SC.2023.41 Kagomine Secretary of Defense
"Thank you for joining us, Zim-Secretaries." The Kagomine Secretary of State, , and the , Valias Herringbone were filing in in the Netamei's office, then someone Altamont wasn't expecting at all followed them, unconcerned, his priceless ancient wungli in perfect order, the little hat with the cat ears giving him a whimsical look.
"You said you had news on Operation Pink Dawn?" Mikhala asked, like the woman born to royalty she was outside this room.
"Cleared? Yes, did you forget his new job? He's as highly cleared as anyone now, if anyone's not cleared, it's me." That was a joke, Valias had ordered the operation, she had to be cleared for it...
"Well, I am forced to report our allies in Alessia are getting suspicious."
"I'm sorry, can someone read me into Operation Pink Dawn? I don't think I'm grasping the issue yet?"
"Pink dawn is a secretary-wide initiative at State and Defense to hide the fact that the main reason we're not counterattacking the Tsou, is that we think the Goguryans or the Moniqans would strike us while we do."
"Counterattack to seize outlying islands, or a strike at Seylon?"
"Maybe a distraction in Seylon, but yeah, the outlying islands are much more of a concern, since they used to belong to the Moniq, for Minao, and the barren atolls of Jivani for Gogur."
"I'm at state, how come I wasn't told?"
"You weren't cleared for the operation's name, you certainly acted like you knew you were not to blab..."
"Oh, State's part is just secrecy in this?"
"Yes, Defence has a much more active role, we have been shuffling deployments, especially at FlyForce, to cover any possible scenarios where we'd be caught unawares. No single flag officer has been left unaffected."
"And the Netamei is the one telling us because?"
"I'm the one on-call for decrypts at this level, your turn is next week, Linnaeus-Zim."
"And your turn is when, Auntie?"
"I won't be taking turns, not for the next few months, the pregnancy doesn't mix well with being awoken at all hours. But once the baby's born, I'll be after you, Linni, and before Altamont."
"I'm pleased you've come to visit, we have much to discuss, your highness."
"Could you not, stepmother?"
"Now, now, the proper form of address is 'mother'."
"I'd rather not, mine's still alive, and your superior, in Kagomei, at least."
"No, not that we'd enter into a contest about such things, but Aumhivina Kautanissian trumps a Nameihomei, I checked. When I obey your mother, I do so out of recognizing those are the right orders, not because I must."
"And every soldier must only obey worthy orders from his superiours, how are you different?"
"I forgot that, as a civilian, I'm not bound to that, exactly, although, as a priestess, sworn to your mother to help her serve Kagomei, I am bound to this duty."
State Secretary Veneer asked if you would lunch with her and her son today."
"I didn't tell her we were meeting."
"No, I told your father, so he probably told her. He says hello, by the way."
"Glory earned, in return, to the Zeroth of Nine, Kautanissian."
"Wampole, get the ball going, Kannie's at #2, the whole nine yards."
"Not number 1?"
"Number 1 is the Nessun's privilege, I can't use it for every meeting, or I'll lose what support I have of theirs."
"What is it, Wampole? I can't keep Amarat waiting."
"He has privileges, both at number 1 and number 3, so it need not be your privilege being called."
"Somone's been holding out on me, you have privileges at #1 too? Obviously, you've been acting undersecretary of state as much as both your cousins, but..."
"It's a new interpretation of the law, as an OR-09, I am expected to mess with the Nessuns."
"I can't believe I missed that, wait, are you properly frocked, son? I don't see no rank tabs here."
"All military personnel report to me in full mess uniform, dear, I do countersign their paychecks..."
"Not many have the excuse that they thought a prince's third best would do, but it's still an excuse." She obviously seemed to enjoy his discomfiture. "And we both know even your second best would do for a state occasion."
"Can I be excused to attend to uniform, Zim-Meritant-Secretary?"
"Please, Kon-Meritant-Soul." That left Amarat gaping, she'd greeted him like she was his unit chaplain... Wait, if he didn't include his current post, but his current rank, she probably was, ranking priestess for one third of the planet would leave little place she wasn't ranking priestess. And the OR-09, OR-10, OF-09 and OF-10 ranks were considered a single 'parish' simply for consideration of national security, unless they were with the unit assigned to their post, so she was his chaplain, something to keep in mind...
"What a dashing young man you have on your staff, Highest."
"Thank you for lending him to us, he's doing quite well."
"If you asked for him, I would have to give him back, that makes him a loan."
"Well, he has multiple duties, and is doing quite well in them. Linni? How'd you find out about this?" She directed the question to her adopted nephew, who was fussing over his Miptun in the corner.
"Err, I didn't, just..."
"Just slacking off for lunch with the Miptun? There may be hope for you yet." Her smile was warm.