Well to amuse myself and maybe some of you, let me see if I can sustain a few words in a story for us all No comments needed unless it either Bores you to distraction or you actually like it! | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3| Part4
“The animus will see you now, Provost commander”
The Gamma class workers statement was delivered in the perfect cultured monotone of their settings. Against his training Provost Nicolai nodded an acknowledgement back to the functionary.
It was unlikely a mere Gamma would be able to appreciate the courtesy but somehow it felt appropriate to Nicolai
Stepping into the Spartan office of the Animus, he snapped a sharp salute the moment the door slid shut behind him.
The White blond woman behind the desk languidly rose to her feet and returned the salute casually.
“Ah Commander Nicolai, welcome, and congratulations on your new command. Zathabaria appreciates her officer heroes” she began. Not a single trace of sincerity in her perfunctory tone. Regaining her seat and pointing to the chair opposite her Animus d’Borah pulled a sheaf of papers into her hand and scanned the contents.
“You have read the briefing I take it?” She asked rhetorically. Of course he had it would have been unthinkable for a new commander to shirk his first duty, to know his new command! Insulting!
Her eyes widened as she read and her whole mannerism changed. “Ah my apologies Alpha Nicolai I have become so used to dealing with Beta level commanders I did not realise you had achieved Alpha status! Unusual for a coloniser crew to be so honoured!”
As she had acknowledged his Animus Alpha status Nicolai ventured to respond without asking permission as a lesser classification would. “The Selardi system was deemed to be of great potential Animus d’Borah. Hence much like your own appointment here as founder Animus to the Abberret system, and Alpha was deemed necessary to achieve full utilisation.”
“in time” she interjected, obviously nettled.
“…in time, madam Animus of Abberret. I have studied your direction of the founding of this system for the Empire and derived great enlightenment from it” he finished as suavely as he could manage as despite their equal social class the woman was still a system Govenor! He buried the thoughts of the pages of the journal where he had found her actions questionable if not down right inefficient! The Peoples Realm of Zathabaria despised inefficiently!
Animus d’Borah settled back in her chair and eyed the younger man keenly. “In deed, you should have Animus Nicolai. To business then, my shipyards have out fitted your squadron as per the directives of the high command. In addition to the long range Imperium coloniser you have three Multi purpose scout craft. A Doublecross System steward with compact Mining capabilities, and two Interdictor Class fast defence craft. Heavily shielded and armed as their size allows.
“You will travel out to the Selardi system via the out post on Emslyp 4 and link up with the Outrider class Scout currently warding the most suitable world for immediate colonisation. Do you have any… questions…?” Clearly she expected none. So Nicolai thought to upset the arrogant woman one last time before he sailed forth to his Glorious destiny as a planetary founder!
“As Alpha I retain the right to overrule the planetary selection by the Beta class commander of the Outrider do I not?” This was expected convention after all, hardly a question. Those rare individuals allowed to attain Alpha status in the Realm generally could countermand the Orders of any Beta or below in there area of specialisation. Still to set aside the survey crews recommendation would raise an eyebrow or two…
Animus d’Borah played it conventionally though Nicolai could sense she had questions of her own, but not ones she could ask and remain socially polite in their stratified society. “You have that right, I suggest caution how you exercise it Alpha Nicolai. But in the Selardi system you word will be as the Emperors. I wish you luck!” With that she rose and offered him a hand signalling the audience was terminated.
Shaking the proffered hand then snapping once more into a academy perfect salute Nicolai turned on his heel and left the fuming System governors office for the last time.
“Fuel reserve depleted Animus Nicolai” stated the helmsman flatly.
Nicolai steepled his fingers from his command chair. The man was Beta class as were most ships officers but his tone showed a tremor of emotion at what should have been a factual statement. Not a cause for alarm. That was the problem with Beta’s they had genuine intelligence and could be trusted with many complex tasks and were technically “Alive” as the empire defined its citizens; but they suffered from an over dependency on emotion and sentiment. If the helms man was at all nervous now, perhaps he should be replaced. Nicolai mused.
The problem was all he had for company was Beta’s; the Delta class soldiers and Gamma Technicians were at best “Semi living” and while capably of independent thought hardly stimulating. Until he had socialisation camps up and running for the breeding and cloning of replacements he could afford no losses. After all occasionally Beta’s developed the correct characteristics to be reclassified Alpha’s. Though such “Revenants”, as any who managed to cross caste boundaries were called, were exceedingly rare.
“You seem disquieted Beta Pennington” he observed gently so as to let the man know he was not in trouble. “You perhaps have an observation?”
His eyes still attending his task the Helms man explained: “Yes Animus, would it not have been prudent to retain a few hundred tons of fuel in case we needed evasive maneuvers in the case of Pirate ambush sir?”
“Your concern is valid and so noted, Beta Pennington. I had allowed for that, but I am please at least one of this crew can think independently!” Nicolai congratulated the man, loudly so the rest of the bridge crew could hear it. No fear in him just a legitimate concern for the mission, very good. He could work with that.
“Reset course 12 degrees Gal North Navigation. Head for the Takku system” He ordered.
Beta Pennington swivelled his chair about to partially face him. “Sir that will cause a delay of some hours in our mission time table?”
“Indeed briefly it shall. However if you have access to the survey report on Takku tell me what you see.”
Pennington turned back to his console and requested the information. A flicker on his secondary screen noted the unusual request for information from a non command Officer. With a snap of his wrist he authorised the computer to display to the man what he had seen in the briefing data.
“No inhabitable systems sir… oh I see. Very good sir course being plotted now to Planet G”
Nicolai smiled. Quick of wit to grasp his intent and just a shade of initiative. Very well Beta Pennington you pass the test. “Very good Animus Pennington.” he stated softly. Despite there discipline, there was a ripple through the rest of the crew as he stated he considered Pennington fully alive. The highest respect one could bestow in Zathabaria. “What is your personal Nomen, Beta Pennington?”
The man completed his flight programming to the Olzine heavy lava world in the Takku system first, then swivelled fully around to meet his commanders eyes. “Carl, Animus Nicolai” he said carefully “Carl Pennington”
Nicolai smiled. “And I am Vanrick, Animus Pennigton. When in private at least” He settled back into his chair as the Doublecross class Steward Craft came about to the new heading.
“When this shift terminates dine with me in the ready room Animus Pennington I would have your thoughts on our destination”
Refuel at Takku and be in system days before schedule would give him time to see if the Survey crews had indeed selected the best the Selardi system had to offer the empire.