Just a Formality

Text to Speech:

“Curses! First, Ansgot messed that up for us, now that blockhead Karles refuses to cooperate with us! He even made it that until a new head is inaugurated, all decisions in the Science Division are to either be made by the retired head or by unanimous decision of all subdivisions.

Make Ansgot retire for this blunder!”

“He already did.”

“So who is the next head of the division?”

“Nobody, all subdivision heads have expressed their explicit disinterest in becoming the new head.”

“Were you at least able to get them to agree to abort the Orion's exploration mission of the Metari Galaxy?”

“No, they had security throw us out the moment we suggested that. We were all banned from the buildings.”

“What?!”

“I was finally able to get someone to elaborate: a former assistant of the admiral.

The subdivision heads are scientists: research comes first. Former Admiral Cayden was doing all the administrative work. And she was brilliant. All assistants gave up because they couldn't keep up with her. Everyone in the science division knew, without her, the science division would collapse. She always puts her work first. Joint administration by all subdivision heads is only a stop gap that can barely support the status quo. They were about to propose her to take some time off to ease the burden on her for a bit when they heard the news of us forcing her into retirement. He recommended stopping any unnecessary intervention with the science division; all the staff are very unhappy about how she was treated.”

“Did you find Former Admiral Cayden?”

“According to witnesses, she didn't return to her estate after the conference. To our knowledge, there hasn't been any contact with her ever since.”

“Continue looking for her!”

“I used some favours, but none of them were able to find any trace of her. But I was able to find there was a suite booked under her name on Nael-Ⅳ.

“Go!”

“The suite was empty, the resort reported the shuttle that was arranged to the parking of that suite never arrived. It was paid in advance, so they just keep it open in case they arrive late.”

“Did you find out whose's shuttle it was?”

“The shuttle belongs to the Garreth Transport Company.”

“What did they say?”

“The shuttle went missing.”

“Send someone to wait for her there. She might turn up.”

“We found another suite booked. Same shuttle as last time. But it was empty as well.”

“She has been setting false trails?! Curses!”

“We found something else!”

“Where did she go?”

“She was seen with Captain Teemo before the conference, so we assume she might be on the Orion. It's just a wild guess, though.”

“Granted, we don't have any other lead, so it's worth trying.”

“And what does the Orion say?”

“Their regular report is scheduled for next week. They haven't made any unscheduled contacts until now.”

“Then have them messaged now!“

“For that, we need the approval of Starforce.”

“Curses! I'm losing my mind!”

“It should have just been a simple formality to get her back into her old position!!”

“They contacted Admiral Karles two days earlier than Luna predicted. It's remarkable: she was able to predict everything so accurately. Those fool from the council are all dancing to her machinations. For her son to be able to create such an AI, he's just as amazing as their family history shows.”

“Machinations, we didn't do much. And what we did, we didn't do because we were forced. All that AI did was direct it to achieve the maximum effect.”

“You're right. It seems, the AI was designed to help with the management of the science division. Having her in the conference calls with Former Admiral Cayden helped a lot with the management. It's somewhat a pity it's so self-aware, we can't just replicate it by copying it. I believe, it's also imprinted to her.”

“The Orion is leaving communication range soon… after that, we're on our own. I can't help but appreciate what she did for our division.”

Every person nods in agreement.

“Now, what can we do to help the Admiral?”

“The notes say it's up to us, whether we want to prioritize the relay station to the Metari Galaxy.”

“Even if we were to prioritize it, it would take months to finish it.”

“Yes, but when it's finished, we would be in contact with the admiral again. I believe we all agree, managing this division is something only she can do. While I'm not sure if she will return, there's also her son. If they can find him, we could ask him for another AI to help a possible successor.”

“I agree, that is a notion we cannot ignore. Let's prioritize that.”

“That doesn't sound like a real choice… when you think about it that way. What else?”

“It's also up to us, whether we share our complaints with the media. They might be knocking on the door soon. I'd move that discussion to until the relay station is finished or when the media contacts us.”

Again, every person nods in agreement.

“What about the request from the council?”

“They haven't asked us yet. We wait until we receive a message. And then we call for a meeting the week after. We are busy researchers, after all.”

“We should invite one of their representatives to that meeting, maybe we can coax some more money from them. And better pay for the position of head of the division.” I'm sure they want the relay station to be finished as fast as possible.

“It's been quite a long time, Garreth!”

“Yes, let's play, Miles, we can talk while we play.”

“Oh, an automatic table! I should drop by more often.”

“I know how you feel, but… there are some things that make it less fun to play these days.”

“I'm sorry to hear that. I can at least listen to your sorrows.”

“You better do. My guess is, this is what you want to hear about, anyway.”

“That's very specific, Garreth. I mean, I'm looking for a certain shuttle that is registered to your company.”

“Yes, that very shuttle and its pilot went missing after an accident with its Hyperdrive. He's also a player. His mother at Starforce was charged with misusing her authority to look for her son.”

“I see, finally I can connect the dots. There are other rooms booked on her name, all stating a certain shuttle would bring the guests. But that shuttle never arrives. I went looking for that shuttle and came here.”

“She's currently hidden at a place I don't know about. It's better that way. I'm the one booking the rooms under her name. It's all a little something to help her hide from the people of the council while trying to get someone from the media that will come to investigate. But I didn't think you would be the one knocking on my door.

Upon hearing her son went missing, she immediately transferred command to Admiral Karles. She was forced to retire by the council.”

“So the council charged a woman from the Cayden family who just lost her son with misusing her authority, although she explicitly made it, so she can't? Apparently, they are still trying to harass her. Their people were sniffing around the rooms book in her name.”

“In short, yes. So what's that about the Cayden family?”

“They aren't rich, but they are quite well known for pioneering. Not all endeavours end up successful, but they have never been a family to shy away from the risks. People that know about them were very excited to hear she took charge of the science department. I think they even had a hand in her promotion to that position.”

“I knew them, but they didn't seem so… well-connected. But yeah, I know what you mean by pioneering, that AI that kid made is quite sophisticated.”

“Well, they don't make use of their connections to other families. But other families have at least heard of them. Are you flying by Eurus-Ⅲ?”

“No, net really. Do you need to go there?”

“Yes, I need to meet Christian Kenny. If you can make time, why don't you drop by and invite him over to play? He'll be interested in this tale. The Kenny family should know about this before I continue investigating.”

“Christian Kenny? I know he is from a bigwig family. Though, I haven't seen him since we left school. Since this is for the kid, we'll stay in orbit to invite him. Also, if Admiral Cayden is great as you say, you might want to interview the heads of the subdivisions.”

“The subdivision heads are prepared to move against us. Without Former Admiral Cayden, the science division will collapse, the question is how fast. I also have word, the Kenny families group is unhappy about the matter too.

I believe, you better get Former Admiral Cayden back before it comes to the worst.”

“Then get her back, find something that can be offered for her cooperation.”

“…”

“Out with it!”

“You do realize the only thing of value to her is her son?”

“What does that brat of hers have to do with everything?”

“The very mission we have tried to abort multiple times is also looking for her missing son. We forced her into retirement on grounds of her abusing her authority to have them look for her son.”

“Curses!” 

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