”
This is now followed by The Cadet: Part 23.