Perils in Promotion
by Jez Patterson
Behind every grated man, Percina's mother was fond of saying, there's a woman who got tired of waiting.
Following the capture of several hundred pirates in an area of space seedier than a parrot's birthday cake, the Fleet had requested Percina's presence. It had been tough going since she'd lost her position with the Fleet, and if getting it back meant enduring the kind of idiots one got on a Fleet interview panel, then so be it.
In the famous riddle: "What do you call my grandfather's son's brother's nephew?" The correct answer was: "the entire Fleet's officer class."
Men dominated the panel, and even in that sliver where the Fleet had succeeded in broadening the gender-spectrum of its officers, it found itself unable to alter its bias toward awarding command to those from the upper classes. Judging by the panels' slack eyes and dumb questions, the silver spoons involved had come stained with the tar of opium.
Her mother claimed the Old Buoy Network was aptly named because one day the whole decrepit structure would all sink together. Until then, one had to play its pathetic games. The instructive thing about any glass ceiling, though, was that you could look up and guarantee you'd see nothing but assholes positioned above you.
"Now, Captain Saunders," the general leading the panel said. "About this first mate of yours...."