As expected, my good notes about sex and religion stayed right there on the page, not moving to my mouth and thence into the microphone. I was able to load two cars of stuff for Daughter #1’s return to college tomorrow AM… the 98F and 100% humidity of central Ohio. Between their summer and shoveling snow in the winter, Ohio was made to give middle-aged people like me heart attacks.
So, just to throw some content out there, the royals are docked with Martian Control and get a briefing. With a hint of a surprise guest. Additionally, Kira tries out the Void for the first time, now she begins to understand what she is.
Safely docked and with their suits on, the four drifted from their ship to the space station through the unpressurized flexible tube connecting them. As captain, Laszlo went first with Kira right behind him. As it was a part of her job to work in free fall, she moved with grace and ease. Les was merely okay. Seeing Nikita and Anastasia bump in the walls and each other was comical.
The airlock could have held ten so there was plenty of room. Les checked the readout inside his helmet just as the inner door was opened. There were two men and one woman wearing the coveralls typical for duty in space. The four-pointed blue star of the Polar Alliance was on their left shoulder with their own nation’s flag on the opposite. The oriental woman’s was of course the flag of Japan. The older fellow had Russia and his presumed junior the Empire. They had oriented themselves to greet their guests properly.
“Welcome to Martian Control,” the Russian said with his hand out. His feet were in braces on the floor. “I am Assistant Commander Piotr Rurik. My second here is Henrik Medved and this is Chief Researcher Ayano Kashino.”
While Laszlo counter-introduced his party – Rurik bowing as best he could in free fall to the prince and princesses – he pulled information through his lines from the signal onboard. There was fortunately a guest service as he noted the Walls of the dozen others were formidable. Besides being older about the three in front of him he also noted their itinerary: a whirlwind tour of six hours. Did someone not want them around? Reina has made me paranoid.
He noticed an odd node on the guest stream. Its surface was complicated and seething but at once simple. In assessing it, he let a smile come to his face in the hallway. Rurik was drifting on ahead to the briefing room so Les sent a message to that node.
You are very young at this, Kira. Now is not the time to play. I’ll need your help in this meeting.
*mumble* so different *mumble* -lp meet- *mumble*
Looking across the corridor, he saw the girl’s eyes refocus as she came back to herself. He was relieved: some had trouble their first times in the Void. Kira smiled back and effortlessly follow their hosts with the other two ricocheting around behind them.
The chairs around the magnetic surface table were bolted to the deck and had seatbelts. After a second, recorded, more formal greetings from Rurik, Kashino took control of the presentation. While Laszlo might have known more than the others, it was only an artifact of his status as a demi with easy access to information. And, it turned out he knew much less than he thought he did. A project driven almost entirely by nanites – nanomaterials – on and under the soil were transforming the planet faster than even the Chief Researcher could understand.
“It is only Project Lead, Aqua-dono, who can see it all,” she said with a sigh, taking off her reading glasses to clean them with a cloth from her pocket. “He listens well, considers all of our views, then takes action in a way which leaves us struggling to understand what has happened.”
“If, Prince Laszlo, you do not mind the question,” she carefully reseated her glasses first, “you are demi-human, are you not? You think faster than us and have access to wifi?”
“That is correct Kashino-sensei,” he agreed. “My kind, who are mostly my blood kin, use the word Void, instead, for that is how we perceive it.”
“Mostly?” she politely asked.
None of the four moved. It is not my place, he thought again.
“I am also demi-human,” Kira said in a clear, strong voice. “But have only come to know this very recently.”
‘Which is why you are here,’ proclaimed a message box appearing across the screen behind Kashino.
“Is that…?” Les began.
“Yes. Aqua-dono.” From the corner of his eye he saw the surprise of Rurik and Medved. “Allow me to complete my presentation, please.”