“Are you sure about this, Kathrine?” Garreth asks.
“We have already talked about it: I am.”
“Ma’am, you have a call,” Luna says.
“Open the line, Luna” I answer. I hear a brief beep and greet the caller, “this is Admiral Cayden speaking.”
“Thank you for joining us in this conference call. I’m Ansgot, the speaker of the council. The council is not content with just having the Saethor at the parade. They want the Orion to be present.”
For a parade, any ship with a good reputation should be enough. It’s common sense to use a retired ship if no active ships are available. We have sent the most modern ship for so long, the council now expects it. So it’s happening, just as Luna has predicted. I can see why the researchers of Orion want to take a closer look at the artificial intelligence that Aster made.
“As we have told you before, the Orion can’t make it this time,” Admiral Karles answers, “that is why we are sending the Saethor to the parade. The Saethor has quite the history; it is just as suitable as a symbol for the parade as the Orion is.”
The other admirals in the conference nod, showing their consent to Admiral Karles.
“I see,” Ansgot answers, “the council has decided to strongly recommend early retirement for Admiral Cayden.”
Strongly recommend? That’s just diplomat speak for an order.
“I don’t see what this has to do with either the Orion or the Saethor, but we acknowledge that recommendation,” Admiral Karles says.
“I accept the early retirement,” I announce.
Ansgot’s face distorts in shock for a brief moment before putting back his poker face.
“Thank you very much for your years of service, Kathrine,” Admiral Karles says.
“It’s been a pleasure, Matias.”
“Since that is settled, I’ll have to clear my office,” I press the button to hang up the call before Ansgot has the chance to say anything.
“I guess, I’m formally requesting to join the crew of the Orion as a civilian medical helper, Captain Teemo.”
Garreth sighs and takes out his personal terminal to place a call, “it’s me, Guanor. I’m putting you on speakerphone.”
“This is unbelievable!” Guanor’s voice sounds, “you misusing your authority, Kathrine? That is a personal insult! An insult I say! You even transferred your position as superior to Admiral Karles! I know Luna predicted this, but it’s still unbelievable!”
“I’m happy to hear you’re angry for me, Guanor. But since they never actually said it, it’s just conjecture. We have to make our move: if you aren’t opposed to it, I’d like to help you with your medical work. It’ll be refreshing to something different again. I’ve been stuck with desk work the past few years.”
“Of course, I’m happy to have you join us!”
“Then I’ll add you to the passenger list for the next scheduled report,” Garreth says.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Since I’ve already packed, I switch off the terminal, take Luna’s crystal and leave with Garreth for the Orion. I tried convincing him I don’t need it, but Garreth insisted on me taking the Admiral’s quarters. After arriving in my quarters, I connect Luna’s crystal to the console and start her program.
“New hardware detected,” a distorted voice sounds, “please stand by…”
I think about the last few days. Just after the report of his disappearance, Luna was activated. Luna is a copy of Mittens’s program that Aster personalized for my use. As luck would have it, Aster messed up setting my birthday date and Luna’s crystal was delivered the same day he vanished.
After getting the latest information, she predicted the council’s moves. While those predictions were not impossible to happen, I have to admit, I thought it to be rather unlikely. So I asked Garreth for advice, and he recommended sending Luna’s predictions to Matias. Matias convinced me to go with Luna’s plan.
If the council really had my best interests in mind, they would have granted me some time off. Instead, they chose to flaunt their power by sending me to early retirement. And to be honest, I don’t even mind, I’m a doctor first, yet the council was insistent on promoting me due to my credentials. I caved in with the offer of more money to take care of Aster and was promoted to admiral. The other admirals always assure me it’s refreshing to have a person with a medical background among them. My input on science was actually valued, and since I assumed my position technology advanced quite a lot, so it’s not that bad. But I do miss working with patients. Luna’s plan was for me to join the Orion after all and remove myself from availability for a while for the inevitable case the council backpedals. After all, they’d have to promote a different medical person to replace me. It’s been impossible to find even an assistant, so I don’t fancy their chances of finding a replacement. And joining the Orion also helps me with seeing Aster faster again. As much as I trust his luck, I still do worry about him…
A few moments later, Luna’s usual voice speaks: “Adjustments complete.” I regularly received reports from Aster’s teachers about him being antisocial. But given how well he’s liked by his coworkers and how he even made Luna sound and look like my favourite actress, I can’t help but to think his teachers to be biased against him. Maybe I should have him transfer to another school, but that will have to wait until we find him.
“Luna, how do we keep in contact when I’m not in this room?”
“If you plug in your personal terminal, I can install endpoints to connect to.”
“Please do so,” I plug in my personal terminal.