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The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye (Cover Art)

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Chapter 114 - The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye[]

"So with Mom's blessing I'm...

...going into the Naval programme." Arthur finished, "Victor likes it, but Peter teases me relentlessly about wanting to be a 'bus driver'."

Elizabeth giggled, "It can't be that bad!!"

"It is." Penny confirmed. "Right now the big debate's whether Arthur goes to The Nagelring, or NAIS, for his Naval education."

"No spider moon?"

"Above the Truce line." Arthur noted, "Also, mom about had kittens when she heard you were out playing Horatio Hornblower in a cutter back in January."

"I'm good at it, it's something I know I'm good at, your mom should loosen up." Liz commented, "It's not like I have forever to grow up."

"I know." Penny chirped in, "we know, even if his parents want to pretend otherwise...or parent."

"I heard. Sorry about your dad." Liz noted.

"They say it was quick, he had a heart attack, dead before he hit the floor, no signs of foul play-besides his diet, anyway...which is why we're sneaking off to town as soon as I can give the Guardsmen the slip to eat food that wasn't prescribed by a nutritionist. Mom's got this whole 'meal plan' thing going in the Palace, about the only person I think actually likes it is Katherine."

"She's still doing the 'supermodel' thing??" Liz asked.

"Worse-she's taking Political Science classes, Marketing, AND doing the supermodel thing."

"I have to take some of those classes." Liz confessed, "Patrick doesn't let me skip them either. He says it's necessary because I'm responsible for half a billion people now, and I'm not sure what that means, except that I get more out of the Econ classes and referencing my notes from my internship with the Exchequer than I get out of learning how to pose for the know they're going to give you a proper Warship when you graduate, right?"

Arthur shuddered, "Yeah. 'ready or not', because YOU already commanded two of them."

Liz frowned, "MAKE them not do that, Arthur. I grew up on ships, you didn't. You need to know your ropes before you can stand the helm."

"Yeah." he agreed. "I don't suppose you're going to try to get Vic to waiver you? maybe I can have you as my 'Flag Captain' if they stick me with a Fox or something."

"No less than a Cruiser." Liz observed, "that's what they'll give you, because you're a royal you'll need a good cruiser boss, someone with perspective that you can listen to-because more than half the job, is paying attention to your staff so they can give you decisions to make that don't break everything."

"That doesn't sound like a yes." Penny noted.

"Patrick, bless him, knows what the limits are." Elizabeth stated. "Victor won't waiver me because he's a decent human being and he's mostly right-I get away with a lot being a Baroness commanding my locals, that I wouldn't get away with trying to lead professional military that aren't sworn to me on a personal level. Professionals like experience in the lead, and with good reason. Mostly I ran my plans through my officers, they refined them or told me why they wouldn't work, before they executed. Outside of Navigation calcs and general concepts I was mostly cargo in both fights, relegated to 'looking confident' and trying not to show how scared I was, or how many things I bungled that the men and women under me had to patch over or compensate for-a real officer wouldn't have lost a single cutter in the Snow Raven fight, I lost two." she regarded Arthur, "You need to be that real officer, Art."

"Grim." Penny judged.

"It's the most solid thing I can say." Liz observed, "our generation are going to be the ones who bring back the Navy after centuries of it being, as your brother Peter put it, 'bus drivers'. We have to set the example, establish the traditions, and show them what a real Navy is for and can do...and that means you, Arthur, as a Royal Scion who volunteered for it, have to be the most-real-officer there, because people will be watching you, and they're going to criticize everything you do, including doing nothing...but hey, where's this place with the good food?"

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