The Orbiter. Part 12

The three stepped off the shuttle in sequential order. Radim first, followed by Stana, and once they had positioned themselves on either side of the door, Lady Mitch stepped off.

Two of the other shuttles had already arrived, their pilots standing formally by the front of their crafts, while the committee members themselves were nowhere to be seen, having already travelled through to the meeting room.

Lady Mitch gave a slight nod at Stana, who responded in kind, before taking up position in Radim’s usual spot, in front of Lady Mitch’s shuttle. Radim swiftly leant into the shuttle and collected a box from the inside, before following Lady Mitch down the corridor towards the meeting room, giving a brief nod to the other pilots as he passed them. As they approached the meeting room, out of view of the pilots, Radim overtook his station leader, and passed through a door further down the same corridor. Once Radim was out of sight and the door had closed behind him, Lady Mitch composed herself and entered the meeting room.

 

The meeting room remained quiet until the remaining committee members arrived and were seated, while this wasn’t policy for them to wait before talking, most of the leaders didn’t like each other and so choose to only speak when needed.

Lord Cammeo scanned the room slowly, before rising to his feet to begin the meeting. “It has been brought to my attention.” He began. “That after our last meeting, a few members remained behind to discuss the fact that we as a committee have not reached any unanimous decisions recently.

“Now while this might be seen as a complaint, I do not feel that this was the intention, and in fact some useful information may have come of it.” He glanced around the room again, looking at each of the members individually, before stopping on Lady Mitch. “The question here really. Is do we need to make decisions more often, or should it just be the major important ones?”

Lady Mitch broke the eye contact she was exchanging with the committee leader, instead turning and exchanging glances with Madam Night, before standing. “If I may. The suggestion was also made that we meet less frequently, or even more ideally, only meet when we have something important to discuss, much in the same way we are doing now.”

Lord Cammeo’s eyes narrowed as he watched her carefully. “That is a suggestion we can also ponder, however it might invalidate the research and time spent by Sir Arjes. Now please sit down, and do not interrupt again.”

Lady Mitch scowled, but complied and gracefully seated herself again.

Lord Cammeo gestured over to Sir Arjes. “Please tell us of what your research has taught you, and what possibilities await us.” He then sat down and leant forwards onto his area of the table.

Sir Arjes rose slowly, and coughed into his hand before beginning. “Ahem. After the brief discussion following the last meeting we had, I went into the filing areas of Station Scorpion, as that is where both the Artificial Intelligences that run these stations operate from.

“These were built from the research left by team Ogni-Ratha, but using the information given by High Lady Andli, in an effort to avoid another Mackiavelli incident. As such while both WES and RUI are sophisticated, they lack the risk of causing harm to those who inhabit the station.

“The main question I was trying to find the answer to in my research however, was as to whether or not WES would allow us to change how we vote, from Unanimous, to a Majority vote. What I found while looking into the systems, is that while not originally programmed to operate in such a way, WES could change how he accepts our votes, however it would take a unanimous vote from us all to change this.” He then sat back down.

Lord Cammeo then stood to address the room again. “This seems fairly clear-cut. If this change means we can make more alterations to the running of the stations and better serve our people, then I think it is for the best that we do so.” He then sat down and addressed the screen at the front of the room. “WES.” He spoke the single word with clear authority.

The red light of WES’s eye lit up, it scanned the room for a moment before settling into a distant gaze towards the centre of the room. “All Committee members are present.” He spoke out monotonously.

Lord Cammeo leant back in his seat, arms folded neatly in his lap. “WES. The Committee would like to cast a vote on a change we would like you to implement.”

WES’s eye narrowed down to almost a single point, and focused its beam of light directly on to Lord Cammeo’s face. “Speak now. Speak clearly.” He spoke bluntly.

The corner of Lord Cammeo’s mouth raised into a faint smirk, before he spoke. “WES, we are going to vote to change your rate of acceptance. You will not only accept unanimous votes from the committee, but also majority votes.”  He then stopped and waited.

After a few moments of silence, WES understood that everything had been said and his eye widened back to its usual vacant gaze. A few more moments of silence followed as he internally processed what had been said, before he spoke again. “You are all to cast a vote. This vote will allow me to accept majority votes from the committee, as well as unanimous ones. Is this correct?”

“Yes, that is correct.” Lord Cammeo nodded.

“For the sake of removing ambiguity, I have taken the liberty of making the decision that a majority will consist of five votes or more. There are nine of you, and as such there can be no hung vote. Is this acceptable?”

Upon hearing this, Lord Cammeo didn’t even so much as look at the other members of the committee, instead immediately replying. “Yes WES, this is acceptable.”

WES’s eye slowly scanned the room,  looking at each committee member individually for only a moment before moving on to the next, until he had seen each of them. “All present and accounted for. Please cast your votes.”

Each member leant forwards to press one of the two buttons, some taking longer than others as they sat to think about it. But once all had been pressed, all eyes turned to face the eye of WES, who paused briefly, thinking, before responding. “The vote was not unanimous, as such, I will continue to only accept unanimous votes. Do you have any other requests of me?”

Lord Cammeo scowled slightly. “No WES. Return to your duties.”

WES said nothing more, but his eye closed and silence filled the room.

“So.” Lord Abultrates broke the silence. “I thought that was a good idea, but I suppose this has been a wasted trip.”

A few of the other members exchanged glances, for hearing Lord Abultrates speak was a rare occurrence.

Sir Arjes, unfazed like some of the others, leant forwards onto his section of the desk. “I don’t think this was a waste, if nothing else it has opened up some thoughts.” He briefly looked over at the two lords. “My concern of course would be that if we are going for only majority votes, would it be worth us having smaller meetings? Wes himself set the standard of five votes, so that could give us freedom in the form of only having meetings with five of us.

“While this may sound counter-productive, all five would still have to agree, but if it were a discussion that only affected the supply stations, and had no bearings on Saunders, Colemann, Geraldine and Jackson, then the four of us in charge of those stations would not be required to attend.”

Lord Cammeo gave him an emotionless stare. “You make an interesting suggestion Sir Arjes. One that we can discuss at our next meeting.” He stood. “In the meantime however, I suggest you all consider how much easier this would make things for us all. Otherwise.” He turned and began walking towards the door. “I hope your replacements are more agreeable than you are. Meeting adjourned.” With that he stepped out the door and closed it behind him.

Lady Mitch exchanged a look with Sir Fisiio, to her right.

“What do you suppose he meant by our replacements?” Madam Night cast a worried glance at Lord Abultrates.

Lord Abultrates stood slowly and silently, before turning and walking towards the door. “I wouldn’t think about it.” He spoke softly over his shoulder before leaving the room.

Madam Night gently chewed on her lip. “Well that was sinister.”

The other committee members said nothing, but instead one-by-one began to leave the room, until only three remained, Madam Night, Lady Mitch and Sir Arjes.

“The two of you wait around often don’t you?” He looked at both of them, a puzzled expression showing.

“I don’t like it when the shuttle bay is full, it feels too cluttered, so I like to wait.” Lady Mitch turned up her nose.

I like to wait for Lord Abultrates to leave.” Madam Night looked over at Sir Arjes. “He scares me a little, especially with that last comment he made.”

These answers seemed to satisfy Sir Arjes, who stood and turned to leave. “Very well, until next time then.” and with that he was gone.

Madam Night rose slowly, her eyes fixed on Lady Mitch as she did so, while Lady Mitch watched her with narrowed eyes.

“We shouldn’t stay too long. We don’t want to arise suspicion.”

Madam Night glanced nervously towards the door. “I agree.” She responded. “We still have the secure channel to communicate.”

“We do, but I don’t want to use it too frequently.” Lady Mitch stood. “I will find a reason to visit Dunnwood, or for you to visit Nimura. But hopefully…” She managed a faint smile. “Radim will have sourced the information I sent him to locate.”

Madam Night sighed. “I need to find someone as reliable like you have.” She then gestured to the door. “You go on ahead, I’ll wait before following.”

Lady Mitch gave a faint nod in the direction of the fellow station leader, before leaving the room without another word.

 

Sorry this section is a few days late, I’ve not been feeling well the past few days and it’s put me a little behind schedule, I’m going to do my best to get back on top of it by next month.

Uninventive

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