The layout of Lord Cammeo’s office had been designed to give total control over to him. From the more obvious features such as the door blending into the wall so guests could not see it to leave without his permission, to the more subtle factors such as the lighting, which was angled over the Lords shoulder to bear down on his guests. This latter feature made the room uncomfortably bright for his guests, but also cloaked him in darkness, as the high back of his chair cast a shadow over him. He had also designed the room to only have two guest chairs for his meetings, as he found that he could easily intimidate a single person on their own, and even two people he had no problem with. However he had found that any more than two and he began to lose control. So he made sure to never have more than two guests in his office at a time.
At this moment both of these seats were filled, one by Lord Abultrates of Station Greene, the other by Duke Ovthrow of Station Andrews.
Lord Cammeo observed the two of them silently, watching as Duke Ovthrow shifted slightly as he struggled to see him. But most of his attention went to Lord Abultrates, the resolve of whom amazed Lord Cammeo, as even the layout of his office didn’t seem to faze his fellow Lord.
Eventually he stopped observing and spoke. “Lord Abultrates, you called me to instigate this meeting almost as soon as you left Station Scorpion. Why was this?”
Lord Abultrates cast his eyes briefly at Duke Ovthrow before speaking. “Why is he here?”
Lord Cammeo leant forwards in his seat slightly. “I instructed Duke Ovthrow to come and mediate our meeting.”
Lord Abultrates narrowed his eyes sharply. “There is no need for a mediator, I only called this meeting to instruct you to stop threatening other members of the Committee.”
“You come to instruct me?” Lord Cammeo feigned amusement.
“Yes.” Lord Abultrates’ expression did not change.
Lord Cammeo’s expression however, did change. “You expect to instruct me and get away with it?” He frowned sharply. “You forget your place on this Committee Lord Abultrates.”
“And you forget yours.” Lord Abultrates leant forwards slightly. “This is a position of service, not of power. We are here to serve the people of our stations, and yet you threated other members just because the last vote didn’t go the way you wanted it to.”
Lord Cammeo scowled further. “You may do well to remember that my family were amongst the first to set foot on these stations, we held power on the ground, and I hold power up here too, more so than the others. So you do not chastise me.”
“It is true that your family held power on earth. However you will do well yourself to remember that it was my family that gave yours the power it held. The only reason that we both hold the title of ‘Lord’ is because I do not want the attention that the title ‘King’ would bring.
“We have a duty to not only ourselves, but to our fellow Committee members, and those on our stations. Let me ask you, when was the last time you even so much as looked at a VanOrre worker with some decency, and without turning up your nose at them. Do not forget, without our workers, the stations would not function, we owe them that respect.”
Lord Cammeo scowled. “You ask me when I spoke to the workers of VanOrre, but need I remind you in return that you hail from Station Greene, when exactly do you heed your own words and speak to the crop farmers there?”
Lord Abultrates shook his head slowly. “You disappoint me Lord Cammeo. That is a question to which you should know the answer. But I’ll let Duke Ovthrow answer for me.” He gestured over to the Duke.
Duke Ovthrow’s eyes widened in surprise and for a few moments he did nothing but quickly glance back and forth between the two Lords, before stammering to start speaking. “Well, you see Lord Cammeo, it is kept no secret that once a month Lord Abultrates opens up his home to the residents of Station Greene, and always makes an effort to stay acquainted with the families of the workers as they grow.”
Lord Abultrates smiled at the response, an act which sent a chill down Duke Ovthrow’s spine and he silenced himself. “You are correct Duke, thank you.” He turned his attention back to the other Lord in the room. “The people in the stations are what make them work, and the people on our Committee are what allow the stations to function. You need to learn and remember that.”
Lord Cammeo’s scowl grew heavier. “I see, you instigated this meeting to insult and threaten me.”
Lord Abultrates shook his head. “Not at all, I instigated this meeting to point out your character flaws.” He smiled a sinister smile at his fellow Lord before standing. “I feel that there is nothing more to be said now, however, I am now glad that you invited Duke Ovthrow after all, it has been good to have a witness here.” He stood and took a step towards where the door was. “Come Duke Ovthrow, it is time we returned to our stations. Lord Cammeo has a lot to take in and work on.”
Duke Ovthrow recoiled slightly, his eyes once again darting between the two Lords, but he quickly chose the slightly friendlier look on Lord Abultrates’ face and also stood up.
Lord Cammeo glared at the two men as they left the room, but said nothing further, instead simply pushing a button on his desk to close the door once they had left.
On the other side of the door, Lord Abultrates couldn’t help but let a slight smile break through his usually blank face.
Duke Ovthrow noticed the change in expression and gave the Lord a quizzical look. “Not to question you Lord Abultrates, but was aggravating him really the best idea?”
The smile faded from the Lords face. “Cammeo is not as threatening as he appears to be, he won’t harm anyone on the Committee, he knows the backlash that would come back at him. He could easily be evicted and replaced on our Committee if WES and RUI think that he is manipulating or harming the other Committee members. That is the only authority they have that doesn’t require unanimous input from us.”
Duke Ovthrow shook his head in confusion. “But I don’t understand, how do you know this? And what gives them that authority?”
Lord Abultrates gestured towards the shuttle bay and the two men began walking. “My family were involved in the designing and construction of these stations. My ancestors were involved in the downfall of both Vermabay and Excaburil who threatened the New Earth and Gaelith, the peace treaty may not have lasted long after the fall, but my ancestors had the research of team Ogni-ratha, and details from High Lady Andli.
“WES and RUI were built to be the peacekeepers on the stations, it’s a mutual power we hold over one another. They hold the power to remove and replace members who are threatening the sanctity of the stations, but they cannot make any other decisions without our unanimous input. The system is designed to keep both sides in line, a lesson learned the hard way by High Lady Andli after the rise of Mackiavelli.”
By this time both men had reached their shuttles. Lord Abultrates turned to face the Duke, his face stern and serious. “Head back to your station, as will I do. But what happened here today doesn’t get out to the other members, and nor does what I just told you about WES and RUI.”
Duke Ovthrow bowed and nodded in quick succession. “Yes my Lord, it will stay with me.” With which he turned on his heel and entered his shuttle, which after a few short moments, took off.
Lord Abultrates nodded to the shuttle as it launched, an action he knew no-one could see, before slowly boarding his own shuttle. “Home.” Was the only word he spoke to his pilot, before settling down in his seat to await transport.