The Orbiter. Part 9

Sleep didn’t come to him however, and within a few moments he was back with his eyes open looking at the musky confines of his house. Letting out yet another heavy breath he leaned back on his chair and flicked a switch on the wall behind him, turning on the filtration system.

Most houses on Nimura lacked any kind of filtration, but Lady Mitch had insisted that he have one to make use of, even if only for a short time. Radim had initially resisted the idea of being one of the only people on Nimura to have one, but quickly admitted that it did make it easier to breathe, though he only used it for the brief times he was actually in the house.

With the filtration now gently humming in the background, Radim pulled his miniature computer out from under his chair and started it up, it only took a few moments for it to be ready, at which point he started up the video conference system and requested a call to Stana.

After a few moments of ringing, the face he recognised answered.

“How are you darling?” Stana smiled at him.

“Is this a good time?” Radim quickly replied.

Stana rolled her eyes at him. “Really? Straight to the formalities? That Lady has you wrapped around her finger doesn’t she? When you can’t even talk to me like a I’m the normal person I am.”

Raadim felt himself raising an eyebrow at her in response. “I only asked the question to make sure I wasn’t disturbing anything, and if so I could call back later.”

“Oh.” Stana paused. “Sorry.”

Radim watched her silence for a few moments, waiting for an answer, before trying again. “So? Is this a good time?”

Stana looked up from her screen briefly before responding. “Honestly, not really, I have a meeting in a few minutes.”

“That’s okay, I really just wanted to say that Lady Mitch has let me have the next few days off, so I was thinking of taking the shuttle over to Geraldine to see you?”

Radim could honestly say he had never seen Stana light up quite so quickly before, and took it as a sure sign she was happy with that arrangement. “Really?”

Radim nodded. “Absolutely.”

“Great. I have a meeting tomorrow but after that I can spare time for a couple of days, are you getting the next shuttle over?”

“Yes I will, I’ll leave shortly.” Radim Smiled.

“I’m surprised Mitch even let you have the time off. The way she orders you around, it just isn’t right.”  Stana shook her head slightly with a faint huff of annoyance.

Radim shrugged. “She’s not all bad, there are worse people to work for, besides she’s done this before so it’s not unusual as you are fully aware.” The last part he put so much emphasis on he almost startled himself.

Luckily for him, Stana either didn’t notice the emphasis or chose to ignore it. “I have to go, the second half of my meeting starts soon. You still have the spare key so you can let yourself in?”

Radim nodded. “Keep it with me at all times. I’ll let myself in when I arrive.”

Stana smiled faintly. “Good.” She looked up briefly again. “I have to go. Love you.”

“L…” Radim was only able to form the single letter before she had shut down the call from her end. “That ended abruptly.” He said to the blank screen. He sat for a moment in silence, before composing himself. Standing, patting his pocket just to double check the key was still there, he shut down the computer and switched off the filter.

The shuttle station wasn’t far from where he lived, which was part of the reason he choose the house he had, and as such it only took a few minutes for him to walk there. Due to the time of day the shuttle stop wasn’t too busy, though the amount of time it would take to get to station Geraldine meant by the time it reached there it would be the early hours of the morning, as the public shuttles ran a complete circle around all nine stations.

The ticket guard nodded as Radim showed him his identification. One of the perks of being a pilot, Radim thought to himself, free journeys.

He settled down on the cramped seating, and found himself surrounded by passengers who clearly were disgusted by the stop off on Nimura, but based on their attire Radim placed them as coming from Saunders, as they were dressed slightly worse than those who typically hailed from Andrews.

Radim settled back in the seat and tried to get himself comfortable, it would take many hours to get to Geraldine, with there being three stops between there and Nimura. Strapping himself in, he was asleep before the shuttle even lifted off.

 

Radim felt himself being gently rocked awake, and slowly and grouchily opened his eyes, slightly, the room was bright with the morning sunrise, and it took him a few seconds to properly focus on Stana’s face leaning over him.

She was smiling at him, but this wasn’t so much a happy smile as it was an amused one, the sun glistening off her golden hair as he moved it out her face and stood up taller. “You slept on my sofa?”

Radim rubbed his eyes as he sat up. “I didn’t want to wake you. The shuttle didn’t arrive here until late and by the time I had walked to your house it was early hours of the morning, I thought it best not to wake you when you have that big meeting you were telling me about.”

Stana shook her head slightly. “Well I appreciate the sentiment but you know I wouldn’t have minded.” She winked before turning in the direction of the kitchen. “I have to leave soon, but do you want me to make you something in particular?”

“Umm, I’m not…”Radim twisted to place his feet on the floor, but it was only as he moved the blanket he had been under that he realised his clothes were missing, stopping his train of thought. “Stana…” he called out.

“I put them in to be washed.” Her voice carried out from the kitchen area. “Goodness knows when you washed them last. There are a few spare bits in my room, after the last time you came I thought best to pick up a few things for you.”

Radim nodded as he stood and wrapped the blanket around himself. “I am capable of undressing myself, or was I getting your furniture too dirty?”

“Piss off.” She chuckled. “I’m not that uptight.”

Radim poked his head into the kitchen area. “You’d be pretty uptight if I dropped this blanket right now.”

Stana looked up from where she was preparing the food. “You bring that thing anywhere near my breakfast and I’ll personally kick you out the window. Go get a shower, it’ll be a good few minutes before this is ready.”

Radim winked at her and backed out the door again.

Stana shook her head as she continued to prepare the breakfast, a small smile of bemusement on her face.

 

It was only around ten minutes later that Radim stepped back into the kitchen, this time fully dressed, but with his hair still dripping water all down his shirt. Stana had finished with the preparations and was setting the plates on the counter.

“Good to see you dressed now.” She said with a half smile.

Radim raised an eyebrow. “You were the one who undressed me, so you haven’t a leg to stand on.”

“It was different in the sitting room.” She stuck her tongue at him. “My kitchen will remain a clean area however.” She pulled a seat out from under the counter and quickly sat down. “Come on, eat, I haven’t got long before I need to leave.”

Radim smiled and sat down opposite her, and quickly began eating. “So what is today’s big meeting about?”

Stana sighed a little. “Due to the growing population of the stations, there is a project to build additional housing, Sir Arjes has already given the green light, we just need to work out the specifics.”

“I can’t say Geraldine ever struck me as being overpopulated.”

Stana rolled her eyes slightly. “You’re a Nimura kid, no other station has those population problems, but we are running out of ways of keeping everyone employed.” She sighed gently. “If you lived on this station you might understand a little better, I know Nimura is the most populated of all, but Geraldine and her brother stations are not in a great position currently either.”

Radim tilted his head in understanding. “I know nothing is ever as simple as it seems, and it probably doesn’t help that the committee haven’t come to a decision that benefits anybody in a long time, including these housing stations.” He paused briefly, before quickly adding, “Or so Lady Mitch tells me, what do I know?”

Stana raised an eyebrow at him. “You do seem to talk to Lady Mitch a lot.”

Radim smiled and waved it off. “I’m her pilot, she complains to me when things don’t happen.”

Stana responded with a faint smile. “I suppose so, and I suppose you’ve known her since you were both young.”

Radim stopped smiling for a moment, trying to examine the look on Stana’s face. “Does it bother you?”

Stana gazed out the window. “Probably not as much as I expected it would.” She then turned to look at Radim again. “You sill come to visit when you can, and while I haven’t visited Nimura in a while, because, well your house there is a dump, and I think that’s enough for now.” Her eyes then widened as she glanced over at the clock. “Shoot, I gotta go.” She stood quickly and made her way around the counter. “I’ll be back later this evening, but I’m sure you can find some way to entertain yourself for the day.” She planted a quick kiss on his forehead and rushed over to the door. “Love you.” and shut the door behind herself. leaving Radim sitting in the kitchen, her having, again, gone before he could respond.

 

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The Orbiter. Part 8

A week had passed before Radim had spoken to Lady Mitch again, and much to his surprise, it had been her that had approached him.

He had been sat, once again engrossed in a book about the past history of the stations, when the young Lady Mitch had come and sat down next to him, closed book in hand.

For a few moments neither of them had said anything, Radim had tried his hardest to keep engrossed in the book he had, while Lady Mitch had watched him curiously. Eventually she had broken the silence. “I wanted to say I’m sorry for what I said to you last week.”

Radim had frozen. For a long few moments he couldn’t believe it, most of him wanted to think that she was using her authority to play him. He eventually turned and looked her in the eye. “I accept. Thank you.”

Lady Mitch had beamed slightly. “When I got home I realised I had been horrible for no reason. I want to say that I mean what I told you last week.”

Radim felt his eyes narrow slightly as he cocked his head. “What part?”

“That I’ll hire you.” She had replied. “Look.” She handed him the book she had been holding. “This is one of my history books from my house. Because my family is on the committee we get special books that others don’t. You like reading about it all so I’m giving you a little bit more.”

Radim had slowly and cautiously taken the book from her. “Won’t you get in trouble?”

Lady Mitch shook her head. “Never have. I’m too special apparently”

Radim had clutched the book closely. “Thank you. Lady Mitch.”

She beamed back at him. “Don’t let me down, I want to see you as my pilot when the time comes.”

“I won’t let you down. From now on, everything I want to do I will make sure helps you, and everything you think is right, I will support.”

 

Radim felt himself smile as he remembered the events that had led him to his current slot. The initial calling of Lady Mitch’s bluff had just happened because he had been upset, but he would never expected the private friendship that was to stem from it. The privacy had remained on Lady Mitch’s request, she didn’t want to risk her chance of losing her future spot on the committee over one person, and while Radim had originally been rather offended by her wishes, she had been quick to point out that if she lost her spot, his chances of ending up shuttling a committee member dropped to near enough zero.

He recalled their lunches spent in the library, originally swapping discussions about the logistics of shuttle flying, the station layout and practicalities of being a future member of the Committee. At first Lady Mitch had known little of what responsibilities and burdens she would have to bear in the future. But as the months and years went by her family began teaching her the ways of leadership, teaching her to understand that as leader of the station she was the most important person on board Nimura, the other inhabitants were beneath her and there to serve.

And slowly, those of Nimura, the teachers, students and even inhabitants walking the streets, began to see the leadership side to her grow. No longer asking people for attention, a click of the fingers would come their way, greeted by complete disregard if it was someone she didn’t want to speak to. People grew afraid of her, shying away from speaking to her with anything less than complete respect, nervous of accidentally saying the wrong thing and provoking a reaction. Her bodyguards always two steps behind, ready to respond to any command at a moment’s notice.

Her family became visibly more and more proud with each passing day, proud of the leader they were raising to follow their footprints. One who would lead Nimura with an iron fist.

Radim was the only person who was able to see through her change in personality, and only because she was able to leave her bodyguards outside when in the library.

For her, the hour in there was the only time she was able to drop the façade and just relax a little. Radim was always in first, ready and waiting, and for that short time each day they were able to swap stories and theories about the inner workings of the stations, how the committee worked, and what could be done in the future.

Most of what they had discussed were still theories, and they both knew this, but the information they had found out and told one another had been invaluable in getting them both were they currently were.

As Radim rounded the corner at the end of the row of factories, he spied his own house down by the end of the street. While most shuttle pilots had a tendency to take up residence in a building close to their respective committee member, Radim had chosen a smaller inconspicuous building further away in an attempt to keep a low profile. Something Lady Mitch had agreed with.

As he entered his home, he was greeted with the lingering smell of smoke, smoke that drifted in from the factories but then became trapped. Letting out a heavy breath to blow the smog away from his face, he settled down on his chair and closed his eyes.

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The Orbiter. Part 7

Nimura station was built with mass production in mind, things break, Nimura station makes them. Things need to be mass produced due to high consumption on other stations? Nimura makes them.

With this design in mind, Nimura station was built with both larger, and more, solar panels on its exterior than the other stations, but eventually the demand drew so much that even that amount of power was insufficient, and the factories entered a brief stage of fuel burning to meet the demands, but the heavy smoke that filled the station quickly deterred them from pursuing this option. Instead the shifts were changed to 24hour production, the workforce was increased, and the houses were built smaller to accommodate the extra people.

By the time Lady Mitch came into power, the damage had already been done, the workers were all cramped into small, barely-liveable accommodation, forced to work excessive hours for gradually lowering wages. The time spent burning fuel had also taken its toll on the station, a consistent smog filled the air, breathed in by everyone who walked the surface of the station. Any attempts to rid the air of the fumes has proved futile, filtering the air achieved nothing, and attempts at exchanging the air had had minimal effect.

The furnaces that had been built during the brief time of burning fuels had been converted into small kiosks for the workers of the station. The large metal grates serving as nearly perfect closing-time gates.

Radim Spurling had never been impressed with the nature of Nimura station. When he was younger it was all he had ever known, but he had heard stories of the other stations, ones with lush greenery, or ample supplies of water. Of course in his younger years that’s all they had been, stories, but he had found that if he looked out the station windows at night, when the sun was no longer being reflected in, Nimura’s rotation allowed him to see the other stations. Even though his glimpses of the other stations were only brief, he was able to see all of them, and made his decision at that age. He was going to visit the other stations.

Seeing them also inspired him to do something else, he found himself unable to lose interest in the differences between the stations, and in whatever time he could muster free was spent searching through the history of the stations. However he hit his first two obstacles very early on. He realised that they only people who ever properly got the chance to visit the other stations were the nine members of the committee, and the pilots who flew the shuttles. The other obstacle was in his searching the history, as he discovered Nimura was not equipped with a suitable archive of information, as in fact neither were the other occupied stations, all the history books were located on Scorpion.

He put himself to the task, the only pilots were those chosen by the academy on station Saunders, and to even be with a chance of being selected the students had to have had a near perfect education record, alongside high levels of etiquette and have good marks in the simulator training.

The other children of Nimura wanted nothing to do with him. To them, his dream of wanting to visit elsewhere clashed with their knowledge of how Nimura worked. It was a station built to equip the others, and apart from the single high-power house, the house of Mitch, no-one ever made it off the station.

His being an outcast suited Radim fine however, and just gave him more time to his studies. And this in turn led to him being befriended by the one person who also had plans to take trips of the station. Young Lady Mitch herself.

Nimura had many struggles, and an undereducated population was one of those problems. As such the likelihood that one outcast would be approached by the one other person that children were afraid to associate with became incredibly high.

During her school years, Lady Mitch had been under almost constant supervision, her family had had no choice but to send her to the only school available, but when she was in the library there, the supervision relaxed slightly for it was always staffed, and no children on the station used it anyway.

No children bar one.

At first the two just ignored each other, sitting at opposite ends of the room and reading the things they wanted to. But it only took a couple of weeks of silence for Radim to grow tired and attempt to break it. He approached Lady Mitch one afternoon, at first confident that he was going to be clever and say something important to impress the next leader of Nimura station. But once up close, his confidence bottled and he stood in front of her with a rather meek expression on his face.

She looked up at him from her book. “What??” the bitterness of being approached by a mere commoner had been clear.

“You… You’re going to be the next leader of Nimura aren’t you?” Radim had sheepishly responded.

“Of course.” She had snapped back. “And when a dirty commoner such as you speaks to me and my family, You call me by my title. I’m a Lady you know.”

“I’m sorry Lady.” Radim’s half-step back showcased his fear fully.

Lady Mitch had snorted heavily. “Good. Now what do you want?”

“I’m going to be a shuttle pilot and see the stations.” Radim’s face had lit up as he spoke the words.

“You’re stupid, pilots don’t come from Nimura, you will work in the factories like everyone else.”

Radim had found himself severely regretting his decision, and had wanted to just back off. But for some reason he found himself angered by her comments and pushed forwards. “I will be a pilot one day, maybe I’ll be the first from Nimura, but at least I’ll be remembered for it.”

Lady Mitch had pretty much laughed in his face at that comment. “You don’t even have a title, and if you don’t have a title, you won’t ever be remembered.”

Radim had truly felt the tears welling up at the comments she had been making, and turned to walk away from her smirking smug face, but stopped himself, with just one last ace up his sleeve, one last burst of confidence. “Okay.” He had moved in closer to face her. “You don’t think I will, but how about this, if I do become a shuttle pilot, you have to hire me as your personal one when you join the committee.”

Radim had felt a small sense of satisfaction welling up as her smile disappeared, and for a few long moments, she said nothing. Until. “It won’t happen.”

“Well, doesn’t that mean you have nothing to lose?”

Again, Lady Mitch had paused, until another smug look appeared. “Okay, if, and only if, you make it, you can be my pilot when I take my spot on the committee.”

 

I was trying to write this part as a flashback but I’m not sure I got the tenses quite right.

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The Orbiter. Part 6

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.

 

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The Orbiter. Part 5

The nine committee members seated in Scorpions main conference room sat in silence for what felt like an extendedly long few minutes, two of them exchanging brief fleeting glances with each other, while still glancing down at the papers in front of themselves. The eye of WES watched them all from the wall they faced, its looming red glow slowing moving from one, to the next, to the next.

The central committee member, Lord Cammeo, stood and looked to those on either side of himself. “Members, I believe we have all had enough time to read the brief and consider our decisions, have we reached an accord on this issue?” He then proceeded to sit back, down take one more slow scan of the room, and pressed one of the two buttons in front of him.

Each member then proceeded to follow suit. The buttons, were all obscured from each other’s view, so despite everyone having a seat at the same, crescent-moon shaped table, each members vote was entirely anonymous.

Once each and every member of the committee had cast their votes, all eyes turned to face WES. who sat silently for a few moments, before responding to the members. “Vote was not unanimous.” He spoke in his usual emotionless voice. “Petition to allow altering of the Space Stations angle once a month to face the Earth’s Moon will not be carried out. Do you have any other requests of me?”

Lord Cammeo stood once more. “No, WES, return to your duties.”

WES said nothing more but the eye closed and the screen went blank.

Without saying a word, one by one the members began to leave the room and make their way back to their shuttles, before returning to their Stations. After only a short time, only four remained, Lady Mitch, Madam Night, Sir Fisiio and Sir Arjes.

Sir Arjes had not even begun to move from his seat, and gazed at the other remaining members. “It’s been months since we came to any kind of agreement here, we need to crack down on this.”

Lady Mitch and Madam Night exchanged brief glances. “The problem is.” Lady Mitch began. “Is that the decision we seem to want to make are not beneficial to everybody, we were elected to keep the peace and retain equality, and yet we seem to have lost that.”

“To be fair though.” Madam Night stepped in. “The problem isn’t equality, its progress. If you look back through history the politics were always changing, the many support the few, the workforce labours so the higher ranking people can focus on more important things, and we are those people, and the important things for us are the running of the stations.”

“What running?” Lady Mitch retaliated. “We’ve made no decisions of late, and even when we do we ourselves don’t actually make the changes, its WES that essentially runs everything.”

Before Madam Night could respond again, Sir Fisiio stepped in. “If I may, some of the decisions we seem to be divided on these days aren’t even relevant to the running of the stations.”

Madam Night bobbed her head in agreement. “Point taken.”

Sir Arjes frowned slightly. “Explain.”

Sir Fisiio just sighed a little. So Madam Night stepped in instead. “Take today’s decision for instance, in what way does it benefit the stations to be temporarily pointed towards earth’s moon? It doesn’t. Or last week when we were discussing the idea of bringing the notion of daylight saving time to the stations, or for one month of the year changing the rotation to counter-clockwise. None of these actually achieve anything, not to mention they are pretty stupid ideas, they are only happening because we can’t come to a conclusion about anything important and are just trying to waste time.”

“Are you saying we aren’t a good committee?” Sir Arjes raised an eyebrow.

“I’m not saying that.” Madam Night responded.

“I am.” Sir Fisiio interjected, a half smile on his face.

Madam Night frowned at him before continuing. “I mean the system is broken, maybe we need to meet less frequently or meet with the aim of not changing anything.”

“Interesting that you are the one who thinks the system is broken.” Lady Mitch scowled.

“Explain yourself Lady Mitch.” Sir Arjes spoke sternly.

Lady Mitch’s frown deepened as she turned to face Sir Arjes. “Did you really just give me an order? SIR Arjes?”

Sir Arjes’s eyes widened slightly as he realised his mistake, but before he could say anything more, Sir Fisiio cut in. “Lady Mitch. I apologise for my fellow Sir, he stepped out of line in what can only be described as a clear-cut mistake.”

Lady Mitch’s face softened slightly. “That got a little more heated than I expected. I accept your apologies, both of them.” She looked back at Sir Arjes. “In answer to your question, Madam Night here is from Station Dunnwood, and so has a hefty reason to complain about what she calls ‘equality’.”

Madam Night scowled at her fellow member. “Oh please. You hail from Station Nimura, not exactly the most looked after is it?”

“Station Nimura has a proud history I’ll have you know. We do not need the patronisation that one such as yourself provides.”

Before Madam Night could respond further, Sir Arjes raised a hand to silence her, at the same time gaining the attention of Lady Mitch and Sir Fisiio. “If I may stop you there, I do not believe that Madam Night patronised you, nor do I believe she said you do not have a history you are proud of. I believe the issue in question was to why we have not come to any conclusions lately.”

Madam Night looked sheepishly over at Lady Mitch. “If you don’t mind I would like to get back to that.”

Lady Mitch looked back at her, eyes narrowed to a face of thunder. But she said nothing.

Taking this as her que, Madam Night looked at both men in the room. “Part of what I am wondering is, are there too many of us, is that why we aren’t changing anything?”

Sir Arjes leant forward onto this part of the table slightly. “Part of the decision by the original founders was that each station have its own leader, and that those leaders represent us in the committee. You know this as well as I do.”

“What if we didn’t lose members?” Sir Fisiio interjected.

The other three looked over at him. “Go on.” Sir Arjes prompted.

“Well the way I see it, if the problem is we are repeatedly hitting impasses, maybe it’s time to change the system, we have always had to reach decisions unanimously, but what if we changed that to we only had to have the majority vote?”

“That’s something to ponder.” Sir Arjes nodded, sounding mildly impressed.

“Would that even be possible?” Madam Night cut in. “Isn’t WES designed so he can’t do anything without the unanimous decision of us all?”

“You may have a point there.” Sir Arjes admitted. “The specifications for both A.I. are buried somewhere in station Scorpion, I’ll go and have a look, this is a very interesting development.”

“What happens if this becomes a possibility?” Madam Night asked.

“Then next time I visit Station VanOrre I will speak to Lord Cammeo and gain his opinion on the matter.” Sir Arjes responded simply.

“I feel like you visit VanOrre far too often given that you hail from station Geraldine.” Lady Mitch spoke with more than just a little hint of annoyance.

Sir Arjes just shrugged. “Geraldine is a bustling station, lots of people means lots of water to be cleaned. Sir Fisiio, you’re from Colemann, you know what I mean when I say these things.”

Sir Fisiio’s eyes darted back and forth slightly before he answered. “I understand, though my shuttles tend to carry more and make fewer trips, though Geraldine is closer to VanOrre than Colemann is.”

“But do you travel with the shuttles?” Lady Mitch spoke sternly.

“No.” Sir Fisiio admitted. “But that’s because I don’t like flying in the shuttles, if I didn’t have to come to these meetings I wouldn’t.”

“That’s a decent enough point.” Madam Night admitted.

Sir Arjes stood up from his seat and gestured towards the door. “I suggest we all adjourn for the day and resume next week, hopefully avoiding any more debates in the meantime. I will go and find the specifications for both the A.I. and we will discuss in full the idea of the majority over unanimous votes next week.”

 

Yes I confess this one ended rather abruptly, but only because what follows fits better into the next portion of the story.

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The Orbiter. Part 4

The established government of New Earth came to the conclusion that the only solution to the state the planet was now in, was to abandon it, and they began making provisions and coming up with design ideas.  Eventually they stumbled across the buried technology hub of team Ogni-Ratha, the team that had launched Black Sparrow, after Information the New Earthians had managed to salvage from the wreckages of Andli and MacKiavelli lead them there.

The findings there were many, but the two that took the interest of those that discovered the hub were, the design of Carga-1 and Ogni-Ratha’s research on microscopic diamond-threads.

It was the discovery of these two that prompted the New Earthians to use both of these to leave the earth behind, but to do so meant they had to do something they never expected to have to do. They had to request the assistance of the Dragons they despised.

Ogni-Ratha’s research indicated that Microscopic Diamond-Threads would have enough strength to function as a full length Space Elevator, but the only way for that to work, the only way the strength would be achievable, would be if every micro-diamond was absolutely perfect, and on the scale that was required for the elevator, it would be impossible to find that amount of perfect ones. Unless the capacity to force-make them was available, the sheer volume of pressure that the dragons were able to re-create on a large scale allowed for this.

Peace treaty discussions went down, and for the first time since the original splitting of the earth’s territories, New Earthians and Gaelithians sat down together to work out a solution.

The meeting didn’t last long, as both sides were keen to leave the dying planet, and they quickly came to an agreement. The dragons would create the pressure required to produce the diamonds needed for the Elevator, and would assist with getting the space stations into orbit, while the New Earthians and Gaelithians would pool their resources and work together in building the required stations. With the understanding that there would be enough space for everyone to live comfortably on the stations.

After little over a year of consistent effort, 63,000 miles of Diamond-thread cable had been produced, all in one long coil. At the same time, production of the first space station had been completed. Borrowing elements from both the O’Neill and  Carga-1 design, she was completely cylindrical in shape, three strips of glass windows running down her length. Five miles wide and twenty miles long, she was the largest object ever built for space. Originally the plan had been to name her ‘Station Andrews’ after the second member of team Ogni-Ratha, but a design element that became necessary with attaching the cable to her meant her name was changed to ‘Scorpion’ after the look of the tail she now spouted.  Getting her bulk into space however, was the design challenge, but the elements they Borrowed from Carga-1 helped with this.

She was equipped and built to fly. Using the angled-milti-wing design, with the engines on the wing-tips, the design that had made Carga-1 so manoeuvrable, she was able to lift herself off the ground, slowly and cumbersomely. Once she had struggled her way above 10,000 feet, the dragons stepped in, giving her the necessary push to rise through the thinner air and then eventually into the vacuum of Space.

Once she was in orbit, another dragon flew up, uncoiling the cable behind himself, and attached it to the tail of Station Scorpion, and pushed her into a higher orbit, not stopping until the cable went taunt.

With the elevator completed, more stations could be built, while a steady stream of supplies was sent up to Scorpion.

Each station took about a year to build, and was then sent up to join Scorpion. With each new station a fresh batch of supplies and inhabitants were sent up. After the third station was sent up, it became apparent that supplies would need to be distributed between stations, with a method of transporting the supplies.

A small team of people were selected to design pilot-able shuttles that would carry supplies between them, and Station Scorpion lost its status as a living station, instead its inhabitants were moved to the fourth station to be sent up, and Scorpion was reworked as a supplies station, which would be used to distribute between the others.

Controversy was sparked over this decision, as many believed that each station should receive its own supplies and be independent.  To resolve this issue, each station from this stage was given a specific function, so that no station could survive without the others, but each would be built to be better adapted for its function.

The first three stations, named Colemann, Geraldine and Jackson, kept their role as living stations. The next station to be sent was VanOrre Station, which had a design layout allowing it to store and clean vast supplies of water. The Greene Station soon followed, to be filled with fertile soil for the purposes of growing vast quantities of crops. Dunnwood station went up next, which was soon filled with grazing fields for animals to feed the populations. Dunnwood, Greene and VanOrre were built together with the intent  being they could work together easily to keep supplies high.  Andrews station was the eighth station to go up, and was built as half a living station, with the other half built to contain laboratories to continue the advancement of technology. Nimura was station number nine, built to contain factories and allow for production of necessary items and equipment, as well as build things developed on Andrews station.  The last station to be sent up was Station Saunders, and was another living station.

Scorpion station, which became the unofficial hub of the stations, became an entirely automated station, supplies were sent in from each station, and where then distributed back evenly. A small team of maintenance personnel lived on Scorpion, repairing anything that broke and keeping the station running smoothly.  But the running of the entire station was handled by an Artificial Intelligence system developed from the research of Ogni-Ratha. The A.I. was given the title ‘Wilful-distribution Equality System’ shortened down to the name WES.

In an effort to ensure fairness in the running of the stations, a system was developed in which each of the nine habitable stations would elect a member to represent them. These nine elected would form the committee, who would hold meetings once a week on station Scorpion, decide upon how the stations should be run, and make sure WES stuck by it.

As a failsafe protocol against WES, his primary function was to not change any distribution, or make any act without a unanimous decision of the Committee. This had two positive effects, WES was limited to only doing what he was told, even if he developed a fault, but the Committee were limited to only making decisions they all agreed on.

Once the stations had been filled with people and  the necessary amount of supplies, it was time for them to move out of the earths shadow, and into their own orbit.

Exactly eleven years to the day after the decision was made to abandon the planet, Scorpion station detached her tail, leaving it attached to the elevator, and all ten stations began the slow movement into their own orbit. After a slow and lengthy process, using their wing-tip engines to gently thrust their way ahead of the earth, they settled on an orbit just ahead of that of their former home. All ten stations orbiting and facing the sun.

From the view of the sun, they orbited in nonagon shape, nine inhabited stations orbiting around the central station Scorpion.

The system in place ran smoothly for many years, WES distributed and the nine elected made sure he stayed in line. But as time went on, generations changed, and a flaw in the system was slowly revealed. The committee was there to prevent WES becoming corrupted, but nothing was in place to prevent human nature.

Nothing was in place to prevent the corruption of the committee…

 

Apologies for the length there was a lot to go into this one.

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The Orbiter. Part 3

Vermabay quickly rose to power, using the Gaelithians with powers to his advantage, siphoning off their powers and absorbing it himself, growing his abilities to immense levels. And converted the land of Gaelith from a monarchy to a dictatorship, usurping the royalty of the time he took control for himself.

Not long before Vermabay’s rise, Dragonslayers had started to appear across the land, they were few, but some had come to realise that the powers normally contained by the beasts, could be transferred to other vessels if the beasts were killed in the right way. Fortunately these slayers were few and far between, as most Gaelithians didn’t want to hunt them, and the few that did attempt to go after the beasts usually died in the process.

One such slayer, calling himself Excaburil, was successful, and, with the mighty dragon Caburnil under his command, formed an alliance with Vermabay.

Both shared two similar views, a desire for greater power, and for the powerless New Earthians to be eliminated. Making way for Gaelithian rule to spread across the entire planet. Vermabay used his increased powers to send Excaburil and Caburnil to New Earth, where Excaburil was able to make use of his new powers to control the population, turning them against one another.

What neither of them had counted on however, was that he wasn’t the first one with powers to move from one side of the planet to the other. For in the years before Vermabay’s rise, others from Gaelith had moved across to New Earth in hopes of making a fresh start, and some of those had been people with powers. And their descendants were immune to Excaburil’s abilities and fought back.

On the other side of the planet Vermabay encountered problems of his own, as the not only had the most powerful sorceress in Gaelith, and thus his only competition, gone into hiding, but the heir to the throne had disappeared also, and his road-living spies were unable to locate him.

Eventually the problems both of them encountered proved to be their undoing, as Vermabay was overthrown by the combined forces of the Sorceress and two separate Heirs, the one he had usurped, and the Heir to the throne of dragon-hood.

Excaburil and Caburnil were eventually overcome by the combined forces of the immune Gaelith descendants, the same Heir to dragon-hood, and three wanderers who refused to settle in either world.

With the defeat of Vermabay the two rightful heirs were able to form their own alliance allowing them to take care of Gaelith in unison, and as such look after the people of the land. The defeat of Excaburil and Caliruba freed the people of New Earth and gave them back their livelihoods.

By this point however, the damage had been done, the New Earthians now saw the Gaelithians as a threat to their way of life, and sought to destroy them. They raged a war against them using weaponry of the past, destroying nearly everything as a result, killing the planet as it stood and exterminating most of the Gaelithians. Those that survived did so by retreating down into the caves built by the original under-dwellers.

A select few used Mackiavelli’s old bunker to hide in, one that had existed even before his time and was built stronger than most, with it also containing a hefty load of supplies, those that’s had stood up against Vermabay and Excaburil grouped together and resided down there for many years.

Once the destruction had ended it became apparent that both halves of the planet were now beyond repair, and the only step available was to vacate it.

 

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