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

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Chapter 38 - The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye[]

Triad - Tharkard, Lyran Commonwealth

They didn't make her wear a dress, at least...

Elizabeth stepped through the doors with Evelynn flanking her. The invitation said 'Cadet uniforms' were acceptable wear. She didn't attend an Academy per-se...

but that didn't mean she had to wear a boring old dress. Her outfit was helped by Evelynn and Tabby conspiring with the Commodore and consulting with Regent-Colonel Stonecipher, who was openly pleased at her idea for a special Coast Guard Academy for the Militia.

The result, was the prototype she was wearing tonight. The Jacket was black, with a narrow 'ribbon bar' above her nameplate, the ranks indicated by braiding on the sleeves and pins on the shoulder-straps, a lyran Lyre on the right lapel, and a FedCom Sword-and-fist-over-sunburst on the left.

Kowloon Coast Guard - Orca Emblem

Kowloon Coast Guard insignia

Her ribbons were coded. Right now, she had the one for passing Vaccum suit operations, sublight Navigation, and Jump Calculation. The Right shoulder sported the Coast Guard Militia's Orca Rampant. Her trousers were cadet-gray, contrasting with the almost-black jacket and the polished 'shore boots', shined to a mirror polish. The hardest thing to master, was tying the tie in a respectable double-windsor knot. It wasn't like the other Junior school rags, worn at the hip, but then her hip was occupied by a polished leather belt.

"Baroness Spider Moon in waiting, Elizabeth Anne Ngo!" the herald announced.

Lizzie stood out, and she felt it. Most of the other kids here were in established primary academy uniforms, or ball gowns. She felt a little provincial, especially with her lack of visible medals, the narrow single bank of ribbons wasn't as impressive, and she remembered to take her hat off and carry it since she was indoors without a weapon (per SLDF regulations that were even now being taught to kids on Giap Island back home.)

Her carried cap held a legend in gold lettering. "SLS Tabiranth" and the same Orca rampant on the cap-badge...which would be hella more impressive outside where she could wear it.

"Uhm, Cadet...what? Leutnant?"

"No sir, the correct term is 'Cadet Apprentice', sirrah." she answered the very imposing gentleman with AFFC General's rank whose name she didn't know. "I bring Gifts for Arthur Steiner-Davion, where do I put it?"

"Bring it this way...Leutnant Mosovich, if you would join the adults in the next room?" Her Majesty the Archon smoothed.

Liz took the box from Evelynn.

"You followed the rules I set down?" Melissa asked.

"Ayeh Mum." Liz said promptly, "Ship-square mum."

"I have no idea what that mumbling means. does it mean 'yes your highness'?"

"AYe-Yes, Your Highness." Liz said, finally remembering her decorum.

"Good. do you often mumble in spacer babble, Baroness?"

"Yes Mu-Yes Highness, I do." Liz half-stumbled her response.

"Well, at least you answer clearly, your Grandfather always lapsed half into Vietnamese or Hebrew when he visited Mother, it was often infuriating to try to keep track of their conversations." Melissa confided.

"My Grandfather was the strongest man I have ever known." Liz defended him unconsciously, "Alessandro's interrogators broke instead of him."

"So they did." she nodded approvingly. "That is quite a lot to live up to. Are you up to it?"

"I don't know, Highness." Liz confessed, "Grandfather said you never know who is strong until they must be."

"Very you believe it so?"

"I do." Liz asserted. "I just would do my best."

"SO must we all..." the doors to the party opened. "He's over there-by the fireplace."

Elizabeth marched a quick-time like she'd been taught by Colonel Stonecipher during a gravity-break in Ia Drang.

Arthur saw her, then he saw her nameplate, and then...he brightened visibly, "Hi!!"

"Hi." Elizabeth studied him for a moment. Dark red hair, pale features, what her grandfather would call an 'english chin'. "I brought a present-" she extended the box to him.

He opened it quickly.

"What is it?" He asked.

"If you do the calcs right, it shows you your destination in a jump." she told him, "it's a...puzzle thing. I didn't know what to get you so I made it with the navigation charts..."

"Can you show me how?" he asked

She relaxed and started showing him how to interpret the box's controls and unfold the display.

It only took once, and Arthur was engrossed in trying it out. 'This is so cool-you made it?"

"Ayeh." she asserted, smiling at the praise.

"Wow!! PETER!! You've GOTTA see this!!"

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