" You've become a Commodore General," General Masterson said stiffly, sitting across from him in the cafeteria.

" Yes. I'm a decorated war hero," William replied. ā€œ As Iā€™m sure you know.ā€

That man stared him down, gaze heavy and inscrutable.

" Why join the military?" he asked.

" I suppose it could've been out of admiration for you," William said. " But, more than that, it was because of the late Commodore General Honda."

" I see," General Masterson said, taking a polite sip of his drink.

" He paid for my education, as well, and I served under his command for a while."

" I paid for your education," General Masterson said.

" You paid for two years of it," William corrected. " ... I assume you paid for the others as well, at any rate. That's awfully generous of you. It must've been quite expensive."

General Masterson stared down at him in silence.

" It was the least I could do, given the circumstances," he said.

" I'm grateful."

Another slightly too long pause.

" How was... your schooling? I've heard many of the others had... difficulties."

" Oh? Do you keep up with them?" William asked. " It was really pleasant. At first, I was actually a bit scared, and uncertain of how to do anything. Things like reading and writing were harder than I thought they'd be. But once I understood it, it came to me very easily."

" Is that so?"

" Yes. I graduated early, with honors, and when I formally joined the military, I found myself rising through the ranks quickly."

He laughed a little, on edge.

" But, I still get people complaining about my handwriting," he said.

" You've adjusted very well," General Masterson said.

" Is that a bad thing?"