Without another word, the four of them left the central room and began down the corridor towards the shuttle bay. When they entered, they saw that only four shuttles remained, the other committee members hadn’t hesitated in heading back to their respective stations. Standing patiently in front of each shuttle was the respective pilot for each. Lady Mitch and Madam Night gave each other brief looks of disdain before briskly walking to their shuttles, which, fortunately for them, had the other two in between them.
Lady Mitch reached hers, and her pilot tipped his hat in greeting. “Hello Lady Mitch, I trust…”
“Don’t even.” She snapped as she rushed by, cutting him off mid-sentence.
Her pilot let out a brief and quiet exhale, glanced over at Sir Fisiio and Sir Arjes’s pilots who had overheard, and stepped into the shuttle himself.
A few moments later, the engines on the wing-tips of the shuttle lit up and it hoisted itself up, leaving the confines of station Scorpion and shifting into empty space.
In the back compartment of the shuttle, Lady Mitch was finally able to relax slightly. She made a swift movement to let down her hair before beginning to remove her dress, letting out a lengthy inhale as the restriction it had been placing on her breathing was suddenly gone. “Radim.” She spoke calmly.
The screen at the front of her compartment flickered to live and the face of her pilot appeared. “Yes Lady Mitch?”
Continuing to undress, Lady Mitch rolled her eyes slightly. “You’re never going to let go of the formalities are you Radim?” She sighed slightly. “Never mind, are we in the clear?”
Radim looked back at the radar screen in front of himself. “Radar indicates that two more shuttles have left Scorpion and are heading back to their stations, that anomaly is still there however.”
Pulling up one of the cushions on her lengthy sofa, Lady Mitch pulled up a box from underneath, revealing inside a fresh change of clothes. “That’s two weeks now isn’t it?”
Radim looked back at her again. “Yes Lady Mitch. I took it in to be repaired but they stated that nothing was wrong with it, and they even replaced the system but it persists. I wonder if something is blocking it on the outside of the shuttle, as it seems to be in the same place all the time.”
Lady Mitch stopped dressing briefly and glanced around herself nervously, quickly looking out the windows into the void of space. “Are you sure someone isn’t following us?”
Radim shook his head. “I’m sure, the radar cross-section is too small.”
Lady Mitch sighed heavily. “Ever since this started I’ve been concerned, and I’m starting to fear this is only going to get worse from here on out.”
Radim turned his eyes back to the controls again. “You know I’m not one to ask questions Lady Mitch, nor do I really want to get involved in the politics of the stations. The decisions you make are in the best interest of everyone, you know I believe that.” He turned to look her back in the eyes. “And as you know Lady Mitch, you are my boss, and I support you completely, even if I don’t understand what’s going on a good amount of the time, nor do I understand your antics.”
“I appreciate what you are saying there.” Lady Mitch responded.
Silence followed for the next few minutes, the shuttle purring as it moved, for most of its journey it just glided, maintaining trajectory with minimal effort, only every so often did Radim have to put any power into the thrusters, and only for minor changes.
The Shuttles rapid gravity-inducing rotation meant that real windows were impractical, so instead a series of ‘window’ screens were placed on the inside, with their image coming from cameras placed on the outside of the shuttle, on a thin strip that wrapped around the entire of the craft. This strip was designed to rotate in the opposite direction to the shuttle, placing their view in the same spot all the time, eliminating disorientation and giving a clear, still view of space. This thin strip also housed the radar, allowing it to be relatively rigid and as such give a stronger signal.
It was through one of these ‘windows’ that Lady Mitch now gazed, Station Andrews and Station Jackson visible in the distance, and beyond that, she could see the formerly inhabited planet of Earth. Like everyone on the stations, Lady Mitch, while having known of the Earth’s history, had been born and raised on her station, and all she knew were the stories of those who crippled the planet.
Lady Mitch sighed softly. While she had known she would land a place on the Committee from a young age, part of her still to this day longed for a different role. She turned to look at the screen ahead of her, and saw Radim focusing on the flying of the shuttle, oblivious to her thought processes.
Part of her respect for him was that he did something that she wanted to do, he had gone against the tide of those on Station Nimura and had landed both an important role, and one that no-one from Nimura had ever landed before.
“Do you think days were simpler back in the days of the Earth?” she suddenly found herself asking.
Radim turned his head slightly to return her gaze. “I couldn’t say, according to the history books Earth went through a lot of different periods, it grew and then was crippled, had collapse of society and a scarcity of food. And that’s just within its last fifty years or so.” He turned to focus back on his flying. “I think we have simpler and more efficient lives here, but I have nothing to compare it to.”
Lady Mitch tilted her head slightly. “You raise a good point, maybe we should just be content with the lives we have.”
“Given the relationship yourself and Madam Night have that might be good advice to follow yourself.” Radim chuckled.
Lady Mitch scowled slightly. “You know the situation.” Her scowl faded. “But so long as it’s kept to ourselves I suppose I can be content with that.”
Radim gave a faint smile in return. “Of course I know the situation, how could I forget? But as always my lips are sealed. Now you might want to finish getting dressed, we will be back at Nimura soon and I would rather not have to explain why the highest ranking member of the station, as well as highly valued committee member, came to be undressed in the back of my shuttle.”
Lady Mitch frowned at him slightly, but continued dressing in compliance. “Once you’ve dropped me off at my home you can take the rest of the week, I don’t plan on traveling again until the next committee meeting.”
Radim maneuvered the shuttle to bring it to the entrance of Nimura station. “Thank you Lady Mitch. I’ll get to spend a few days with Stana.”
“One of these days I will actually have to meet her you know?” Lady Mitch smiled at him.
“And have her be intimidated by the most powerful person living in station Nimura?” Radim raised an eyebrow. “Lady Mitch I think I can honestly say I’d prefer to ferry Lord Abultrates around.”
As Radim docked the shuttle with the exterior of Lady Mitch’s house, she shook her head at his statement. “Lord Abultrates has gotten through three pilots in the last year, you might want to rethink that statement. Not all of the members are as forgiving as I am.”
“Not all have your history. Not all understand like you do.”
Now fully Dressed, Lady Mitch stood to leave the shuttle. “I’ll see to myself from here. You can go, but be back in time for next week’s meeting.”
Radim nodded. “I will do, thank you Lady Mitch.” The screen went blank and Lady Mitch left the shuttle.
Entering her home, she clicked her fingers at the two waiting servants who complied, closing the door behind her and rushing to meet her needs for the remainder of the day.