Life in the Tarka Fleet
The Tarka military hierarchy is unusual in Tarka society, in that the vast majority of soldiers, pilots and fleet officers are male Tarkas, while the majority of commissioned officers and graduates from the elite military academies are female. Within the operating fleet, this leads to a dynamic whereby almost 90% of all commissioned officers are females. A single female or a small, tightly-knit cadre of females is often in charge of an entire crew of “immature” Tarka males, who are highly motivated both personally and professionally to distinguish themselves in combat.
As an example, the typical crew manifest of a Tarkasian destroyer would include a female officer carrying a rank of captain, a pair of immature males at the helm and navigation/communication posts, a female technical officer in the engine room, and four to six male gunners. On a larger vessel, the technical officer would have several younger males under her command, and possibly a junior female engineer; the command staff on the bridge would include the female commander and a small cadre of junior officers who were either less experienced females or male NCO’s who had risen in rank due to distinguished service. By contrast, authority positions outside of the command deck or the drive room are far more likely to be occupied by experienced male officers than by female; it is rare for a female Tarka to acquire the experience necessary to become a gunnery sergeant, for example.
This hierarchy of Tarkas in sex-based positions of authority produces highly effective combat units, so long as the officers are always present to keep their men under control and working together. The officers aboard any ship are highly prized for this reason; the command module of any Tarkasian vessel will be more heavily armored than any other part of the ship. Protecting their command staff is not only desirable for personal and social reasons, to the junior male crew; it also helps to avoid the inevitable chaos, which results when a typical Tarkasian crew complement is left to its own devices. Junior males without leadership are rarely able to establish a clear chain of command.
This system of organization would have a tendency to break down if senior males were not available in the higher ranks of fleet command, of course. Senior males are accordingly promoted for distinguished service, and serve a necessary function when it’s necessary to group larger numbers of ships and personnel. Ergo, while the vast majority of commissioned officers below a rank of colonel are females, the highest-ranking officer on the line in any given battle group will almost always be a senior male. In combat, a senior commands quick and absolute obedience: his image and the sound of his voice are sufficient to keep several ships organized and acting on his orders.
The Official Motto of the Tarka Star Navy is "Kaan, Kokari, Kogoru—Habas, Harraku, Hanakuum". Roughly translated, that would be "Force, Desire, Victory: Honor, Ambition, (Interstellar) Empire".
The unofficial motto of the common fleeters would probably be "Hanaru ya Bente Vu": "The Stars Make the Best Eggs".
The Tarka employ a decimal-style ranking system in their interstellar navy. The chain of command looks as follows:
Lac Tar (roughly "admiral"—warleader of 100,000)
Maalk Tar (warleader of 10,000)
Amtara (leader of 1,000)
Sippa (leader of 100)
Saal (leader of 10)
For example, five ships with 200 crew each would generally answer to an officer of "Amtara" rank. A flotilla of 40 such ships would be led by a "Maalk Tar" into battle.
Honorifics are simple in the Tarka military: the Supreme Commander is addressed as "Var Kona". All other superior officers are addressed as "kaandai".
These ranks are not as literal in the modern day as they were in the ancient times in which they were first coined, naturally, but a good rough estimate of the rank of any Tarkasian officer can be based on the number of warm bodies under his command.