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To the Editors of The Matriarch, re: Allegations of Pressganging

Matt Dovey is very tall, very English, and most likely drinking a cup of tea right now. He has a scar on his arm where an airship line lashed him as it came loose in a godhead thunderstorm. He now lives in a quiet market town in rural England with his wife and three children, and despite being a writer, he still hasn't found the right words to properly express the delight and joy he finds in this wonderful arrangement.

His surname rhymes with "Dopey," but any other similarities to the dwarf are purely coincidental. He is the Golden Pen winner for Writers of the Future volume 32 (2016) and was shortlisted for the James White Award in 2016. He has fiction out and forthcoming all over the place; you can keep up with it at mattdovey.com, or follow along on Facebook and Twitter both as @mattdoveywriter.

42nd of Autumn, 16th year of Annabelle II
Regarding yr/ article of 37th of Autumn, and the ongoing judicial case around consent and "press-ganging":
I have served in Her Majesty's Air Navy for two decades now, and am considered one of the foremost Captains amongst that glorious sorority, so I write with authority on the topic of naval employment and sailor acquisition.
Complaints that consent given under the influence of gin is not consent are patently ludicrous. Any man capable of signing his name to the papers clearly possesses sufficient of his faculties to understand his decision. If some of the signatures appear, upon closer scrutiny, to deviate from a recruited man's usual signature, that is surely a result of the low light and poorly balanced furniture often found in the cliffside taverns from whence such men are recruited.
These cliffside taverns are well known to be visited by naval recruiters. What else should a man drinking in such an establishment expect but to be recruited? I posit that these men secretly harbor the desire to join the Air Navy, else they would stay at home of an evening. Furthermore: have you ever frequented one of these establishments? The men within wear the most revealing short-sleeved shirts, displaying their biceps in a most brazen manner, as is the fashion. Such an open display is a clear invitation to a recruiter seeking strong arms for the bellows.
And if they truly are so drunk as to be incapable of giving consent, well, I daresay they deserve what comes to them. A stint in the Navy will instill discipline and self-respect and cure them of such reckless behavior henceforth.
No, what we see in this legal challenge is simply some flighty boy regretting his earlier decision and trying to weasel out of it by casting aspersions upon a fine officer's character. Unfortunately for him the contract is binding, and what is done is done. He should simply try and enjoy the experience.
I trust that the judiciaries will see this nonsense for what it is. Lieutenant Molly Wilding has a promising career ahead of her, and she deserves better than to have her future threatened with this baseless accusation. We have no reason to take the wild bleatings of this man over her respected word.
To the Glory of Annabelle II and the Victory of her Captains.
Yr/s faithfully,
Captain Jessica McKinder
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Author Comments

Press-ganging, or more properly impressment, was a major recruitment tool for the British Navy for 150 years up to the Napoleonic Wars. Strangely, when it comes to discussing consent for something that only affected men, we settled the matter two hundred years ago; when it comes to rape, something traditionally seen as affecting women more than men (the perceptions around male rape are part of the problem here, and I am not at all dismissing that aspect), we're still struggling to get the point across.

- Matt Dovey
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